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  • Utamaro and His Five Women

    Utamaro and His Five Women

    ★★★½

    Painting women, painting on women. Built around our complicity with Utamaro's brush and his objectifying aesthetic obsession with the vitality of working class women. Complicity because we follow his gaze, just as Seinosuke abandons a tradition of painting because he can, just as a gaggle of men follow Utamaro's every move. Little by little, cracks, lines of flight, appear. We begin to follow the spurned women chasing after their loves, men replicating Utamaro's dispassionate lifestyle. Only when Utamaro is put…

  • The Clock

    The Clock

    ★★★★½

    Before they kiss, Alice and Joe listen to the city. Even in the park, even in the heavy darkness of the night, the sounds of the crowds are there. Underneath, Alice says. In The Clock, in New York, the crowd is never underneath. But when Joe steps toward Alice and Alice steps toward Joe, they both step closer to the screen and their faces tower, as high and as lonely as two skyscrapers.

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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…

  • Walkabout

    Walkabout

    ★★★

    While Walkabout possesses the “languorous sexuality” and “sudden violence” Wikipedia claims to be inherent to the Australian New Wave, it might also hold the record for the most tedious use of these gratuities. By its final scene, Walkabout feels like a simplistic exercise in montage theory and landscape filmmaking, and little else. It doesn’t help that formally and narratively the film is at its best in the opening sequence: after a dissonant montage of modernity, a timid father takes his…