"While the film’s nihilism could be decried – especially today, when the question of hope has become a vital part of facing the unraveling of the world – Made in Hong Kong remains a deeply affecting work."
Personal essays on the experience of cinema
February 21 To Go On Living: On Red Desert and Melancholia
"The end of everything is not a tragedy, but an aesthetic opportunity."
February 20 Where God Lives: First Reformed, Bresson, and Transcendental Style
"As Toller prepares for his decisive martyrdom or self-mortification, words and melody fall subtly out of sync with one another. Schrader compromises the Bressonian unity of time and space by crosscutting: time out of joint, in a world without winter."
February 7 The Eternal Skies of Makoto Shinkai
"Everyone has their Makoto Shinkai moment. In mine, I am sixteen—like all of Shinkai’s protagonists—with a boy I like, and we’re running down the streets of Shinjuku, caught in a sudden rain. We’re running because I need to catch the last train out."
February 5 A (Film) Lover's Discourse: On The Age of Innocence
Before I went to see Dead Man, I saw in the philosophy section a copy of Roland Barthes’s A Lover’s Discourse. I turned to the title page and I spotted a hand-written dedication, one of the most famous lines of the Discourse: “I encounter millions of bodies in my life; of these millions, I may desire some hundreds; of these hundreds, I love only one.”
February 4 Ten Reasons To Love Morocco
As is often the case with films I deeply adore, I have a hard time working out an overarching reason for my satisfaction with Morocco. Perhaps it would be more effective to direct you to the movie, to see for yourself what makes it so special. Either way, in the interest of finding somewhere to release my enthusiasm, here are ten reasons Morocco is a film I would love to memorize, frame by frame, and thereby impress it upon my heart for all time.
January 31 On Martin Scorsese's New York, New York
"Jimmy and Francine deconstruct and reveal the limitations of the Hollywood musical. Their pairing also poses questions that have a slightly less meta-textual purpose: can two driven artists be in a relationship together? Do the traits that we associate with artists only serve to excuse behavior that would otherwise be immediately identified as bad?"
January 31 My Aisle Seat
"I aim not to take cinema too seriously either, using my critical voice to champion a film that may be bad, but ultimately was such a fun time in theaters it created a sense of excitement prestige fare doesn’t always tap into. I like to give films the space to speak to me in any setting, because often what they say is better crystallized in the intimate settings of an arthouse theater or over the jeers of an audience in a major theater chain."
January 28 Hong Kong’s Past and Future: Rouge and Comrades: Almost a Love Story
Not knowing the future inevitably means not being able to maintain a romantic relationship, so both films are wistfully and tragically preoccupied with roads not taken.
January 22 Hal Hartley from A to Z: Folders from the Fool Files
The world is chaotic, and the films of Hal Hartley often depict the struggle to impose some kind of structure or organization, to suss out the meaning of it all. So perhaps it would behoove us to do the same. Let’s take it from the top.