Cinema & Beyond
Latest Essays by Ela Bittencourt
My critical writing moves fluidly between the moving image, visual arts and literature. Lyssaria now also features a regular roundup of essays I’ve published beyond this site on these various art forms.
Here is the roundup of my critical essays published in January & February, 2021, and where to find them:
With its pictorial mischief and propositional ungainliness, and the constant stress test of human perception’s ability to parse out figuration from abstraction, Dunley’s project seems particularly apt for expressing life’s sensory entanglements.
The protean Brazilian artist Antônio Henrique Amaral (1935–2015) didn’t identify with any movement, though critics often tie him to neo-Cubism and Surrealism, with forays into Pop.
These films center not on revenge (against men) alone, but rather on complex relationships amongst women, revealing the complexity of women’s responses when solidarizing with each other’s vulnerability, particularly guilt, when it comes to having failed to come to the other’s rescue. In this sense, what emerges is a much broader sense of trauma, as a phenomenon that’s systemic, with rippling intermediary effects, rather than concentrated and singular.
Many other titles at the festival delve further into themes of mediated reality and simulation. Natalia Almada’s documentary Users poses a similar question to The Pink Cloud about simulation versus embodied experience.
Review of Itonje Soimer Guttormsen’s Gritt, International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) roundup, Sight & Sound Magazine
The late British art critic Kenneth Clark once wrote that to be a great artist meant carrying through on a singular idea. In a sense, this is the central dilemma at the heart of Gritt, a brainy, emotionally enthralling drama by the Norwegian director Itonje Soimer Guttormsen.
Review of Prano Bailey-Bond’s Censor, Sight & Sound Magazine
Bailey-Bond’s premise smartly exploits contemporary viewers’ conundrum. There’s no longer official censorship, not the Enid kind, but the movie industry continues to be plagued by sexual abuse allegations, and the larger question of violence onscreen, particularly against women, remains urgent as ever.
Review of the social satire, Dead Pigs, Sight & Sound Magazine
Such vision of sharp techno-social cleavage harks back to the films of the Chinese auteur Jia Zhangke; but where Jia casts a mostly critical eye on China’s vertiginous global ascent, Yan mediates social critique with buoyancy.
For more reviews from the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) also see the essays published directly on Lyssaria: