(kanopy/Mubi/VOD) THE TURIN HORSE is the last film from Béla Tarr (probably best known for WERCKMEISTER HARMONIES or, if you run in my circles, for the approximately seven hour long SATANTANGO). I tend to doubt it’s the last, as he’s still directing documentaries and producing shorts, but the film — which was co-directed by his wife Ágnes Hranitzky — certainly has a sense of finality to it.
It’s a gorgeous black-and-white piece, told over the span of roughly two-and-a-half hours, totals 30 shots and it moves at a glacial pace. It’s about a father and daughter, and the father happens to own the horse that was whipped so many times it made Nietzsche have a breakdown.
It’s an existential marvel, but, well, that’s not exactly what I remember it for. What I really remember are the boiled potatoes and, when I see a boiled potato, I think of this film.
If you don’t have the time for this masterpiece, may I suggest this 1m44s edit?
(kanopy/MUBI) A doc from legendary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman that details the human infrastructure that allows a city to operate, primarily through Boston mayor Marty Walsh (who happens to be Biden’s pick for Labor Secretary).
I don’t know enough about Boston politics to properly judge the players in the doc’s spotlight, but I don’t think you need to. CIYT HALL pulls back the curtain to allow you to spend time — a lot of time, as the doc runs over four and a half hours — to see how the municipal sausage is made. You’ll watch politicians discuss agendas, but you’ll also be a fly-on-the-wall in parking ticket disputes, observe a community meeting concerning a cannabis shop, find yourself mesmerized by the mechanical power of a garbage truck, eavesdrop on 311 calls, and more.
While most filmmakers would focus solely on the impassioned bits — of which there are many — Wiseman showcases full twenty minute meetings and exchanges where, more than once, you can feel the boredom radiating from the room. CITY HALL lets you sit with the procedure and banal back-and-forth that it takes to help people, to try and make sure that Boston is operating as smoothly as humanly possible.
There’s a moment near the end of the film where you’re simply slowly shown a number of quiet spots throughout Boston, and the pacing and range of imagery instills the feeling that the city itself is breathing, fueled by the efforts of everyone and everything Wiseman has shown us over the past four hours.
(Hulu/kanopy/mubi/tubi/VOD) Absolutely charming ‘summer of self-discovery’ film about a teen visiting her writer aunt in Ravenswood, Chicago. As I lived in Ravenswood for several years (and currently live adjacent to the neighborhood) I recognized -every single location- in the film, even down to the church the aunt attends, which means that the film’s home field advantage may unfairly tilt my critical scales, but it really is an extraordinarily delightful film. Pairs well with Showtime’s WORK IN PROGRESS.
(Warning: the trailer is less of a trailer and more of a highlight reel, so you may want to avoid it.)