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  • Divine Intervention

    Divine Intervention

    ★★★½

    Hard to pin down: most of the film is made up of dialogue-less scenes concerning stilted humour in the day-to-day lives of Palestinians. Occasionally the film ramps up into surrealism and fantasy, coinciding with its more overt political statements (making them a bit more digestible and the most interesting parts).

    Somewhat reminiscent of the comedies of Roy Andersson, but Suleiman's scenes are less self-reflexively rigorous (formally and temporally). Ended up being enjoyable, and I like it the more I think…

  • The Modern Jungle

    The Modern Jungle

    ★★★½

    Beginning as a rather plain observational documentary, The Modern Jungle hits its stride when it begins to reveal the power relations that lay between the filmmakers and their Zoque subjects, Juan and Carmen. It’s one not usually made so bare to its own audience: Juan asks for money from the filmmakers, on multiple occasions. His embarrassment is captured on camera; theirs is captured by their reticent replies. Money is being transferred for access to a life—a kind of acknowledgement of…

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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…