White Material (Denis, 2010)

I finally give Claire Denis’s White Material, my favorite film of 2010, a thorough analysis in the form of a Blu-ray review for Slant. While I still feel Claire Denis films need be seen theatrically for maximum impact, this stellar high-definition version will have to do when that luxury isn’t afforded.

Best of the 2000’s: Discussion #7

– The following is the seventh of ten planned online discussions between MATCH CUTS and THE FILMIST regarding the best films of the 2000’s. These transcriptions have been slightly edited due to length, but the published content remains exactly as written.

THE FILMIST: The Fall was a film I’d first seen mentioned here and there online. I didn’t recognize the name in the director’s chair at first, but then I realized that it was the guy who’d done The Cell, and my interest gradually began to perk up. And – then, I didn’t hear about it for several months, until around August of 2008, after it had been released in theaters, when the reviews came pouring in – most of them good, a few of them middling. My brother and I made the long trek across town to the Angelika to see it, and – well, we weren’t disappointed. The Fall is the film that Salvador Dali – or, any other and better Surrealist artist – would have made if they’d had the funds and the resources. Constantly and intentionally dreamlike and lyrical, especially in it’s last half-hour – and, speaking of Dali, he also seems to be referenced visually quite a bit throughout the course of the film, in the red mask of the young girl and the structures in the desert.

MATCH CUTS: I found The Fall on DVD, mostly because I had heard nothing but negative reviews, and because I despised The Cell, but the story intrigued me. The Dali-esque visuals definitely come to mind, the strange use of scale and horizons really make the film interesting, but the opening sequence really stands as a beautiful testament to the deep tragedy in the film. Most films use slow motion to gratuitous effect, but this film seems to revel in the subtext of slow motion. Continue reading

Best of the 2000’s: #4

– “The Best of the Decade Project” is an ongoing series of essays written by Match Cuts and The Filmist concerning the finest films of the last ten years.

Michael Haneke’s Time of the Wolf plays out like an endless nightmare tunneled through a constricting vision of the modern world slowly descending into chaos. Set mostly in the French countryside during some unmentioned national catastrophe, the film follows the Laurent family’s quest for survival, breaking down their struggle to an elemental level. As in most Haneke films ambiguity reigns, degenerating spaces through jarring cuts and sudden jumps in time. The film meticulously pulls back the everyday façade of human existence to unearth the inherent abuses and evils underneath. The apocalypse has never been this restrained or this horrifying. Continue reading