The phrase ahead of its time is a problematic one, as it is premised on the idea that any given time has a single defining attribute. Applied to The King of Comedy it’s even trickier—have we really caught up with Scorsese and De Niro’s film?
In a moment when documentary film seems back under the thrall of all things cinema vérité, How to Smell a Rose is a terrific reminder that vérité is not merely the avoidance of interviewing subjects on camera, the eschewal of tripods and lighting, or acting the proverbial “fly on the wall.”
Mathieu Amalric’s fourth feature loyally and effectively adapts George Simenon’s heart-dagger of a novel, retaining its scrambled chronology, as well as its carefully scattered evidence, red herrings, turnabouts, and subjective perspectives on a murder that makes the plot go round.
Because the phrase “Oscar noms” makes me want to rest my weary head in the nearest oven, I spent a healthy portion of my time at TIFF in the Kingdom of Wavelengths, amid films facing no threat of further laurels.
The film is something of a paean to the value and power of the editor—not just as a figure who helps writers communicate their ideas in clear sentences, but as one who shapes the overall voice, tone, and concerns of a publication over time.
Let us assume for an instant that perhaps Cronenberg is fully aware his satire is stale, that his critique of contemporary Hollywood lacks trenchancy. So what, then is Maps to the Stars up to? Is it an honest portrait of a family laid low by Hollywood’s dream machine?
By its nature, 3D only functions if the apparatus used to record its images and the human eyes there to receive those images all work in tandem. What happens, Goodbye to Language wonders, when even that breaks down, yet the pretense of 3D remains?
The multiple cameras grant the viewer a privileged access to the stage from every possible angle except the perspective of the audience. This creates a filmic space in which we are united with those who create the music, yet are separated from those who listen to it.
As Manny Farber helpfully pointed out, “a film cannot exist outside of its spatial form.” But La Sapienza takes space as its literal subject, how the environments we build for ourselves, either architecturally or emotionally, create room for the known and the unknown.
It’s worth wondering, since the protagonists of certain musicals seem to share Jimmy’s dream of establishing this perfect balance, whether the musical, too, is somewhat allergic to the idea of marriage as a sustained habit of life rather than as a grand romantic finale.
In order to amplify Bickle’s tortured psyche and intimate his prejudices without verbalizing them, Scorsese consistently traffics in images of black males as hostile beings, perhaps in part to put his own spin on the urban landscape routinely depicted in the blaxploitation films of the early 1970s.