Circularity, stasis, and a certain, refined sense of stagnation as a state of tarnished grace: all are very much a facet of his aesthetic and sensibility, with characters trapped in variably self-insulating and self-destructive loops of passivity, inaction, and age-inappropriate behavior.
The need for the geometric sublimity of music leads two critics to two very different musical movie experiences.
While there are many aspects binding Transit to Barbara and Phoenix (including an oppressive system, embodied here by the vagaries of international migration in wartime), Petzold is working in a slightly different register; it is at once more rigorously conceptual and less sociopolitically specific than its predecessors.
A Few Great Pumpkins
The Invitation, The Ghost Train, The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, A Scary Time, Messiah of Evil, Panna a netvor
The super-fan has progressed to secretary, then understudy, then professional and romantic usurper. Six years before Invasion of the Body Snatchers, All About Eve tapped a rich vein of existential panic tied to the theme of replication and replaceability.
Even the most resourceful, imaginative filmmaker would be hard-pressed to redeem the screenplay, specifically the lengths to which Cody goes to disguise the true nature of the story, and also the underlying reasons for the charade, which are unconvincing and in bad faith.
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.
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.