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  • La Flor

    La Flor

    ★★★★★

    www.screenslate.com/articles/299

    Argentinian director Mariano Llinás has made a career out of taking modest budgets and mild subject matters and turning them into epic exercises in narrative teasing and turning. Between his first film Balnearos, a hodgepodge of tales centered around beaches and the risible mannerisms of ritualistic beach-goers, and his second Historias Extraordinarias, a four-hour long triptych of stories about men stumbling upon Rivettian conspiracies all told with voice-over in lieu of dialogue, Llinás is unrivaled in his pursuit of…

  • Labyrinth of Cinema

    Labyrinth of Cinema

    ★★★★★

    www.screenslate.com/articles/297

    As much a miracle as a masterpiece, the late Nobuhiko Obayashi’s swan-song Labyrinth of Cinema is a film that flouts not only artistic norms, but also medical odds. Diagnosed with cancer in 2015 and told he likely had just three months to live, Obayashi defied his doctor’s prognosis and created not one, but two career-defining mega-works: 2017’s long-gesticulating anti-war melodrama Hanagatami and the just-released Labyrinth of Cinema. While some late works try to sum up their makers’ lives or…

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  • Sombre

    Sombre

    ★★★★★

    "How is one to take this film, accommodate it within the normal, daily frame of one’s values, experiences, politics? Sombre is a profoundly divisive, profoundly ‘other’ work; many recoil from it, repulsed or offended. Yet offence is a too easy – in fact, highly defensive – response to the singular force and power of Grandrieux’s achievement. I have heard the film dismissed as portentous and pretentious, silly and risible – responses partly triggered, I suspect, by the unblinking graveness and…

  • Phantom Thread

    Phantom Thread

    ★★★★★

    A very slight film that reworks the same notes repeatedly until they grow quite large. Anderson plays very subtly with pacing, underhandedly switching our character perspectives and sympathies constantly over the film's run time until what may at first have seemed quite poisonous blossoms into something quite beautiful by the movie's end.