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Sibling Subterfuge: Choi Woo-Shik and Park So-Dam on Parasite

Park So-Dam and Choi Woo-Shik in Parasite

Bong Joon Ho may have shifted his subject from genetically engineered super pigs (Okja) and setting from a speeding, class-stratified train (Snowpiercer), but it’d be wrong to assign his Palme d’Or winning Parasite to a new league of subtlety. That’s not a knock — vulgarity is the name of the game for this “Korean New Wave,” in which Bong, and now Parasite, have an evolving role. Bong’s metaphors have shrunk in size for his latest, but they’ve increased in number, becoming part of a loud, meta, and self-parodying dialogue. Ki-woo (Choi Woo-Shik), the son in Parasite‘s working-class family, interacts with the film’s metaphors most directly and is the only one that acknowledges them aloud. But every character here is an…  Read more

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Back to One, Episode 79: Tim Heidecker

I didn’t know if Tim Heidecker was going to show up for this interview, or if I was going to get his boorish, abusive, dim alter ego, Tim Heidecker. Luckily Tim Heidecker leaves Tim Heidecker in the On Cinema universe. That project he started with Gregg Turkington is comprised of an ongoing series called On Cinema at the Cinema, various spin-off series including The Trial of Tim Heidecker, special episodes, segments, tweets, songs, and now the feature film Mister America. In this half hour, I ask Heidecker to lift the hood on his performance style and the evolution of his comedy from the brilliantly absurd Awesome Show with Eric Wareheim, to the super subtle realism of Mister America. Back To…  Read more

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Shooting Shreveport at the Awards-Happy Prize Fest 2019

After Hurricane Katrina turned New Orleans into a wasteland, visiting film and television productions looked further north for their Louisiana gothic vibes. Over the years, the riverfront city of Shreveport, with a population of some 260,000 (including the adjacent Bossier City), has been a popular location, the backdrop for supernatural thrillers (The Mist, the series Salem), multiple actioners (Shark Night 3D, The Mechanic), comedies (Super, I Love You Phillip Morris) and everything Nic Cage (Drive Angry, Trespass, Season of the Witch). There’s been a lot less such activity in recent years, as the Crescent City got back on its feet and legislators reduced the state’s budget for tax credits. But Shreveport carries on as a filmmaking hive, thanks to a…  Read more

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They Came From Within: Bong Joon-ho on Parasite

Parasite

“This is so metaphorical!” Ki-woo’s metatextual reaction to the unlikely gift of a stone from his friend Min early in Bong Joon- ho’s Palme d’Or–winning Parasite isn’t the film’s most startling moment, but it’s an early jolt that both sets and undermines viewer expectations. Ki-woo (wide-eyed Choi Woo-shik—Okja, Train to Busan) lives in an underground apartment with his underemployed family, including humbled but unvanquished father Ki-taek (Bong regular Song Kang-ho, unsurprisingly great) and scheming sister Ki-jung (Park So-dam, cynical and hilarious). When Ki-woo becomes a tutor for the daughter of a rich family, the action settles into that family’s stunning modern abode, and the lines appear to be set for a straight-up class-war narrative—perhaps a “social thriller,” even. But the…  Read more

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NYFF 2019: Bacurau, Varda by Agnès and The Irishman

Udo Kier and Sonia Braga in Bacurau

A number of cinematic styles, narrative modes, and political agendas collide in Bacurau, one of two South American films on NYFF’s Main Slate this year. Urgent, yet vague enough to feel timeless, the film depicts a form of unhinged white supremacy in the outback of northern Brazil. We’re told up top, quite ominously, that Bacurau takes place “a few years from now,” as if to suggest that the wholly irrational racism herein is just around the corner. An angry movie, at once frightening and funny, it’s bound to rattle viewers aesthetically, politically, or both. Bacurau, a fictional town, is already at a crisis before quasi-colonialist maniacs show up. There’s little in the way of clean water, vaccines, or cell service.…  Read more

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Made For These Times: Ulrich Köhler on In My Room

Hans Löw in In My Room

Ulrich Köhler’s In My Room begins with what looks like a DCP glitch. The view is from a handheld news camera entering a press conference scrum, its operator confirming in voiceover that he’s rolling while roaming from lectern to lectern. Each time an official statement is delivered, the image cuts to the aftermath—the as-yet-unseen cameraman, Armin (Hans Löw), has confused the “off” and “on” switch, and the inadvertent B-roll he shot is unusable. All of Armin’s life is similarly shabbily disarrayed: At a club, he picks up a young lady and brings her home, but an ill-phrased refusal to let her use his toothbrush sends her packing. After being chewed out at work, Armin leaves the city, heading first for…  Read more

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Festivals & Events

This Action Lies

TIFF 2019, Last Days: Uncut Gems, Atlantis, Jallikattu, This Action Lies

At Marriage Story‘s TIFF premiere, the audience applauded the Netflix logo; a night later, the same happened for A24 at Uncut Gems. The latter makes slightly more sense—rightly or wrongly (no comment), A24 has coherent brand cachet in positioning itself as Art-Fixated rather than purely profit-motivated—but…  Read more

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on Sep 16, 2019

 

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