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  • Persona

    Persona

    ★★★★★

    Oh man, where do I start? Persona defies interpretation; in fact, one of the many themes of the film is the very struggle with interpretation. This film has so many different ways to interpret it that you could watch it hundreds of times and see something new each time. (it blows my mind how complex Persona manages to be in just 85 minutes). At the core of the film— the thread that runs through it all— is duality. The duality of things…

  • Rashomon

    Rashomon

    ★★★★★

    Lashes of rain, spouts of water. A deluge, a torrential spray. All sliding over roof, sluicing down timbers, around pillars of wood, splashing into muddy puddles on the ground. It is a dissected tour; an intro sequence of close images, weather against architecture. Then— we get an image of the edifice as a whole. Rashomon Gate. All the parts together, the complete structure: it is a ruin in the rain, half-formed, jagged with its bones poking out, and degraded by…

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  • Malmkrog

    Malmkrog

    ★½

    An aristocratic group of friends dine together in a lavish estate, whiling away their day (and three plus hours of the viewer’s time) engaged in tortuous conversation and long stale monologues. They debate morality, faith, and philosophy, spiralling around dense topics in an endless and interminable series of arguments. They delve into The Problem of Evil, the justifications of war, and other such tangled concepts— often creating the impression of visiting a philosophy 101 class. Except, of course, these conversations…

  • Sunset Song

    Sunset Song

    ★★★½

    Terence Davies’ Sunset Song, an adaptation of the 1932 novel by the same name, expresses its literary influence through the scope of time conveyed. A bit over two hours of runtime and a whole life comes into focus; a sliver of historical time is revealed. Chris Guthrie is a young Scottish farmer in the early 1900s, soon to be confronted by the harsh demands and expectations of love and family. Her struggles become mirrored in the country itself coming-of-age, as…

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  • Nomadland

    Nomadland

    ★★★★½

    Loss leaves behind vast, sprawling spaces. When those rough hands of the unknown tear apart the future, they leave only distance, dizzying and dark. It is the terrain of quiet grief— an emotion that flawlessly fits over the American landscape, in all its wide plains, dim deserts, and far-away mountain ridges. And in Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland, we don’t ever see the initial impact of grief, but we are always reminded of what it hardens into: a tough, trampled road, running…

  • Memoirs of a Geisha

    Memoirs of a Geisha

    ★★

    Filmed all in Japan, with Chinese actresses, while speaking English. Could you imagine if that was reversed-- if a Japanese director made a film set in America, with British actors that only spoke Japanese, but in an American accent? ... Yeah, I think that would be pretty comical.

    Not only that, but here the pacing is incredibly uneven, the story is confusing, and the writing approaches soap-opera levels of melodrama. However, the costume/makeup is great, and there are a few dance scenes with some captivating cinematography.