PRINT December 2018


Melissa Anderson

Lucrecia Martel, Zama, 2017, 2K video, color, sound, 115 minutes. Zama (Daniel Giménez Cacho).

ZAMA (Lucrecia Martel) A significant departure for Martel, this bewildering, enthralling adaptation of fellow Argentinean Antonio Di Benedetto’s 1956 novel of the same name, the tale of an abject late-eighteenth-century magistrate, brilliantly diagnoses the sickness of empire.

Acht Stunden sind kein Tag (Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day), 1972–73, still from Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s TV show on WDR. Episode 1, “Jochen and Marion.” Jochen Epp (Gottfried John).

EIGHT HOURS DON’T MAKE A DAY (Rainer Werner Fassbinder) RWF’s proletariat paean from 1972–73—the first of several TV miniseries that the prodigious New German Cinema godhead would direct—stands as his warmest, most optimistic project, filled with utopian promise and a dazzling constellation of characters.

Bruce LaBruce, The Misandrists, 2017, 4K video, color, sound, 91 minutes. Big Mother (Susanne Sachsse).

THE MISANDRISTS (Bruce LaBruce) The year’s greatest (and funniest) work of revolutionary cinema both sends up and salutes a lesbian-separatist enclave. But TERFs, in the end, aren’t welcome on this turf. To quote the film’s cri de guerre: Freedom for female people!

Bill Gunn, Personal Problems, 1980, video transferred to digital video, color, sound, 164 minutes. Thorne Maxwell.

PERSONAL PROBLEMS (Bill Gunn) Newly restored, this “meta–soap opera” from 1980—the final moving-image work helmed by the genius Gunn (1934–89) in his too-short life—abounds with matchless talkers, improvisers, and scene-stealers.

LET THE SUNSHINE IN AND HIGH LIFE (Claire Denis) The two most recent films by the superb sensualist—the former set in present-day Paris, the latter in outer space—form a potent, surprising diptych that deranges both heterosexuality and Juliette Binoche, whose maximalist acting style is finely torqued by Denis.

RaMell Ross, Hale County This Morning, This Evening, 2018, HD video and 35 mm, color, sound, 76 minutes. Willie.

HALE COUNTY THIS MORNING, THIS EVENING (RaMell Ross) In his lush, alert first feature-length film, a loose chronicle of two young black men and their families and friends in the Deep South, Ross revitalizes the documentary by remaining closely attuned to the casual grace of quotidian human interactions.

Susanna Nicchiarelli, Nico, 1988, 2018, HD video and 35 mm, color, sound, 93 minutes. Nico (Trine Dyrholm). Production still.

NICO, 1988 (Susanna Nicchiarelli) Trine Dyrholm fully inhabits the role of the stroppy, smack-addled Teutonic sorceress of gloom rock in her final years, in an astute musician biopic that is detail-rich, unsentimental, and banality-free.

8 SUPPORT THE GIRLS (Andrew Bujalski) Relaxed yet precise, Bujalski’s comedy about a breastaurant in Texas terrifically captures workday rhythms and the fortitude necessary to survive the indignities of the service industry—and gives the undersung Regina Hall, as the beleaguered sports-bar manager, her best role to date. 

“FROM THE COLLECTION OF PEARL BOWSER” (Light Industry, Brooklyn, NY, May 8) Media preservationist Ina Archer, digging deep into the vast archive of Bowser, the eminent historian and champion of African American cinema, expertly curated a genre-diverse program of shorts and TV segments from the 1960s and ’70s, each a remarkable record of Brownsville, Bed-Stuy, and other predominantly black neighborhoods.

10 DIAMANTINO (Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt) This fruity, delirious, hilarious fable centering on a fallen futebol superstar exposes the idiocy engulfing the world (but especially Europe) more sharply than any Guardian op-ed.

Melissa Anderson is the film editor of 4Columns and a frequent contributor to Artforum.