Favorite films

  • Sacrificed Youth
  • Letter Never Sent
  • Beau Travail
  • Cameraperson

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  • Life on Earth

    ★★★

  • Lee Jang-ho's Baseball Team

    ★½

  • Chasing Amy

    ★★★

  • A Bigger Splash

    ★★★½

Recent reviews

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  • Life on Earth

    Life on Earth

    ★★★

    ‘Life on earth’ is a heavy topic for a debut feature to handle, let alone in 60 minutes; but then, Abderrahmane Sissako has never limited himself to conventional bounds of cinematic ambition. This has so much in common with his 2002 follow-up, Waiting for Happiness, that they should be regarded as companion pieces – what Sissako seems to be going for is a wry observation on the unstable paradoxes of identity in the context of turn-of-the-millennium globalisation (the film is…

  • Lee Jang-ho's Baseball Team

    Lee Jang-ho's Baseball Team

    ★½

    So the anecdote goes: director Lee Jang-ho was so disgusted by the constraints of censorship in the early 80s that he resolved to make a film so unwatchable that it would end his career: an act of elaborate artistic self-sabotage. Surprise! Declaration of Idiot was a huge success, and has endured as Lee’s best-remembered work. The sceptic in me questions whether that story was not embellished in retrospect, but in any event it reveals something about his mindset and 80s…

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  • Beau Travail

    Beau Travail

    ★★★★★

    March Around the World 2021 - #18: France

    Prefacing this review with a confession: that famous ending was the first part of Beau Travail that I saw. That is not the way I prefer to discover movies – in fact, I would usually consider it ‘cheating’ – but I came across it in passing, via Marc Cousins’ The Story of Film: An Odyssey (I know opinions divide on that series; for me, it was a fount of cinephilic inspiration). It…

  • Boat People

    Boat People

    ★★★

    The story behind Boat People is fascinating: it was shot in Hainan, becoming the first Hong Kong production to film in mainland China, with the permission of a PRC government that had recently fought a war with Vietnam, and was therefore eager to capitalise on anti-Vietnamese propaganda. It's a reconstructed vision of the country in 1978, based on refugee accounts and comprehended through the eyes of an outsider, both literally and figuratively - the protagonist, a Japanese photographer, is an…