December 8, 2022

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New York Film Festival 2022

New York Film Festival 2022

When Film at Lincoln Center revealed on September 13 the posters for the 60th New York Film Festival, the moment was unintentionally bittersweet. Designed by American photographer and activist Nan Goldin, the subject of Laura Poitras’s centerpiece selection All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, one poster immediately recalled the use of blue, whites, and reds across the films of Jean-Luc Godard, who had died peacefully that day at his home in the Swiss town of Rolle, on Lake Geneva, from assisted suicide.

Few filmmakers are as inexorably associated with the New York Film Festival as Godard. (Both Band of Outsiders and A Woman Is a Woman screened during the festival’s second edition in 1964, while his last feature, The Image Book, screened during the 56th edition in 2018.) One other is Jafar Panahi, who, like his compatriot Abbas Kiarostami, has often faced difficulty traveling to the U.S., irrespective of his international status as an artist. Presently, Panahi is serving a six-year prison sentence for the 2010 charge of “gathering and collusion” and “propaganda against the establishment”—this as worldwide protests continue after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in the custody of Iran’s morality police.

Panahi’s reliably self-reflexive No Bears is one of 32 features in the New York Film Festival’s main slate this year, and it isn’t alone in grappling with the seemingly irrevocable cruelties that life has imposed on the world’s people. In Shaunak Sen’s documentary All That Breathes, India is on the verge of multiple catastrophes, and two brothers devote their lives to protecting birds, called kites, that are falling from the sky after suffering various illnesses from New Delhi’s air pollution. Margaret Brown’s Descendant focuses on a community founded by those brought over on the last known ship to transport African citizens to the Americas to be enslaved. And R.M.N., another one of Cristian Mungiu’s laments about how it feels to live under patriarchal oppression, pivots around a small Transylvanian village and the nativist reactions to two Sri Lankan migrant workers being hired to work at a local commercial bakery.

While all the features in the main slate this year enjoyed their world premiere earlier in the year at Sundance, Berlinale, Cannes, Toronto, and beyond, many will have their North American premiere at the New York Film Festival. Among them are the opening night film, White Noise, Noah Baumbach’s adaptation of Don DeLillo’s postmodern 1985 novel; Alcarràs, Carla Simón’s gently neorealist depiction of a Spanish family’s agricultural way of life being thrown for a loop; Master Gardener, Paul Schrader’s hypnotic story of a horticulturalist on a path toward moral salvation; Showing Up, which finds Kelly Reichardt capturing the Portland arts scene with her customarily granular level of detail; and Stars at Noon, Claire Denis’s depiction of a whirlwind romance between a dissolute young American journalist and an English businessman.

Among the festival’s noteworthy sidebars are Spotlight, a showcase of the season’s most anticipated and significant films (among them Luca Guadagnino’s Bones and All, Lars von Trier’s The Kingdom Exodus, Chinonye Chukwu’s Till, Sarah Polley’s Women Talking, and Maria Schrader’s She Said); Currents, which seeks to place an emphasis on “new and innovative forms and voices,” as proven by such works as João Pedro Rodrigues’s Will-o’-the-Wisp, Bertrand Bonello’s Coma, and Ashley McKenzie’s Queens of the Qing Dynasty; and Revivals, a generous selection of digitally remastered, restored, and preserved films (among them Glauber Rocha’s Black God, White Devil, Jacques Tourneur’s Canyon Passage, Edward Yang’s A Confucian Confusion, and Jean Eustache’s The Mother and the Whore). Ed Gonzalez

For full reviews of the films in the main slate, click on the links in the capsules below. For a complete schedule of films, screening times, and ticket information, visit Film at Lincoln Center.

Editor’s Note: We were unable to screen Enys Men, Saint Omer, and White Noise before the publication of this article. Full reviews of those films, as well as All That Breathes, Armageddon Time, Descendant, R.M.N., Scarlet, and Showing Up, will we published across the next couple of weeks.

