MESSIDOR (Alain Tanner, 1978)

Referencing the crime spree of two French teenaged girls, writer-director Alain Tanner’s dark, corrosive Messidor begins with an aerial tour whose gaze shifts upwards—to the soprano accompaniment of a Schubert song. Freedom; aspiration. Cut to Earth. Marie Corrençon, an 18-year-old Moudon shop clerk, looks out her window onto the street, the camera behind her; down […]

THE BANISHMENT (Andrei Zvyagintsev, 2007)

In Andrei Zvyagintsev’s suspenseful Izgnanie, from Armenian-American William Saroyan’s 1953 novel The Laughing Matter, there’s an overhead shot of five children, seated on a living-room floor, working together on an enormous jigsaw puzzle. Feverishly busy, their hands rush to complete the puzzle, which has a religious theme. While they are at work, a kitten slowly […]