The basic material of BlacKkKlansman is custom-made to be described as provocative, even though it is hard to pick out a moment in the finished film that would possibly provoke or discomfit someone already inclined to buy a ticket to a Spike Lee movie called BlacKkKlansman.
If Hong is indeed the best that we have got, there is something troubling about this fact. For it should detract nothing from the integrity of his body of work to say that, when taken altogether, it is a quintessential expression of a cinema of disappointment and diminished expectations.
That Denis can produce a work that, without a trace of preciousness, is equal parts indebted to Barthes and Chicago blues, connected as arm is to shoulder to the film-historical legacy of post-New Wave French filmmaking, is only further justification for claim that the 71-year-old is the greatest working director over the last two decades.
As Soderbergh, in his mini-mogul practice, endeavors to hack out new routes leading around the established economic order of filmmaking, his films depict men and women doing their best to negotiate contingency plans for the perilous environment created by a carnivorous economy on the prowl.
Depardon is not out to expose naked cruelty, neglect, and dereliction of duty, as Wiseman and Wang do in their films, but something much more subtly invidious: the revolving-door efficiency of the state apparatus, mechanized service behind a blandly humane smile.
A series full of mistaken identities and roving impostors, Twin Peaks: The Return is a heads-up to look for cinema in places other than where it’s alleged to be found.
One of the unexpected pleasures of this Twin Peaks was just how unexpected it was, how it didn’t seem interested in reheating an old dish in the name of “fan service.”
Much of what is dearest in cinema can be credited to brash buccaneers and independent operators working at the periphery, though few are the film artists, like Lynch, who can maintain freedom of the margins.
One of the jobs of the artist is to find the space that is most conducive to the practice of their art at the given moment; one of the jobs of a functioning cultural commentariat is to follow artists to those spaces.
Tavernier approaches his subject not only as a film lover but also as a film director who knows his way around a set, a man with an inexhaustible appetite for dish about behind-the-scenes goings on and an insatiable curiosity for what makes movies tick.
Without ever seeming to reign supreme over the European festival scene as, say, the Dardenne brothers or Michael Haneke have at various points, Dumont anticipates and exemplifies features of the contemporary art film to a greater degree than either of those Cannes mainstays.