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  • The Hurricane

    The Hurricane

    ★★★★

    A modest manifesto for aesthetic relocation

    Making fiction out of real life stuff is one of the things cinema does especially well. In the classical period of American filmmaking, this dynamic between fiction and what we might irresponsibly call reality took on a number of forms. Hurricane falls squarely under the banner of a film like Murnau and Flaherty's Tabu, which utilizes atavistic "natives" in order to play out "timeless" storytelling tropes. Each film tries to show us a society…

  • Dunkirk

    Dunkirk

    ★★★½

    Dunkirk is a movie that I imagine leaves a lot of the audience scratching their heads, as it principally seems made for Nolan fans or English nationalists. For the Nolan fan we get an expansion on his rolling montage method, with a really exciting de-emphasis on narrative in favor of action-oriented setpieces connected by intensive, paced montage. In many ways the film's battlefield setting and restricted focus allow Nolan to get at "pure" cinematic qualities which don't require the mountains…

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  • Days of Youth

    Days of Youth

    ★★★★½

    The opening and closing bookends of the movie, which go from the city to the specific then from the specific to the city, are met beautifully by the repeated figure of the college kids looking out the window. They use the smokestack to guess the wind and weather but are probing the outside world with less grace (social for one, physical for the other). But as always, the important moments are about normal embarassment and everyday sadness. The sequence where…