Eva has written 16 reviews for films rated ★★★★★ during 2019.

  • The Blair Witch Project

    The Blair Witch Project

    ★★★★★

    on the violent impositions of movie-making, the mere force of a video camera's gaze enough to draw out a hidden evil in the placidity of an essentially anonymous landscape. baffled that anyone could watch this and demand less talking, less arguing, because honestly there's nothing more purely dread-inducing here than the pointless circumambulations that people engage in when they're terrified and have no fucking clue what they're doing. the terror is built with negative space, visually and narratively, the absences…

  • Vitalina Varela

    Vitalina Varela

    ★★★★★

    Costa continues the transformation he began to effect on his own cinema in Horse Money, reshaping the slums of Lisbon from a realistically understood and concretized space into an oneiric nightmare suspended in the inhospitable threshold between the trauma of history and the myriad personal traumas of the dispossessed residents. shoddy cement structures rise like crooked tombstones and reach into what seems to be an eternal darkness, while the lines between interior and exterior disintegrate, each building seemingly bleeding into…

  • The Hunger

    The Hunger

    ★★★★★

    iconographies preserved from without and decaying from within, a film of impeccable surfaces with something not-quite-human roiling underneath. slit my throat and bury me in montage, entomb me in images. Tony Scott imagines an alternate reality in which everyone is either beautiful or rotting and then collapses the distance between the two, raw sexual energy and the terror of growing old pulling and tearing at each other until we can no longer distinguish the desirable from the repulsive. if this isn’t great cinema then there’s no such thing

  • Femme Fatale

    Femme Fatale

    ★★★★★

    De Palma goes to Europe and, for the first time, gets really interested in metaphysics: the nature and transference of souls, the encroaching inhumanity of the image as tool and telos, salvation through chance and meaningless structural coincidence. seven years later and no time has passed at all, instead it feels like a different movie collided with this one and some tiny crucial piece got lost in the confusion (but it is wonderfully, gorgeously regained in a dream). some of…

  • Ritual

    Ritual

    ★★★★★

    ”are we still dreaming a dream?”

    (begins with inhuman (but almost organic) churning machinery at the outskirts of an urban space)
    watching this feels like two hours of gasping for air; an excess of style to cover up the enervation of a human soul. on exploiting another’s loneliness to reassure your own. the explicit body horror of Evangelion’s vision of machine-human hybridity is traded in for a subtler dependence, warmth and humanity emerging from indifferent urban architecture and discarded consumer…

  • Femmes femmes

    Femmes femmes

    ★★★★★

    women left behind by the world (and by art) performing their lives long after they’ve ceased to be able to live them. ambient decay and spilled wine, a doctor who looks sicker than his patients and a mother left with a headless doll to raise in place of a daughter. headshots of actresses line the walls, their gazes averted such that they might appear demure in another context, but Vecchiali’s intercutting uncovers something vulnerable and embittered underneath the layers of…

  • Rosa la Rose, Public Girl

    Rosa la Rose, Public Girl

    ★★★★★

    Rosa’s unbelievable radiance first appears as something almost holy, as if her presence alone projects a gossamer webbing of social and erotic forces that might bind together the community around her (at her party she sits at the center of the table in a nearly static, Last Supper-esque tableau), but, if she is a lynchpin, then this fact necessarily affixes her to her role, dehumanizing Rosa even as it would seem to elevate her. when Julien tosses her on the…

  • Prince of Darkness

    Prince of Darkness

    ★★★★★

    divine revelation is inscribed in unicode; angels speak through the language of differential equations. prophetic nightmares are recorded in shaky videotape and disseminated through disbelieved dreams. Carpenter unearths the sublime gothic excess beneath the stultifying beige of urban sprawl, and, in doing so, reveals the secret evil kept in the flesh of men. insects work away at the edges of the world, tiny extant forms of decay amassing into something terrifying and cataclysmic. a man is nothing more than a…

  • The Hour of the Furnaces

    The Hour of the Furnaces

    ★★★★★

    this is essential cinema. to call The Hour of the Furnaces didactic is to perform a major act of misreading, ripping it out of its historical context, wherein the film was engaged in a dialogic/dialectical conversation with the workers and revolutionaries for whom it was made (hell, this is explicitly stated in the intertitles and the voiceover). the people who demand a more thorough stylization also seem patently wrongheaded to me: the talking heads here represent the necessary self-definition of…

  • Twin Peaks: The Return

    Twin Peaks: The Return

    ★★★★★

    What makes Lynch so fascinating is that he’s a conservative whose aesthetic tendencies (unerring empathy for/centering of his female characters, a proclivity for exploring dysphoric relationships between persons and their bodies/bodies and the world, and an affinity for the cynical epistemology of the noir) constantly undermine his nostalgic and otherwise regressive gestures. Nowhere is that more apparent than in The Return, a colossal moral reckoning with the willful failure of each and every available institution (cultural/political/social) to reckon with trauma.…

  • A Star Is Born

    A Star Is Born

    ★★★★★

    hollywood abstraction pushed far past its origin as commodity, and then further still past even the limits of spectacle, until it reaches something new and almost unbearably expressive. there's nothing quite like seeing this in a 35mm print on a large screen. one of the very greatest films.

  • The Last of England

    The Last of England

    ★★★★★

    "the world's curling up like an autumn leaf, the storms are getting ready to blow it into the final winter. can't you feel the days are getting shorter?"

    from what pit of absolutely frothing anger and unity of vision does one create something like this absurdly gorgeous queer nightmare-cum-death rattle of empire and conservative tradition? not a eulogy for a lost memory of england, as others have mistaken it for, but rather a portent of the fires that will burn…