by Zach Lewis

#StreamingScene by Zach Lewis Film

Zama | Lucrecia Martel

November 19, 2018
Zama

Antonio di Benedetto’s novel, Zama, is renowned for its simplicity, with most paragraphs a mere sentence in length; Lucrecia Martel’s film adaptation is full of detail. Where di Benedetto cuts descriptions short (even principal characters are dubbed “mulatto”), Martel fills every extended shot with sumptuous color and soundscapes. And where, at every point, di Benedetto skirts realism with blunt mystical phenomena, Martel builds surreality out of unexplained shifts in tone and volatile pacing.…

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by Zach Lewis Retrospective

The Day After | Hong Sang-soo

October 26, 2018
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Hong Sang-soo‘s first black-and-white film since 2011’s The Day He Arrives (which is indeed quite a while, considering the rate at which he works), The Day After comes at a time when Hong’s films have garnered unprecedented levels of attention. Veteran festivalgoers are by now plenty familiar with Hong’s set-ups and punchlines, and neophytes have at least heard of what to expect. Hong can’t even prevent his private life — specifically, his affair with actress Kim Min-hee…

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by Zach Lewis Retrospective

Bad Film | Sion Sono

August 24, 2016
Bad Film

Despite its 2012 release, Bad Film captures a Sion Sono before he reached international acclaim; before his particular brand of otaku-influenced action films; and before his unabashed revelry in exhibitionism and voyeurism. It was filmed back in the mid-’90s, way before Sono’s breakout Suicide Club, and not finished until after his critical success Love Exposure, in 2011. This allowed a wizened Sono to collect fragments (roughly 150 hours) of his earlier activist years and turn them into either a diary of a particular…

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#KickingtheCanon by Zach Lewis Music

Miles Davis | In A Silent Way

May 8, 2015
Miles Davis

Though lauded today for lending traction in the then up-and-coming genre of jazz fusion, In a Silent Way was received as heresy on its release. Miles Davis’s most recent album, Filles de Kilimanjaro, had been recognized by jazz critics as a tour-de-force for its abstract, bluesy riffs and staunch refusal to make any rhythm danceable. But imagine…

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#KickingtheCanon by Zach Lewis Film

Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles | Chantal Akerman

April 6, 2015
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The title, Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, gives away this film’s clinical fascination with the everyday by defining the central character only by where she lives. With about as much narrative as Michael Snow’s Wavelength, director Chantal Akerman creates a static portrait of two days in the life of a widowed Belgian housewife, but “ordinary” would be a tricky descriptor here  —  most of her activities (and most of the film’s nearly-four hour runtime)…

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#KickingtheCanon by Zach Lewis Film

Sátántangó | Bela Tarr

February 23, 2015
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Sátántangó’s very first shot set the stage for everything director Béla Tarr would make, what international festival directors would seek to imitate, and a developmental period for what would come to be colloquially known as “slow cinema.” Before this colossal seven-and-a-half-hour long trudge through the political manifestation of evil in rural Hungary, Tarr directed Cassavetes-like chamber dramas. He reached a formalist experimental phase with 1988’s Damnation, and its gradual…

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#KickingtheCanon by Zach Lewis Music

Thelonious Monk Quartet | Monk’s Dream

February 6, 2015
AA

When first stumbling my way through the world of jazz, falling in love with Thelonious Monk seemed only natural. His choices from note to note are ubiquitous, each carrying his signature; they tend to sound wrong at first, then fit just right during the refrain. Listening to Thelonious Monk’s recordings in the 21st century, then, reveals both a…

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#KickingtheCanon by Zach Lewis Film

A Brighter Summer Day | Edward Yang

January 21, 2014
brighter

Edward Yang has often been lumped in with the “slow cinema” of his Taiwanese compatriot, Hou Hsiao-hsien. And it’s true that Yang’s 2000 film, Yi Yi, moves quite slowly, basking in wide shots and long takes, and impressing upon the viewer a deliberate, contemplative tempo. But that film represents a logical maturation of the relatively livelier A Brighter Summer Day, Yang’s 1991 magnum opus. This four-hour film revolves around the misadventures that lead to the first juvenile…

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