This hybrid courtroom drama-slash-psychological thriller is so conducive for both chin-stroking critical contemplation and a certain (highly rarefied) form of crowd-pleasing that it could just as easily have been engineered in a lab as crafted as a work of art.
You do not need to know that the filmmaker was inspired by the story of Oedipus to pick up on the evocation of this power of tragedy, or the setting in a heightened, mythic Greece. The film has an elemental strangeness that feels close to the world that ancient tragedy depicts: we see a forest, we see water, we see blood.
There is nothing new under the sun in the films of Alice Rohrwacher, which pay their respects to the beauty and mystery of older civilizations while suggesting that exploitation—of people, and of physical and spiritual resources— is almost as ancient as the world itself.
Like Godard, Radu Jude is acutely aware of how every image or sequence of images can be sorted into genres, textures, colors, references, and so on, categories whose associations stretch back into the whole of cinema’s past.
For migrants and refugees, the earth becomes a cruel obstacle course in which they gamble with their lives. The Dupes (Al-Makhdu’un, 1972), directed by Tewfik Saleh, tells a searingly specific tale of displaced Palestinians trying to cross the desert to Kuwait.
The specter of ephemerality hangs over the exquisitely beautiful and moving The Taste of Things, a movie that is simultaneously about food in every possible sense and also not at all, one that treats the acts of cooking and eating with reverence while recognizing in them an entry point to something more profound.