Note the staging of his scenes here, how people almost always have some physical object between them as they share increasingly intimate details about their lives, or how that physical object, like a plate of freshly cut apples, can be used to close distance in the presence of silence.
This first foray into scripted narrative by documentarian Heidi Ewing trembles with longing. In this nonlinear, decades-spanning romance about an undocumented gay couple from Mexico, Ewing paints the first blush of love as a neon-lit meet cute, a first kiss beneath a purple dawn.
Its gender dynamics disorient the era Garrel is trying to convey. Is this a retro love letter to a bygone era when it was still possible for a bus stop meet-cute to blossom into a full courtship; when long-distance lovers unironically corresponded through postcards?
In the spirit of films like the Chantal Akerman documentary No Home Movie and I Go Gaga, My Dear, by Naoko Nobutomo, Johnson tries to capture him on camera to come to terms with his eventual disappearance, while also somehow keeping him alive.
Amidst this stirring portrait of spiritual introspection runs a current of political malaise. It is most starkly felt though the stories shared by each of these houseless folk, laying bare the moral deficiencies at the rotten core of our social safety net, in a consumerist society obsessed with profit over public welfare.
Isabella has films within films, plays within plays, and people within people. As in its central mise en abyme, the director creates an abyss of rhyme and recurrence. His mode of adaptation works reflexively, where these layers upon layers lead to a sense of collapse.
The actors interpret their often dense monologues with an admirable naturalness and, perhaps more importantly, truly work to convey the act of listening. In many ways, the work of Puiu in guiding the actors through the genuinely demanding material is a more impressive achievement than the heightened realism of The Death of Mr. Larazescu.
In this nonlinear narrative, which abruptly, frequently jumps back eight years in time to glean moments from Sibyl’s former life and love, choppy scenes have the effect of disorienting, painful memories resurfaced, like picking up the disordered pieces of diary pages torn to bits.
This plague is in no way biological or scientific; it is profoundly subjective and insurmountable. Seimetz stresses the inexplicable nature of the belief by depicting it as a sort of neon Protestant visitation that appears to each successive victim, rendered by cinematographer Jay Keitel as a hypnotic light show.
The corrections center actually functions as a reprieve for many of these women, who went from abusive childhoods straight into abusive marriages when they were as young as 12. The fact that a male filmmaker is let into this world shows their trust of him.