The ability of director Maren Ade to wring, in precise order and proportion, moments of amazement, humiliation, fear, guilt, longing, acceptance, and, above all, catharsis, out of the material in the final stretch verges on authentic genius.
In selecting the subject of our latest director symposium, we alighted upon a figure of constant surprise, of reinvention, of charm and oddity and intellectual freedom. She is one of the most thrillingly alive filmmakers working today, and she is 88.
The Creatures makes sense primarily as a kind of bitter, exaggerated parody. In its vision of male-female relations, it comes off as a grotesque embellishment of the French science-fiction movies it followed and a warning to the ones it preceded.
Though Varda already was a highly experienced photographer and thus no stranger to the art of image-making, her lack of cinephile knowledge at this early period in her life helps make La Pointe Courte not only authentically personal but also singular.
There is nothing here that comes close to the subliminally effective terror of the original. Instead, Wingard expectedly goes for full-throttle, high-decibel horror, amping up the Blair Witch model for the ADHD generation, providing an endless array of false scares and loud crashes.
A thousand different films could have resulted from this tale, and most of them would have been stirring schmaltz at best, but the property fell into the hands of Clint Eastwood, at age 86 one of the most fundamentally sound and unaffectedly idiosyncratic directors making multiplex movies today.
Happy Hour has a rambly, digressive quality that belies the precision of its construction. After an opening that establishes its core ensemble cast of four 37-year-old female friends, the movie is pulled hither and thither by each of their individual stories, intersecting again only to break off into different routes.
It has no intention to disrupt its audiences or get them to question their own notions about death and mourning. Nor does it need to: Moretti’s film is no less personal for being straightforward in its aims, sketching a fleet portrait of the difficulties of balancing personal challenges and professional goals.
While the plot is fictional, Ixcanul at times can feel like a documentary, as Bustamante captures a very real culture that exists in this world. Descendants of the Mayan civilization, Kaqchikel people still reside in the central region of Guatemala—and in fact served as characters in the film.