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Cannes Film Festival 2018 Lee Chang-dong’s Burning

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Cannes Film Review: Burning

Cannes Film Festival

Cannes Film Review: Burning

South Korean filmmaker Lee Chang-dong works slowly: In over 20 years, he’s directed just six films, each of which unfold patiently, sprawling out over two-plus hours and carefully tracking character development in narratives that occasionally proceed in real time. Lee tends to define his characters in relation to the specific temporal concepts that he structures his films around, such as the suicidal businessman from 2000’s Peppermint Candy, whose story is told in a reverse chronology, or the sixtysomething woman with encroaching Alzheimer’s disease in 2010’s Poetry, whose memories of the past slowly slip away. But Burning feels like the director’s most reflexive comment on the dramatic possibilities of his favored narrative form.

The Walking Dead Recap Season 7, Episode 1, "The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be"

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 7, Episode 1, “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be”

Gene Page/AMC

The Walking Dead Recap: Season 7, Episode 1, “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be”

My husband used to fret that I was convinced civilization was about to collapse because I watched zombie movies, but he had it backwards. Having grown up in 1950s and ’60s Detroit, I saw firsthand how fragile even apparently solid social infrastructures can be, and ours seem particularly vulnerable these days. To pick just three existential threats out of a very large hat, hackers are poised to shut down the Internet, a foreign dictator plays chicken with nukes while an American presidential candidate keeps asking why we don’t use ours, and a global refugee crisis makes homelessness in New York City look manageable by comparison. That’s why I love stories about the zombie apocalypse: They’re a safe way to explore my fears about the breakdown of society, and to imagine how we might rebuild our lives and create communities after a major disaster.

The Walking Dead Recap Season 6, Episode 16, "Last Day on Earth"

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 6, Episode 16, “Last Day on Earth”

Gene Page/AMC

The Walking Dead Recap: Season 6, Episode 16, “Last Day on Earth”

Last week’s episode of The Walking Dead, “East,” ended with what felt like a dozen cliffhangers. Maggie, after getting a new hairdo for reasons that were far more symbolic than practical (if she were truly concerned about a walker grabbing her by the hair, she would have cut it a long time ago), clutched her stomach in agony and fell to the floor. Did she lose her baby? Carol, after obliterating a group of Saviors, set off for destinations unknown, with Morgan and Rick hot on her trail. Is she forever lost to her friends and surrogate family at Alexandria? And, of course, there was Daryl’s blood as it splattered, like something out of a pulp film, on the camera’s lens as Dwight shot him from behind and said, “You’ll be all right.” But is he truly all right?

The Walking Dead Recap Season 6, Episode 12, "No Tomorrow Yet"

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 6, Episode 12, “No Tomorrow Yet”

Gene Page/AMC

The Walking Dead Recap: Season 6, Episode 12, “No Tomorrow Yet”

More proof that we’re increasingly entrenched in an era of “peak television,” and that we’re all struggling to keep up, last week the Vulture’s Margaret Lyons answered a series of questions by readers asking for the best “batches” of TV episodes. In calling her recommended blocks “sure things,” Lyons inadvertently exposes the struggle that such infuriatingly spotty shows like The Walking Dead may face in lingering in the public consciousness after they go off the air. Indeed, thinking back to the entirety of its last season, and the current season up to tonight’s episode, even this sometimes apologetic fan of the series is struggling to come up with three episodes in a row to recommend to someone looking to fill in a few hours between lunch and picking up the kids at school. But if you only have one, then you can’t do better than “No Tomorrow Yet,” which exudes a corkscrew tension that’s redolent of some of John Carpenter’s finest work.

The Walking Dead Recap Season 6, Episode 11, "Knots Untie"

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 6, Episode 11, “Knots Untie”

Gene Page/AMC

The Walking Dead Recap: Season 6, Episode 11, “Knots Untie”

“Your world is about to get a whole lot bigger,” says Jesus (Tom Payne) to Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Michonne (Danai Gurira), Daryl (Norman Reedus), and Carl (Chandler Riggs) during the opening minutes of tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead. His words hum with a self-conscious sense of enthusiasm, a certain recognition that more than just Alexandria, but the series itself, has been trapped in a sort of standstill from which it’s been trying to escape. Jesus does a fine job of convincing Rick’s group that he means them no harm, negotiating a mutually beneficial future and rolling out the red carpet toward a nearby place known as the Hilltop. And for a moment, the group’s cautiously measured excitement rhymes with our own.

