REVIEW: Irma Vep [1996]

“Have you sex with girls?” If you’re going to poke fun at the film industry, you might as well go for broke. Take Olivier Assayas‘ Irma Vep for example. Hot off the success of his acclaimed Cold Water, he was recruited for a project about foreigners in Paris with Claire Denis and Atom Egoyan. When […]

REVIEW: L’eau froide [Cold Water] [1994]

“Extravagant maneuvers” Originally envisioned as a 52-minute chapter of a television anthology series with strict thematic and contextual rules, Olivier Assayas‘ L’eau froide [Cold Water] eventually found itself as the much sought-after 90-minute Cannes debut that cemented the auteur’s style, acclaim, and promise without ever reaching American shores due to lapsed music rights. He would […]

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 […]

REVIEW: Le Redoutable [Godard Mon Amour] [2017]

“I was lucky enough to admire my lover” We’re introduced to Emile (Marc Fraize) halfway through Michel Hazanavicius‘ Le Redoubtable [Godard Mon Amour]. He’s a local Frenchman with a car and the means to procure enough gas to drive an argumentative Jean-Luc Godard (Louis Garrel), his wife Anne Wiazemsky (Stacy Martin), and their friends (Micha […]

REVIEW: Hannah [2018]

“He’s not coming” To see the titular character (Charlotte Rampling) at the start of Andrea Pallaoro‘s Hannah is to see someone like any other. She rides public transportation to her eccentric acting class, cooks dinner, and enjoys a quiet evening beside her spouse. The film’s start is ostensibly a silent one with only the noises […]

REVIEW: La passion de Jeanne d’Arc [The Passion of Joan of Arc] [1928]

“His ways are not our ways” The history of Carl Theodor Dreyer‘s masterwork La passion de Jeanne d’Arc [The Passion of Joan of Arc] is almost too perfectly attuned to the subject matter itself. Here was a renowned director hired to craft a movie about France’s most famous Catholic despite being neither French nor Catholic. […]

BERLINALE18 REVIEW: Les rois mongols [Cross My Heart] [2018]

“They’re good guys doing bad things” While you can debate the success of politically motivated events like 1970’s October Crisis in Quebec, Canada, you can’t question their danger removed from the cause. The media reports the carnage whether terrorist bombings or kidnappings and murder. They provide an objective account of what’s happening—in this case the […]

REVIEW: Ava [2017]

“They won’t spoil our summer” Knowing your sight will leave you prematurely is a tough pill to swallow. Being told at age thirteen that the process had sped up to the point where all night vision would be gone by summer’s end is nothing short of devastating. Unfortunately this is the news Ava (Noée Abita) […]

REVIEW: 120 battements par minute [BPM (Beats per Minute)] [2017]

“You can’t split responsibility” At one point during Robin Campillo‘s 120 battements par minute [BPM (Beats per Minute)] a high school girl tells a group of ACT UP Paris members that she doesn’t have to worry about AIDS because she’s not gay. It’s a horrific glimpse at the unconscionable lack of information sexually active teenagers […]

REVIEW: Nocturama [2016]

“It was bound to happen” What if a devastating act of violence was committed without purpose? Does it still have meaning? The answer of course is “yes” since such an attack leaves victims whether dead or psychologically scarred. Consequences reverberate well past borders of the town, country, and continent in which they occur because of […]

REVIEW: Visages, villages [Faces Places] [2017]

“To meet new faces and photograph them so they don’t fall down the holes in my memory” To look at some of the work of “unidentified” artist JR—giant black and white images pasted onto surfaces with a literal or figurative contextual relationship—is to see the type of community-based, socially conscious messaging Agnès Varda built a […]