A filmmaker, like Loznitsa, may use the camera to frame unscripted events to place them within understandable linear frameworks; another, like Malick, uses it to liberate ostensibly scripted events so that one can get at deeper truths behind the images. Maybe cinema exists somewhere in the middle.
The exteriors were shot on 65mm film, the interiors were captured digitally, and they offer different kinds of rapture, the former taking in the vastness of the land with hushed, God-like awe, the latter almost unbearably human, hunkering down in the burnished shadows of rooms sometimes lit by a single candle.
Why are we suddenly so obsessed with questioning cinematic reality? Why “docs”? And why now? To get at these queries, and try to get a handle on the nonfiction boom, we figured we’d do it the best way we know how: with a new symposium.
As with any good filmmaker, Mascaro uses the camera to help us see the world a little differently, a little more clearly. There’s something casually virtuosic about his new film, a work of strange realism that immerses the viewer in a natural yet defamiliarized environment of everyday ritual.
The camera is weapon and savior, mediator and patient observer, but it is never objective in Cameraperson, an extraordinary and singular filmmaking document by Kirsten Johnson that quietly lorded over everything I saw at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.
Halloween is our most cinematic holiday; for a few hours in the dark, it turns our everyday world into a surreal, upside-down place. In this short film we go trick or treating with some of the Halloweens that have haunted our collective movie dreams.
Rohrwacher doesn’t seem interested in telling us what we should be thinking; rather she lets us accompany these people from one task to the next. There’s no fetishizing or romanticizing of work or youth, just a matter-of-fact, if narratively furtive, take on communal living and familial interaction.
One of the miracles of cinema is that genuine artists can use the medium to convey otherwise inexpressible, even intangible emotions, using image and sound to create emotional landscapes that in writing might be too explicit or in music too oblique.
Hou’s latest, The Assassin, his first in the wuxia genre, is perhaps his most senses-heightening work yet, a film of simultaneous action and repose, of specificity and abstraction, giving the viewer just enough information to follow its dense narrative avenues while asking that their eyes take the road less traveled.
Taxi interrogates itself—as cinema, as document, and, because of Panahi’s particular political reality, as an expression of artistic freedom. Panahi has taken to a purposeful extreme the notion that strictures and limitations are beneficial to the creation of art.