Lawrence Garcia

Waking Dreams: On the Films of Mikhaël Hers

By Lawrence Garcia / March 21, 2022

In all art there seems to be some principle of recurrence related to the repetitions of nature that conditions our sense of time—not just the passage of the seasons, but also the cycles of light and darkness, of waking and sleeping life. The films of Mikhaël Hers are no exception, though as with most any artist, he has his predilections.

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Outside Noise (Ted Fendt, Germany/South Korea/Austria)

By Lawrence Garcia / January 4, 2022

In 1984, the American philosopher and art critic Arthur C. Danto articulated a theory of the end of art. His claim—entirely distinct from declarations of the death of art—was not that art would no longer continue to be produced, but rather that there was no longer any “special way works of art have to be.”

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France (Bruno Dumont, France)

By Lawrence Garcia / September 20, 2021

the seven years since P’tit Quinquin, it has become impossible to continue tagging Bruno Dumont with the longstanding clichés of Bresson criticism. Epithets like “ascetic,” “severe,” “punishing”—already limited descriptors of his first two works, La vie de Jésus (1997) and L’humanité (1999)—have only become more obviously incapable of describing Dumont’s recent films, from the carnivalesque contortions of Ma Loute (2016) to the musical extremes of his Jeanne d’Arc movies.

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TIFF 2021 | France (Bruno Dumont, France)

By Lawrence Garcia / September 14, 2021

By Lawrence Garcia Published in Cinema Scope #88 (Fall 2021) “Not how the world is, is the mystical, but that it is.” —Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus In the seven years since P’tit Quinquin, it has become impossible to continue tagging Bruno Dumont with the longstanding clichés of Bresson criticism. Epithets like “ascetic,” “severe,” “punishing”—already limited descriptors…

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Beginning (Dea Kulumbegashvili, Georgia/France)

By Lawrence Garcia / December 22, 2020

By Lawrence Garcia Beginning opens with a sermon on the Old Testament tale of Abraham and Isaac, delivered to a Jehovah’s Witness congregation in Georgia’s predominantly Orthodox Christian Caucasus region. Just as the preacher, David (Rati Oneli), starts to expound on its implications regarding belief, the Kingdom Hall is firebombed by unseen attackers, transforming the…

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A Land Imagined (Yeo Siew Hua, Singapore/France/Netherlands)

By Lawrence Garcia / January 2, 2019

By Lawrence Garcia  About 20 minutes into A Land Imagined, the nominal protagonist, Detective Lok (Peter Yu), tells his partner of how, on his travels to various locales, he realized that he’d been to all of them before—in his dreams. “The strange thing is, I never saw those places as a child. How is this?”…

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Maya (Mia Hansen-Løve, France) — Special Presentations

By Lawrence Garcia / September 13, 2018

By Lawrence Garcia In bald description, Mia Hansen-Løve’s follow-up to L’Avenir (2016) might seem a rather distasteful (or at least misguided) affair: Gabriel (Roman Kolinka), a French war correspondent recently released from Syrian captivity, returns to his childhood home in India, where he falls in love with the title character (Aarshi Banerjee), his godfather’s young…

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The Trial (Sergei Loznitsa, Netherlands) — Wavelengths

By Lawrence Garcia / September 6, 2018

By Lawrence Garcia Following the conflicted reportage of Victory Day and the fictional portmanteau of Donbass, Sergei Loznitsa delivers a third 2018 premiere with The Trial, an in-the-gallery documentary account of one of Stalin’s infamous Moscow Trials. Returning to primarily found-footage materials for the first time since The Event (2015), Loznitsa linearly condenses an 11-day…

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Climax (Gaspar Noé, France) — Midnight Madness

By Lawrence Garcia / September 2, 2018

By Lawrence Garcia Published in Cinema Scope 75 (Summer 2018)   Ahead of Climax’s Quinzaine premiere, Gaspar Noé unveiled the movie’s hilariously boneheaded, almost exclusively text-based one-sheet: a rundown of his filmography, with each entry accompanied by a variation of presumed (not without reason) audience vitriol, capped off with an invitation (complete with a rendering…

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Girl (Lukas Dhont, Belgium) — Discovery

By Lawrence Garcia / August 31, 2018

By Lawrence Garcia Lukas Dhont is a name you will see again. With his debut feature Girl, which won nearly every award it could at Cannes (the Un Certain Regard FIPRESCI Prize, the Camera d’Or, the Queer Palm, plus a Best Actor prize for 16-year-old star Victor Polster), the Belgian director achieved something akin to…

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The Changing View of Man in the Portrait: Errol Morris’ Wormwood

By Lawrence Garcia / March 16, 2018

By Lawrence Garcia On November 28, 1953, Frank Olson, a civilian American scientist and Central Intelligence Agency employee, fell or jumped through a window from the 13th floor of the Hotel Statler (now the Hotel Pennsylvania) in midtown Manhattan. Thus begins Errol Morris’ plunge into the sordid, sensational CIA “mind-control” program known as MK-Ultra, with…

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The Green Fog (Guy Maddin, Evan Johnson, Galen Johnson, US/Canada)

By Lawrence Garcia / December 19, 2017

By Lawrence Garcia That Guy Maddin’s feature-length follow-up to his most monumental work to date—the staggering mise en abyme of The Forbidden Room (2013)—would be The Green Fog, a 63-minute, found-footage video reimagining of Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958), is entirely apropos (and a rather Maddin-esque sleight-of-hand) when one considers the fanfare with which The Green…

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DVD Bonus | Capital, City: Three Films by Lino Brocka

By Lawrence Garcia / September 28, 2017

By Lawrence Garcia On September 23, 1972, President Ferdinand Marcos plunged the Philippines into a period of martial law that would last nearly a decade. Characterized by economic stagnation and rampant human rights abuses, the years that followed—during which Marcos consolidated his brutal kleptocracy—saw massive infrastructure developments in the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP)…

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