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Relationships Between Humans and Nature in The Land of Hope

Shot a few months after the triple disaster that hit Japan’s Eastern Pacific Coast in March 2011 – an earthquake followed by a tsunami and core meltdowns in three reactors at the nuclear power plant in the Fukushima Prefecture – Sion Sono’s The Land of Hope (Kibo no kuni, Japan, 2012) addresses a great variety […]

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Four Frames: Mandy (Panos Cosmatos, 2018)

There are those convinced George Lucas only ever dreamed up Star Wars so he could sell spin-off toys to kids. And now, nine episodes in (is it nine? you tell me!), movie merchandise helps keep the commercial world a-spinning. Merch can be cool, though – the more unlikely it is, the more “cultish”, the cooler […]

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Four Frames: The Park family in Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite

The impoverished Kim family – father Ki-taek (Song Kang-ho), mother Chung-sook (Jang Hye-jin), daughter Ki-jung (Park So-dam) and son Ki-woo (Choi Woo-shik) – infiltrate one by one the household of the wealthy Parks. The Parks – father Dong-ik (Lee Sun-kyun), mother Yeon-gyo (Cho Yeo-jeong), daughter Da-hye (Jung  Ji-so) and son Da-song (Jung Hyeon-jun) – are […]

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Four Frames: Deliverance (John Boorman, 1972)

James Dickey’s novel opens with a map being unrolled. Disconcerting – “curling and snapping back whenever one of us turned it loose” – then, revealing – “All this in here will be blue … this whole valley will be under water.” John (Point Blank) Boorman’s movie version unveils the river itself through a curtain of […]

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Four Frames: Illuminating the Unexpected in The Half of It

In the plethora of coming-of-age movies that dominate the pop culture scene, teenagers are portrayed as glamorous and composed mini-adults. From as far back as High School Musical (2006) to as recent as To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (2018), teen romance often is depicted as shallow and picture-perfect, which is fine for audiences seeking a […]

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Four Frames: The Friends of Eddie Coyle (Peter Yates, 1973)

You’ve got to have friends. “Keep your friends close but your enemies closer.” We all need to know who our real friends are. “I trust Mr. Brown, I do not trust Mr. Grey.” Friends in high places. “Make him an offer he can’t refuse …” Crime film aficionados will recognise the lingo, and feel they […]

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Four Frames: Staring Into the Unknown in Bird Box

Susanne Bier’s Bird Box (2018) starts, like many horror-thriller movies, with a terrifying premise — a monster that gives the insane power and the innocent death. However, as the movie progresses, I have to wonder if the monster has a deeper meaning regarding the human psyche. Malorie (Sandra Bullock) refuses outside contact as she focuses on her artworks. […]

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Four Frames: The Lady Eve (Preston Sturges, 1941)

Shakespeare told us love is blind, although there are those who insist he stole it from Chaucer. It is Preston Sturges who reminds us of the truism in The Lady Eve (1941), a screwball constructed like a clever card trick that always comes up aces. That’s “screwball” as in “farcical romantic comedy” – Shakespeare also has […]

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Multiple identities in Lola and Bilidikid

In the first sequence of Kutlug Ataman’s Lola and Bilidikid (Lola und Bilidikid, Germany, 1999), a young man is walking in a park at night. Murat (Baki Davrak) – an expression of anxiety on his face, his body tense – has ventured into the darkness. The park is the huge Tiergarten in the middle of […]