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Author: Jaime Grijalba

Lav Diaz’s From What Is Before

During the recent American release of Lav Diaz’s The Woman Who Left, most critics focused on the obvious aspect of the Philippine master’s work – the runtime and duration of his takes. With films generally over four hours, this stylistic mark has helped frame Diaz as a representative of “slow cinema.” Yet, as demonstrated by the recent retrospectives – on MUBI and at the Museum of Modern Art – the most interesting aspect of Diaz’s oeuvre is by far how he tackles his country’s history. The continuous invasions, from the Spanish and Japanese to the American, and the subsequent...

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The Sky, the Earth, and the Rain

José Luis Torres Leiva is one of the most prolific Chilean directors working today. He has made eleven features since 2004 and has screened shorts in festivals around the world—altogether over twenty films in the past fifteen years. He is also one of the most talented directors who blur the line between fiction and documentary. His first feature-length “fiction” film, which premiered in 2008 at the Rotterdam Film Festival, where it won the FIPRESCI award for best film, is part of this year’s Art of the Real Festival, which runs at the Film Society of Lincoln Center until May...

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The Haunted: A Comparative Review of Oliver Assayas’s PERSONAL SHOPPER and Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s DAGUERREOTYPE

Two of the most polarizing films of 2016 from directors with long-standing careers were about ghosts, though they weren’t strictly horror films. Personal Shopper, directed by Olivier Assayas, was reportedly booed at Cannes, and has only recently found some love, after its American theatrical release. Daguerreotype, directed by Japanese director Kiyoshi Kurosawa (no relation to Akira) received mixed reviews at festivals, and was finally released in France in February. The ghost theme isn’t the only thing that the two films have in common, as both are set mostly in Paris. Neither film is perfect. Yet Personal Shopper has been...

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Anti-Porno: A Radical Cinematic Voice of Today

Note: Spoilers Below. It’s a common critical exercise to use the latest film of an auteur to reprise his work, or to treat it as the apex in his filmography, just because it highlights his lifetime obsessions and themes. I don’t want to fall into this trap, yet Sion Sono’s latest film, Anti-Porno, is so different from all his earlier work that it begs some reflection on his filmography. Sono’s first forays into art were painting, poetry and performative public acts. These eventually found their place in his films, especially in his short, I Am Sion Sono!! (1985). The...

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