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  • High Life

    High Life

    ★★

    In the post-mortem discussion surrounding his divisive 2004 essay "Flesh & Blood", James Quandt remarks without much enthusiasm on the infectious spread of the New French Extremity classifier. Today, even official biographies of Claire Denis refer to her as one of the movement's "representatives", a taxonomic choice that Quandt rejects both as reductionism and as a moot point given the NFE's waning influence in recent years. Unfortunately, it seems Denis has bought into the oversimplification wholesale, in a film whose future quotes too much from the past to reveal anything about the present.

  • Liminals

    Liminals

    I'm puzzled by critical reactions to Liminals, most of which frame the short by alluding to the satirical. (Jaclyn Bruneau calls it a "parody of past and present mindfulness crazes"; Chloe Stead says the film "alternately mock[s] or patronize[s] its subjects".) Sure, the way the characters flail about physically and intellectually in search of higher consciousness, the faux-ethnographic narration, and the looks-like-16mm-on-DCP aesthetic seem like a wink at the audience. Taken alone, these features are certainly typical of satire.

    But…

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