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  • Starless Dreams

    Starless Dreams

    ★★★

    '...Hailing from Iran, Mehrdad Oskouei’s Starless Dreams actually played T/F in 2016, when it won the festival's True Vision Award (though it's only become available outside festivals this year). At first glance, it may not be evident how the film, set in the confines of a female juvenile detention center in Tehran, could explore the possibilities of nonfiction cinema. Indeed, there isn't an immediately recognizable formal rupture, no metatextual “hook,” as it were. Indeed, Oskouei’s dominant formal technique is the…

  • Cocote

    Cocote

    ★★½

    Capsule for InRO's TIFF Coverage:

    Awarded the “Signs of Life” program’s top prize at this year’s Locarno Film Festival, Carlo de los Santos Arias‘s Cocote moves from a wealthy estate in Santo Domingo to the town of Oviedo, using a personal tale of revenge to examine political, religious, and cultural tensions in the Dominican Republic. The film follows Alberto (Vicente Santos), an evangelical Christian who returns to his hometown after receiving news of his father’s murder. Although Alberto intends only…

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  • Dunkirk

    Dunkirk

    ★★½

    Firmly split on this one, which seems about right given that Nolan is simultaneously over-praised and undervalued (though I consider myself a partisan of his). But there really is no getting past the gulf between its staggering, brilliant conceit—which attempts to do no less than to demonstrate, with increasing temporal and spatial immediacy, the parallel planes upon which a war is fought; to enfold the immediate ground-level experience of those events within a larger historical understanding of one of the…

  • mother!

    mother!

    ★★½

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    A mocking, feature-length answer to the question: Why did God create Man? In Aronofsky's telling, it's because God (Bardem) is, essentially, an arrogant artist discontent with the "paradise" that is the rest of creation (Lawrence), so He requires the adulation, affirmation and worship of a sentient being. Cue: the creation of Adam. (Consider, then, the first domestic scene to take place after the fifth day of creation, on the dawn of the sixth; it's significant that Lawrence is shown to…