Festivals: New York Film Fest

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New York 2019 Review: VITALINA VARELA, A Hauntingly Beautiful Immigrant Song

As usual, the film is stunning to look at. Every frame is a work of art. Greatly aided by Leonardo Simões' cinematography and João Gazua and Hugo Leitão's sound work, the film gives the lives of its inhabitants the poeticism they deserve.

New York 2019 Review: Grief and Human Folly in Angela Schanelec's I WAS AT HOME, BUT...

A puzzle piece that is never solvable, we instead concentrate on gestures and details inside the frame, in compensation for the lack of dialogue. It's that fragmentary images and colors that we play around our heads long after we leave the theater to make sense of it. Even more so than Godard's, Schanelec's cinema concentrates on the 'visual' part of the medium. It is the best kind of cinema I can think of.

New York 2019 Review: ATLANTICS, A Ghost Story with Female Solidarity Twist

Expertly weaving the current headlines of marine disasters and the ghost story with the female solidarity twist, 'Atlantics' has all the right ingredient to be a success story of a small art film breakthrough, recalling 'Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.'

New York 2019 Review: Justified Mayhem in Kleber Mendonça Filho's BACURAU

At a glance, without any context of what's happening in Brazil, as the Bacurauans get rid of foreigners and traitors, the film is a silly, tacky man-hunting-man horror movie akin to The Most Dangerous Game or Naked Prey or even Hostel or Ruins. But it isn't. Bacurau highlights the resilience and resolve of Brazilian people against mounting assault of multi-national corporations backed by government military to devastate their beautiful, once burgeoning country in the global crisis era we live in. It's an activist film in a B-Horror movie disguise.

New York 2019 Review: YOUNG AHMED, Portrait of the Religious Extremist As a Young Man

The latest social-realist drama from Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, starring Idir Ben Addi, Othmane Moumen, and Myriem Akheddiou, is well-intentioned, but unfortunately has little to say about Islamist radicalization.

New York 2019: Bertrand Bonello's ZOMBI CHILD Is a Warning to White Folks: Don't Mess with Voodoo

'Zombi Child' digs deeper into hasty western appropriation of everything non-European, non-Anglo American culture. It disregards the cultural, historical, ethnographical significance of the origins of a zombie in exchange for sensationalism. Narcisse's journey back home is more interesting story here.

New York 2019 Review: OH MERCY!, Arnaud Desplechin's LAW AND ORDER

Certainly different from any other Desplechin film I have watched over the years, but no less intriguing. The love he has for his hometown and its inhabitants are undoubtedly palpable. Desplechin is a master storyteller and humanist. The film is a very moving experience.

New York 2019 Review: THE WILD GOOSE LAKE, Rain Soaked Tropical Noir

Yet it is not as taut as 'Black Coal Thin Ice.' It sets up the motion nicely, but it doesn't have a momentum to follow through its 113-minute running time. Watch it for its beauty. Watch it for atmosphere. The film is still well worth the ticket.

New York 2019 Review: Identity Crisis in Nadav Lapid's SYNONYMS

The film works, thanks largely to Tom mercier's physical as well as verbal, at times verging on slapstick level on both counts. The film is often hilarious and at times poignant and filled with manic energy. Shai Goldman's handheld camera work is aces also.

New York 2019 Review: Night of Sexual Indulgence in Albert Serra's LIBERTÉ

Like most of Serra's work, there is a hint of parody in these shenanigans. I mean, it's actors in wigs stroking themselves in the woods in a movie called 'freedom'. I think with Liberté, Serra reached the new height in his formalist approach to costume dramas.

New York 2019 Review: THE IRISHMAN, Martin Scorsese's Epic Return to the Gangster Movie Genre

Martin Scorsese's epic gangster saga, starring Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Al Pacino, Ray Romano, Harvey Keitel, and Anna Paquin, falls short of his masterpieces 'Goodfellas' and Casino,' but is still well-made and magnificently acted.

Zach's 2018 Favourites

2018 marked my fifth year writing for Screen Anarchy and I can’t tell you what an honour and treat it has been sharing my impassioned, oft-fevered cinematic opinions alongside a community of like-driven souls whom I’m proud to call colleagues....

New York 2018 Interview: Jim Jarmusch, Eleanor Friedberger, and Rick & Cindy Talk CARMINE STREET GUITARS

I cannot rave enough about Ron Mann's new film, Carmine Street Guitars. I first fell in love with the film when I caught it at the Vancouver Film Festival, where I had the pleasure of hanging out with Ron for...

New York 2018 Interview: Jonah Hill Looks Back on MID90S

Jonah Hill’s directorial debut may be called Mid90s, but that doesn’t mean you need to consider the decade the object of your specific nostalgia to feel this film deeply. As it happens, the film does speak to my exact zeitgeist,...

New York 2018 Review: In THE IMAGE BOOK, Godard Points Us In the Right Direction

With Image Book, there seems to be a concerted effort for Godard to point us in the direction where he sees a corner of the world that is underexposed, underseen and misrepresented by the western world.

New York 2018 Review: COLD WAR, Tragic, Fatalistic Love Story, Briskly Told

Shot again in full frame monochrome by Lukascz Zal, the film is every bit as beautiful as Ida. His use of head space is there and it's lovely. Kulesza has a clear and beautiful singing voice in every style, providing some of the loveliest vocal tracks for the film's great, jazzy soundtrack.

New York 2018 Review: Emotions Run High in Hong Sangsoo's GRASS

When considering the work of Hong Sangsoo, Grass is not groundbreaking or anything, but itis perhaps more cynical and darker than Hong's other films. Still, the director's human comedy continues with slight variations each time with delicious results.

New York 2018 Review: HAPPY AS LAZZARO, An Allegorical Tale of Haves and Have Nots

Lazzaro is someone who is desperately needed in this cynical, cruel world. Alice Rohrbacher's writing shines in bringing out humor and humanity in an whimsical yet pointy allegory full of wonders.

New York 2018 Review: Bi Gan's LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT, The Cinematic Event of the Year

The darkness in Long Day's Journey into Night is comforting, seductive and beautiful, never ominous or threatening. You are taken for an intoxicating ride and you don't want to wake up from this dream. You don't want to get out of the spell Bi Gan put on us. Long Day's Journey into Night is an unforgettable moviegoing experience and the most audacious film in years. Please see it in a theater, if you can.

New York 2018 Review: ASH IS PUREST WHITE, Epic Melodrama at its Finest

Ash is the Purest White is a full-on (un)sentimental melodrama in epic scale. It's perhaps Jia's most down to earth, character study work. The long stretch in the middle gains more poignancy as the film goes along and afterwords. Some people reinvent themselves along with the changing times and some people don't. Some things in them though, remain the same. Jia expertly juxtaposes these conundrums, reflecting the soul of a changing nation.