MERRY CHRISTMAS[,] MR. LAWRENCE (Nagisa Oshima, 1983)

Nagisa Oshima, surpassed in Japanese cinema only by Yasujiro Ozu, tends to make movies that are exceptionally harsh and violent; even so, one is not prepared for the cruelty on display in Merry Christmas[,] Mr. Lawrence, Oshima’s adaptation of Afrikaner novelist Laurens Van der Post’s The Seed and the Sower, about cultural and other collisions […]

SHIRIN (Abbas Kiarostami, 2008)

Powerful, mesmerizing, intermittently electrifying, Iran’s Abbas Kiarostami’s Shirin shows us, another audience, an audience watching another film, one that we only hear—like a radio drama, with dialogue, human and animal sounds, sound effects, music—from start to finish. We see more than a hundred audience members reacting to it—reactions that projectively become our own.      We watch […]