NYFF ‘18 Review: ‘Long Day’s Journey Into Night’

Chinese director-writer Bi Gan’s second feature, Long Day’s Journey Into Night, which premiered at Cannes’ Un Certain Regard, is set in Kaili like his first feature Kaili Blues. The film has nothing in common with Eugene O’Neill’s play by the same name or with the film’s Chinese title Last Evenings on Earth, a short story collection by Roberto Bolaño. They’re both just amongst many literary and artistic references that are scattered throughout the film.

Protagonist Luo Hongwa (Huang Jue) gives to us one of the central mysteries of the film by questioning the reality of fragmented memories in the first scene, as he reminisces about a love affair he had many years ago. Throughout the film, we’re never sure if what we’re seeing is a memory or a dream, reality or plays of Hongwa’s subconscious. The first 70 minutes of the film delve into that love affair between Luo and Wan Qiwen (Tang Wei), a woman straight out of a femme fatale section of a character trope book. There are ambiguous plotlines about their mutual friend Wildcat’s murder, Luo’s father’s restaurant, a green book, but none of them reach somewhere. They’re more like part of the flow than devices that advance or enrich the story.

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NYFF ‘18 Review: ‘The Wild Pear Tree’

Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s long awaited new film The Wild Pear Tree premiered at Cannes this year. Its near 190-minute runtime might be scary for audiences that are not familiar with Ceylan’s work, but it is merely a surprise to cognizant audiences. However, the film has such a captivating flow that the viewers might not even perceive the passing of three hours – it is definitely more entertaining than his last film Winter Sleep which was also over three hours. Unlike his previous films which were decorated with elegant images of nature, The Wild Pear Tree is visually more raw; less pastoral beauty and more crooked landscapes that people live in. The shots are still representative of the director’s distinctive poeticism, and the brutal landscapes are the perfect reflections of the subject matter that is the deeply rooted in the suffocating anxiety spread across the young people of Turkey.

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NYFF ‘18 Review: ‘Wildlife’ is a Family Portrait Without Judgement

Children see themselves and their parents as parts of a single whole we call family. Some children realise later in life, as adults, the individuality of the parts that make up the family. In other cases, they’re forced to realise this when the whole collapses. A child is in one of the most helpless states they can be when they have to watch that collapse, witnessing everything that’ll contribute to the outcome that they somehow know is about to happen. A child cannot choose sides between two people who they once thought were a whole, and as we watch Wildlife through the eyes of a child in the middle of a collapsing marriage, director Paul Dano asks us, very delicately, not to choose sides either.

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Most Anticipated Films from Fall Festivals

As the dreadful month of August ends, fall begins and with fall comes the most wonderful time of the year: Festival Season! Venice already started, Toronto and Telluride will follow, then comes London and New York. The happiness and the discourse will spread from the sunny seaside of Italy, bringing film lovers together (or apart) until the Awards Season, in which we all will sell our souls to competition. But until then, enjoy a list of some of the films we cannot wait to see from festival season.

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The Critics Interviews: Anna Smith

The Critics Interviews is a Much Ado series in which we interview film and cultural critics about the industry, social media, responsibilities of a critic, and their advice for young writers. You can find all of The Critics Interviews here.

Our third interview is with Anna Smith, the president of The Critics’ Circle and film critic for Time Out, Sky, BBC, Metro and The Guardian. Enjoy!

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Much Ado’s Best Films of 2018 (So Far)

We may only be halfway through the year, but there have already been plenty of great movies to sink our teeth into. From slow-burn indie darlings to crowd-pleasing blockbusters, the past six months have provided something for all tastes, proving that we don’t have to be mid-awards season to experience great cinema. Check out the following 15 films that we think are the best of the best:

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One Short A Day: Week Two

My introduction to David Lynch was, unfortunately, at a very young age. I was in elementary school and my mother came home with a VCD (the DVD’s precursor) of The Elephant Man. She thought it was a Chaplin-like black and white film about a man who is also an elephant, a fun film for an 8-year-old. Quickly into the film she realised this was not the case, but it was too late and I was too stubborn to admit I was scared. I had nightmares for days and to this day, I have not rewatched it.

But I came back to Lynch, many years later, during my freshman year of university, with Mulholland Drive. I had no idea what I was about to encounter, but I knew the moment the man started telling his dream at the cafe, that another nightmare filled sleep awaited me. After the film, I went online immediately, as I’m guessing many people do after seeing Mulholland Drive, searching for some explanations. What does it all mean? There were pages and pages of theories, each one making as much sense as the other. I went to sleep, confused and afraid of something I could not name. So I went back, again and again, first to Mulholland, then to his other films, to name what it was that made me feel so afraid, so anxious, and unable to move. I’ve wondered why that fear I felt after watching his films stayed with me longer than any other horror. Why the horrors that made me jump and scream left my mind very shortly, while the word “silencio” is still enough to make me shiver. Why can’t I still watch The Elephant Man, despite not remembering a single shot from the film?

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