Mindhunter: American psychos

mindhunter

[…] While both Seven and Zodiac in large part chronicled the chase for active serial killers, Mindhunter focuses mostly on criminals who are already behind bars. Instead of trying to catch up with murderers on the run, agents Ford, Tench and Carr can calmly interview them, focusing not on the act of killing itself, but on its possible causes or explanations. As such, and unlike most other shows or films on the subject, Mindhunter directly points at the contrast between the savage, seemingly primal and random nature of the killings, and the organisational skills and rationality of the murderer. The fact that a person could be both so logical and so monstrous is at the heart of our fascination for serial murder.

Full piece on the BFI website

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The Intruder – review

the intruder

[…] One reason why this new wave of thrillers is so pleasurable is that the dynamic the films explore is inherently amusing. Some nice people are very nice to each other, until one party starts being too nice. The Intruder succeeds in making this scenario less blatantly paranoid and misanthropic than it often appears, streamlining Charlie’s escalating madness in a more realistic fashion. It also helps that Quaid, showing remarkable dedication to the role, jumps effortlessly between magnanimous old fool and evil, psychotic predator, across the film’s swift runtime. His vibrantly red MAGA-esque cap, sweaty white skin and WASPish predilection for hunting and chintzy home decor add a frisson of subversion to proceedings.

Full review on Little White Lies

Strange days of 1999: Hollywood’s millennial anxieties

 

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[…] Anxiety is certainly present in the modern blockbuster, but it is more apparent as the hidden force guiding the decisions of an industry struggling to recoup costs. In the 90s, and in 1999 most of all, anxiety was directly on the screen.

At first glance, this angst seems to be an everyday, rather mundane kind of frustration and anguish, and it is striking just how often it takes the exact same form: a story of a middle-aged man struggling to stay sane working a boring office job he despises. There is the unnamed narrator from David Fincher’s Fight Club; magazine executive Lester Burnham in Sam Mendes’ American Beauty; file clerk Craig Schwartz in Spike Jonze’s Being John Malkovich; computer programmer Thomas Anderson in the Wachowskis’ The Matrix; even Patrick Bateman in Mary Harron’s American Psycho. All these men are bored to their core by the drudgery of jobs which do not require any particular talent, do not engage their hearts or their personality and could be done just as well by somebody else. As the unnamed narrator from Fight Club explains: “Everything is a copy of a copy of a copy.”

Full piece on the BFI website

Alaa Eddine Aljem on his feature debut The Unknown Saint

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[…] 7R: I imagine The Unknown Saint is very written, because it is so precise. But did anything change while you were shooting? 

Alaa Eddine Aljem: I’m a bit of a maniac about preparations, so the film was very scripted. It took three years to write. And I had travelled everywhere with the script, worked with lots of people on it. During the preparation, we, of course, went scouting for locations. We built practically all the sets — the village, etc. We drew them, then built them, then we made the whole film with pictures: 821 shots, with stand-ins for the actors. Then we rehearsed it all with the actors.

Full interview on Seventh Row

Maxime Giroux discusses The Great Darkened Days

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[…] 7R: Do you like to do something different with every film?

MG: After Félix and Meira, I wanted to make a film that would be less subtle where I could have more fun with the cinematographic form. In The Great Darkened Days, it almost feels like we’re in a B movie, after a while — a genre film. As the story progresses, we come closer to the genre film, and closer to the violence that, in a way, characterises Hollywood. Then, at the end, we return to something more contemplative, which is more of the realm of auteur cinema. I wanted to play with cinema. It was really important for me.

I also chose this aesthetic because Hollywood has always been hand in hand with American capitalism and the American Dream. It’s with that dream that they managed to sell us the way of life we have today and which they continue to sell. Except that now, it’s not only America selling it, it’s the entire world. But it still comes from Hollywood. Even if it’s not cinema, then it’s Netflix, it’s the music, it’s everything — and it remains the American Dream.

Full interview on Seventh Row

Midsommar review

midsommar

[…] A group of gullible, overconfident young Americans in a place too beautiful to be true and without signal? Anyone can see where this is going (folk horror classic The Wicker Man is an obvious reference). But the film appears predictable on purpose, leaving countless clues waiting to be picked up — suggesting that, as opposed to Hereditary where the ending was a rather unexpected surprise, in Midsommar, the journey is the destination.

Full review on SciFiNow

No Fear, No Die: an interview with Claire Denis

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[…] When you write films about marginalised characters, do you go to meet them? Do you already know them?

I generally know them a little already. I know them because in my life it’s always been like this. Maybe because I didn’t grow up in France, but also because my mother’s family is from the Amazon, from the north of Brazil, and my father was born in Bangkok. I always had this feeling that we were in the ‘wide world’ [‘le vaste monde’ in French]. The ‘wide world’ is a sentimental expression that isn’t just to say that, yes, the world is big. It is about how everyone has the right to realise the existence and the extent of this wide world. To appreciate it. You just have to walk.

Full interview on the BFI website

Waad Al-Kateab and Edward Watts on their doc For Sama

For Sama twitter

[…] 7R: When did you decide to have voice-over in the film? Was this something that you had thought about early on?

Wa-K: We wanted to reach the people both outside and inside Aleppo, and for a lot of things, there was no need for voice-over on that. It was very clear from the footage. But there were also things that the footage alone couldn’t say.

EW: Our sense was that, as you watch the film, you feel like you are Waad. The camera looks down at her feet and her hands reach out. People look right down the barrel of the lens while they’re talking. The voice-over was another way of bringing that human dimension. You knew Waad; you knew what was going through her mind; you were inside her head, literally, looking out.

Full interview on Seventh Row