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  • Timisoara: December 1989

    Timisoara: December 1989

    ★★★★

    TIMISOARA, DECEMBER 1989 (Ovidiu Bose Pastina, Romania, 1993) 8

    Not much is made in VIDEOGRAMS of the detonating event in the Romanian Revolution — a series of demonstrations in the western city of Timisoara that grew out of the government’s efforts to remove a troublesome pastor from an ethnic-Hungarian church. This short movie was thus an ideal companion to VIDEOGRAMS.

    While the Farocki/Ujica is virtuoso and self-conscious, TIMISOARA is crude, direct and technically flawed. It’s about two parts post-hoc interviews…

  • The Death of Mr. Lazarescu

    The Death of Mr. Lazarescu

    ★★★★½

    THE DEATH OF MR. LAZARESCU (Cristi Puiu, Romania, 2005) 9 R

    During the New York Film Festival last month, my friend Steve and I were at Penn Station and, while at Krispy Kreme to buy donuts for his family, we also bought a couple for one of the homeless folk one sees there. The man we gave them to packed them away and just began talking to us, wanting to know our names and tell us all about himself. He…

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  • Leave No Trace

    Leave No Trace

    ★★★★★

    ‪LEAVE NO TRACE (Granik, USA, 2018, 10, was 9)

    This is gonna sound more back-handed than I mean it but a significant part of this film’s greatness is in what it DOESN’T do. There is no war flashback; Foster’s reaction to diegetic helicopter sounds is enough. There is no real father-daughter “confrontation” talk before the last scene, because that isn’t these people. There is no VA-related politicking because people don’t live like issues. There is no elaborate long-term plan. And…

  • A Quiet Passion

    A Quiet Passion

    ★★★★½

    A QUIET PASSION (Terence Davies, Britain, 2017) 9 R

    On second view, A QUIET PASSION (a title that could not unreasonably be paraphrased A LOVE THAT DARE NOT SPEAK) transparently became what I inchoately inferred on first view — Terence Davies’s spiritual autobiography regarding his own deeply conflicted homosexuality, through a felt kinship with Emily Dickinson on that score.

    Davies is openly gay but has said often that he’d rather it weren’t so — he is celibate and it “ruined…