Feature Thousand Words

Thousand Words: How to be a Human Being (Ikiru, 1952)

The first shot in Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru shows an X-ray. A voiceover reveals that this is the stomach of Watanabe, the film’s central figure, who is terminally ill with stomach cancer. An ordinary man suddenly confronted with death and the futility of his existence, he is desperately trying to find a meaning in life. Kurosawa […]

Feature Screengem

Screengem: Maureen’s Mobile Phone in Personal Shopper (Olivier Assayas, 2016)

Nothing can distract from the audience’s cinema experience more than a mobile phone. But in his exquisitely enigmatic, always intelligent and creepy-as-hell Personal Shopper, Olivier Assayas uses this most modern of blank tablets, this smallest of small screens, to ramp up the tension within the big screen – bit by bit, message by message. Kristen […]

Feature Four Frames

Four Frames: Oslo, August 31st (Joachim Trier, 2011)

Norwegian filmmaker Joachim Trier’s humanism is most profoundly and movingly on display in his 2011 feature Oslo, August 31st. The film chronicles a day in the life of Anders (Anders Danielsen Lee), a recovering drug addict who is permitted a short leave from rehab for a job interview. Trier follows his protagonist as he reconnects […]