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Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992) Directed by David Lynch One of the many positive effects of the impending return of Twin Peaks to the television airwaves is in bringing—on its 25th-anniversary year, no less—Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me back into wider public consciousness, thus opening it up to the reassessment it so richly deserves after its lackluster reception back in 1992. Naturally, David Lynch being the uncompromisingly idiosyncratic auteur that he is, the...
The Battle of Algiers (1966) Directed by Gillo Pontecorvo Based on the eponymous campaign during the Algerian war, The Battle of Algiers is perhaps best known for its technical aspects, which have been rarely, if ever imitated: the almost universal use of non-actors; the hand-held, documentary-style aesthetic, so convincing that the film ran in America with a disclaimer that “not one foot” of actual war footage was used. But none of this would be nearly...
The Deer Hunter (1978) Directed by Michael Cimino Like Stravinsky’s Symphony in Three Movements, Cimino composed his masterpiece in parts––allegro, andante, and con moto––though in Cimino’s case the execution is not necessarily in that order. Both works use notes unfamiliar to the art form, yet The Deer Hunter’s visceral, bloody take on the Vietnam War, which begins with a wedding and ends with a funeral, is seamless. Cimino’s film is not anti- or pro-war; it’s...
La Notte (1961) Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni Easy to parody, impossible to replicate, what Andrew Sarris called “Antoniennui”—glamorous European movie stars composed in tableaux in front of brutalist architecture, speaking past each other in existential aphorisms—can be embraced as a Marxist-influence tract on the alienation of contemporary life or snorted at as chic pretention, equal and opposite visceral reactions to ambitious modern aesthetics which in either case and for better and worse say more about...