Beatrice Loayza

Brief Encounters: Hamaguchi Ryusuke’s Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy

By Beatrice Loayza / June 15, 2021

Sprawling, intimate conversations are crucial in the dialogue-driven films of Hamaguchi Ryusuke, but that which remains concealed—simmering behind a strategic facade, sheepish deception, or playful pretense—can be just as revealing. Consider the pivotal dinner conversation that takes place after a communication workshop in the 317-minute Happy Hour (2015), when Jun (Kawamura Rira) suddenly discloses the shocking news of her upcoming divorce trial and owns up to her infidelity to her callous husband

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DVD | Reclaiming the Dream: Joyce Chopra’s Smooth Talk

By Beatrice Loayza / April 5, 2021

Her reflection comes as a revelation. In the safety of her bedroom, Connie (Laura Dern), the 15-year-old protagonist of Joyce Chopra’s 1985 feature debut Smooth Talk (recently released on a Criterion Blu-ray), adjusts her new halter top in the mirror, its strings crisscrossed down the middle of her chest to hang limp over her exposed midriff. The camera observes her in profile as she spins and arches her back, her gaze glued to the supple body in the reflection, luxuriating in her new possession.

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The Australian Dream (Daniel Gordon, Australia/UK) — TIFF Docs

By Beatrice Loayza / September 9, 2019

By Beatrice Loayza It’s no coincidence that the title of Daniel Gordon’s documentary portrait of Australian footballer Adam Goodes echoes the concept of the “American Dream”: after all, the history of Australia, like that of the United States, is a story of colonization and of the violence and racism that both fuelled it and still…

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The Fever (Maya Da-Rin, Brazil/France/Germany) — Wavelengths

By Beatrice Loayza / September 5, 2019

By Beatrice Loayza In Brazilian documentarian Maya Da-Rin’s first feature film, an indigenous man, Justino (Regis Myrupu, weathered but warm) must reckon with his daughter’s impending departure to med school. A recent widower, Justino works as a cargo port watchman while his daughter, Vanessa (Rosa Peixoto), juggles several jobs at local clinics. Their lives are…

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Africa (Oren Gerner, Israel) — Discovery

By Beatrice Loayza / September 5, 2019

By Beatrice Loayza The halcyon days of a recent vacation to Namibia linger in the mind of retiree and former engineer Meir (Meir Gerner), the grumbling 68-year-old father of the filmmaker whose depressingly impotent mad scramble to regain purpose in life is the subject of this debut feature. Working in the space between fiction and…

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Corpus Christi (Jan Komasa, Poland/France) — Contemporary World Cinema

By Beatrice Loayza / September 3, 2019

By Beatrice Loayza Jan Komasa does redemption à la Paul Schrader in this tale of the sacred and the profane, which follows a 20-year-old ex-con, Daniel (Bartosz Bielenia), who poses as a priest in a small Polish town. While some presumably symbolic moments (a burning pyre, a climactic disrobing) register as self-administered profundity, Corpus Christi…

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