People reliving or articulating past traumas on screen is fairly standard in social issue documentaries. What is most striking about Silent Voice is that it presents its main subject, Khavaj, and his personal story without inflicting more pain or describing it in detail, even if the shocks to his mind and body are still painfully tangible.
An older woman walks along Steinway Street in Astoria with a strong sense of purpose. She is shot by an unknown cameraperson who wields his lens like a sniper, tracking her as she moves. The woman periodically stops men on the sidewalk, earnestly asking benign questions that quickly becoming intensely personal.
The film follows the creation of the Documentary Village, a festival and a post-production hub in the village of Lussas, in southern France.
Verhoeven wants us to know who the real perverse parties are here, and he avoids charges of blasphemy in Benedetta by mining the history of the Catholic Church in rigorous, drippy excess. Also reviewed: Anais in Love, Bergman Island, Small Body, Three Floors.
The book recycles the screenplay, but alters the structure, expands on certain scenes, drops others, restores scenes that did not make the final cut, and introduces a wealth of material that would not have belonged in the film. It is as much a willfully digressive collection of opinions as it is a work of fiction.
Shot in fall 2019 and originally set for 2020 release, The Forever Purge can’t be taken as a comment on the events of January 6, 2021. All the same, it is a legitimate (and/or opportunistic) ne plus ultra take on the political and social polarization and paranoid atmosphere of the Trump era.
These are not castaways, but spirits in purgatory, their earthly possessions scattered around them like unwieldy memories of a past life. It is by mining the fantasy lives, the dreams and desires, of these preternaturally entwined women that Campion empowers them, makes them flesh and bone.
It is a narrative reframing that suggests not empowerment from disempowerment, but rather, redemption through the redefinition of acceptable terms of success. And by overturning the traditional power fantasy, a sympathetic understanding of identity disorders emerges.
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?
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.