Aftersun

Aftersun (Charlotte Wells)

With her debut feature, Aftersun, writer-director Charlotte Wells crafts an arresting, achingly nostalgic portrait of a father-daughter relationship at once close and deeply fraught. As in Garrett Bradley’s documentary Time and the Netflix horror series Archive 81, the film languishes in the choppiness of the long-passé home video image, using its fuzziness to evoke the unreliability of memory and inexorable passing of time. Without any intrusive stylizations or exposition, we come to empathize with Sophie’s (Francesca Corio) maturing perspective—her comprehension of the libidinous conversations of the older girls she overhears in the resort’s bathroom, and the way, at the age of 10, she already knows to put on a happy face for her mentally unwell father (Paul Mescal). Deftly constructed and utterly heartbreaking, Aftersun announces Wells as an eminent storyteller of prodigious powers. Pat Brown

Alcarràs

Alcarràs (Carla Simón)

In Spain, the global trend of corporate consolidation is dovetailing with the tepid neoliberal response to global warming, and as captured by Alcarrás, it’s leading to farmers losing their livelihood. Carla Simón’s follow-up to Summer 1993 features a cast of non-professional actors drawn from the rural area where the story takes place. It’s one neorealist gesture in a film that might have benefited from adopting a few more—particularly that cinematic movement’s clarity of action. But despite its inability to weave its threads into a harrowing neorealist knot, Alcarrás crafts a detailed portrait of a specific and endangered lifestyle. As a tribute to farmers’ way of life, its effective and at times moving, but as an exposé of the potential losses that a business-centric green revolution is in the process of incurring, it wants for a stiffer punch. Inadvertently, it leaves one wondering whether a documentary would have harvested better material. Brown

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (Laura Poitras)

After centering films around people ranging from a former bodyguard for Osama bin Laden in The Oath to Edward Snowden in Citizenfour and Julian Assange in Risk, Laura Poitras’s All the Beauty and the Bloodshed focuses on an artist: photographer Nan Goldin. But there’s still a strong political dimension to the film, since Goldin was a major force in bringing down the Sackler family, owners of Purdue Pharma, one of the global pharmaceutical companies largely responsible for the opioid epidemic in America. The warmth, ruefulness, and occasional anger with which Goldin recounts her experiences is moving in and of itself. In addition, hearing her talk openly about not only her past but about how her experiences affected her frank, intimate, and vulnerable art offers an illuminating window into her photographic art. Kenji Fujishima

Corsage

Corsage (Marie Kreutzer)

In Marie Kreutzer’s boldly restive biopic Corsage, Empress Elisabeth of Austria (Vicky Krieps) is, in some sense, an all-too-willing victim of her times, embracing the Hapsburgian ideal of femininity with uncompromising zeal. As played by Krieps, though, there’s also an air of defiance to Elisabeth’s activities, as if by throwing herself into the maintenance of an aristocratic image of womanhood with sufficient zeal, she can gain dominance over the very social strictures to which she’s been forced to adhere. If a period film about repression and middle-age angst sounds like a potentially fusty proposition, one of Corsage’s more remarkable features is vibrant, twitchy aliveness. Elisabeth’s story, as told in Corsage, is ultimately not really about the social strictures of the past, but rather the issues that women of all social strata have dealt with throughout history: self-doubt, repression, fear of aging, a lack of autonomy. Keith Watson

A Couple

A Couple (Frederick Wiseman)

A plein air text recital that recalls Straub-Huillet works such as Workers, Peasants, Frederick Wiseman’s A Couple places Sophia Tolstoy (Nathalie Boutefeu), wife of the exalted Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy, against the coastal backdrop of Belle-île-en-Mer, the French island off the coast of Brittany. The island’s lush beauty, verdant forests, hushed ponds, and picturesque seaside are juxtaposed against Sophia’s sorrowful, searing monologues. Delivered by Boutefeu with an unvarnished directness that cuts straight to the soul, Sophia’s words are an extended, heart-rending j’accuse against her husband’s jealousy, mood swings, and sexist self-entitlement. All the while, Wiseman offsets Sophia’s fluctuating mood with some of his most captivating and atmospheric pillow shots since Monrovia, Indiana. Ranging from close-ups of rain-dappled leaves to panoramic vistas of waves crashing against rocks, these shots of nature enhance Sophia’s psychological turmoil while also pulling viewers outside of it, in the process reminding us that, in the end, the natural world is indifferent to our troubles. Watson

Decision to Leave

Decision to Leave (Park Chan-wook)

