Don’t let the name or the opening moments trick you: Self-Criticism of a Bourgeois Dog is not really about dogs. But that feint is itself representative of Julian Radlmaier’s comedy, which propels itself along by sudden swerves.
Its first real narrative thread is inauspicious: Radlmaier, playing himself, out of money to make his next film, is forced to work at a peach-picking plantation, convinces a woman (Deragh Campbell) he is doing research for a new film that he wants her to star in.More
With a quiet grace, and the kind of childlike innocence in its narration that lays bare the adult melancholy all around, Shin Sang-ok‘s My Mother and Her Guest (1961) sneaks up on you. It’s a far cry from the violent, Occupation-era love triangle of his A Flower In Hell (a previous Counter-Programming entry released just 3 years prior), though both star Choi Eun-hee.More
Skimming through Martin Buber’s two-volume collection of essays on the origins of Hasidism, I think I have realized what to call this loose category of fake world narratives, including The Truman Show: they are gnostic movies.
The idea of Gnosticism has been somewhat warped in the last 40 years (The Da Vinci Code, for example, has the audacity to claim they were suppressed for having a more human vision of Christ, when anyone with the least familiarity would tell you they had a far more divine version of Christ), but the basic premise is very close to these movies: that there is an evil god who has trapped human souls in bodies, and that the material world is, in fact, a massive prison to keep us controlled.More
The lovable rogue is a cultural fixture. In his more thieving modes (he’s canonically male, usually stealing hearts along the way), he steals and redistributes or returns the goods for safekeeping (Robin Hood, Indiana Jones); steals because he operates best on the margins and needs to outrun an already dodgy past (Han Solo, Mal Reynolds, Jack Colton); or simply steals because it’s fun, he’s good at it, and it beats working for a living, like Monsieur Leval or, well, Mr.More
What is the place of 1997’s Contact in the public consciousness? I’ve never been able to get a solid lock on it. It wasn’t one of the 90s movies that permanently took up residence on basic cable, but it’s a common enough experience that people can make jokes about it.More
I remember talking to someone online about Baumbach’s Kicking and Screaming, and being unsurprised that they didn’t like it. Like most of Baumbach’s movies, the protagonists are selfish and self-centered, the plot is aimless, and the women often feel like miraculous creatures for their quirky men to earn with small tokens of maturity.More
Richard Linklater has built an entire career as a study in points that do not quite intersect, moments that do not match, but somehow make complete sense placed together.
That’s an impressive feat for a guy who followed up the meandering, anarchic Slacker with the glazed hijinks and pre-collegiate accessibility of Dazed and Confused; the discursive, achingly romantic Before Sunrise (a romance he, with Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke, methodically chips away at in its sequels, constructing the greatest trilogy since Ray’s) with Eric Bogosian’s quasi-punky SubUrbia, followed promptly by a heist film (The Newton Boys).More