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

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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 face. …


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

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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 the same feat 25 years prior. …


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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.

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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. …


Amongst the long line of prolific females that pop music has produced, there’s one artist whose name hardly gets mentioned. But there’s no denying M.I.A.’s influence on pop music in all of its genre-bending infectiousness. What better way to encapsulate the droning state of modern political unrest than through a discography that televises a revolution that’s simply too unshakable for the airwaves?

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Politics has played an important role throughout the history of pop music, with entire eras documenting the injustice that societies around the world have had to face. Other countries used pop music as a medium to fight for the freedom of artistic expression at the expense of political repression. And while Brazil’s Tropicalia movement reflects the nation’s political state at the end of the 60s, it has always been England whose storied music history keeps political subversion at the forefront of its national culture. The Sex Pistols and The Clash wanted to impeach the Queen. …


This is atypical Carax and I must ramble about it somehow. Cue the pretentious non-sequitur.

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Much like everyone else, I despise incestuous relationships. In my case, it’s because they manage to find their way into the films I could have loved (Marguerite Duras’s Agatha aside).

But why the hell does this one in particular continue to leave me so captivated? Why must this one of pernicious entanglement have to be so?

Is it the tendency for my interests to gravitate towards films more known for their divisive reception? Is it Leos Carax’s mastery of desolated filth? …


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Seen as one of the influential predecessors to the New French Extremity movement — one whose transgressions unknowingly changed the face of contemporary cinema — Godard’s 1967 film is a sociopolitical rambling whose specialty is reveling in road rage, as demonstrated through episodic collisions with the rural working class, hippies, and historical figures. It’s cleverly shot, edited, and written in ways that I can’t begin to describe. Not only does it maintain relevance in its scathing criticism of the bourgeoisie, but it perfectly captures a large fragment of society’s struggle to constantly readjust to the transitional nature of collective quarantine.

It can also be seen as a film that presents how the trappings of privileged parts of society have affected them mentally, emotionally, and psychologically while in isolation, and how their interactions with the working class which they have stepped over has shown them that the outside world can no longer comply with their deceivingly picture perfect lifestyles in a way that the upper echelons of society have laid out for them, be it from birth or affluent lineage, or more importantly, their relationship with the working class as a whole. …


24 FPS is a series of film reviews written from a stream of consciousness. This one covers Jacques Rivette’s Grand Prix-winning hit — an ode to questioning the boundaries of creative expression, whose monstrous runtime brought the same results for Jean Eustache in 1973.

They remain the longest-running Grand Prix winners in Cannes history, although there’s more to where Rivette’s work came from.

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“Look at me.” — Michel Piccoli, 1991

“Look at me.” — Noemie Merlant, 2019

After a Sunday dinner of spinach quiche, au gratin potatoes, coq au vin, lemon custard cake, and salmon amandine, La Belle Noiseuse was just the film I needed to sit with in order to properly let the stomach acids ferment that feast. As a result, I came to the following conclusion: That La Belle Noiseuse’s prevalence continues to stem from being quite possibly the greatest influence on an equally prolific landmark release in queer and contemporary cinema. …


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When we’ve hit a snag in the process of living, we start to remember who we really are. That we are nothing more than people who don’t mean anything to anyone in this world. That we’re both alone and at one with nature; the nature that awaits either being the one that hasn’t bothered to call us until today, or the nature that resides within ourselves.

We are alone, but we are alone together. And we no longer have to be at war with ourselves, because all we can really do is succumb to the nature of living. Living against the backdrop that we’ve blindly walked into, not knowing that its greatest capability has yet to stand in our path. One that automatically rewards us with unexpected revelations of ourselves that spit in the face of preconceived notions. …


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Desire is the most dangerous thing for a human to have. But from desire comes a feeling so impenetrable, that it's out of this yearning where we develop the need to achieve an insatiable high. Hungering for an otherworldly feeling that we're willing to chase down to the ends of the earth; that drives us to capitalize on this longing; to feel so strongly about someone that truly fuels such profound desires. It requires a physical explanation in order for someone to truly understand this lingering feeling. …

About

Ana Saplala

Passages in time through words, images, and sound.

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