Tag: film review

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Rosanna Arquette smoking a cigarette in Martin Scorsese's "After Hours" (1985)

The Furious Fever Dream: Martin Scorsese’s “After Hours” (1985)

Never has a statement been more pertinent (other than in Carnival of Souls itself) as it is in Martin Scorsese’s After Hours. Just what is daylight in relation to night? And why does everything seem out of the ordinary once the sun sets? Martin Scorsese’s After Hours is an outstanding film, but not for the conventional reasons one might think. On one hand, the story is simple—a man goes out late at night to presumably meet up with a girl, only for his rendezvous to not work out, and then, amid his continual bad luck, he is unable to get home. Trying, trying, he continues to fail. Moreover, as I write this, the world is readying for the 2024 eclipse, and news stations have little else to discuss. As result, people have become hyper-fixated, and a little distracted, somewhat like the characters in After Hours.

The film begins with Paul Hackett (Griffin Dunne) at work, training a new employee on his company’s word-processing system. Since this is 1985, the screens look archaic and appear much more difficult to navigate than now. ‘I do not intend to do this for the rest of my life,’ the trainee says (played by Bronson Pinchot from Perfect Strangers). Paul is only half listening, as we can tell he’s been through this many times before. ‘Hmm?’ he asks, more so out of politeness than concern. The trainee goes on to speak about starting a literary magazine and forum for intellectuals—which are big dreams for an entry-level word processor. Meantime, we see a disinterested Paul gazing off into a daydream until he excuses himself. […]

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A shot of two actors from Lino Brocka's Manila in the Claws of Light

Classic? Re-evaluating Lino Brocka’s “Manila in the Claws of Light” (1975)

A dirty corner of the street. Late evening. Julio Madiaga’s face in the lamplight. The vibrancy of his eyes is caught in desperation: a silhouette in the window above him. A woman arranges her hair. A memory from a past paradise flashes into frame. Madiaga had a girlfriend, once upon a time. Their paths diverged after a cruel woman took her away on a boat to the capital. She vanished shortly thereafter. He can only guess at her fate, but the city provides him with many educated guesses. (The pimps who cajole him on the curb with their wares – prostitutes, often blank faced, or simply faceless – suggest some sinister end.) Already the city has battered him into destitution, and on the intersection of Misericordia and Ongpin, what he’s come from the provincial town of his birth to find is barred behind a rectangle of light, which immobilizes him, brightens every twitch on his face, and discloses the answer to his question within a shadow – the claws of light, indeed. Illumination, in this story, is no comfort, and often is representative of some misery of either Madiaga or, more cogently, the city which consumes him. […]