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  • Nosferatu

    Nosferatu

    ★★★★

    An exercise in sustained unease built around a compact narrative of travel and return. The inserts (of trees, mountains and the sea) work as foreboding visualizations of nature and its timeless relation to death--embodied by Nosferatu. And as the narrative is about movement, doorways perform multiple roles, acting as framing devices and narrative metonymies. They are open then enclosing in Orlok's castle; they hinder movement for people (he seems able to move through them with ease); they end by being…

  • For the Ones to Come

    For the Ones to Come

    ★★★½

    On a small Quebecois island in the middle of the St Lawrence river, a middle-aged man is eager to revive the Beluga hunt. Having become financially unviable 30-50 years ago (the accounts vary), a generation or two of men grew up without learning the pastime of the their ancestors. This is where Pour la Suite du Monde comes in, providing the encouragement ($) and audience necessary for the revival of a tradition, and acting in the vein of documentary as…

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  • The Birds

    The Birds

    ★★★★

    The Birds: Hitchcock’s film version of the gothic romance, where female hysteria is realized by nature and the shadowy moors of England are replaced with a bright bay of California. The suspense is there, and the performances and direction are all high-grade Hitchcock, but it drags at parts and really, Hitch probably isn’t the best guy to talk about the institutional oppression of women.

    It is a fantastic film: from the brief wolf-whistle at the very start of the film…

  • Our Hospitality

    Our Hospitality

    ★★★★½

    To be honest (and show my naïveté), I was surprised by almost everything in Our Hospitality. It’s my first Keaton, and my only other real silent film experience is with Chaplin. But this is on another level; I wasn’t expecting such strong command over formal techniques, especially in service of the comedy. Our Hospitality uses expressionistic low-key lighting for emphasized drama, action on separate planes for comedic timing, and graceful editing to highlight the punchlines—but thankfully most stunts are kept…