In Céline Schiamma’s Girlhood, it’s all about the eyes.
Specifically, the eyes of Marieme (Karidja Touré), a quiet, reserved teen living in the Parisian projects. Throughout this excellent and unique coming-of-age film, Marieme goes through a number of phases and re-inventions, like we all do, but the constant is a singular sense of self we register in her eyes.
Back in May of this year, I caught Romeo Is Bleeding at the SF International Film Fest. At the time, it was not only my favorite documentary of the year, but my favorite film of any genre I’ve seen in a theater in 2015.
The Dardenne brothers, Jean-Pierre and Luc, are known for their naturalistic, slice-of-life pictures, without exception focused on those existing on society’s margins. The Belgian filmmaking team prefers hard-scrabble protagonists – the downtrodden, the down-on-their-luck, and those stuck with impossible, occasionally tragic choices while trying to get by.
Part of an ongoing effort to watch a set of films from non-White, non-U.S., non-male, and/or non-straight filmmakers and depart a little from the Western canon. The intro and full list can be found here.
Jean Cocteau rejected the label “Surrealist.” Contrary to notions of fundamentally unknowable art, born of dream and mining allusion, he began 1932’s Blood of a Poet with a title card that reads almost like a battle cry:
Every poem is a coat of arms.
Even if his early “body horror” films have now been canonized as classics (of a sort), and even if his more recent, less outre mainstream work has been often enthusiastically received, David Cronenberg has always been a divisive figure. This is more true of 2014’s Maps To The Stars than it has been in a while.
The sand seems to stretch forever under cloudless skies, and time is marked by routine – herding cattle, relaxing with family under the humble shelter of a lean-to style tent, discussing the future, drinking tea. Timbuktu’s first half hour or so is a slow, quiet portrait of desert life in Mali; if it’s not exactly paradise, what with the sand whipping around and garments covering faces to protect them from the elements, it’s not too far from it, either.
Trainwreck is Amy Schumer’s movie (a very good thing), but there’s no mistaking the influence of director Judd Apatow.
Almost without exception, Apatow’s “transgressive” comedies are, at their heart, deeply conservative. For all the naughty bits and ostentatious dancing around the line of decency, things are generally reconciled in the end in the name of family, monogamy, and the need for his man-children to grow up and take on responsibility in their lives.