Goodbye To Language (#110 of 5)

Slant’s Top 25 Films of 2014

Comments Comments (...)

Slant’s Top 25 Films of 2014
Slant’s Top 25 Films of 2014

From Clayton Dillard's introduction to Slant Magazine's Top 25 Films of 2014: ” In a year when The Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game offer a most banal and repressive sort of historical biopic treatment for their respective subjects (and are being largely celebrated nonetheless), it becomes ever more important to draw lines in the cinematic sand to understand what we talk about when we talk about movies. Art historian Michael Fried once wrote of the burgeoning war between theater and modernist painting, and in many ways, contemporary filmmaking is rife with similarly antagonistic, fiery battles.” Click here to read the feature and see if your favorite films of the year made our list. And see below for a list of the films that just missed making it onto our list, followed by our contributors' individual ballots. Happy reading.

Toronto International Film Festival 2014 Phoenix, Tokyo Tribe, & Hill of Freedom

Comments Comments (...)

Toronto International Film Festival 2014: Phoenix, Tokyo Tribe, & Hill of Freedom
Toronto International Film Festival 2014: Phoenix, Tokyo Tribe, & Hill of Freedom

Christian Petzold and Nina Hoss collaborate on yet another fine quasi-thriller with Phoenix, about a concentration camp survivor, Nelly (Hoss), who undergoes facial reconstruction surgery for a wound and emerges unrecognized by Johnny (Ronald Zehrfeld), the husband who gave her up to the Gestapo. Well, not entirely unrecognized: He thinks she looks just enough like his presumably dead wife that she could pose as Nelly in order to receive her hefty inheritance. The performative scenes that result from Johnny's coaching elicit yet another spellbinding performance from Hoss, who always makes Nelly look as if she wants desperately for Johnny to see that it's her while also dreading what will happen if he figures the truth out. Further, the film uses this setup to make a keen, occasionally funny comment on the male gaze, as Johnny knows every small detail of his wife's body and movements, yet cannot put together the whole image of Nelly now that it no longer exactly matches up to his idealized memories.

Cannes Film Festival 2014: Goodbye to Language Review

Comments Comments (...)

Cannes Film Festival 2014: <em>Goodbye to Language</em> Review
Cannes Film Festival 2014: <em>Goodbye to Language</em> Review

Densely allusive and at times sensorily abusive, with sudden blasts of amped-up sound effects and a playful stop-start montage aesthetic, Jean-Luc Godard's cinematic cutup comes complete with full frontal nudity and, in what must be a first for the director, poop jokes. As a consequence, it's a good bit funnier, as well as freer in its rapid-fire associations, than the more strident and structured Film Socialisme. What's more, Goodbye to Language sees Godard make the leap to 3D with jaw-dropping results. There are effects here that will beggar the imagination of your run-of-the-mill multiplex 3D offering, with polyphonic layerings and juxtapositions and plain wonky freak-outs that work not only to showcase the versatility of the technology in the hands of a true cinematic craftsman, but also to supply a rough-and-ready template for a new way of looking at the world. For, as much as a cine-screed this stacked with referents can be said to be about any one thing in particular, Goodbye to Language seeks to stretch the creative parameters of vision (cinematic and otherwise) as such.