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Martial Art: Zhang Yimou’s Shadow

By Jeremy Carr. Zhang Yimou has had a remarkable career, one distinguished by its approximate division into two distinct phases. There were first his mostly regional dramas, intimate, relatively moderate titles like his 1987 debut, Red Sorghum, 1990’s Ju Dou, and 1999’s The Road Home, still perhaps his best film. Then there was a shift […]

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Life During Wartime: Ingmar Bergman’s Shame (Criterion Collection)

  By Jeremy Carr. Save for the broad categories of drama or comedy, Ingmar Bergman isn’t a name often associated with genre filmmaking. His 1968 feature, Hour of the Wolf, could possibly be categorized as a horror film — it surely has its horrific moments and images — but even there, the familiar tropes are tempered […]

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The Struggle for a City’s Soul: Fassbinder’s Berlin Alexanderplatz (Criterion Collection)

By Jeremy Carr. Newly released from Tegal Prison, Franz Biberkopf cautiously looks over a custodial stretch of land just inside the wall that separates the penitentiary from the city streets. He walks a bit, hesitantly but with a slight smile. The camera is close on Franz, tracking this emphatically prolonged discharge. Finally free, he is […]

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Everywhere and Nowhere: Kent Jones’ Diane

By Jeremy Carr. There is so much potential tragedy in the first twenty minutes of Diane that the film appears instantly in danger of over-stressing the point of its dramatic tension. This subdued, 2018 release, the debut narrative feature from Kent Jones – director of the documentary Hitchcock/Truffaut (2015), director of the New York Film Festival, and […]

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A Cinephile’s Cinephile – Mysteries of Cinema: Reflections on Film Theory, History and Culture 1982-2016 by Adrian Martin

A Book Review by Jeremy Carr. At the very least, Adrian Martin’s Mysteries of Cinema: Reflections on Film Theory, History and Culture 1982-2016 (Amsterdam University Press, 2018) makes the reader want to watch more movies. Not a specific genre of movies, nor those of a particular nation or movement, nor even those from any one […]

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Fifty Shades of Deep Red: Piercing

By Jeremy Carr. “You have to relax.” These words of advice come from Laia Costa’s Mona, near the beginning of Piercing, the second film from writer-director Nicholas Pesce. She is talking to her husband, Reed (Christopher Abbott), a man with a permanently perturbed disposition who will later echo the suggestion when speaking to a prostitute […]

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Choosing Sides: The Standoff at Sparrow Creek

By Jeremy Carr. The men of The Standoff at Sparrow Creek exist in a world of violence. It can be a basic violence, natural even, as when Gannon (James Badge Dale) hunts a deer at the start of the film, dresses his kill, then has the game as his evening meal. Or it can be […]

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There’s No Place Like Home: Revisiting Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day (Criterion Collection)

By Jeremy Carr. In her essay for the Criterion Collection release of Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day, Moira Weigel opens with a roll call of the assorted characters who have appeared in the films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder: There is the cruel friend from Berlin Alexanderplatz, carrying himself like a German Mick Jagger, all lankness […]

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Animal Kingdom: Cornel Wilde’s The Naked Prey (Criterion Collection)

By Jeremy Carr. The opening narration of The Naked Prey (1965) sets the scene in the African wilderness and the nature of humanity in this volatile land, where white men besiege the region in search of tusks and slaves. It is a cruel and bloody backstory, humanity as vicious and portending a bestial way of life. Like […]

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Yakuza’s Angry Young Man: Street Mobster (Arrow Video)

By Jeremy Carr. Street Mobster found director Kinji Fukasaku at a pivotal point in his career, a situation reflected in the evolution of a genre he had so effectively worked to fashion. Fukasaku made his directorial debut in 1961, with the Sonny Chiba-starring Fûraibô tantei: Akai tani no sangeki, and from 1964 to 1977, he turned […]

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