by Sam C. Mac

by Sam C. Mac Feature Articles Film Retrospective

Retrospective | Lou Ye: Every Face Is a Mask

May 13, 2019

After a first encounter, Chinese filmmaker Lou Ye seemed ripe for being written off as a Wong Kar-wai copycat — at best an adept craftsman of soft-focus, woozily shot images of beautiful men and women, bathed in shadow, moving kinetically through rain-streaked city streets. The film that suggested this was 2003’s Purple Butterfly, a quixotic, genre-inflected drama that immediately stood-out from the work of Lou’s Sixth Generation contemporaries by virtue of being a period piece. Set in Japanese-occupied Shanghai, in…

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#StreamingScene by Sam C. Mac Film

Red Amnesia | Wang Xiaoshuai

A leading light of China’s Sixth Generation movement, Wang Xiaoshuai was at the vanguard of a 1990s cinema that dared to grapple with the immediate aftermath of Tiananmen. Films like 1994’s The Days and 1997’s Frozen captured the fractured psyche of a generation that thought they were a…

December 3, 2018
#StreamingScene by Sam C. Mac Film

Let the Sunshine In | Claire Denis

Let the Sunshine In is an exquisite romantic comedy in part because its laughs are sad and its sadness is funny. Claire Denis isn’t a filmmaker to let the complexity of the human emotions she either captures physically, or insinuates psychologically, settle into easy…

October 26, 2018
#PopRocks by Sam C. Mac Music

M.I.A. | AIM

“Who said it was easy?/They can never stop we” sings the most put-upon recording artist of the last decade — an artist who’s never stopped pulling up her people even as she’s endured pop culture’s repeated persecutions. It’s from the last song on what…

September 29, 2016
by Luke Gorham by Sam C. Mac Retrospective

The Whispering Star | Sion Sono

While much of Sion Sono’s early-aughts filmography is littered with cycles of violence and horror—films that plumb the depths of a darkness seemingly inherent in humankind—the ever-ubiquitous director’s finest of a whopping five 2015 theatrical releases pointedly proffers a rejection of its post-human world. With The Whispering Star, Sono opts for…

September 2, 2016
by Matt Lynch by Sam C. Mac Festival Coverage Film

BAMcinemafest 2016

The Brooklyn Academy of Music kicked off its 2016 “cinemafest” this week, and as per usual it’s an eclectic showcase of international and domestic indies with an underdog spirit. This year especially seemed like a festival of gambles, from horror luminary Ti West trying his hand…

June 17, 2016
by Luke Gorham by Sam C. Mac Film

Where to Invade Next | Michael Moore

Where to Invade Next is really a whole bunch of different movies, but just about each one of them is incisive and humane. Michael Moore’s approach here is almost essayistic, allowing his new documentary’s constituent parts to fluidly integrate into a broader assessment of international cultural…

December 12, 2015
by Sam C. Mac Film

The Assassin | Hou Hsiao-hsien

At the core of Hou Hsiao-hsien’s cinema is a deep investment in the rift formed between an independent Taiwan and a possessive mainland China. Tender stories of unrequited romance (Three Times, Flowers of Shanghai) become bracingly political, and coming-of-age stories (The Boys from Feng Kuei, Millennium…

October 13, 2015
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