Top Ten Films 2014

Inherent Vice (Paul Thomas Anderson, US)

By Blake Williams / December 18, 2014

By Blake Williams First we see the ocean—again. Before introducing us to the hazy, neon-stroked nocturne with which Pynchon chose to open his “lite” novel, Inherent Vice—wherein Shasta materializes from a back alley to offer a fateful proposition to ex-boyfriend Larry “Doc” Sportello—Paul Thomas Anderson presents a blip of a prologue to begin his adaptation.…

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Dead Meat: Bruno Dumont’s P’tit Quinquin

By Michael Sicinski / December 18, 2014

By Michael Sicinski P’tit Quinquin, the four-part miniseries that Bruno Dumont made for the ARTE network, had its world premiere earlier this year at Cannes as a 200-minute theatrical feature before screening to a record audience on French television in September. (It screened as a special presentation in the Fortnight, sort of a P’tit Quinquinzaine,…

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The Face of Another: Christian Petzold’s Phoenix

By Adam Nayman / December 17, 2014

By Adam Nayman Nina Hoss has one of the great faces in cinema, so it’s perverse to see it swaddled in gauze at the beginning of Phoenix. Strapped into the passenger seat of a car being driven over the Swiss border into Germany at the end of World War II, her Nelly Lenz is a…

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Who Can Tell of the Heroic Deeds of Israel?: Nadav Lapid’s The Kindergarten Teacher

By Jay Kuehner / December 17, 2014

By Jay Kuehner. Films are often described as being “poetic,” but beyond the suggestion of a certain undefined lyricism, it is not entirely clear just what this means. Unrequited love, for example, might be given supple expression through an ambient absence, or the cruel passage of time might be suggested by the fixity of the…

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TIFF 2014 | Journey to the West (Tsai Ming-liang, Taiwan/France) — Wavelengths

By Shelly Kraicer / September 5, 2014

By Shelly Kraicer A small miracle of a movie, Tsai Ming-liang’s insanely slow mid-length film is also one of his most beautiful. For 56 non-action-packed minutes, we watch Tsai’s acteur fetiche Lee Kang-sheng, head shaved and dressed in red crimson monk-like robes, walk as slowly as possible through various urban spaces in and near Marseilles.…

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TIFF 2014 | From What Is Before (Lav Diaz, Philippines) — Wavelengths

By Alexandra Zawia / September 3, 2014

By Alexandra Zawia Golden Leopard winner Lav Diaz’ From What Is Before is (pace Michael Haneke) the chronology of a mass murder. It’s the anatomy of a barrio in the rural remoteness of Manila’s coast, and a reflection on individual and collective strength and failure when outward conditions change. It’s an associative analysis of a…

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L’avventura: Pedro Costa on Horse Money

By Mark Peranson / September 1, 2014

By Mark Peranson I walked with a zombie I walked with a zombie I walked with a zombie Last night   Horse Money, the first new “fiction” feature from Pedro Costa in almost a decade, begins with a silent montage of poignant photographs from the Danish-born Jacob Riis of New York tenement dwellers in the…

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Cannes 2014 | Adieu au langage (Jean-Luc Godard, France)

By Blake Williams / June 25, 2014

By Blake Williams. The first on-screen text in Toutes les histoires (1988), the first chapter of Histoire(s) du cinéma, reads (as translated), “May each eye negotiate for itself.” Presented while Godard pronounces another maxim (“Don’t show every side of things; allow yourself a margin for the indefinite”), this text effectively prepares us for the spectatorial…

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Cannes 2014 | Jauja (Lisandro Alonso, Argentina/Mexico/Denmark/France/Germany/USA/Brazil)

By Quintin / June 25, 2014

By Quintín After the completion of his “Lonely Men Trilogy” of La libertad (2001), Los muertos (2004), and Liverpool (2008), people started to say that Lisandro Alonso should do something different. Jauja answers that request: it’s a film with an international star (Viggo Mortensen), features characters who speak in full sentences, and boasts a script…

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