• The Hunters

    The Hunters

    ★★★★★

    Angelopoulos closes his Trilogy of History with the most inventive, layered, stylistically refined and thematically pointed allegory in his entire filmography, with Days of ‘36 being a relatively straightforward piece of political filmmaking, then following it up with The Travelling Players, which reinvented the idea of structuralism as we know it. The Hunters manages (somehow) to go even further in terms of expanding the possibilities of narrative storytelling and innovative formal experimentation. Here, Angelopoulos not only uses structure as a canvas to illustrate both…

  • Killer of Sheep

    Killer of Sheep

    ★★★½

    Packed and herded down roads with splintered pavement, through the compressed alleyways of cracked concrete and an overgrowth of ivy; breathing insalubrious air around ramshackle homes and crumbling buildings whose old and outdated foundations have wasted away from neglect. Moving onward, steadily, day after day, unknowingly towards an inevitable destruction of essence—just waiting to be demolished like those derelict structures, the ceilings and walls of which can no longer shield its inhabitants from the heavy rains that pour so frequently upon them.

    America is a slaughterhouse.

  • Cathedral

    Cathedral

    ★★★

    Of film and flesh, of pleasure and pain, of glass and sensus—layers. Chase provides what feels likes a moment of bliss in a time when that was so hard to come by for queer folk. Obviously I’ll never know the difficulties faced, but by seeing this film, I feel like I’ve been shown some of the beauty. A living, breathing work of art that does not concern itself with the pornographic, rather that of the body in all its glory; layering frames as though they were beings, one atop the other in a passionate meld of physical divinity.

  • Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy

    Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy

    ★★★★

    Navigating the space between truth and lies, intention and dereliction, consequence and kismet; with fate determining the outcomes of meetings serendipitous and fabled, tragic and grounded or seemingly mundane and innocuous.

    Hamaguchi appears to question whether the path towards our many destinations in life are dependent upon how we communicate with those around us, or if they are preordained from the start. What we say, if we say it, in what manner and framework—we present to others these words in…

  • Sex, Lies, and Videotape

    Sex, Lies, and Videotape

    ★★★★½

    “You know I understand you're a man
    And you've got to have your kinky love”

    Taking out the garbage.

  • The Iron Rose

    The Iron Rose

    ★★★★

    To surrender to anger is dangerous.
    To surrender to violence is worse.
    To surrender to death itself is unthinkable.

    Rollin suffuses The Iron Rose with this idea of surrendering—something he had to do more than once throughout his career in terms of his personal artistic vision. While I do enjoy some of his smutty vamp flicks, this is far and away his best film. He has always been a master at cultivating atmosphere, but in my mind, it has never been…

  • Tropical Malady

    Tropical Malady

    ★★★★★

    The eye of the tiger.

  • Soul Power

    Soul Power

    ★★½

    A bit unfocused as a documentary, not that it’s doing anything wrong, it’s just trying to cover a little too much at once with not only the festival going on, but the upcoming monumental title fight as well. I also didn’t care about the guys bickering over logistics for the majority of the first portion, but when The Spinners, B.B. King, James Brown or pretty much any of those other legendary acts perform, Soul Power goes from being a hectic backstage…

  • Throw Away Your Books, Rally in the Streets

    Throw Away Your Books, Rally in the Streets

    ★★½

    C/W: Mentions of rape in the second and third paragraphs.

    I used to be so angry. I loathed with gnashed teeth the many pesky nuisances of the world; the materialism and the culture it spawned predicated on image and envy that came to fruition during the years I came of age; the rampant, unfettered greed that surrounded me in the form of crony capitalism, consumerist bodies and commodified existences; the false pretenses of pseudo-intellectuals, neo-liberals and hypocritical authoritative figures… the…

  • Maurice

    Maurice

    ★★½

    Edwardian period pieces are like a mustached Hugh Grant… I should like ’em, but I just don’t.

    And thus I find myself at my most shamefully philistinian. I reckon it’s just the “mmmm yes, yes indeed”-ness of it all, the posh insincerity, the bourgeois nihilism cloaked in a sheen of opulence. There are, of course, exceptions to this personal distaste for dramas of the period, but these offer something eccentric and often times surreal (e.g. Women in Love or one of my…

  • Memories of Murder

    Memories of Murder

    ★★★★

    Seeking shadows. Searching for the scourges afflicting mankind. Ascribing the circumstantial in lieu of an absence of the direct. A desire for justice by any means necessary in an existence of endless depravity only serves to blur the line that separates good and evil to a point of total nonexistence; shrouding the truth in abysmally infinite obscurity. What hurts most is knowing you will never know.

    After endless, acarpous nights spent scouring through muddy reeds in the pouring rain, the only shadow left to see is your own.

  • The Witches

    The Witches

    Less than the sum of its parts, The Witches feels like a bit of a phone-in from everyone except for Mangano. Even Pasolini—who delivers what is probably the best of all five stories in what is an incredibly drab anthology film—appears he is totally uninterested in the material, throwing together a comically farcical tale that contains his trademark symmetrical cinematography, as well as hilariously slapstick performances from Totò and Ninetto Davoli. But sadly, it overstays its welcome a bit, as does…