Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Art of the Real

"For those still reeling from seasickness induced by Leviathan, Art of the Real has the tonic. Dead Slow Ahead, another experimental, largely nocturnal portrayal of industrial seafaring, moves with the lava-flow tempo suggested by its spot-on title, with director Mauro Herce's camera a seemingly high-tonnage contrast to Leviathan's plethora of featherweight recording devices. Panning, tilting, and dolly movements are sparse, usually occurring at paces almost imperceptible to the eye as they scan the musculature and intestinal corridors of a gargantuan cargo ship pushing through the Atlantic toward New Orleans like an undigested chunk of food exiting the body. An organism at once labyrinthine and blocky, it becomes the primary object of study for Herce, who appears only to reveal the human laborers on the vessel incidentally—and even then, as tiny instruments within the alien mechanics of the larger machine on which they toil."

That's an excerpt from one of my pieces this year on Film Society of Lincoln Center's Art of the Real series. I wrote two dispatches on the festival: one on festival highlight Dead Slow Ahead and Jose Luis Guerin's The Academy of Muses, and one on Ben Rivers' What Mean Something and Italian entry Il Solengo.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Green Room (2015) A Film by Jeremy Saulnier

"Bigotry ends up playing little direct role in the reckless murderous corruption that advances the plot of the locked-room thriller Green Room. Still, Jeremy Saulnier bluntly sets the record straight, early and often, that the thugs who run the exclusionary heavy metal club in the backwoods of Oregon where the film is set and who cover up crimes on their own premises are wretched, loathsome pieces of shit undeserving of a space on this planet. When our heroes, a woebegone punk quartet called the Ain't Rights, arrive in the titular backstage lair before a gig they've taken in the express interest of some much-needed cash, the background of every shot is littered with a cornucopia of advertisements for modern history's most oppressive institutions: swastika wall scribbles, Confederate flags, and all kinds of shiver-inducing decals advocating for the supremacy of the straight white male." Review continues at Slant.