Room (Lenny Abrahamson, 2015). Circumspect in important ways and a film about acting that itself depends on great acting. About acting? To me, the centre of the film comes when Brie Larson’s Joy pretends her son is dead to fool her captor, and her son must then play dead, and carefully follow her instructions. In that moment, their world apart is more apart than at any other time, as the outside world opens up to them and us, and that’s the hinge of it all too: the first half of the story was easier for her to bear and the second half is easier for the boy, who seems so surprisingly wise and grave.
May 27, 2016
May 20, 2016
May 14, 2016
Uzak (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2002). Maybe it’s not as grandly-staged or as beautiful as more recent Ceylan – the chief location is the director’s Istanbul apartment – but, and this is a good thing, it’s probably funnier, in a Beckett-like way. There is a lot of talk about Tarkovsky but the gag (to use the word very loosely) is that the film is not really like that.
May 13, 2016
May 7, 2016
Mysterious Object at Noon (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2000). For fans, this early experimental work, shot roughly on black and white video and blown up for release, has a raw appeal and there are some trace elements of later Weereasethakul masterpieces in it: that sudden, dream-like appearance of the supernatural in the everyday, which is barely even remarked upon as strange or unlikely. To us, the films feel like a version of Thai folklore; it’s hard to know how they seem at home, but one of the revealing and ingenious things about Mysterious Object at Noon is how Weerasethakul invents and develops his own folklore that could pass as “tradition” to us. Equally, though, the films are also open to tough social realities.
May 1, 2016
The Witch (Robert Eggers, 2015). A different kind of horror movie, made with historical fidelity and Bergman or Dreyer-like seriousness – and a rare economy and a gradual increase of dread throughout. This small masterpiece may be the greatest religious film in years – relatively calm and steady where Von Trier’s more personal Antichrist was psychologically overwrought and fiercely anguished, but it is just as deep.