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  • Band Baaja Baaraat

    Band Baaja Baaraat

    Band Baaja Baaraat contains all of the usual romcom cliches including a last minute run to win a lover's affection (despite it not being clear exactly why haste is required). That said all of them are played with ridiculous energy and fervor; as if they were being invented for the first time. Anushka Sharma's hilarious mugging in the first performance of Ainvayi Ainvayi is emblematic but performances aside there's also a riot of dutch angles, jump cuts and zooms. Some…

  • I Am Not Madame Bovary

    I Am Not Madame Bovary

    I Am Not Madame Bovary is super interesting formally. There's plenty to talk about on that level. Alas I am a bumbling idiot so this is entirely a plot analysis. Just in case it's not clear what that entails: I write about the plot. Like, all of it.

    I Am Not Madame Bovary is a Chinese film satirising the efforts of officials but also one that sought to pass China's unusually strict censorship board. You can see the problem here.…

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  • Birdman

    Birdman

    Birdman is so in your face that it makes a motif out of characters speaking directly to the camera. It's a manic, propulsive, eager little thing driven by a relentless drum score, a swooping camera and restless actors who talk as though they could burst into flames at any moment. It's populated by caricatures and filled with the kind of passionate nonsense that regularly fills columns exclaiming that Hollywood has run out of ideas, or that theater is a dying…

  • Flight of the Red Balloon

    Flight of the Red Balloon

    A sly, delicate film, ostensibly about a tenancy dispute but also about the porous boundary between life and art. To that end it references its own creation numerous times: there's the mixing of Taiwanese and French art that's present in Suzanne's puppetry (which may also deliberately recall The Puppetmaster) and of course there's Fang Song playing herself and working on a film that is very much like the film we're watching. She even explains how the balloon is made to…