New York Film Festival 2021
Selections from the 2021 New York Film Festival
In an echo to his father's 2015 masterpiece Taxi and in the great Iranian cinematic tradition, notably the films of Abbas Kiarostami, Panah Panahi presents this vibrant, bracing, and tenderly devastating family portrait through the pressurized chamber setup of a road movie.
Despite Mills’s best efforts, his fussed-over films can teeter into preciousness, especially in the concluding reunions and resolutions that cohere a little too neatly. Patness isn’t exactly the problem in C’mon C’mon—its ending is actually one of the more open-ended in Mills’s filmography—as much as its dubious blending of fact and fiction.
As with Uncle Boonmee and Cemetery of Splendour, Apichatpong often materializes traumas in the form of phantoms that hover in the margins of his protagonists’ imaginations, visiting and sometimes haunting them in the same way the present is always shaped by the ghosts of the pasts.
The viewer may anticipate a contest between Phil and Rose for the boy’s heart and mind, a kind of moral tug-of-war, and Rose’s physical deterioration as her son’s fortitude develops enhances the misdirection. But in the end, it’s Peter’s conception of masculinity, as encapsulated in the film’s opening voiceover, that prevails.
Ducournau’s latest film starts out hard but strips itself down to a level of softness and sentimentality, examining the armors we establish to shield ourselves from the world, and what it takes to transmute our steely exteriors into something more malleable.
Despite the greater amount of incident in Introduction and In Front of Your Face than in, say, the nearly context-free interactions of Grass and The Woman Who Ran, the sense of characterization emerges equally from the supposed downtime, the moments between the conversations.
Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth is full of lovely, obvious, expressionistic style choices, which not only registered on my limited Shakespeare palate but felt invigorating after 18 months of watching mediocrely lensed historical dramas on my TV.