With that being said, avoid the trailer at all costs.

Jean-Luc Godard once said that cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world — and no genre continues to stay true to this statement more than the the biopic.

The typical verdict on the biopic can easily be summed up in three words: Plus ca change. The more that artistic legacies are tarnished by ideas that lead to Zoom-grade editing, the more that we’re truly convinced that the stagnance in refusing to challenge biographical subjects goes beyond the Lifetime trademark. It’s no wonder that the bar for this kind of filmmaking continues to be set at an astronomically high level for the simplest reasons that humans fail to adhere to when wanting to do justice to documenting a famous…


For all that this film is worth (which is quite a lot), I came for the comedic rollercoaster that is Chris Rock’s naturally honest presence. What I ended up staying would be how this film is actually an overlooked portrait of how journalism remains the fallacious pipeline to the parasocial relationship — and more importantly, how Andre Allen is only one of many fictitious examples of celebrity as the human individual tarnished by systemic abuse, but perhaps the best contemporary example of the celebrity as an individual both tarnished by maintaining the neverending performance of a public image, and having…


To think that the director of this film graduated from the university that I am currently studying in is…overwhelming, to say the least.

Having first seen Brandon Cronenberg’s work in 2019 with Please Speak Continuously And Describe Your Experiences as They Come to You (and much to both me and my friend being completely mind-blown), I can’t help but think of how much his work draws from more than one cinematic provocateur. In fact, the likes of Grandrieux, Ferrara, and Clouzot (but especially Clouzot) come to mind before the unprecedented king of body horror himself.

I would even go as…


Part 3 of America, The Facade: On American Honey

Given that the film was released in the same year as Moonlight, American Honey stands alongside Jenkins’ sophomore magnum opus as one of two stories chronicling Black people finding self control in America, Arnold’s in particular being a rarefied portrait that explores race and the mystery of iniquity.

Although Star’s race isn’t explicitly stated nor mentioned, the film clearly approaches race not by making race the center of the character’s identity, but central to her experience. The iniquity with which her race is treated and mystified, along with how she reacts…


Part 2 of America, the Facade: On American Honey

Given the agitpop emblazoned onto the film’s birthmark of contemporary American youth, it is very difficult to not carry that term further into this film’s depiction of Mark Fisher’s concept of capitalist realism. While this concept has taken on multiple (and notably German) perspectives through various eras of commodity-based art, Arnold’s film continues to stand out for being best suited to Fisher’s theory.

To put it briefly, capitalist realism describes the widespread sense that capitalism isn’t just the only viable political and economic system, but the truth that it is now…


Part 1 of America, the Facade: On American Honey

Agitprop is commonly used to describe art inciting political propaganda, but Arnold’s film does not make its own politics as clear as say, Godard’s La Chinoise. Moreover, the film’s use of music goes above and beyond agitprop to reflect something completely akin to this term, if not more telling of what agitprop has evolved into through contemporary cinema.

Enter agitpop, a term that can best describe pop music’s attunement with optimistic nihilism. The film’s propaganda in this case would be a matter of indifference towards living in a country that one…


Andrea Arnold’s 2016 road epic chronicles a summer with a mag crew, all while immortalizing a foreshadowed document of a disenfranchised America to come.

The following is the introduction to a triptych covering the film’s central themes.

I wish I could say that I love America for the very reason that I could perpetually criticize it, but those are James Baldwin’s words and not mine. That’s for the very reason that I can’t do the former without the latter overtaking it.

The truth is, I don’t know if I’ll ever come to love America (and I don’t) the way that…


Originally published as a Criterion review for Dude, I Watched That!

With Les Miserables signalling Ladj Ly’s rise to recognition in contemporary French cinema, one simply cannot watch the director’s debut film without bringing to mind its predecessor — a film that not only broadened its examination of racial tensions in France, but would come (and continue to) define the country’s prevalence with race relations to this day.

La Haine is the film in question, as Mathieu Kassovitz’s 1995 debut became a nationwide success. The dialectics of Ladj Ly’s Cesar win for Best Film reflect this, given that Kassovitz achieved…


I originally watched Luciano Vidigal and Cavi Borges’s 2013 documentary as preparation preceding the movie itself. …


Often when observing famous teenage performances on screen, I feel a vast detachment from the spectacle in front of me. More often than not, whatever is present and supposedly prolific flies over my head.

The Ringwalds and Cusacks of yesteryear have a number of well-known performances under their belt, cementing a distinct appeal amongst adolescents while being adolescents themselves. However, their portrayals of adolescence barely feel like reflections of a pivotal period of human growth, often muddled in archetypes of empty words, even if these sentiments possess meanings that are all too concrete.

It evokes the same passivity that I feel when I open a high school yearbook, fully aware of my photographic absence outside of a class portrait. …

Ana Saplala

Toronto-bred media student and ocassional prose writer. Unevenly divides interests between world cinema and a neverending music library.

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