Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Water Lilies (Naissance des pieuvres) (2007)

Written and directed by first-time filmmaker Céline Sciamma, Water Lilies feels remarkably assured in its handling of emotion and desire, never resorting to overly emphatic trauma or snarky anti-emotionalism... [The film] lingers on its characters’ hesitations and empathizes with the overbearing sense of risk and self-doubt so symptomatic of adolescence.

Read my full review of Water Lilies online here at The L Magazine.

New Directors New Films 2008

Ballast (Lance Hammer, 2007) 96 min. Gorgeously filmed on 35mm using only natural lighting, Ballast recalls Nestor Almendros’ photography for Claire’s Knee and Days of Heaven transplanted to the Mississippi Delta. Its story, of how a mother and son cope with their estranged father’s suicide, is seductively bleak.

More capsule reviews on this year's New Directors New Films series online here at The L Magazine.

Boarding Gate (2007)

"Olivier Assayas’ Boarding Gate, a corporate-corruption-neo-noir, could be imagined as Michael Clayton with a sexy, drug smuggling femme fatale in the lead role. But that would be overly emphasizing the corporate context of the story – an aspect that even the protagonist, Sandra, doesn’t fully comprehend at the film’s end – and denying the visceral desolation and emotional malaise that lies at the film’s core."

Read my full review of Olivier Assayas' Boarding Gate online here at Not Coming To a Theater Near You.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Le Grand Franju

"Georges Franju opens his 1958 short La Première Nuit with an epigraph that could easily preface any of his other films with equal insight and justification: 'It only requires a little imagination for the most ordinary action to become imbued with disquieting meaning, for the décor of everyday life to engender a fantastic world.' The division between reality and fantasy is not so much highlighted as blurred: Franju imbues the fantastic with a quotidian casualness and uncovers the dormant nightmares in our everyday life."

Read my full review of Anthology Film Archives' George Franju retrospective online here at The L Magazine.