REVIEW: Keep It For Yourself [1991]

I am in your hands. Writer/director Claire Denis was commissioned to create a short film for an omnibus in 1991 meant to showcase the new Nissan Figaro. Besides including the car in the narrative, she had carte blanche as far as how, why, or what else. The result is Keep It for Yourself, a virtually plot-less adventure of a French woman (Sophie Simon) left alone in New York City after the man she’s visiting leaves town the day before she arrives. He set her up with an apartment to sleep…

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REVIEW: High Life [2019]

What do you know about cruelty? Redemption can be an illusion to so many people. They try so hard to make up for past misdeeds that they often fall prey to even more along the way. That’s what happens when you give your quest a tangible goal—achieving it becomes paramount, the process a means to an ends. If you tell a murderer that they will be forgiven upon saving their victim’s family, who’s to say they wouldn’t simply kill another to do so? If you tell someone that saving humanity’s…

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REVIEW: Un beau soleil intérieur [Let the Sunshine In] [2017]

“Being a backstreet lover is just unbearable” Is love all consuming? Or disposable? If you discover it’s one above the other, how do you know you’re right? The answer is simple: love is whatever you need it to be for yourself. Don’t compromise your happiness or comfort. Don’t allow your beau to walk over your feelings to pretend what you have now is enough despite your needing more. Leave yourself open to change and—as the title to Claire Denis‘ latest film states—Un beau soleil intérieur [Let the Sunshine In]. Because…

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REVIEW: Les salauds [Bastards] [2013]

“You think your instinct is proof?” I wasn’t sure what to expect at first, but the English translation of Claire Denis‘ newest film Les salauds [Bastards] definitely hits its mark by the end. Who those “bastards” are, however, stays somewhat obscure for most of its duration besides the villain Sandra (Julie Bataille) hopes we’ll focus our sights upon at the start. Her husband Jacques’ (Laurent Grévill) suicide is what sets the mystery in motion and their business partner Edouard Laporte (Michel Subor)—their financial bail out to be exact—is her prime…

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REVIEW: White Material [2010]

“Because of people like you, this country is filthy” There is definitely something about director Claire Denis, something great. I can’t say I’m a professional, having only experienced my first Denis work last year with 35 Rhums, but after seeing White Material, there is no doubt she’s a force. The pacing, the sumptuous and mesmerizing score, the lingering camera on expressive faces, the frame bobbing up and down with a sense of being in the action—and yet the action itself is subtle, deliberate. There are definite stylistic comparisons and I’d…

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Top 25 Films of 2009

(short and sweet and to the point; culled from watching 153 releases. constantly updated as i catch up to those i missed. click poster for review if applicable) #25: An Education directed by Lone Scherfig #24: The Box directed by Richard Kelly #23: Sunshine Cleaning directed by Christine Jeffs #22: The Road directed by John Hillcoat #21: District 9 directed by Neill Blomkamp #20: Fantastic Mr. Fox directed by Wes Anderson #19: Lebanon directed by Samuel Maoz. #18: The Hurt Locker directed by Kathryn Bigelow. #17: Los abrazos rotos[Broken Embraces]…

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Top Ten Films of 2009: Foreign Films Reign Supreme

This list is accurate as of post-date. So many films and not enough time to see them all, the potential for future change is inevitable, but as of today here are the best … Another year gone, another 100+ releases down. 2009 was one that included a lot of good directors and some great ensemble pieces. Out of all the inclusions to my top ten, plus honorable mentions, only three really contained a central figure worthy of mention above the work itself; the others truly were complete packages consisting of…

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REVIEW: 35 Rhums [35 Shots of Rum] [2009]

“We revolt simply because we can no longer breathe” There are no clean breaks. Life is messy and wonderful all at once as we grow older each day, striving for that little bit of excitement and longing to continue on. We all have dreams and aspirations, but oftentimes they fall into the background as life itself takes over, pushing us in one direction without a chance to breathe and say no. There is always that love keeping us going whether from a significant other or a child or a friend.…

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