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  • Friend Request

    Friend Request

    When films use a facsimile of a computer screen in a 1:1 ratio with the frame of the film, a fascinating new territory of film language opens up (for more on this nonsense, here is a previous essay on the form). Web browser tabs are used for character backstory as can desktop wallpapers and folder/document names. Watching someone type and rewrite IMs or emails can be just as telling as when voice is used. There's potential here within what is…

  • Dragonfly Eyes

    Dragonfly Eyes

    If you fake reality, then reality is fake. Coming off the lips of a monk it's laughable, but said by the film this "koan" is almost an admittance of wasted effort. For anyone who makes it this far into artist Xu Bing's foray into feature filmmaking Dragonfly Eyes, this could either be infuriating that all of this effort, traversing thousands of hours of real surveillance footage to assemble a story a girl who leaves a monastery only to be eaten…

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  • After the Storm

    After the Storm

    Kore-eda doing his take on the detective genre. That should be reason enough to go see After the Storm, both a spiritual successor to Still Walking for the Hiroshi Abe/Kirin Kiki pairing as son/mother and to his recent Our Little Sister for the strong presence a deceased family member might have on their family, sometimes a bigger presence than when they were alive.

    Ryota (Abe) describes himself as an author though his first and only novel, an award winner, came…

  • Bitter Honey

    Bitter Honey

    The relationship between artist and muse and the relationship between artist and his characters is the focus of Gakuryu Ishii's latest film. Gone is the punk aesthetic of the majority of his work but what remains is a film with inventive flourish and mood swings to match those of the goldfish turned nubile nymphet Akako (Fumi Nikaido) and the aging writer (Ren Osugi) she is in love with. The appearance of the ghost of one of the writer's many women…