Lee Chang-dong’s glorious new film is a major step forward for an already accomplished Korean director. Whereas his previous films are dominated by harrowing psychic and linguistic breakdowns, Poetry involves emotional restraint and a profoundly moving emphasis on eloquence.
“The idea at the basis of the project can be summarized in this way: in 1989, a hundred cameras followed what was happening in Romania; history is no longer divided into theatrical scenes, nor into literary chapters—it is perceived as a sequence; and the sequence demands a film.”
“Come back and we’ll be young men together again,” says Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) to old Saito (Ken Watanabe), who has been trapped in a godforsaken fantasy underworld, at the end of Inception
Aurora, the outstanding new film by the director of The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, begins as the lead character, Viorel, wakes up before dawn in an apartment in Bucharest, Romania. Played brilliantly by Cristi Puiu himself, Viorel has a quiet intensity that is immediately troubling.
At one point in Wild Grass, the protagonist Georges is typing at his desk late at night. As Mark Snow’s wistful music plays, the camera commences a slow tour of the room, encompassing a picture, a lamp, bookshelves, and an African mask on the shadowy wall. When it reaches the heavily draped window, though, we realize that time has been compressed; suddenly it is morning outside
The Ghost Writer concludes like Chinatown: a traffic accident, curious passersby, a mood of fatalism. Private detective Jake Gittes intends to do good in Roman Polanski’s 1974 thriller– “I want the big boys that are making the payoffs”–but it all goes wrong.
The Pedro Costa retrospective (September 25-October 4) at London’s Tate Modern was admirably curated. In addition to eight films by this brilliant Portuguese director, other works were screened to provide context, background, or food for thought
Lars von Trier’s Antichrist is dense, shocking, and thought-provoking. It is a film which calls for careful analysis. This web-exclusive exchange between Film Quarterly editor Rob White and philosopher Nina Power is meant as a first attempt at the in-depth debate that this major film deserves.
Eric Rohmer’s films are undervalued. Certain objections recur in the sparse English-language commentary: repetitive, socially conservative, cerebral, uneventful, religiously inclined, reliant on the arcane twists and turns of well-heeled conversation, visually unimaginative.
In Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s films, compulsive violence and fiendish visitations beset Tokyo. Ghosts stalk empty streets and derelict buildings. Even in Bright Future, which mostly avoids the supernatural, an executed young murderer comes back from the dead to witness the touching relationship between his father and the disturbed former flatmate whose life has unraveled since the sentence was carried out.