The Walking Dead Recap Season 6, Episode 9, "No Way Out"

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 6, Episode 9, “No Way Out”

Gene Page/AMC

The Walking Dead Recap: Season 6, Episode 9, “No Way Out”

It’s Valentine’s Day, and The Walking Dead’s mid-season premiere aptly kicks off with a gesture that makes clear that audiences are never too far from the minds of the show’s creators. If you missed the coda that would presumably serve as the setup for the second half of the show’s sixth season, either because you tuned out after the mid-season finale’s credits or your cable provider (cough, Cablevision, cough) forced you to, “No Way Out” replays the tense scenario before following it to its logical—given Daryl’s (Norman Reedus) typically slick standards—conclusion.

The Walking Dead Recap Season 6, Episode 7, "Heads Up"

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 6, Episode 7, “Heads Up”

Gene Page/AMC

The Walking Dead Recap: Season 6, Episode 7, “Heads Up”

Heads up, indeed. Tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead begins with a confirmation of almost everything you likely suspected about Glenn’s fate. Hasn’t every episode since “Thank You” constituted a form of advanced warning—a wink of sorts that one of the show’s most beloved characters had yet to reach his sell-by date? This, at least, explains the anticlimactic tenor of the opening minutes. Yes, it’s Nicolas’s (Michael Traynor) corpse, after falling atop Glenn (Steven Yeun), from which a group of zombies pulls out a string of entrails. And, yes, it’s in the ghoulishly agonizing heat of the moment that he inches backward and beneath the dumpster from which he fell.

The Walking Dead Recap Season 6, Episode 3, "Thank You"

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 6, Episode 3, “Thank You”

Gene Page/AMC

The Walking Dead Recap: Season 6, Episode 3, “Thank You”

An episode of The Walking Dead titled “Thank You” that begins with a close-up of Glenn (Steven Yeun) almost euphorically running toward the camera, and away from danger and toward whatever place will, yet again, guarantee his survival, can’t help but reverberate with portentousness. Flash forward to the end of the episode for a confirmation of sorts: another close-up, this time of Glenn on his back, after having fallen from a garbage bin surrounded by a horde of zombies, screaming in silent agony—only the haunted, symphonic score fills the soundtrack—as his guts spew like silly string from his body. Thank you, Glenn, it was nice knowing you.

The Walking Dead Recap Season 5, Episode 16, "Conquer"

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 5, Episode 16, “Conquer”

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 5, Episode 16, “Conquer”

One of the first things we see in “Conquer,” the astonishing and consistently thrilling finale of The Walking Dead’s fifth season, is a rabbit’s foot, hanging from the rearview mirror where Morgan (Lennie James) is making camp, not far from the Alexandria Safe-Zone. In the context of the series, this symbol of luck, of an animal’s limb being affixed to a ring to someone can put it on their keychain, feels especially gruesome. A measure of barbarism is essential to survival in the world where Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his clan live, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that the acts that Rick’s group commit are brutal and often final. This conflictive notion of how violence both undermines and keeps order in society feels embedded into the episode’s every exchange and set piece, all the way up to its maddening ending.

The Walking Dead Recap Season 5, Episode 15, "Try"

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 5, Episode 15, “Try”

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The Walking Dead Recap: Season 5, Episode 15, “Try”

Not long into “Try,” Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh) plays Nine Inch Nails’ “Somewhat Damaged,” a song essentially about succumbing to heartlessness—losing one’s humanity despite all attempts to be better. It’s apropos for an episode that pivots on numerous precarious attitudes toward what precisely the Alexandria Safe-Zone stands for, especially in the wake of Noah and Aiden’s deaths. And yet the song isn’t quite as remarkable as the setting in which it’s played: a makeshift, candlelit memorial service for Aiden, attended only by his family. When Deanna obliges her husband (Steve Coulter) by turning the abrasive rock track off, the crucial, symbolic moment speaks to her unwillingness to see the ugliness that she’s allowed to grow underneath Alexandria’s prim and proper veneer.