Javier

Writer. Literary translator. Coffee lover.

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  • Alice's Restaurant

    Alice's Restaurant

    In the Sixties, part of the Counterculture quietly and honestly set out to build something new and lasting... only to find the very idea of building and prospering fundamentally at odds with their temperament. Transience was a big part of the Counterculture appeal: this movie suggests it was also its fatal flaw. Arthur Penn's mix of proto-Wes Anderson irony and folk lyricism may not entirely work, but it's a valuable record (and product) of its time. Penn seems to have sensed the curtains already closing in on "free love".

  • Zabriskie Point

    Zabriskie Point

    Antonioni dropping ennui for embarrassment. Fraudulent as it is, it remains a kind of fascinating cross-cultural document of its time. The United States are the root of all evil in this film, and it's not just the obvious capitalist evil of old men planning to extend their businesses into the desert. (That would be "facile"). Small-town America is infected, too. To demonstrate it, a gang of 8-year-old children try to rape the heroine, who flees in terror. And though Antonioni…

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  • Parasite

    Parasite

    ★★★★

    Spectacular shape-shifting satire on modern-day capitalism. (Poetic that it should not come from the West). Trespassing isn’t just the film’s delicious central concept: it’s Bong Joon-ho’s defining gift as an artist. Genre rules assume different functions in his films: events that pass for “plot twists” are actually jolts in tone revealing underlying truths.

    Sliding from the cramped to the spacious, PARASITE has been architecturally thought out. This isn't some Marxist class war: it's a struggle for vital breathing space. Astutely,…

  • La Belle Noiseuse

    La Belle Noiseuse

    ★★★★★

    The genius of Jacques Rivette's LA BELLE NOISEUSE lies in the rebellion of the muse. Michel Piccoli is the retired artist who chose the comfort of life outside the canvas: life without the all-consuming nature of creation. A secluded villa is his entire world. Enter Emmanuelle Béart who makes his castle of tranquility come crumbling down. He becomes an artist again: she is to be the object of his final masterpiece. We watch as her flesh bends, squats, and kneels…