Friday, September 29, 2017

Dayveon (2017) A Film by Amman Abbasi

"Shot in 4:3 with sliver-thin depth of field and a lush palette of swampy greens, Amman Abbasi’s Dayveon is largely predicated on the idea of imparting a hyperreal sensuality to a region—an almost exclusively black small town in rural Arkansas—not often depicted on the big screen. The results, which sometimes conjure the spirit of Eugene Richards’s medium-format photojournalism in the Arkansas Delta in the late 1960s, are frequently breathtaking—and in no way trivial aestheticism. Small truths of the milieu, like the way leather peels off a sofa in the moist summer heart, or the smudgy details of a window in a 'hotboxed' Oldsmobile, become prominent pieces of mise-en-scène in Abbasi’s careful, patient framing, accumulating in a way that richly contextualizes the downtrodden lives of his characters."

Full review continues at Slant.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

They Live by Night (1948) A Film by Nicholas Ray

"François Truffaut called They Live by Night 'the most Bressonian of American films,' and while his characterization was overzealous, there’s more than just these performer resemblances to link the two directorial sensibilities. Like many Bresson films, Ray’s debut is a genre movie featuring only the bare minimum of generic trappings, one that favors the quiet dramas of decision-making and one-on-one commiseration to the louder spectacles that occur, often unseen, to push the plot along. It’s also a story about a pursuit of grace cut short by the callousness of society, which is manifested most plainly in a number of scenes detailing monetary transactions."

Full review of They Live by Night, now out in a stunning Criterion Blu-ray, continues at Slant.