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M. Leary

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  1. I like the idea of the film as an act of protest. To Ken's question above, it is the only film I can think of that accomplishes what it does - which is to get this fundamental conflict and experience in front of us, so that we can see and hear it with vicious clarity. The language of race becomes a liturgy for Lee. Like Ed said above, the film somehow captures all the voices, which itself is a feat of spiritual craft and reflection. I have occasion to talk and preach in regional prisons, one of which is a supermax facility. I will often queue up parts of Do the Right Thing to get me into the h
  2. M. Leary

    Da 5 Bloods

    Really wish I could have heard all your comments in real life, as the thread is sparse. I have not had a chance to read much about the film, but the more it settles in, the more grateful I am that it is a pretty sloppy mess of a film compared to the sharp focus of much of Lee's other work. It just keeps going, the gears keep turning, and a current keeps passing from scene to scene. A frequent topic of recent conversation in my house involves understanding how history means something different to black Americans than it does to white Americans, or Americans of other ethnic and racial heritage.
  3. I have a First Reformed blurb up now. Are we adding old blurbs for past films to the pages where new blurbs are also being written? Or are those being archived with past lists? And what else remains, Ken?
  4. M. Leary

    Young Ahmed

    There is a lot to commend here, especially in the way their observational skill is directed toward the various phenomena informing Ahmed's religious experience. The pacing is spot on in this respect. I once worked at McDonald's as a teenager, with an elderly Muslim gentleman. I once walked into the bathroom, early in the morning, when he was performing ablutions prior to prayer. Watching him wash his feet in the sink was such an act of ritual, personal integrity, and I think about that moment often. There was another classic Dardennes formal element on display several times here, which is
  5. This list feels worth the extra work everyone put in. A lot of the choices make very arguable sense, in terms of the one film per director rationale. It is very reflective of A&F conversation.
  6. Happy to take Do The Right Thing or First Reformed. I could not tell from your comment, Ken, if you wanted to take First Reformed or not.
  7. Thanks for the quick review and nudge regarding the upcoming release date. This Winterbottom sequence has been a highlight for me over the past years. Everything you are describing in terms of how oblivious they are to cultural sites and historical detail rings true relative to past journeys. But a few of the other elements you are describing in terms of the intercuts and a nightmare sequence sound a bit different. Coogan was great in Winterbottom's recent Greed, which is well worth tracking down.
  8. M. Leary

    Icelandic films

    Great recommendations here. Metalhead (Malmhaus) is very relevant to A&F interests, as it involves adolescent trauma, Icelandic evangelicalism, and heavy metal. And Jar City is a great work of nordic noir, if that genre is your thing. I still have not caught The Deep, though I will now put that on the list for the next few weeks.
  9. M. Leary

    Da 5 Bloods

    Thanks for the alert. This does look like a potential highlight of the summer. Some basic conversation from Spike Lee here.
  10. This is a great use of the internet. I could imagine someone constructing a database of all the films discussed at A&F. Let's say, 2000 choices. Films are paired randomly for binary selection. We run this for a year, with jury members casually picking stuff over the course of that year. The 100 with the most points are then ranked as the official list. Even better, the list is not just titles, but also still images and short sequences to compare with no other identifying info. This would protect the selection process from priming based on titles/directors.
  11. I appreciate it! I think it is a good thing to work through these options to sharpen up the list, in the way you have formatted everything. A local radio station does a "sweet 16" on different themes every week (junk food, action movies, etc...). It takes them about 1.5 hours, as they are all sharing their reasoning for various binary choices. I would love to have heard your thoughts, in the same way, as you navigated the above. The Work is an incredibly meaningful film for me, but Ushpizin is one of the few Israeli and Jewish films we have on the list. If I had to pick one recent Israel
  12. This process is getting increasingly strenuous, which I feel is a good thing.
  13. Sword of Trust is now even more special as a film, with Maron and Shelton doing their thing together. If we were working on another best films about aging, Sword of Trust would be a good conversation partner.
  14. I was also swayed, Ed, by The Phantom Carriage as a good film for this list. Hard to watch that and not see how much it influenced so many other films we talk about at A&F, especially Bergman.
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