New logistical work-arounds sought to overcome the difficulties of physically congregating; each decision about tone could trigger dozens of questions. Are the problems we are experiencing self-contained within the pandemic, or perennial? What possibilities exist to radically reinvent ourselves, or is the status quo the final destination?
The curators ask in the program notes, Can remembrance fix a broken world? At the core of this inquiry into the world, and the status of the human within its historical, sociopolitical, technological, and ecological parameters, lies the emphasis on feeling.
There was a fair amount of expectation for this year’s Midnight selections to contain the next iteration of meaningful, shocking, or gossip-inspiring titles that could also be talked about as layered, complex examinations of real-world issues.
In their ambivalence and open-endedness, these films paradoxically brought me closer to a kind of emotional release than any other films in the festival, managing to capture our current state of uninterrupted dread and malaise in a way that feels comfortingly familiar.
This year there wasn’t as much awkwardness in the form of glitchy, poorly synced Zoom interviews, as one might have expected, though the same can’t be said for the sometimes verbose, overly grave ways that some filmmakers talked about their projects.
From the vantage of our quarantined silos, we’ve had occasion to reflect upon how and where we gather, particularly in independent film circles, and whether they might stand for improvement.
Years in Review
The art form is alive and healthy despite the onslaught of corporate monopolizing and the streaming dominance that made the closing of movie theaters feel even more ominous. An intrinsic truth has not changed, and likely will not: artists are out there making movies. Seek out their work.
I bought a 16mm Bolex windup camera in 1987. And that is the camera I use. Wow. Can you think of all the cameras and cell phones and computers and laptops that each one of us has had in those intervening years? And I love that. I don't have to worry about batteries.
The best Film Comment covers of the twenty-first century, in the humble opinions of the editors who chose them.