And so concludes another edition of the Critics Academy. Over the last few weeks, we’ve been delighted to bring you the dispatches from the Locarno International Film Festival, written by our esteemed Academy members. Below, you’ll find links to pieces that have appeared both here on Criticwire and on the Film Society of Lincoln Center blog.
To find out more about the individual members, you can read our introduction to this year’s Locarno class here. For more festival favorites from other critics at the festival, our end-of-fest poll features some of Locarno 2013’s best films and performances.
Congratulations again to the 2013 Locarno Class. We look forward to reading all of your work in the very near future.
Catharsis on Display in “Exhibition”: Joanna Hogg’s most recent film continues her commitment to calculated depictions of fragmented relationships, all while maintaining a thoughtful distance from the proceedings.
Quentin Dupieux’s American Myths and the Double-Edged Sword of Absurdity: While his approach to absurdity in “Wrong Cops” might not be as successful or effective as in his previous two features, Dupieux does provide an intriguing commentary on the lack of nuance in Hollywood’s police characters.
More Than ‘Honey’: Has the Swiss Documentary Renaissance Peaked?: After the success of last year’s “More than Honey” and “Hiver Nomade,” this year’s crop of Swiss documentaries are far more narrow in their scope, sticking mainly to issues within the country from which they originated.
Sex, Disability and Videotapes: ‘Gabrielle’ and ‘The Special Need’: The relative success of the two films is mixed, but they approach the subject from the complementary viewpoints of both a narrative feature and a documentary.
Corneliu’s Comic Catharsis: ‘When Evening Falls on Bucharest’ Looks Back With Laughter: While most of the Romanian New Wave has dealt with its country’s recent oppressive past, Corneliu Porumboiu’s new film signals a shift in tone that may keep the movement from becoming too limited.
Blurred Lines: Claire Simon’s ‘Gare du Nord’ and ‘Human Geography’ Challenge the Boundaries Between Fiction and Doc: Two features that heavily feature the same train station are emblematic of the dissolving divide between narrative and documentary storytelling.
We Had a Good Run, The Festival Fete for Paulo Rocha: With a career spanning five decades, the late Paulo Rocha received a Locarno tribute that showcased the talent and work that is still ripe for rediscovery.
Reconsidering Bullying and School Violence on the Big Screen: Matt Johnson’s film “The Dirties” provides a unique psychological insight into the motivations and rationalizations of those seeking to perpetrate violence in a school setting.
Not Only the Young: ‘Gloria’ and ‘Mr. Morgan’s Last Love’ Offer Different Takes on Late-Life Love Stories: “Gloria” largely avoids easy sentimentality and, in the process, makes the case for sure-footed looks at independent, elderly characters.
Off to See the Wizard…In 3D: A classic case of a classic film only needing classic technology to maintain its visual majesty.
Locarno Pays Tribute to George Cukor with a Retrospective: The director of “Holiday,” “A Star is Born” and “The Philadelphia Story” inspired an outpouring of respect from critics, festival staff and audiences alike.
Locarno Fetes ‘2001’ and ‘Silent Running’s Douglas Trumbull: The special effects icon discussed some of his proudest achievements (the Stargate sequence from “2001”) and what he would change if his career began today (surprisingly, not much).
It’s ‘About Time’ for Some Good Romance: It’s not enough to salvage the romantic comedy genre from prevalent mediocrity, but it might be a step back in the right direction.
Locarno Fills a Gender Gap with “The Amazing Catfish” & “Gloria”: Spanning generations, these two stories represent two strong, emotionally resonant narratives with female protagonists.
Short Term, Longwave: Coming of Age in Locarno: Even though “Longwave” isn’t quite as dynamic as its coming-of-age counterpart “Short Term 12,” they cover similar ground when dealing with audience expectations and depictions of unstable relationships.
Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Shinji Aoyama on Japanese Film and Why ‘Oblivion’ Should Be in the Art House: A discussion between the two directors unexpectedly turns into a dissection of Hollywood attitudes and budgets, with the Tom Cruise vehicle as a case study.
In Richard Curtis’ ‘About Time,’ It’s Not the Romance That Works: What appears on the surface as a traditional romcom actually evolves into a delicate look at a powerful father-son bond.
Romanian Cinema at a Breaking Point: When Romanian films are removed from the context of a political backdrop, do they lose their dramatic potency?
Talent to Burn in Locarno’s New “Signs of Life” Section: The inaugural collection of experimental films served as an intriguing group of counterprogramming to the rest of the fest’s offerings.
Among Locarno’s Short Films, Vodka and Sorcerers: The larger-than-expected audiences for Locarno’s shorts program were treated to complex visual and thematic offerings that rivaled most of the festival’s feature-length films.
Upstairs, Downstairs, and Brief Encounters on an Escalator: Between houses and train stations, the directors of “Exhibition” and “Gare du Nord” skillfully employ and withhold information about their subject’s surroundings.
Chemical Amnesia and Cinematic Awareness in “Pays Barbare”: As documentary filmmakers, Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi emphasize archival footage to help give perspective to Mussolini’s imperial rule in East Africa.
Hong Sang-soo Channels the Spirit of Jacques Tati’s Comedies: There’s a playfulness and whimsy int he way that both directors deal with their characters, but that only allows for a deeper understanding of who is at the center of their stories.
Brazilian and Portuguese Masters Find Common Ground With ‘The King’s Body’ and ‘Sentimental Education’: Julio Bressane and Joao Pedro Rodrigues use various tales of mythological resonance (one with gods and one with royalty) to reinterpret the past.
In ‘Shivers’ and ‘What Now? Remind Me,’ Mortality and the Prison of the Mind: Both the Brazilian short film and the jury prize-winning feature deal with crippling power of dealing with one’s own psyche.
Emerging Stars Shine at Intimate Festival: While Brie Larson drew deserved attention for “Short Term 12,” Danny Pudi’s turn in “Vijay and I” represents a compelling departure from his familiar TV persona.
‘The Dirties’ Approaches School Shootings as Black Comedy: When it comes to discussions about violence in schools, Matt Johnson’s debut feature may be an easier entry point for teens than other arthouse offerings.
Did Locarno’s French Films Use Scenery as a Crutch?: At this year’s Locarno Film Festival, French stories became more about showcasing backdrops than certain directors’ vision.