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  • Grass

    Grass

    "I like eavesdropping from here"

    Like the rows of plant pots that bookend it, this is very much a film of controlling nature — a portrait (self or otherwise) of a writer's attempts to create, observe and inflect upon human interactions in a quiet coffee shop as a way to navigate, escape, and make sense of her own problems. It's never entirely clear how much Kim Min-hee is authoring the on-screen events, if at all, and single lines of dialogue…

  • Red Sorghum

    Red Sorghum

    A sledgehammer-blow of a movie. Every action is a power-play (pissing in the wine, shutting a door, faking a bow) that shifts and deepens a relationship, whether romantic, antagonistic, or otherwise, until, suddenly, everything changes, and these relationships and their histories are recontextualised by war. A love-song blows with the wind through burning fields, a child weeps for his mother in a bomb crater. The beauty of this place is destroyed in the fire. Everything turns red in the end.

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  • La Ceremonie

    La Ceremonie

    "I feel sorry for you"

    one of the great films about manipulation and belittlement: nonchalantly throwing a dirtied tissue back at the person who provided it without saying thank you; offering to drive someone into town as if it's the noblest thing in the world; finding out someone can't read and instinctively offering to teach them. The rich family treat Sandrine Bonnaire's maid with such casual disdain and dehumanising pity that it's no wonder she's drawn to the chaos of…

  • Blackhat

    Blackhat

    I guess I missed how down and dirty this is first time round - a movie about cyber-terrorism in which a hacker scratches around in the dirt to find information; the violence and suffering of every death is highlighted with lingering close-ups/slo-mo; an online conversation with a terrorist (who could be anywhere in the world) escalates into a knife-fight with a gang in a bar in less than 10 seconds. This isn't a world that exists only online. It's real,…