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Locarno Film Festival 2018 Ray & Liz, M, & Menocchio

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Locarno Film Festival 2018: Ray & Liz, M, & Menocchio

Locarno Film Festival

Locarno Film Festival 2018: Ray & Liz, M, & Menocchio

During my brief stint at Locarno, I managed to catch 10 of the 15 films selected for this year’s international competition. My favorite was Ray & Liz, British artist Richard Billingham’s remarkably assured autobiographical debut feature. Billingham rose to prominence as a photographer with his 1996 monograph Ray’s a Laugh, inspired by his impoverished upbringing on the outskirts of Birmingham and lauded for its unflinching portraits of his alcoholic father and sedentary, heavily tattooed mother. With this film, he reaches further into the dark recesses of his childhood to deliver a richly evocative portrait of working-class life in the British Midlands.

Game of Thrones Recap Season 4, Episode 3, "Breaker of Chains"

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Game of Thrones Recap: Season 4, Episode 3, “Breaker of Chains”

HBO

Game of Thrones Recap: Season 4, Episode 3, “Breaker of Chains”

Joffrey’s death last week on Game of Thrones stood out from the show’s many past fatalities in that it marked the first time a major character’s demise prompted celebration rather than simply shock. So rapturously received was Joffrey’s demise that some even took to finger-wagging over the glee, casting aspersions on those who would revel in the death of a minor, even a fictional one who made a number of Russian tsars look well-balanced in comparison. But as “Breaker of Chains” demonstrates within its first 10 minutes, even Joffrey’s own family cannot muster much bereavement for the departed king. Standing over the boy’s posed corpse in a private chamber, Tywin (Charles Dance) tells the next in line for the throne, Joffrey’s younger brother, Tommen (Dean-Charles Chapman), that Joffrey was not a wise or good king, and that his unfitness for rule contributed to his present state. For his part, Tommen appears far more nervous at being quizzed by his grandfather than he does standing over his brother’s prepared body.

Game of Thrones Recap Season 4, Episode 2, "The Lion and the Rose"

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Game of Thrones Recap: Season 4, Episode 2, “The Lion and the Rose”

HBO

Game of Thrones Recap: Season 4, Episode 2, “The Lion and the Rose”

Game of Thrones eased into its fourth season with an episode that traded the unending forward motion of the show’s previous season for a moment of ragged calm, but “The Lion and the Rose” reveals that respite as nothing more than the eye of a storm. Not only that, George R. R. Martin’s writing credit makes it clear from the start that not only does something happen in this episode, but that the cataclysmic event typically placed in a given season’s penultimate installment will likely occur almost immediately, dramatically shaking up the show’s usual structure and setting up the fourth season as its most distinctive yet.

Game of Thrones Recap Season 2, Episode 1, "The North Remembers"

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Game of Thrones Recap: Season 2, Episode 1, “The North Remembers”

HBO

Game of Thrones Recap: Season 2, Episode 1, “The North Remembers”

The most exciting thing about the season-two premiere of Game of Thrones is its refreshing sense of focus. Several episodes from the show’s first season reached the cusp of greatness, but the show’s creators seemed somewhat hampered by how much plot they had to disseminate in 10 episodes. Season one is a good adaptation of the first book in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice series, even if it isn’t as well-paced. Thankfully, “The North Remembers,” the season-two premiere, is thematically focused in ways that all of last season’s serial installments were not. It’s a very auspicious beginning, indeed.