A Russian Youth spends much of its time on the front lines of foolishness with a silly central character who shows no development and an experimental format that undermines its own potential seriousness.
In the exquisite Whiplash, Damien Chazelle’s second feature, we catch a glimpse of a young drummer’s blood, sweat and tears on the way to greatness.
Despite this unrelentingly close experience of events, a number of self-conscious shots in which we only see the back of main actress Denise Newman’s head, and a story that is very simple, first-time director Hermanus succeeds in gripping his audience thanks to his self-assured direction that steers the film away from any fake sentimentality.
It is truly remarkable that this film, whose subject is always implied but never mentioned by name, can have such a strong impact on a viewer who has grown up in a much less restricted era of movie-going.
This medium-length film is interesting on many levels, and while the action transcends mere slapstick, Keaton’s conception of the film’s biggest stunts makes for remarkable commentary on the perspective of the viewer.
Napoléon, by French filmmaker Abel Gance, is an experimental epic that has achieved the status of legend, with good reason.