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by Alex Engquist

by Alex Engquist Film Horizon Line

Lady Bird | Greta Gerwig

Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig’s solo directorial debut (she co-directed 2008’s Nights and Weekends with Joe Swanberg), demonstrates a casual mastery of filmmaking, intuitively changing emotional registers—something essential to the teenage experience, and that is sorely lacking from most movies made about teenagers. One moment Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson (Saoirse…

December 1, 2017
Before We Vanish by Alex Engquist Film

Thelma | Joachim Trier

Ominous portents abound from the first moments of Joachim Trier’s Thelma: the film opens with the unsettling sight of a man pointing a hunting rifle at his daughter’s head. The man doesn’t pull the trigger, and whatever compelled him to consider doing so is left unexplained.…

November 10, 2017
by Alex Engquist Film Horizon Line

The Square | Ruben Östlund

At the start of Ruben Östlund’s The Square, arrogant Stockholm museum curator Christian (Claes Bang) is preparing to unveil a new installation pinned on a large neon square that the artist has placed in the concrete outside the museum. The Square “is a sanctuary of…

October 27, 2017
Before We Vanish by Alex Engquist Film

Signature Move | Jennifer Reeder

Jennifer Reeder’s feature debut is a brisk, charming story of asserting one’s identity in the midst of cultural expectations. Zaynab (the charismatic Fawzia Mirza) works as a lawyer for the Pakistani-American community of Chicago while her recently widowed mother, Parveen (Shabana Azmi), sits at home…

October 13, 2017
Before We Vanish by Alex Engquist Film

Autumn, Autumn | Jang Woo-jin

In this modest second feature, Jang Woo-jin demonstrates a canny eye for separations between people and within space and time. Autumn, Autumn tells two stories neatly partitioned by a title card 35 minutes in, both originating from strangers sitting together on a train from Seoul to…

September 29, 2017
by Alex Engquist Film

Happiness | Sabu

In the latest from Japanese cult actor/director Sabu, a stranger named Kanzaki (Masatoshi Nagase, perhaps most familiar to American audiences from Jim Jarmusch’s Mystery Train) arrives in a morose village with a device he calls a “happiness helmet,” which allows the wearer to instantly…

July 19, 2017
by Alex Engquist Film

Soul Mate | Derek Tsang

Derek Tsang’s Soul Mate seems an odd choice for a Summer 2017 festival; it was already released in both China and the U.S. as recently as last fall, to much acclaim and considerable box office. Still, it’s hard to fault anyone for programming this decade-spanning melodrama…

July 12, 2017
by Alex Engquist Retrospective

The Land of Hope | Sion Sono

Only in a filmography as stylistically restless and formally anarchic as Sion Sono’s would a somber family drama like The Land of Hope be considered a radical departure. Made in the aftermath of the Tohoku earthquake and ensuing Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster of 2011, Sono’s film…

August 23, 2016
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