A rising Japanese master spins sublime romance out of cinematic doubles in Asako I & II

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When we first see Asako (Erika Karata), the central character of Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s Asako I & II, she’s milling about a photography exhibition titled Self And Others—though it’s not long before her attention wanders to a slouchy hunk whose name, she later learns, is Baku (Masahiro Higashide). He exits the gallery;…

The Palme d’Or-winning director of Winter Sleep returns with another long, talky drama

B-

When the lineup of last year’s Cannes Film Festival was first announced, Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s latest was nowhere to be found. It was rumored that the vaunted Turkish director, whose 196-minute Winter Sleep won the Palme d’Or in 2014, did have a new film finished—but that its inclusion was dependent on him submitting a…

Shoah: Four Sisters extends the legacy of Claude Lanzmann’s essential Holocaust film

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Near the seven-hour mark of Claude Lanzmann’s 550-minute magnum opus Shoah (1985), widely considered the greatest cinematic document of the Jewish Holocaust, a woman credited only as a “survivor of Auschwitz” tells of her harrowing transport to the Nazi death camp. Her name is Ruth Elias, and her story constitutes the…

There’s a touch of Nathan For You absurdity to the droll sports documentary Infinite Football

B-

The ostensible subject of Corneliu Porumboiu’s Infinite Football is the Romanian writer-director’s childhood friend, Laurentiu Ginghină—by day a middle-aged, paper-pushing bureaucrat, but in his off time, a self-described revolutionary of football. When the film opens, Ginghină tells of how, in 1986, he fractured his…

Joel Edgerton follows up The Gift with the Oscar-ready gay-conversion drama Boy Erased

B-

Specificity matters. In the case of Boy Erased, the year’s second gay-conversion drama after Desiree Akhavan’s The Miseducation Of Cameron Post, it invigorates what is otherwise boilerplate Oscar-season fare with the accumulated details of lived experience—that of Garrard Conley, whose memoir of the same name provides…