We are ending Consensus Comparison and replacing it with The Long Week Closes, a Saturday rundown of what’s new or has been newly rounded up on Critics Round Up in the past seven days. There will be no more gathering of Rotten Tomatoes or Metacritic scores here. That routine has become tedious to me, and during this flashpoint in American history I find it harder to justify continuing it. We’ve been incorporating notes and extended thoughts into the stats column on and off for over a year. Now this is going to become a more regular feature.
Have you noticed that movies from East Asian directors are frequently among the last to screen at any film festival? This must be because it’s believed that East Asian films have less broad appeal than their North American or European counterparts, so they screen these movies during the period when attendance most diminishes.
This used to frustrate me, but now I look at it as a way to finish the festival on a high note. The most rapturously-received short that screened in Wavelengths last year also happened to be the final one: Daïchi Saïto’s Engram of Returning. Zhao Liang’s Behemoth was the second-to-last film to screen in the Venice International Competition in 2015. There were barely any English-language reviews for the movie during the festival, but now, 14 months later, reviews indicate it may have been the best of the bunch. (Speaking personally, after seeing Behemoth last night, I’m astounded that it didn’t win the Golden Lion, let alone any official award at all.) For the hardcore cinephile, saving an East Asian film for the tail-end allows them to end their festival experience with something special.
(FYI: I’ve been arranging each festival page in the order they screened at the festival since Cannes 2015, though I should note that Cannes is maybe the only major festival that avoids succumbing to the tendency I’ve just described.)
And now, the rundown for this abnormally busy week.
The Love Witch (Biller)
Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan • United States)
The Love Witch (Anna Biller • United States)
The Illinois Parables (Deborah Stratman • United States)
Nocturnal Animals (Tom Ford • United States)
Ne me quitte pas (Sabine Lubbe Bakker & Niels van Koevorden • Belgium)
I Am Not Madame Bovary (Feng Xiaogang • China)
Uncle Howard (Aaron Brookner • United States)
Divines (Houda Benyamina • France)
Daughters of the Dust (Dash)
Cinema of the Past
Daughters of the Dust (1991 • Julie Dash • United States)
Breathless (1960 • Jean-Luc Godard • France)
Punch-Drunk Love (2002 • Paul Thomas Anderson • United States)
Dreams (1990 • Akira Kurosawa • Japan)
Diary of a Country Priest (1951 • Robert Bresson • France)
Mouchette (1967 • Robert Bresson • France)
Sonatine (1993 • Takeshi Kitano • Japan)
Hana-bi (1997 • Takeshi Kitano • Japan)