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Eden (#110 of 6)

Toronto International Film Festival 2014 Eden, Rosewater, & Jauja

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Toronto International Film Festival 2014: Eden, Rosewater, & Jauja
Toronto International Film Festival 2014: Eden, Rosewater, & Jauja

Filled with retro house cuts, Eden insists upon a good time whenever Paul (Félix de Givry) or his DJ peers spin in various house parties and clubs, yet the prevailing atmosphere of Mia Hansen-Løve’s film is melancholic. One of the more sensitive contemporary directors of youth, Hansen-Løve flips the dynamic of Goodbye, First Love, a film in which the passage of time is keenly felt in the protagonist’s maturation and regression occurs from the reintroduction of outside elements. In this film, it’s everything around Paul that changes and outpaces him while he remains resolutely, depressingly, the same person at 34 that he was at 20.

Rotterdam 2013: The Island of St. Matthews and It Felt Like Love

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Rotterdam 2013: <em>The Island of St. Matthews</em> and <em>It Felt Like Love</em>
Rotterdam 2013: <em>The Island of St. Matthews</em> and <em>It Felt Like Love</em>

Kevin Jerome Everson introduced the world premiere of his 10th film, The Island of St. Matthews, at Rotterdam by saying that it’s like the others, but different: a familiar subject matter (“black folks in America,” as he put it) approached with a unique method. Indeed, his latest feature, shot on 16mm, is an unusual blend of documentary and avant-garde modes that broaches the historical, the theological, the economic, and the personal. A series of staged actualités sets the film into motion: a man walks along the top of a dam wall; another water skis along the Tombigbee River that runs alongside the Everson family’s town of Westport, Mississippi; others, draped in anachronistic white robes, perform a baptism; another tolls the bell of St. Matthews Church. Everson’s poetic sound design makes these disparate scenes, like postcards from a bygone era, glide into one another and, later, function as a sort of chorus in between verses of talking heads.