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Tag / Film

Old Masters: Orson Welles’ “Citizen Kane” with Pauline Kael

“Oh, it was the sled.”

“You didn’t know that?”

“I’ve never seen it!”

Gwen glared towards Dania, dimly lit in the glow of the screen. It had been a while since they’d seen a movie in the theater together––conversation flowed more naturally in front of Gwen’s laptop. But, with Citizen Kane screening in 70mm locally, the trio had received an invitation from an unexpected collaborator.

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Those Who Stray: Nina Paley’s “Sita Sings The Blues”

One of the most enduring images during the film’s opening credits had been Sita, rendered in the film’s simplified flash animation, massaging the feet of her husband, Rama. In the final shot of the film, the image returned, but the roles had been reversed. As Rama massaged his wife’s feet, Sita offered a knowing wink to camera, and the film cut to credits: Directed by Nina Paley.

“That’s it?” asked Eleanor, sitting up straighter as the credits rolled by, accompanied by sitar punk. “That’s the entire movie?”

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Firing Blanks: Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper”

CW: discussion of murder & war crimes

 

“Why did we watch this?” Dania asked, falling onto the armrest of the couch. Her eyes glazed over, numb to the respectful patriotism in the credits music playing from Gwen’s computer.

“I wanted to know what the fuss was about,” Gwen said, calmly. “Do you remember when it came out? How it was the only thing people could talk about?”

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Split Decision: Ekachai Uekrongtham’s “Beautiful Boxer”

“Why…this one?”

“Curiosity, basically,” Dania said. “I’d heard about it but never actually watched it before.”

She could tell from the reactions during the film –– none negative, but none enraptured –– that her friends had mixed opinions on Beautiful Boxer. As a very early example of a transgender biography on film, it was replete with issues that would sink it for a modern viewer.

“It’s a male actor playing the lead, right?” Gwen asked. On screen, the name Asanee Suwan scrolled by, in line with Nong Toom and her deadname.

“A male boxer, yes,” Dania said. “He had never acted professionally before this, he was chosen so he could nail the fight scenes.”

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