Favorite films

  • Barrabas
  • Way Down East
  • The Boulevard of Scheveningen
  • A Countess From Hong Kong

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  • Maryada Ramanna

    ★★★★½

  • Middle-Class Train

    ★★★★★

  • La Notte

    ★★★½

  • What Do We See When We Look at the Sky?

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  • Maryada Ramanna

    Maryada Ramanna

    ★★★★½

    One of the best musicals of last decade. I strongly prefer these earlier Rajamouli films to the spectacle of Baahubali: I don't know that one could say that any of his films are "grounded," strictly speaking, and even less a film with a talking bicycle, but I find him more charming as a director of comedy than action. In any case, the use of Our Hospitality could not fit better as a source with the interest in historical destiny in…

  • Middle-Class Train

    Middle-Class Train

    ★★★★★

    Very different from the kinds of dramas for which Matarazzo would later become famous in Italy, but I still find this to be one of his best nonetheless. The cynical reading of this and similar films of its kind like those by Camerini would be that they are more about class reconciliation than anything else, but I see this particular film as fitting less into the fascist-corporatist vision of the world à la Il Signor Max, where everyone learns their…

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  • Hidden

    Hidden

    Panahi's films are increasingly only addressed to a very specific metropolitan audience, made now with a certain self-important authority never found in the work of his mentor (who he is nonetheless so eager to emulate). It is hard to regard this turn as anything other than unfortunate, given it is this very audience which is treated with great ambivalence in what remains his single great work, Offside. Since then, his work has taken on the significance of the self-conscious activist…

  • Mr. Thank You

    Mr. Thank You

    ★★★★★

    The narrative situation of the film tempts us to compare it to Ford's Stagecoach, with which it shares a certain ethos, but it's closer still to Doctor Bull in how it uses the title character as a way of bringing a diversity of characters together in space. Everyone knows Mr. Thank You, and his legend is founded on his ability to bridge all of these local communities and bring them into contact (as one character says, "things are the same…