There’s no corner of cinema so explicit about its role as an act of remembrance than documentary film. Any film, in any genre, carries within it an aspect of memory — as a material object that dates from a certain moment and reflects its conditions, and as something more ethereal, something personal, cultural, and collective, subject to revisiting and remapping.
Recollection or repetition?
Kierkegaard asks this question repeatedly. Recollection is pagan and, more specifically, Greek, representative of all the moral failure of the ancient world. Repetition is Christian and representative of the positive and the good. Recollection is backwards-looking, repetition looks forward.
There is a small, wordless scene very early on in Sean Baker‘s The Florida Project that, in its empathy and assured direction, could stand in for the film as a whole.
Moonee (Brooklynn Prince), the film’s constantly moving, relentlessly yammering 6-year-old protagonist, and her friend Scooty (Christopher Rivera) sit on the pavement, backs against a concrete wall emblazoned with a mural of oranges.
Now that we’ve established the Spooktober premise in the first outing and developed some of the bit players while starting to drive home previously implicit character motivations in its arguably unnecessary sequel, we reach the third entry in the franchise, where either Dokken, Sam Neill, or cathode-ray-deploying Celtic death cults will inevitably play a central role.
Yesterday, we kicked off our October horror movie run-down with an initial five viewings for the month. It would still be surprising if I scramble my way up the deadly, haunted heights of Spooktober to the eerie summit of 31 before Halloween, but it won’t be for lack of trying.
Last year, I took part in the Scary Time Festival of Fright and Terror known as Spooktober, and watched 31 horror movies over the course of the month. It was fun!
I had every intention of doing so again this year — I even have a list; a weird list, sure, but a list nonetheless, with relevant criteria filled and everything — but I’ve fallen way behind.
Things Ace in the Hole is: A fantastic movie. A perfect showpiece for Kirk Douglas. One of the tightest scripts Wilder ever wrote, with a perfect first half hour.
Things Ace in the Hole isn’t, really: a cynical satire.
I know this is a bold, slightly preposterous statement, and I suppose I’m framing it more strongly than I need to.
The Mill Valley Film Fest (MVFF), celebrated its 40th anniversary this weekend, wrapping up the festivities yesterday.
MVFF featured a number of high-profile premieres, renowned festival titles, panels and master classes, and visits from assorted indie luminaries like Great Gerwig, Todd Haynes, Dee Rees, Richard Linklater, and more.
“The universe (which others call the Library) is composed of an indefinite and perhaps infinite number of hexagonal galleries, with vast air shafts between, surrounded by very low railings. From any of the hexagons one can see, interminably, the upper and lower floors.”
So begins Jorge Luis Borges’ classic 1941 story The Library of Babel, which imagined a finite collection of texts assembled from the same rudimentary characters, that would nevertheless contain every book it was possible to write, every conceivable idea and its negation, and a whole lot of randomly assembled gibberish.
The delirious excess and unstable allegories of Darren Aronofsky’s mother! make it both a work of auteurist genius and a second-year term paper by someone who just discovered Borges. Its uncompromising commitment to fever dream logic places it high on the list of Aronofsky’s most essential deep-dives into shallow pools, while also courting charges of both insulting obviousness and self-adoring incomprehensibility.