FLIGHT OF THE RED BALLOON (Hou Hsiao-hsien, 2007)

Seven-year-old Simon’s communion with it, and his attempt to get a tiny grip on it, precede a red balloon’s ascension to the Paris skies. Thereafter, at liberty, it becomes a floating cherry moon possibly safeguarding the child, passing by windows and punctuating his childhood with its gracious presence. Simon does not see it, although his […]

ELITE SQUAD (José Padhila, 2007)

José Padilha’s lacerating Tropa de Elite, which took the top prize at Berlin, studies the mind of BOPE (Special Police Operations Battalion) officer Nascimento. We hear his recollective voiceover. Nascimento (meaning, in Portuguese, birth), an officially sanctioned torturer and terrorist, possesses a flat, affectless voice that claims moral purity; superior, Nascimento equates “thugs”—drug lords and […]