Ritual dictates that families come together on sacredly observed occasions—holidays, birthdays, funerals, other markers of time like new homes or babies. They serve the more obvious function for gathering, but they also distract us from the ground crumbling beneath our feet; we demand that the ritual of things that stay the same as a means to not be suffocated by unavoidable, irrevocable change. Such is the dark stuff of being alive at the core of Stephen Karam’s The Humans, the Tony Award winning and Pultizer shortlisted play that he now adapts for the screen. It’s a taxing and unsettling debut film about how the things that keep us together are insufficient shelter from the things that pull us apart.Continue reading “In Review: The Humans”
Cannes sensation Burning opens with a chance encounter between two former schoolmates, establishing director Lee Chang-dong’s masterful equal stronghold of the casual and the consequential before we can even realize it. What Lee patiently, poetically unfolds before us is a potent study of toxic masculinity and economic inequality in the modern era. From a short story called “Barn Burning” by Haruki Murakami, Burning chases the ghosts of brighter futures forever out of reach and a past remembered with darker undertones than we noticed in the moment. It’s haunting stuff, as fascinating as it is difficult to shake.