2 items from 2016
This was a busy year at Tiff, where I was a juror for Fipresci, helping to award a prize for best premiere in the Discovery section. Not only did this mean that some other films had to take a back burner—sadly, I did not see Eduardo Williams’ The Human Surge—but my writing time was a bit compromised as well. Better late than never? That is for you, Gentle Reader, to decide.Austerlitz (Sergei Loznitsa, Germany)So basic in the telling—a record of several days’ worth of visitors mostly to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Oranienberg, Germany—Austerlitz is a film that in many ways exemplifies the critical theory of Theodor Adorno and Walter Benjamin. What is the net effect for humanity when, faced with the drive to remember the unfathomable, we employ the grossly inadequate tools at our disposal?Austerlitz takes its name from W. G. Sebald’s final novel. »
Time is an elastic element in the cinema of Lav Diaz — not just in the sprawling, searching spread of his films’ historical purview, but the liberal, some might say liberated, scale of the films themselves. Weighing in at 228 minutes, a restrained runtime by the Filipino director’s standards, “The Woman Who Left” is more contained than much of his work: Its personal and political concerns converge powerfully in the story of one woman, reacquainting herself with her socially ravaged homeland after unjustly spending 30 years in the slammer. At the same time, the film’s deliberately rambling heft evokes the lingering, far-reaching sorrow of an entire nation. That doesn’t entirely quell the sense of strong material being over-extended, particularly in a murky middle stretch, but this occasionally transcendent opus finds Diaz’s formal powers — not least his own incisive monochrome lensing — at full strength.
A filmmaker who sees no harm »
- Guy Lodge
2 items from 2016
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