“It is a time when this country is under a lot of criticism, rightly so, and I have found my place in portraying certain things, but showing them to you in a way that you get to make your own judgment. And so far, I have been very moved that people want to see the good of this country.”
If one of the principal powers and pleasures of cinema is its ability to momentarily suspend thoughts or cares about what lies outside the frame, then Zama can be taken an object lesson in manipulation. Every strenuously controlled moment and movement constitutes an irresistible entreaty to simply go blank and watch.
"It was about creating this open space and stretching it as far as possible, moving step by step, adding new elements one by one. At one point, it became inevitable that the making of the film itself should come into view."
Charlie is seeking both shelter and solace, but also a simple yet elusive thing: connection. This aligns him with all of the protagonists that writer-director Haigh has brought to the screen in a career that feels increasingly major with each new project.
As Soderbergh, in his mini-mogul practice, endeavors to hack out new routes leading around the established economic order of filmmaking, his films depict men and women doing their best to negotiate contingency plans for the perilous environment created by a carnivorous economy on the prowl.
The Breadwinner is a simple story about a young girl who loves her father, but there are layers that acknowledge the complexities of the political situation in Afghanistan, children growing up in conflict, and the fact there are no easy answers.
The manic pace at which Desplechin sifts and slides through tones can be overwhelming, even alienating, but his insistence on wandering down paths most filmmakers would not dare explore, much less envision, provides a heady, heart-searching pleasure for those of us willing to follow.
Filmmakers are actively pushing up against what it means to make a documentary at all, and the True/False Film Festival caters to and nurtures that objective. I am especially thankful to True/False for exposing me to new possibilities for Black cinema.
Depardon is not out to expose naked cruelty, neglect, and dereliction of duty, as Wiseman and Wang do in their films, but something much more subtly invidious: the revolving-door efficiency of the state apparatus, mechanized service behind a blandly humane smile.
Adapting the convoluted yet scant language of the text is in itself a catch-22: total fidelity to the novel risks attracting the same denunciations that flagged the author for decades; but disloyalty jeopardizes the respect of a dedicated fanbase.
The film thrives on translation, communication, and perception. Like the screwball comedies of yore, it revolves around a romantic conflict that its protagonist does not fully comprehend, though here this situation is reduced from the fanciful to the quotidian.