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  • Shame

    Shame

    ★★★★½

    Project: Bergman100

    The last thing I expect from a Bergman film is explosion. Preciously, an explosion from bombing. But never say never, in Shame Bergman surprises me by making a war film with actual explosions and machine gun shooting. But nope, don’t expect the Hollywood type of heroic patriotism, nor the glorification of masculinity and violence, nor the adrenaline-rush action set pieces. Shame is first and foremost a Bergman-ish psychological platform for demonstrating the personality disintegration. It transposes the haunting…

  • Hour of the Wolf

    Hour of the Wolf

    ★★★★½

    Project: Bergman100

    Hour of the Wolf is by and large an allegory of disintegration, a psychological depiction of a man’s declination into insanity. Like the dreams in Wild Strawberries (1957) and the introductory montage in Persona (1966), Hour of the Wolf is built from the concept of psychology, its Gothic horror in display is imbued with symbols that invite interpretation beyond sheer entertainment value. Yet in a way the film falls into the same territory as traditional American horror, tracing…

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  • Yi Yi

    Yi Yi

    ★★★★★

    The Rearward View of Life

    Near the end of the film Yi Yi, there is a funeral, the little boy Yang-Yang (Jonathan Chang) reads out the letter he wrote for his deceased grandma (Ruyun Tang), saying he would like to be a person of showing stuff others don't see, and now when he sees his baby cousin, he would feel old too. Every time when I watch this ending, I can imagine director Edward Yang expressing his motivation in making…

  • Illumination

    Illumination

    ★★★★½

    A mosaic portrait of the young intellectual Franciszek (Stanislaw Latallo) spanning across his years of studying Physics in college to unexpected marriage and fatherhood, above all it revolves around the protagonist’s existential crisis and anxiety. Shot in a hand-held documentary style and told in a elliptical, obscure narrative, the story is often punctured by inserts of scientific explanation of behavior and phenomenon. The detached and clinical observation is a reflection of the repressive social norm in Poland during the Communist-era,…