by Sam C. Mac

#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
#PopRocks by Sam C. Mac Music

4Minute | Crazy

That South Korean girl group 4Minute started 2015 with a self-conscious “revamp” of their brand isn’t surprising, since this kind of maneuver is seen often in the landscape of K-pop. Just as the recent evolutionary timeline of the region’s popular music represents a condensed version of…

February 11, 2015
#KickingtheCanon by Sam C. Mac Music

Iris DeMent | My Life

Defined by no genre so much as she is her deep roots in Arkansas, and an uneasiness toward her Pentecostal upbringing, Iris DeMent is still more-often-than-not filed under country, thanks to an affected twang (she left the south at age three) and to her music’s distinctly blue-collar…

January 16, 2015
In Review | Online film and music criticism