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  • Martha

    Martha

    The film has a strange movement between tightening and loosening up, generated by Martha’s characterisation but moving outwards to affect the film’s formal organisation. Martha moves between a submissiveness in which she succumbs endlessly to the social order and an ennui-inflected independence in which she rejects those pressures, and accepts her own interests. The movement of the film is such that those acceptances aren’t always read as affirming; insofar as they lack an end, her taking up of smoking in…

  • Stage Door

    Stage Door

    Wonderful. There is a certain situation, its literal content is that of a boarding house for young aspiring actresses looking for work, but it takes on an existential weight with their shared chorus of banter and repartee, a humour which Andrea Leeds lets us know is to hide their fear of precariousness. It’s a sort of emotional background, which the three lead characters stand out from, each given distinct and overlapping stories with their own emotional tonality. What I like…

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  • My Darling Clementine

    My Darling Clementine

    ★★★★★

    In MY DARLING CLEMENTINE, Ford approaches the film's tiny, intimate material in the same poetic mode through which he renders its large, mythic movements - primarily a poeticism of space, atmosphere, faces where the random materials of reality reveal a deeper design and order. This is to say that Monument Valley has never looked quite so forbidding, clouds constantly churning and fog gathering, and we feel an awe in the connection of the largest, most uncontrollable phenomena with a relatively…

  • Burning

    Burning

    ★★★½

    Burning is my second Lee Chang-dong film, after Secret Sunshine; he seems to me an uneven filmmaker who reaches quite powerful effects in sometimes clumsy, sometimes even distasteful ways. Burning, like the earlier film, has a delirium-inducing approach to narrative and length, constantly shifting and changing until you feel uncertain about what you’re seeing and what you’ve seen. It would seem that in it's thriller adjacent material Lee has a fitting subject for his style, but I think actually the…