Art and Film: Claustrophobia

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / People in lockdown on account of a pervasive but invisible biological enemy might be perversely drawn to movies broadly about pandemics, like Steven Soderbergh’s coolly wise Contagion (2011), Alfonso Cuarón’s elegantly melancholy Children of Men (2006), or the rather silly but occasionally unnerving Outbreak (1995). Some could also resort to … read more… “Art and Film: Claustrophobia”

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Art and Film: Dimitri de Clercq’s dark idyll

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Not every filmmaker can emulate Alfred Hitchcock and cue Chet Baker in a feature debut shot on a shoestring budget and avoid appearing shamelessly trite or derivative, but Belgian director and co-writer Dimitri de Clercq pulls it off with his captivatingly twisted, noirish romance You Go To My Head. The … read more… “Art and Film: Dimitri de Clercq’s dark idyll”

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Art and Film: 2019 Top Ten

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / It’s been a fine year for movies, their demise due to streaming having been greatly exaggerated notwithstanding awkward episodes like the theatrical release of Netflix-backed The Irishman. Here is my inexorably subjective and eminently debatable list of the Top Ten dramatic films of 2019. The Irishman. Still the king of the … read more… “Art and Film: 2019 Top Ten”

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Art and Film: Rogue plant

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / The political ascent of Donald Trump and others like him has produced a glut of ominous allegories, and Austrian director Jessica Hausner’s mesmerizing film Little Joe may be the richest yet. With an unabashed nod to Invasion of the Body Snatchers (all three versions), the story’s contours are obvious, but … read more… “Art and Film: Rogue plant”

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Art and Film: Joker is the wrong movie

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Joker, Todd Phillips’ tensely anticipated origin story of the Batman villain that grossed $96 million in its first weekend, self-consciously presents as Taxi Driver meets The King of Comedy, and a kind of atavistic essay on the perils of inequality and the dominance of the one percent. Like many high-concept films, however, … read more… “Art and Film: Joker is the wrong movie”

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Art and Film: Issa López’s fierce children

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Mike Kelley, the late conceptual artist, famously cast stuffed animals both as children’s escape hatches from worldly nastiness and as the potential tools of their nefarious seducers or demons. Writer-director Issa López maintains this duality in Tigers Are Not Afraid, a film of stunning inventiveness, brutality, and compassion. Presented as the … read more… “Art and Film: Issa López’s fierce children”

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Art and Film: Claire Denis’ cosmic noir

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Claire Denis’ stupefyingly smart film High Life, the first she has directed in English, starts ahead of its main events, without any set-piece exposition, in and around a barren spacecraft inhabited by a father, his baby daughter, and zippered corpses that used to compose the rest of the crew. Robert … read more… “Art and Film: Claire Denis’ cosmic noir”

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