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Cult Column Film

Cult Column: Beau Travail (1999)

Beau Travail, Claire Denis’s tale of French legionnaires stationed in Djibouti, adapted to a degree from Herman Melville’s novel Billy Budd (1924), is a film which negotiates a path between stasis and movement (between moments of the sea glistening and laminary, and hard toil in the heat of the sun), all subordinated to an elusive, […]

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Film

A Dispatch from Out West: the 2019 Glasgow Film Festival

Both the opening and closing films of this year’s Glasgow Film Festival can be described as ‘coming- of-age’ films: Jonah Hill’s Mid90s and Brian Welsh’s Beats. It may be more accurate to label them films about being inducted into new social milieus. In the far superior Beats, this concerns entry into the put-upon Scottish rave-scene. […]

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Film Reviews

Happy as Lazzaro

Alice Rohrwacher’s Happy as Lazzaro is a film about extreme poverty, exploitative labour, systems of cyclical and hierarchical abuse — and magic. At first, it’s impossible to discern the time the film is set in: a group of workers (sharecroppers) are living in the pastoral Italian countryside, but the land is removed of meaningful period […]

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Film Reviews

Loro

Paolo Sorrentino’s Il Divo (2008) is a biopic of Giulio Andreotti, the infamous former Italian Prime Minister and all-round corruption magnet. The sordid, immoral work of this character’s existence is animated by Toni Servillo, a veteran Italian actor, who is adept at highlighting the strange oddities and quirks of the subjects he seeks to embody. […]

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Film Reviews

At Eternity’s Gate

A cursory glance will tell you actors are drawn to performing the role of Vincent van Gogh. Something in the life of the visionary artist has always been and remains appealing: there’s Kirk Douglas as the Dutch painter in Vincente Minnelli’s Lust For Life (1956); Martin Scorsese portrayed the man in Akira Kurosawa’s vignette film […]

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Film Reviews

Mid90s

This year’s Glasgow Film Festival opened on Wednesday night with a screening of Mid90s, actor Jonah Hill’s directorial debut. Young, diminutive Stevie (Sunny Suljic) is friendless and bored, living at home with his mother Dabney (Katherine Waterston, in a thankless role) and abusive, abrasive older brother Ian (Lucas Hedges). One day, from across the street, […]

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Film Reviews

The Rider

Director Chloé Zhao was filming her first feature, Songs My Brothers Taught Me (2015), on the Pine Ridge Sioux reservation in South Dakota when she met Brady Jandreau. He was a promising bronco rider, until he was bucked off his horse during a rodeo; he was severely injured, requiring surgery to insert a metal plate into his skull. […]