Phoebe Chen

Suburban Birds (Qiu Sheng, China)

By Phoebe Chen / November 14, 2019

By Phoebe Chen Suburban Birds screens at TIFF Bell Lightbox on Thursday, November 14 as part of MDFF Selects: Presented by Cinema Scope and TIFF. In the grip of this terrestrial life, nothing works so well as a sinkhole to bare the subterranean tremors of our weird planet. You have seen these pictures seized and…

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Silence and Presence: Chantal Akerman’s My Mother Laughs

By Phoebe Chen / September 25, 2019

By Phoebe Chen For certain filmmakers—attractive women—there is a popular kind of on-set photo that telegraphs authority: one eye pressed to the viewfinder of some behemoth camera, she is caught in a contra-glamour shot that codes the pragmatic as cool. Naturally, there is one of Chantal Akerman, taken some time in the late ’70s—shaggy-haired and…

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Henry Glassie: Field Work (Pat Collins, Ireland) — Contemporary World Cinema

By Phoebe Chen / September 12, 2019

By Phoebe Chen Pat Collins’ Henry Glassie: Field Work follows the folkloric practices of its title subject, an emeritus professor at Indiana University who has spent the past 50 years in decade-long sojourns with folk artists across various continents. That a white, American ethnographer should be the ideal interlocutor for communities of craftspeople in rural…

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Landscape without Figures: Helena Wittmann’s Drift and Sofia Bohdanowicz’s The Soft Space

By Phoebe Chen / March 11, 2019

By Phoebe Chen Helena Wittmann’s Drift screens with Sofia Bohdanowicz’s The Soft Space at TIFF Bell Lightbox on Thursday, March 14 as part of MDFF Selects: Presented by Cinema Scope and TIFF. Creation myths have a suspect, anthropocentric charm—supposedly, the cosmos heaves, slow and indifferent, until one day, it makes itself amenable to human narration.…

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