Decision to Leave finds Park Chan-wook doubling down on his penchant for audacious visuals and intricate narratives. Even by Park’s standards, the film twists itself into oblivion, conveying the barriers that exist between characters that are defined by their cultures and statuses. Chief among the barriers in this case is the cellphone, as Decision to Leave pivots on texts and recordings and POV shots that embody the corruptibility of technology. But while Park promisingly suggests how phones can intensify a modern thriller’s impact, the film nevertheless succumbs to inertia. Throughout, one often feels the plot working against Park’s poetry, though in a few cases poetry wins out, especially during a beachside disappearance that, rife with gurgling waves and inchoate agony, suggests the climax of Robert Altman’s The Long Goodbye. Here, a close-up of a hand closing, sealing its fate, is heartbreakingly beautiful. It’s a pity that we barely know why the owner of this hand is compelled to die to begin with. Chuck Bowen

De Humani Corporis Fabrica

De Humani Corporis Fabrica (Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel)

An exhausting, terrifying, and at times blackly funny depiction of the French hospital system, Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel’s De Humani Corporis Fabrica offers an anthology of brutally invasive medical procedures, from an eyeball being sliced during a lens transplant, to a urethra being jackhammered by a drill that’s positioned, we’re told, to the “Kalashnikov setting.” If that sounds like a stomach-churning proposition, make no mistake, the film is often pretty-tough sledding. However, it never seems to be rubbing our noses in gore just for the hell of it. Rather, suggestive of its namesake, Andreas Vesalius’s groundbreaking 16th-century anatomical study, De Humani Corporis Fabrica evinces a kind of pre-modern wonder in cataloging the remarkable diversity of the human corpus. Using microscopic cameras, the filmmakers plumb the deepest, darkest depths of our interiors, traveling through veins and intestines and into blood-filled surgical incisions with a hypnotic wonder that suggests Richard Fleischer’s Fantastic Voyage by way of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Watson

EO

EO (Jerzy Skolimowski)

Jerzy Skolimowski’s EO feels wrested from urgent dreams, as if the veteran Polish filmmaker is dramatizing the fragments that he remembers of Robert Bresson’s Au Hasard Balthazar. Though their narratives are similar, the films oppose one another: Au Hasard Balthazar has a controlled, tamped-down beauty that builds to an ending of profound catharsis, while EO is lurid and overheated with emotion, before gradually cooling off to arrive at the tough matter-of-factness that informs Bresson’s film from the outset. It’s as if Skolimowski is offering a primer on how one evolves into a transcendentalist. Or if EO has been conceived as the intemperate grandchild of a cinematic milestone. One of EO’s great accomplishments is one of simple yet desperate earnestness. The film suggests a vision that the 84-year-old Skolimowski had to get it off his chest before retirement or death. Seemingly freed of plot and expectation, EO is driven, above all else, by the need to honor its own internal, poetic drive. Bowen

The Eternal Daughter

The Eternal Daughter (Joanna Hogg)

The Eternal Daughter once again finds Joanna Hogg working in meta-fictional mode. Unlike in The Souvenir and its sequel, though, Hogg’s stand-in, Julie (Tilda Swinton), isn’t seeking to convert her own life into art. Rather, the source material she seeks to mine is the childhood experiences of her mother, Rosalind (also played by Swinton, aged up with some light makeup and a gray wig). David Foster Wallace is credited with popularizing the phrase, “Every love story is a ghost story.” In The Eternal Daughter, Hogg proves that every mother-daughter story is a ghost story as well. Cross-generational understanding depends on conjuring the sense of a parent’s self that has either disappeared into the vagaries of memory or been divested into their children. When the former option fails for Julie, she’s forced to locate the missing components in herself and in her art. It’s in this self-reflexiveness where the double casting of Swinton pays its mightiest dividends, showing the inexorable connection between mother and daughter as well as the unbridgeable divides that separate them. Marshall Shaffer

The Inspection

The Inspection (Elegance Bratton)

The Inspection follows a fictionalized version of writer-director Elegance Bratton, Ellis French (Jeremy Pope), a young gay Black man living on the streets who joins the military and undergoes basic training that constitutes a different kind of hell than being unhoused. Throughout, Bratton is attuned to the homosocial nature of testosterone-fueled realms. The film is at times permeated by an illusory quality (shades of Claire Denis’s Beau Travail), and Ellis’s growing flirtation with a more benevolent drill instructor, Rosales (Raúl Castillo), seductively blurs the line between dreams and reality. But these moments mostly scan as diversions from the film’s routine tearjerking mode. Everything builds to graduation day, with Ellis hoping that his mother, Inez (Gabrielle Union), will show up and finally show him the support and love that he’s always wanted from her. She eventually does, but Union’s struggle to bring life to her formulaic dialogue ensures that the big emotional climax rings hollow. Mark Hanson

