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Notable films I saw in 2017, loosely ordered by when I saw them.

Hypernormalization (Adam Curtis)
---------------------------------

Ugh, can't even remember what this one is about. I still think fondly of
AWOBMLG and Bitter Lake, but feel pretty done with Curtis for a while. There's
a short youtube mockumentary floating around that we screened after watching
this as a group in SF and it cuts close to the bone.

Stalker (1979, Tarkovsky)
----------------------------

Had been meaning to see this for a long time, and finally screened it with
Logan. A film with a lot left shrouded in fog, but it does seem to have a
bones under the skin. The sense of danger and doubt when the troupe is
traveling into The Zone, following a ritualistic little game of throwing rocks
felt very real to me: the sense that danger could be either entirely invented,
or just beneath the surface, and the "non-metric" nature of navigating towards
a goal that superficially seems so close.

I'm not sure I would have gotten as much out of this watching it when I was
younger: the relationships between the troupe, and in particular the almost
hostile mutual suspicious paired with being fellow travelers. Not a vibe I
encounter often, but when it's there it appear between people who seek for
years (decades) for something bigger than themselves.

Get Out (2017?)
--------------------------

The Handmaiden (2016, Park Chan-wook)
-----------------------------------------

La La Land (2016, Damien Chazelle)
------------------------------------

I visited LA recently for the first time in years, and enjoyed it a lot more
that I thought I would. I think a more cynical or critical minded Bryan would
have found this film Hollywood-indulgent, but it caught me at a very receptive
moment. I enjoyed it more than the Cohen Brothers' "Hail Caesar"; similar to
Birdman.

Risk (2017, Poitras)
-----------------------

Saw with a heavy heart. Felt like there was almost nothing here for me, despite
being super-attuned to who-was-in-the-room-when details. Hit many (but not all)
of the nails of disapointment with this group for being human after coming so
far through such struggles ("how could they be so foolish?"). In particular
Laura's entire directoral style hinges on our trust in her as an observer and
editor, and she reveals herself as a compromised (though at least honest)
participant here.

Glad the film exists, as a reference and historical record, but it's very
existance is a bittersweet reminder how far along the narrative trajectory
radical international crypto/info movements have come, and despite their
not-insignificant impact, how fucked our world is politically.

Volver (2006, Almodóvar)
--------------------------

Solid, memorable.

Bad Batch (2017, Amirpour)
----------------------------

It's too bad the desert grim-dark-spoitation/favela-chic desert niche has been
played out so much (*Kin Zah Zah*, *Mad Max*, *Fury Road*), because i'm a total
sucker for it.

Saw this entirely on the fact that it's directed by Ana Amirpour (*A Girl Walks
Home Alone at Night*). Watched it alone, but wish i'd had somebody to unpack it
with... the violence and aesthetics distracted from allusions and references
that were bouncing around. Didn't feel very tight, a lot of scenes and imagery
and critique squeezed together. I absolutely could not take the Keneau Reeves
conversations seriously enough to know if there was anything there at all
beyond conflating plumbing with modernity. The awkward sexual tension between
the main character and Miami Man was reminiscent of *Girl Walks*, but was sort
of a let down in the end.

Will probably watch *Spring Breakers* after having seen this, though i'm not
really looking forward to it.