Selections from the 2021 New York Film Festival

By Nicholas Russell | October 3, 2021

Who is watching and who is being watched are questions that merit serious scrutiny, and the answer to each reveals how much or little understanding of the situation at hand there is.

By Lawrence Garcia | October 2, 2021

What Do We See? operates like a kind of benevolent human magic: it splits our attention between two poles, one natural, the other personal, between the coherent order of the natural spectacle and the driving personality behind it.

By Michael Koresky | October 1, 2021

Noe uses two cameras to capture all of their travails in intimate close-up, allowing us to see them both at once using split-screen. Such a formally rigorous approach tends to call attention to itself, naturally inviting questions of aesthetics and perception.

By Lawrence Garcia | October 1, 2021

The filmmakers repeatedly return to one notable formal strategy: building up a link between two people across a given scene or shot, then punctuating it by cutting to a heretofore unseen observer. Most every image thus gets restated in terms of a previously unacknowledged perspective.

By A.G. Sims | September 30, 2021

Flee burrows into the complexity of his survival and its emotional toll, inviting us to think also about the pieces of Amin that did not live on, that might have been permanently transformed by his trauma.

By Michael Sicinski | September 30, 2021

The neoliberal present demands a new mode of realism, adequate to those structures of control that are cloaked by economic and informational avenues utterly inaccessible to all but the highest echelons of technocratic power. Russo has employed formal devices to inscribe these otherwise invisible relationships.

By Forrest Cardamenis | September 30, 2021

Rrather than dole out character or narrative information too liberally in dialogue, Sugita uses editing and pacing, especially in exteriors, to help the viewer understand Sachi. Scenes without any clear narrative purpose tend to continue without any legible motivation for surprising lengths of time.

By Chloe Lizotte | September 29, 2021

Part II builds on its predecessor in sophisticated ways. Hogg has said that the sequel can stand alone, and that may be true, but its almost noirish visual callbacks instill ghostly memories that, over time, transcend the ectoplasm of one person or film.

By Chris Wisniewski | September 29, 2021

Even the title, in referring to a future project of the filmmaker rather than the screening that dominates its central plot, invites a broader consideration of its many digressions and the manner in which the political questions it raises are situated sociopolitically, culturally, and in terms of history and identity.

By Susannah Gruder | September 28, 2021

The film is a richly layered look at the conflicting longings and impulses of early adulthood, the cinematic equivalent to a bittersweet love song that also happens to be catchy as hell.

By Forrest Cardamenis | September 28, 2021

The resplendence of the cave sequences must be seen to be believed, and their ingenuity marks Il Buco as a significant work of digital filmmaking.

By James Wham | September 28, 2021

Alice Rohrwacher, Pietro Marcello, and Francesco Munzi have traveled their homeland in search of a national identity. What they discovered instead are the typical anxieties of adolescence.

By Mackenzie Lukenbill | September 27, 2021

The relationship has clearly been weighing on Andrea, who continually refers to himself as homosexual, despite the physicality that Duras requires of him. Arlaud portrays him as constantly shrinking, folding in upon himself, his cigarette consumption his only action that feels furtive and alive.

By Michael Koresky | September 24, 2021

Defining (and redefining) contemporary fascism may be a losing game, but identifying the destructive forces of moral conservatism remains as depressingly easy as ever. Another thing that remains vivid: the misogyny at the corrupt core of modern patriarchal life.