Last 4.5+ first viewings = Favorite Films
With this fine film now in theatres, I thought I'd post my review here from Cinema Scope 89.
Artist biopics often entail a kind of contradiction. On the one hand, they study a historical individual, subject to the exigencies of the body and the contingencies of circumstance, while, on the other, they examine the subject’s art, which, qua art, must be understood in relation to an imaginative, and not strictly material, universe. By collapsing these distinct domains of inquiry, artist…
Published in Cinema Scope 83.
What Fredric Jameson once identified as the cultural logic of late capitalism—“the waning of historicity,” i.e., the demise of popular modernist movements and the installation of a stagnant, homogeneous culture industry that recycles old forms while emptying them of their real historical content—no longer requires any of the author’s obscurantist language to describe. Twenty years into the new millennium, the pessimistic adages of late-20th-century theorists have become so tangible that we now feel them in…
In the absence of the overt spirituality that often textures Shyamalan’s oeuvre, we find what is perhaps the director’s most explicitly philosophical work: a film that examines how worldviews function at the most immediate level of perception and action, and how metaphysics change our understanding of raw affect and thus how we respond to it. It’s quite simple: we have a story reduced to a template, a problem, and from this, we observe two approaches trying to solve it.
Excerpted from my Cinema Scope piece:
"By far the most surprising and satisfying selection of this year’s Cannes Competition, Hamaguchi Ryusuke’s Asako I & II sets up and throws out stylistic paradigms faster than you can grab hold of them. As if to maximize the frustration of viewers who prefer to distinguish the fantastic from the “real,” Hamaguchi’s amorphous aesthetic—blending naturalistic and affected performances, unobtrusive and flashy editing—renders inseparable inner and outer and public and private forms of experience. Where Asako’s…