REVIEW: The Player [1992]

“… with a heart” When thinking about a satire on Hollywood, the idea to glorify its luck, ego, and excess rather than vilify probably wouldn’t be the direction your mind gravitates towards. To some extent this may ensure the exercise will prove pointless because the message shifts from showing everything wrong that needs fixing into […]

REVIEW: 残菊物語 [Zangiku monogatari] [The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum] [1939]

“Wait for me” Writer/director Kenji Mizoguchi‘s Meiji period-set film about a struggling Kabuki actor and his devoted wife, 残菊物語 [Zangiku monogatari] [The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum], is a heartbreaking display of love’s power to endure no matter the external forces trying to extinguish it. For Kikunosuke Onoue (Shôtarô Hanayagi), the adoptive child of master […]

REVIEW: 龍門客棧 [Long men kezhan] [Dragon Inn] [1967]

“You still want noodles?” When I told a friend I was going to be watching King Hu‘s 龍門客棧 [Long men kezhan] [Dragon Inn], she surprisingly told me she’d already seen it. I wondered where considering the Janus Films restoration had just released this year and her response was, “El Rey.” Yes, Robert Rodriguez‘s television channel […]

REVIEW: Les demoiselles de Rochefort [The Young Girls of Rochefort] [1967]

“The illusion of love is only love unseen” The fair is in town and love is in the air. Welcome to Rochefort—a little seaside navy town in France full of sumptuously bright colors and plenty of light-footed citizens ready to dance accompaniment for anyone willing to belt their hearts out in song. It’s a harbinger […]

REVIEW: Vredens dag [Day of Wrath] [1943]

“There is nothing so quiet as a heart that has ceased to beat” The Latin hymn “Dies Irae” has been highly quoted musically throughout the centuries in myriad compositions, its words a medieval tale of judgment day wherein the souls of the good are summoned to Heaven and the rest cast down to Hell’s eternal […]

REVIEW: অপুর সংসার [Apur Sansar] [The World of Apu] [1959]

“How do you know I’m happy?” After beginning his career in filmmaking with the first two installments of his famed Apu Trilogy, writer/director Satyajit Ray shot two standalone works before rounding out author Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay‘s world with অপুর সংসার [Apur Sansar] [The World of Apu]. This decision is felt as his saga capper feels much […]

REVIEW: Sans toit ni loi [Vagabond] [1985]

“Champagne on the road’s better” When I saw Sans toit ni loi [Vagabond] for the first time as a twenty-year old in college, I did so believing its titular nomad Mona Bergeron (Sandrine Bonnaire) was the focal point. This was a mistake. I was bored—frustrated that I was forced to care about someone who obviously […]

REVIEW: Mur murs [1982]

“That’s part of the beauty. It’s going to change.” What’s there to do while you’re in Los Angeles? Shoot a couple films, of course. That’s exactly what French auteur Agnès Varda decided to do in 1981 with her fictional narrative Documenteur and documentary Mur murs. The latter proves a very down and dirty point and […]

REVIEW: অপরাজিত [Aparajito] [The Unvanquished] [1956]

“He will come if he wants to” After the huge success of Pather Panchali, it would have been strange for Satyajit Ray not to continue Apu’s saga into Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay‘s second novel অপরাজিত [Aparajito] [The Unvanquished]. The only reason I could see him stopping was the fact that the boy’s coming-of-age contains as much tragedy […]

REVIEW: Cléo de 5 à 7 [Cleo from 5 to 7] [1962]

“You shouldn’t use the word ‘despair’” It’s crazy to think that Cléo de 5 à 7 [Cleo from 5 to 7] was just the second feature length fictional narrative French auteur Agnès Varda ever made. The maturity in minimal storytelling, singular visual style, and existential metaphor surrounding death’s value that spans classes are stunning to […]

REVIEW: La cage aux folles [1978]

“Procreation is wearing you out” The fact The Birdcage proves an almost shot for shot remake thirty years later is a testament to La cage aux folles‘ quartet of writers if not to the original stage play’s creator Jean Poiret alone. This is how funny, resonate, and timeless the material remains—enough to even provide the […]