Master Gardener

Master Gardener (Paul Schrader)

There’s a ballsy element of self-interrogation to the notion of a Paul Schrader movie being entirely set in a garden, eschewing the fire-and-brimstone machismo that’s as intrinsic to his aesthetic as the transcendentalist stuff. The first hour of Master Gardener is peak Schrader. Narvel Roth (Joel Edgerton) is the head gardener for an estate owned by Mrs. Haverhill (Sigourney Weaver). Narvel’s flower reveries speak of his hard-won victory over past chaos, and Schrader’s tight and elegant framing, heavy on unemphatic medium shots, mirrors Narvel’s tough, unadorned prose and deliberate diction. It’s a pity, then, that Master Gardener has to eventually uphold the obligations of the Schrader vigilante schtick anyway. Around the time that Narvel threatens drug dealers with a pair of garden pruners, telling them that he’s done an awful lot of pruning in his day, the film slips full on into self-parody. Which is to say that, at its worst, Schrader’s is less Master Gardener than Master Bater. Bowen

No Bears

No Bears (Jafar Panahi)

No Bears again finds Jafar Panahi mounting a formally playful but, naturally, politically charged interrogation of how we measure truth and veracity through what images show and don’t show. And, unsurprisingly, there are a few clever moments that find inventive ways of transforming the context through which we think about what we’re watching; the correlation being drawn between the reflexive boundaries of reality and fiction filmmaking and the “borders” of geography and culture that dictate social life in Iran is especially fruitful. But Panahi’s insistence on liberally cribbing ideas and plot points from Abbas Kiarostami’s work is distracting. There’s no denying that Panahi is still a critically important figure in international cinema, and especially with Kiarostami gone, he’s thinking about the cross-section of film as art and as political and social refuge in a way few other living filmmakers can match. Here’s hoping he escapes this latest sentence and is afforded the chance to again develop that vision. Sam C. Mac

The Novelist’s Film

The Novelist’s Film (Hong Sang-soo)

The Novelist’s Film isn’t one of Hong Sang-soo’s usual dramedies about the ways men and women perceive themselves and wind each other up, often during drunken squabbles over soju. Here the focus is on how an acclaimed writer named Jun-hee (Lee Hye-young), nearing 70, still struggles to fulfill her restless creative spirit, and Hong beautifully keys the film’s digressive rhythm to the frustration of her writer’s block. The Novelist’s Film is filled with winking jabs at Hong’s fixations, suggesting a grand joke at his own expense, namely how his dialogue-driven, visually modest work is often called “literary.” Early in the film, Jun-hee admits that her writer’s block derives at least partially from feeling “like I have to keep inflating small things into something meaningful.” The Novelist’s Film, especially given its visual experimentation, suggests that Hong has yet to exhaust his methods of deriving significance and beauty from the most quotidian of details, and perhaps that his strongest work is yet to come. Jake Cole

One Fine Morning

One Fine Morning (Mia Hansen-Løve)

One Fine Morning’s storytelling is deceptively straightforward, rooted in realistic dialogue and Mia Hansen-Løve’s light touch as a visual stylist, but in both the construction of the narrative and in the performances, there’s much going on beyond the explicitly worded script. The film’s generally short, precisely punctuated scenes, often set to or bridged by snippets from a piano sonata by Franz Schubert, whom we eventually learn was Georg’s (Pascal Greggory) favorite composer, slide into each other with an ease that run in counterpoint to his daughter Sandra’s (Léa Seydoux) difficulties. There’s a sense of inevitability to the way time seems to simply pass as the film moves between scenes, irrespective of Sandra’s actions. As it softly transitions from a painful visit with Georg in his nursing home, to a break-up with Clément (Melvil Poupaud), to Sandra’s bored face as she attends a movie at a multiplex with her daughter (Camille Leban Martins), One Fine Morning reminds us that life moves forward, that people and relationships change, even when we might like to be able to hit pause on the finest moments. Brown

Pacifiction

Pacifiction (Albert Serra)

Albert Serra’s recent historical works have been fixated on power and decadence, so it’s only natural that the filmmaker would have found his way eventually to the modern world and its corrupt geopolitical landscape. Pacifiction trades the 17th-century France of Serra’s last two features for a Polynesian island buckling under rumors of malign influence from Russia, China, and the U.S. The lethargy that pervades the post-colonialist setting is no doubt inspired by Joseph Conrad, perhaps even Chantal Akerman’s adaptation of the writer’s work in Almayer’s Folly, but Serra’s examination of a Polynesian tourist is rooted less in the political specifics of the region than in a broader feeling of contemporary malaise. As doom and gloom mounts around his outpost and none of his usual methods of outreach yield any satisfying solutions, De Roller (Benoît Magimel) becomes an increasingly sympathetic figure, his growing recognition of his own impotence registering as an identifiable symptom of modern life. Carson Lund

R.M.N.

