Beatrice Loayza

  • Albert Serra, Pacifiction, 2022, 4K video, color, sound, 162 minutes. De Roller (Benoit Magimel).
    film February 21, 2023

    Entropic Thunder

    FICTIONS OF EMPIRE abound in adventure, heroism, spectacle. Swashbuckling swordsmen. Precocious war correspondents. Worldly white men clad in Indigenous garb. Out there, in those wild lands, the promise of transcendence beckons. She is a femme fatale, thrilling you with her darkness. With its postcardlike images of Tahiti, Albert Serra’s Pacifiction offers exotic reveries of its own: pastel-dipped cabanas and bamboo chaises straight out of Emmanuelle; tan natives, seductively deshabille in headdresses and straw skirts of the kind seen in later Gauguins. Yet even as he renders these imperial

  • Winnie Cheung, Residency, 2023, DCP, color, sound, 75 minutes.
    film February 10, 2023

    Going Dutch

    THE FIRST IMAGE of the first movie I watched at this year’s International Film Festival Rotterdam set the mood: a woman splayed out on a pile of trash next to a kitschy painting of a sad clown. The remainder of Winnie Cheung’s acid-washed pseudo-documentary Residency—made during a “lockdown” residency at Brooklyn’s Locker Room studio—follows suit, tracking Cheung’s crew of cloistered creatives as they work, party, shoot the shit, space out. Forget what’s real and what’s not. The chaotic DIY setting, deliriously rendered in abstracting close-ups and ruby-red atmospherics, resurrects the collective

  • Dore O., Alaska, 1968, 16 mm color, sound, 18 minutes.
    film June 16, 2022

    Remain in Light

    THE IMAGES MOST ASSOCIATED with the German filmmaker and artist Dore O. are of a woman, face-up like Millais’s Ophelia, drifting phantasmally over ocean waters, her body a gauzy projection superimposed onto a blue backdrop of restless movement. The woman is twentysomething Dore herself in her second film, Alaska (1968), a supple succession of beachy still shots and double exposures whose femininity and softness feel deceptive. Staccato editing rhythms and a menacing drone agitate these ethereal visions. And is the woman fading, or coming into view? The images now carry an awful prescience in

  • Julia Ducournau, Titane, 2021, DCP, color, sound, 108 minutes. Alexia (Agathe Rousselle).
    film September 30, 2021

    Hot Wheels

    IF YOU’VE HEARD ANYTHING about Titane, it probably involves someone getting fucked by a car. Julia Ducournau’s Palme d’Or winner—a mishmash of grindhouse tropes doused in that transgression-conferring, liquid neon color palette du jour known as “bisexual lighting”—is an onslaught of sensationalist imagery and discordant textures: oil-slicked flesh gliding over strips of metal in the opening titles, a lock of hair snatched out of a nipple ring, a woman’s head resting on a man’s bare chest still oozing from a third-degree burn. Behold an incessant smashing of dichotomies—the hard and the soft,