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by Alex Engquist

by Alex Engquist Film Streaming Scene

The Grand Bizarre | Jodie Mack

The first feature-length work from avant-garde filmmaker/animator/composer Jodie Mack defies easy categorization. The Grand Bizarre is a sort of musical (like her Yard Work Is Hard Work and Dusty Stacks of Mom) in that Mack’s rhythmic editing is synchronized with her original synth-pop score,…

by Alex Engquist Film Streaming Scene

Hanagatami | Nobuhiko Obayashi

“Seen through the wrong end of a telescope, an ordinary scene becomes an ancient story. No, it’s not nostalgia! It’s heartache for all that’s lost.” This quote from Kazuo Dan’s 1937 novel Hanagatami, a coming-of-age story set in a coastal village during Japan’s pre-WWII invasions…

by Alex Engquist Film Streaming Scene

Occidental | Neïl Beloufa

The first feature from French-Algerian visual artist Neïl Beloufa is an odd hybrid of comic arthouse thriller and Brechtian installation piece. Set in a shabby 1970s-chic Parisian hotel, in present day — with protestors facing off against riot police outside in the street — Occidental immediately establishes its atmosphere…

by Alex Engquist Foreign Correspondent Music

Alex Anwandter | Latinoamericana

Chilean alt-pop auteur Alex Anwandter’s 2016 triumph Amiga channeled queer defiance into both ecstatic dance music (its first half) and reflective balladry (its second). Anwandter’s new album, Latinoamericana, draws equally on the colonialist past and the nationalist present for a cohesive portrait of a new…

by Alex Engquist Retrospective

On the Beach at Night Alone | Hong Sang-soo

On the Beach at Night Alone is Hong Sang-soo’s most sensitive character study since Nobody’s Daughter Haewon, and in the context of his relationship with lead actress Kim Min-hee — and the ensuing tabloid-fueled scandal their affair caused — it’s also Hong’s most self-questioning…

Before We Vanish by Alex Engquist Film

Milla | Valérie Massadian

Valérie Massadian’s follow-up to her acclaimed (and still undistributed) 2011 debut Nana is precisely controlled, but without ever resorting to a clinical distance from its subject. Massadian’s form remains as expressive as it is austere, conjuring small wonders out of fluctuations in natural light and…

by Alex Engquist Film

Hit the Night | Jeong Ga-young

Jeong Ga-young’s Hit the Night has drawn comparisons to the films of Hong Sang-soo, likely because it features a lot of drinking, even more talking, and a relationship between a man and woman that is awkward, ambiguous, and steeped in cinema. The major distinction…

by Alex Engquist Film

Liverleaf | Eisuke Naito

A transfer student targeted by classmates in her small, rural town exacts hyperbolically gory vengeance in Liverleaf, Eisuke Naito’s adaptation of a cult-horror manga by Rensuke Oshikiri. Haruka (Anna Yamada) endures the relentless cruelty of a group of girls, led by the orange-bobbed Taeko…

In Review | Online film and music criticism