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  • Zatoichi: The Last

    Zatoichi: The Last

    Still attempting to get a grasp on what kind of a filmmaker Sakamoto is, the films I've seen from him up to this point (including this one) attempt to strike some balance between populace entertainment and more oblique nods to Japan's cinematic past. This film is probably the clearest example of the latter. For better or worse, Sakamoto attempts to wrangle a the variety of tones that the previous Zatoichi films of the past all explored throughout the original series'…

  • Walking My Life

    Walking My Life

    Plays most of the expected notes in a cancer drama in the gentle and softly melancholic way one can expect from Japanese cinema at this point. Enlivened only through Yakusho's performance and given unanticipated relevance through Isaka's framing of about half of this as a man duty-bound not just to his family, but to his work. His commitment towards the company he works for feels current and timely, though the fact that he DOESN'T need to actually work feels too…

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  • The Wayward Cloud

    The Wayward Cloud

    One of the most harrowing texts on isolation. If that's the trait that is most easily identifiable and relatable in Tsai's work, then what happens when we are finally able to meet someone with whom we can connect with. Perhaps the only film from the last decade to tackle how our loneliness cannot be cured or remedied through connection alone. A culture breeds this within us from the moment we are born into it. Reaching out and grasping another's hand…

  • Beau Travail

    Beau Travail

    The moment when it hits, you'll know. When everything comes together into formation. A crystallization of form, content, and perspective into a hardened diamond of pure aesthetical poetry. Where narrative seems to dissolve into the ether of a piece. Character is reduced into bodies moving into, past, against one another. Shapes crisscrossing.

    Not so much a work of montage (ala Mann's Ali) but a work of refinement of style. If Denis managed to hit upon her trademark, free-roaming camera gliding…