R.M.N. (Cristian Mungiu)

Cristian Mungiu’s R.M.N. bakes a quiet tension into its parable of contemporary rural Romanian life at a crossroads. In a symbolic gesture that will take two hours to reveal its complementary function, a young boy, Rudi (Mark Edward Blenyesi), walks through the woods beyond his home in a small Transylvanian village only to backtrack in terror after catching sight of something that’s left pointedly off screen. In this moment, Mungiu sows the seed of expectation that social order in this corner of Romania is soon to be upended. This opening scene is distinguished by that seemingly paradoxical mix of the assertive and evasive that’s distinctive to the cinema of the Romanian New Wave. The film doesn’t end with the gut punch that Mungiu’s 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days does, nor does it burrow into its characters’ psyches with the same granular precision, but that’s almost by design. After all, R.M.N. is more suspense thriller than procedural, and it’s content to have the audience walk on the razor’s edge of doubt and fear through much of its two-hour running time. Ed Gonzalez

Return to Seoul

Return to Seoul (Davy Chou)

Davy Chou’s Return to Seoul hinges on a young French-raised woman, Freddie (Park Ji-min), who returns to her native South Korea for the first time since she was adopted there as an infant. But her search for her parents or any kind of connection to Korean identity is ultimately less important than her quest to uncover whoever she’s meant to be. Given Freddie’s restless spirit, insistence on not looking back, and appetite for experience, Return to Seoul will inevitably be compared to The Worst Person in the World. But while Joachim Trier’s ’s film is an all-encompassing portrait of a woman’s journey through different stages of her life, Return to Seoul is, almost paradoxically, more confrontational and willing to keep things to itself. There are no sudden soliloquies or moments of insight, and the ambiguous ending doesn’t seem to resolve much. But there’s an honesty to this that’s enticing rather than distancing. It puts the viewer in the same boat as her, and just as curious about who she will be next. Chris Barsanti

Stars at Noon

Stars at Noon (Claire Denis)

Denis Johnson’s novel The Stars at Noon is set in 1980s Nicaragua during Sandinista rule. Claire Denis’s woozy and erratic adaptation, sans the “the” in the title, updates the era to the early part of the Covid-19 pandemic while muddying the specificity of the locale. This isn’t Nicaragua so much as “Nicaragua,” a clammy, rum-and-rain-soaked purgatory in which down-on-her-luck journalist Trish (Margaret Qualley) and in-over-his-head oil company consultant Daniel (Joe Alwyn) find themselves despairingly, and hornily, trapped. Denis’s films, including White Material and Bastards, often entwine sex and politics, though there’s something particularly challenging about the mix in Stars at Noon given the opacity of Trish and Daniel’s intentions. They have a shared motive: to get out of a hostile foreign land—or, at least, one that they both perceive to be so. But beyond that and their intense physical attraction to each other, nothing else about who they are or what they want is ever clear. Keith Uhlich

Stonewalling

Stonewalling (Huang Ji and Otsuka Ryûji)

The third film in a loose trilogy, Huang Ji and Otsuka Ryûji’s Stonewalling follows 2012’s partly autobiographical Egg and Stone, an acutely observed and formally sophisticated portrait of a 14-year-old girl’s sexual awakening, and 2017’s The Foolish Bird, a more narratively complex and emotionally scattered attempt to graft genre elements onto a story of a high school girl’s encounters with boys and men of different ages. Like Foolish Bird before it, a lot of narrative and thematic ground is covered in Stonewalling, but the film strikes a much better balance between social commentary and the intense focus placed on the inner life of this young woman. Stonewalling is an attentive, engaged character study, an uncommonly candid (for China) women’s picture, and a film of dense and considered sociopolitical implications. Mac

Tár

Tár (Todd Field)

