Girish Shambu

  • Claire Denis, 35 Shots of Rum, 2008, still from a color film in 35 mm, 100 minutes. Joséphine (Mati Diop) and Lionel (Alex Descas).
    film September 15, 2008

    Four Easy Pieces

    Each visitor to a film festival makes a unique and particular passage through the new territory it offers. My own trek through this year’s Toronto International Film Festival was marked by one conspicuous recurrence: films, often by reputed and challenging filmmakers, that took the viewer aback with a disarming accessibility. On the one hand, I welcomed the ease with which these films dispensed their immediate pleasures; on the other, it meant being doubly vigilant about looking beyond the arresting surfaces for the wrinkles these works were hiding away.

    Claire Denis’s lovely, lyric 35 Shots of

  • Left: Yukio Mishima, Patriotism, 1966, still from a black-and-white film in 35 mm, 27 minutes. Reiko (Yoshiko Tsuroka) and the Lieutenant (Yukio Mishima). Right: Paul Schrader, Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, 1985, still from a black-and-white and color film in 35 mm, 120 minutes.
    film July 04, 2008

    The Last Samurai

    “I WANTED to explode like a rocket,” wrote Yukio Mishima, “light the sky for an instant, and disappear.” It’s a personal manifesto he lived out to the sensational end. In 1970, at the age of forty-five, dressed in full military uniform, he committed seppuku (ritual suicide), staging his death as a sort of public theater.

    Paul Schrader’s unusual and original biopic, Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985), is the centerpiece of a newly released Criterion three-disc set. Mishima was Japan’s most renowned writer—a colorful, contradictory, and controversial public figure who inspired such a deep