a page of madness

film writing by nicholas vroman

Best Films of the Year – 2017

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Das unmögliche Bild / The Impossible Picture

D. Sandra Wollner

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Sandra Wollner’s debut feature talks of movies, family and national histories, the acts of creation and revelation. Seems she wandered off from Paris, Texas and found herself in  a different and more interesting place than Wim Wenders and Sam Shepard.

Fajr

Lois Patiño

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Lois Patiño continues his investigations of man and his relationship to the landscape. This installation/short film invokes silence, moods and mysteries that ground Patiño in a formalist humanism akin to Kiarostami.

Visages, villages / Faces Places

D. Agnes Varda, JR

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Agnes Varda and JR traverse France doing a bit of a photo op, but creating spontaneous art, bringing people together, and developing and building bonds – something which Godard seems to have forgotten about.

Downsizing

Alexander Payne

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Alexander Payne takes a deep – and bitterly humorous – journey into a little world, reflecting on big issues, and creating, finally, a male character who manages to take a tiny step into a bit of self-realization and positive action. A small step for a man. A giant leap for Alexander Payne.

The Square

D. Ruben Östlund

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What was promoted as a facile put-down of the pretentiousness of the art world brings into finer focus the compromises, the cynicism, the vapidity of buttering up to the 1% for the to keep culture alive. From confrontation (Terry Notary’s and Ruben Östlund’s brilliantly performed, choreographed, and edited sequence) to The Square itself – the simple, quiet peice that stands at the moral center of the movie, Östlund cleverly and cogently speaks to pressing issues of our time.

Montañas ardientes que vomitan fuego / Burning mountains that spew flame

D. Helena Girón, Samuel M. Delgado

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Robert Smithson had some ideas of what underground cinema should be. Helena Girón and Samuel M. Delgado make it manifest in their brilliant film that fuses history, geology, mythology and more in their igneous approach to cinema.

Montañas ardientes que vomitan fuego / Burning mountains that spew flame (Trailer) from Samuel M. Delgado on Vimeo.

Ark

D. Lynn Siefert

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Lynn Siefert’s counterpoint to Mauro Herce’s Dead Slow Ahead shows the other side of dead end capitalism at sea. Rather than the deadening beauty of the dystopian supply world of Herce’s masterpiece, Siefert captures dystopian consumption as the world comes to end – and it’s just as beautiful and banal.

方繡英 / Fang Xiuying/ Mrs. Fang

D. Wang Bing

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Wang Bing’s Mrs. Fang works its slow, burrowing depth concentrating on the face of dying. Isn’t that what cinema ultimately is? Death in motion? As Mrs. Fang dies and Bing unflinchingly makes us watch her sad passing, the world, her family continue on in cliched ritual. The sadness runs deep.

Nuevo Altar / New Altar

D. Velasco Broca

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The devil probably? The devil definitely in Velasco Broca’s twisted Gnostic parable. The probable heir to Buñuel, Velasco Broca is the only real surrealist working in cinema today.

Get Out

D. Jordan Peale

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I add this, not because it’s a great movie – the ending falls into some predictable and cliched turns. No, I add this because it’s a great movie and Jordan Peele deserves all the accolades and more that have come his way.

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Written by Nicholas Vroman

January 7, 2018 at 6:17 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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