Tár, as is very deliberately revealed over the course of its leisurely two-hour-plus running time, is a story about cancel culture, with Lydia Tár (Cate Blanchett) standing in for any number of art-world maestros felled by accusations of impropriety and misconduct. Field and his crew keep the film consistently compelling visually and aurally. (One Julliard-set sequence is captured by cinematographer Florian Hoffmeister in a showstopping single take that expertly attunes us to every uncomfortable word and gesture.) But neither Field nor Blanchett seem quite decided on whether Tár’s comeuppance is a grand tragedy or a cosmic joke. Blanchett’s look-at-me-but-actually-don’t style of acting undercuts the former reading, since Tár never comes off as fully human—more a straw-man manifestation of a current cultural malaise. And Field’s innate humorlessness, evident since his grimly self-serious debut, In the Bedroom, makes for an ill and often insensitive fit when tending toward the mordant. Uhlich

Trenque Lauquen

Trenque Lauquen (Laura Citarella)

Laura Citarella’s Trenque Lauquen is divided into two films and a total of 12 chapters, a literary conceit that’s not foreign to Argentine cinema. Indeed, even those unfamiliar with her earlier directorial efforts may know her as an actor in Mariano Llinás’s Extraordinary Stories and La Flor. Citarella’s new film operates along similarly Borgesian rhythms as Llinás’s opuses, introducing a basic story outline from which new narratives emerge like the parts of a matryoshka doll. A biologist, Laura (Laura Paredes), suddenly disappears, prompting an investigation that, hydra-like, raises three new questions for each that it answers. The substance of each mystery that compels Laura is ultimately less important than the allure of chasing down answers and only finding more questions. Many artists have taken similarly postmodern notions of an impossible truth into realms of despair and madness, but Citarella emphasizes the liberating quality of following the rabbit hole as deep as it goes, of losing oneself as the catalyst for realizing no one has a set, permanent self to lose in the first place. Cole

Triangle of Sadness

Triangle of Sadness (Ruben Östlund)

After Triangle of Sadness won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, writer-director Ruben Östlund ended his acceptance speech by leading the festival audience in a primal scream, just as he’d done a few years earlier when taking the top prize for The Square. The spectacle of Östlund entreating this well-fed, black-tie crowd to vocalize some deep-seated rage as if he were a latter-day Howard Beale encapsulates both the pleasures and limitations of Östlund’s particular brand of caustic pasquinade. All of which is to say that Triangle of Sadness appeals to precisely the same people it professes to deride. Episodic, fabulistic, and self-consciously outrageous, the film introduces us to one comically despicable capitalist after another before subjecting them to humiliation, mostly at the hands of the nonwhite proletariat they barely even deign to notice. There’s something satisfying in this structure, which has the moralistic logic of a slasher film, but it’s ultimately self-negating, confusing scabrous cynicism for trenchant insight. Watson

Unrest

Unrest (Cyril Schäublin)

Cyril Schäublin’s Unrest is an intelligently structured portrait of a community of Swiss watchmakers in 1876 who are at once isolated from the rest of the world and deeply connected to the vagaries of a globalizing market. Inspired by the memoirs of Pyotr Kropotkin, who found in the industrial handworkers a dedicated group of fellow anarchists trying to bend the course of history in workers’ favor, the film takes as its subject the dictum of Marxian dialectics that the capitalist system produces the means of its own destruction. As a study of a world on the precipice of discovering the immense power of standardized time, it’s a fascinating and, at times, almost hypnotic look at the skilled but exploited hands that enabled the world to tick to the same beat. At the same time, its highly intellectual approach can feel too far removed from the stakes of a leftist movement that, after all, had the humanity of the worker at its core. Brown

Walk Up

Walk Up (Hong Sang-soo)

Walk Up’s high concept is that a filmmaker, Byung-soo (Kwon Hae-hyo), goes to visit a friend, Ms. Kim (Lee Hye-Young), at the building where she lives, parts of which she rents out. ach section of the building represents a different element of life, and collectively the building evokes the pull between expression, commerce, and responsibility that any artist, whether struggling, successful, or aspiring, must navigate. Byung-soo arrives at this building on a virtual whim and spends a significant portion of his life there, though Hong, characteristically dividing his film into segments and employing ellipses, boils years down to a few afternoons. Rainer Werner Fassbinder, who was as prolific as Hong, famously said that he was building a house with his filmography; so is Hong, and in Walk Up he literalizes the metaphor, offering a house as a physical synecdoche of the emotions and challenges involved in the drive to create, whether it’s art, food, or the very domestic realms themselves. Bowen