To understand the origins of the Screenplay film festival, the annual highlight of the Shetland arts calendar that Hubbard continues to run with eyebrow-raising drive and stamina, it is useful to note that Shetland is historically (and understandably) an island of enthusiastic bookworms.
A Gentle Creature is more of a destabilizing shock to the system than a call to arms, a confrontation with a broken state rather than a blueprint to rebuild it. It confirms Loznitsa as a master craftsman of the impeccably designed and crafted hellscape, politically charged and all-consuming.
“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.”
Gerwig evokes that specifically senior-year feeling of the rapid approach of adulthood through a swift editing style, offering a dynamic rhythm that conjures the sense of finite time she has with family and friends, a patchwork of energetic montages propelling Christine and the story forward.
"I really identified with these cowboys on horses who were searching for something and making decisions about whether they wanted to be a part of society or not. At some point, I realized, maybe when I was a little bit older, how oppressively male this genre was."
Meyerowitz splits the tonal difference between his kinder Greta Gerwig collaborations (Frances Ha, Mistress America) and the more acerbic works surrounding those, dealing with the previously unlikely possibility of forgiveness and healing.
If Hong is indeed the best that we have got, there is something troubling about this fact. For it should detract nothing from the integrity of his body of work to say that, when taken altogether, it is a quintessential expression of a cinema of disappointment and diminished expectations.
"Taking normal people, average people, people who have no power, and giving them the time to express themselves and to become more important. By making them big on the wall, it also gives them importance and light and life. So we agreed that that would be the project, to go in the magical truck from one place to another."
That Denis can produce a work that, without a trace of preciousness, is equal parts indebted to Barthes and Chicago blues, connected as arm is to shoulder to the film-historical legacy of post-New Wave French filmmaking, is only further justification for claim that the 71-year-old is the greatest working director over the last two decades.
Throughout his career he has chronicled life on the margins to find beauty where others only see barren squalor. Rather than a rhetorical stance, his commitment to lost causes stems from a genuine contempt for conformism, while the anti-naturalism of his dramaturgy abstains from sentimentalism and emotional manipulation.
What has not changed, despite the shift into genre, is the commitment to helping us sympathize with damaged, alienating (and alienated) people. In his films we might feel the discomfort of self-recognition from these characters, while in all but the finest horror films, their predicament is usually reduced to a motive for a reign of bloody terror.
Guadagnino and screenwriter James Ivory have produced a film that simultaneously analyzes and dramatizes issues of sexuality, religious identity, and, once again, privilege and yet without straining against its clearly marked narrative boundaries.