Film of the Week: Once Were Warriors

It’d be wrong to call Once Were Warriors a plight of New Zealand’s Maori people. Such a description would not only be demeaning but also trivialize the film’s rich portrayal of complex social systems. The story concerns the daily trials and tribulations of the Heke family in South Auckland, New Zealand. Jake (Temuera Morrison), the … Continue reading Film of the Week: Once Were Warriors

Film of the Week: Pola X

In collaborating with one another, Leos Carax and Scott Walker prove they’re a match made in Heaven. Or perhaps more appropriately, Hell. Walker’s soundscape already conjures images reminiscent of Dante’s descent into the underworld. Just earlier this year, Godard employed Walker’s “Cossacks Are” to open The Image Book, establishing a nightmarish mood. Walker’s music, then, … Continue reading Film of the Week: Pola X

Film of the Week: Blackhat

Perhaps a cyberpunk film in a league of its own, Blackhat balances the thrills of an abstract digital world with its more tangible, human, and architectural counterpart. Unlike Mamoru Oshii’s Ghost in the Shell (1995) or the Wachowski siblings’ The Matrix (1999), there’s no philosophizing here. Instead, Mann highlights the relationship between the digital and … Continue reading Film of the Week: Blackhat

Film of the Week: Chameleon Street

Here’s a movie released thirty years ago that still puts its like-minded contemporaries to shame: Wendall B. Harris Jr.’s Chameleon Street (1989). Taking the Grand Jury Prize at the 1990 Sundance Film Festival, Chameleon Street seemed to be apocryphal for Black-American independent filmmaking, but history and those who control it would have otherwise. As Harris … Continue reading Film of the Week: Chameleon Street

Film of the Week: Fallen Angels

If you’ve never seen a Wong Kar-wai film, most people would recommend either Chungking Express (1994) or In the Mood for Love (2000). Neither choice is wrong, yet my personal favorite is Fallen Angels (1995). Fallen Angels serves as Chungking Express’ informal sequel, and as Kar-wai describes it, the main “character” in both these films … Continue reading Film of the Week: Fallen Angels

Film of the Week: Cowards Bend the Knee

Cowards Bend the Knee (2003) comes across as William Burroughs’s take on The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920). Like his fellow Canadian compatriot Cronenberg, Guy Maddin’s interests are also profane and experimental. Here, a star hockey player falls prey to amnesia and is manipulated into assassination. The details of the plot aren’t as interesting as … Continue reading Film of the Week: Cowards Bend the Knee

Film of the Week: Patlabor 2

Throughout Mamoru Oshii’s filmography there lies an interest in Japan’s political history. The end of World War II and its subsequent consequences serve as the nexus through which Oshii creates the alternate setting of his films. With Patlabor 2 (1993), Oshii questions the role of Japan’s military, the Japanese Self-Defense Force (JSDF), during times of … Continue reading Film of the Week: Patlabor 2