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a la Mod:
"It is difficult to label any one film industry, from its conception to its present day stature, as the greatest of all time. Many, however, would argue that Hollywood has maintained its status as the most extravagant. From the silent spectacles of the roaring twenties to the technicolor marvels of the 1950's, American cinema has always possessed a distinct opulence, a resounding declaration of stature and celebrity. The formula is most commonly associated with Alfred Hitchcock: a leading man, a beautiful woman by his side, and an gaudily enigmatic conflict designed to bewilder audiences far and wide. Thirty years after what most believe to be Hitchcock's golden age, bravura filmmaker Brian De Palma decided to deconstruct this image of Hollywood, and he used the master of suspense himself as the focal point of his refracted image.
"The narrative presented in Body Double is an intentionally and loudly obvious resurrection of Hitchcock's diagram, albeit a resurrection that has been carefully exaggerated and over-sexualized to deliberately twist a knife in the heart of mainstream cinema's blatant exploitations. Jake Scully is an actor who suffers from a severe case of claustrophobia. He is the symbol of the young American discontent to exist in an ordinary aesthetic where his entrance is lethargically greeted with inaudible applause. He is caustically frustrated by the world's inability to accommodate him and continuously distracted by a pumping libido that facilitates a penchant for peeping. Jake Scully, whose tallest ambition is to achieve Hollywood stardom, is De Palm's leading man, his Carey Grant, so to speak...
"So in the end, once the audience has been captivated and subverted, what does De Palma's steamy, self-reflexive thriller amount to? Is it anti-Hollywood? Post Hollywood? I don't think so. Because despite De Palma's stentorian rancor in his illumination of mainstream cinema's implicit misogyny, much of the material in Body Double exhibits a strong, faithful love of both old and new Hollywood. De Palma adores the chicanery and exorbitance of Hitchcock's narrative. He worships the movement and utilization of the camera. He, like many of us, is a lover of cinema. But he does not idealize it either. He sees Hollywood's faults, cinema's imperfections and absurdities. He wraps them all together, the positives and negatives, and meticulously winds them through the world of this film. Body Double is an American movie about American movies and the Americans who enjoy them. It is a shamelessly ostentatious, visually immaculate, textually capacious masterpiece."
"The Tribe is a vortex of filmmaking style and humanity's darker impulses, during which you may find yourself clawing the seat to resist its severe, sometimes exceedingly graphic pull. But denying its power is tough. A former crime reporter, Slaboshpytskiy has made one of the most unusual and disturbing films about criminality of the new century.
"Before the first image appears, the movie warns you of its gimmick: The characters all communicate in sign language, with no subtitling or narration. As raw as that deal may seem between an ambitious director and foreign-film audiences normally unfazed by language barriers, Slaboshpytskiy uses it to free up his visual storytelling and direction of actors, which is nearly always illuminative.
"It also fosters an abiding appreciation for the gesticulative art of the all-deaf performers, whose interactions — whatever the emotion at hand — have the expressiveness of choreography. Be assured, there's no lack of narrative clarity here, only the persistent sense that nothing cheerful is in store...
"The Tribe is marked not just by wordlessness — the ambient sound makes it not truly silent — but by Slaboshpytskiy's mesmerizing long takes. Each one is a mini-drama of movement, suspense and revelation, whether tracking characters around the rooms, hallways and grounds of the school, or parked in one spot for a scene of mischief, conversation, explicit sex, or, late in the film, an excruciating real-time abortion. It's shooting style, patient yet predatory, that feels one part Eastern European directors' penchant for protractedly gloomy tableaux, one part Brian De Palma in voyeur mode, with a dash of Martin Scorsese articulating the kinetics of gangster life.
"The film is made up of only 34 shots — fewer cuts than Michael Bay would use to film a commercial. But stitched together, the effect is bracingly alchemic in connecting us to a corrosive world, and characters for whom the mobility of sight is everything. Few first films have so confidently executed such a formalist approach to visuals and communication."