Jason Di Rosso is a film critic at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and host of the weekly radio show The Final Cut. Outside the ABC, his writing on film and popular culture has appeared in such publications as The Australian, GQ magazine and Senses of Cinema. He is currently completing a Doctorate of Creative Arts in the School of Communication, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences at the University of Technology, Sydney.
Amat Escalante’s delirious take on the alien-contact movie is really more of a claustrophobic, paranoid exploration of sexual repression and class anxieties in modern day Mexico. It comes freighted with a gorgeous style of tense tracking shots and a colour palette that evokes a woozy humidity.
One of a clutch of films by the Czech master Juraj Herz, this parable about a murderous crematorium manager head hunted by the Nazis for the Final Solution is a thrilling nightmare. Herz’s use of distorting wide angle lenses imbue the film with a hallucinogenic quality, and Rudolf Hrušínský’s central performance is a study in creepiness.
I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO
The searing, eloquent critique of race relations in America proves ever current in this documentary about civil rights activist and writer James Baldwin. Director Raoul Peck mixes archival images with current day footage of America’s recent flashpoints to articulate how little has changed.
The Safdie brother’s rollicking heist film gone wrong packs a gloriously loud synth score and some wonderful neon lit 35mm cinematography by Sean Price Williams to give the freezing, blue collar New York settings a magical glow. Robert Pattinson holds the frame with considerable magnetism.
João Pedro Rodrigues’ queer journey down the rabbit hole is about a bird researcher who falls foul of some malicious and mystical forces in a Portuguese nature reserve. There are layers of religious allegory to decipher, but you can also just sit back and enjoy the trip.