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  • Sleeping Beauty

    Sleeping Beauty

    ★★★★

    Leigh’s film begins with a cascading series of contexts for our main character, Lucy. They are of the everyday sort - home life, friends, jobs, nights out - so you expect a) the beginning of a plot to move us out of the quotidian, or b) their repetition to give us a sense of the rhythm of Lucy’s life. Leigh delays either of those developments for a long time, creating a sense of anxiety and precariousness without having to abandon…

  • Long Day's Journey Into Night

    Long Day's Journey Into Night

    ★★★

    Enjoyed the first half more than the second, which felt strained and overdetermined. I also found the construction of the main character fairly off putting, a blank slate associated very loosely, and sort of lazily, with noir signifiers (including hitting women throughout, as a sort of afterthought). Throughout though, I liked how Gan dealt with misidentifications and displacements, so that the characters fractured and intertwined. There's one passage in which a character tells a story about his mother eating apples…

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  • Southland Tales

    Southland Tales

    ★★½

    I am interested in this project of imagining a post-cinema, or a cinema that acknowledges its having been swallowed up in a media landscape, but Kelly seems exclusively interested in the big idea, so every detour eventually flattens out into an affectation, a rather homogenous part of the collage (the major difference from Pynchon!). It's a god's eye view of a political situation, with all the broad strokes and pretension that implies. It's a supposed encapsulation of changed human experience - I take issue with it's encapsulating bent as well as the definitive nature of the change.

  • 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…