Courtney Duckworth

TIFF 2021 | Petite maman (Céline Sciamma, France)

By Courtney Duckworth / September 8, 2021

By Courtney Duckworth  Published in Cinema Scope #87 (Summer 2021) Fairy tales routinely kill or banish parents to clear a path for the roaming imaginations of children. Recall that Hansel and Gretel must plumb the forest alone, assaying their own mettle, and the stranded Goose Girl cannot speak her secret self to another soul. Céline…

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The Calming (Song Fang, China)

By Courtney Duckworth / December 22, 2020

By Courtney Duckworth Inertia implies stillness, but more precisely it means that without intervention any body resists change. The word conjures ceaseless motion as much as it does stasis—someone who cannot go on, or someone who can do nothing else. Something of this semantic tension imbues The Calming, writer-director Song Fang’s ascetic second feature. Lin…

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Never Rarely Sometimes Always (Eliza Hittman, US)

By Courtney Duckworth / June 23, 2020

One May evening, I dipped into a Twitch stream in search of a fresh current. Within the weird undertow of quarantine, there is a new lustre to these live events, which mark unfixed days with a fixed hour—a dupe for the transient communion gone from cinemas that now lie empty. Some 200 of us “gathered” for a program, co-presented by Screen Slate and Electronic Arts Intermix, of short works from Cecelia Condit, a singular scrambler of feminine tropes and fairy tales since the ’80s. New to me among them was last year’s We Were Hardly More than Children, an oneiric memoir.

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Nobadi (Karl Markovics, Austria) — Contemporary World Cinema

By Courtney Duckworth / September 7, 2019

By Courtney Duckworth Karl Makovics’ Nobadi gestures toward revelations that never resonate. Ostensibly a culture-clash tale about a cantankerous (read: bigoted) old German man named Robert (Heinz Trixner) and an Afghani migrant (Borhanulddin Hassan Zadeh, embodying a gesture at politics more than a human being) who he contracts to bury his late companion, a fluffy…

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The Exorcist: Barbara Loden and Wanda

By Courtney Duckworth / March 26, 2019

Barbara Loden re-emerges in fragments. Caught in a 1965 snapshot from street photographer Garry Winogrand, she cuts across a wedge of city sunlight; tufts of windblown hair halo her wary face as one high heel steps just out of frame.

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The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos, Ireland/US/UK)

By Courtney Duckworth / December 21, 2018

By Courtney Duckworth  Yorgos Lanthimos begins and ends his scurrilous The Favourite with the susurrus of rabbits. Tricky to place, almost subliminal over the opening parade of myriad multinational financiers, the strange sounds scratch at the ear. Soon we understand: the rabbits are the odd, probably apocryphal, attendants of Queen Anne, who presided over Great…

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