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  • Sunset

    Sunset

    ★★★★½

    Like Son of Saul, Sunset aims to provide a fully surrounding experience, tightly constrained, that can be accurately summed up by a word normally reserved as a compliment for video games: immersive. László Nemes again uses the simple tools of filmmaking, sound and camerawork, to great effect. With sound, it is principally the directional audio of the cinema experience that lends a presence to what is off-screen. In Sunset, we hear the bitter intrigues and whispers that surround self-consciousness. His…

  • Cold War

    Cold War

    ★★★★½

    Ultra-high-contrast black and white filmstock makes sparkling white figures stand out against a dark and depressive world. It takes the title quite literally. A cold place. Silent wars fought between instinctual and expectant ideas and emotions. Poland, Berlin, Paris, Croatia, and so on, all look rather the same save for the amount of light that can come through, and the music of the theatre.

    Pawlikowski’s hardened approach is nothing if not fragile, like the solid shapes of shadow on his…

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  • Celine and Julie Go Boating

    Celine and Julie Go Boating

    ★★★★★

    The perfect surrealist film. The power of the outmoded and the inexplicable. Things repeat themselves in Paris. As do words, which people speak as if they were playing roles in a play. Which, I must remind myself, they are.

    It is so French, that constant shrug of the shoulders and that belief in the instinctual. Nothing is held under metaphor, everything is as it is, or as it should be. The characters here bumble around as if held under some…

  • Crash

    Crash

    ★★★★★

    JG Ballard’s book is extraordinary for many reasons. No doubt Cronenberg was the perfect figure to bring it to cinema. Ballard’s work is photographic. Still lives, sentences. And in Cronenberg’s, the characters speak in statements, questions, not receiving, nor expecting, a response. Crash feels like a film incarnate.

    Cronenberg understood what to show and what to leave out (the answer to both is: very little). This is an uneventful film in which a lot happens. The slow pervading atmosphere is…