Press J to jump to the feed. Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts
Stickied postModerator of r/TrueFilm

Be Fun and Fancy Free!, and remember to sort comments by "new" on these threads, too!

General Discussion threads threads are meant for more casual chat; a place to break most of the frontpage rules. Feel free to ask for recommendations, lists, homework help; plug your site or video essay; discuss tv here, or any such thing.

There is no 180-character minimum for top-level comments in this thread.

Follow us on:

The sidebar has a wealth of information, including links to the subreddit rules, our killer wiki, all of our projects... If you're on a mobile app, click the "(i)" button on our frontpage.




Hello everyone! Usually a lurker... but i need your help. Hoping to create this post to get some answers, while also spurring discussion at the same time.

Just a little background, I am writing a paper for a Intro to Film class and the assignment calls for me to analyze a certain shot from "The Philadelphia Story" (1940). The shot that i have decided to analyze from the film has a lot of really interesting visual information, I should have plenty to talk about. There is one aspect that has me stumped. The shot as I can best describe is a "Glamour Shot" or "Beauty Shot". What I mean by this is that the actors are most likely lit from a back light making them glow and seem almost angelic. Also the camera lens used has a very shallow depth of focus making the two actors really pop on screen. I know for a fact I have seen this type of shot hundreds of times in countless other films from the classic Hollywood period. But for the life of me, I cannot find any information about the historical significance or how they set up these shots. I really have nowhere else to go but in the spirit of this sub that I love so much I will post three questions to spur discussion. If you have any type of source to back up your information that would also be helpful as well! Also I will attach still images from other films from the period for examples!

  1. How was this "Glamour Shot" set up with lighting/camera lens?
  2. What is the historical significance. I.E. why the hell was this shot so popular during the classic Hollywood / Golden Age period?
  3. Why did the shot lose popularity. In modern films I find myself rarely ever seeing it set up?

Again thank you for reading and hope we can all learn something new about this type of shot!!

Edit: the actual shot in question. I tried to post earlier but it did not take? As I said I am a lurker so this whole posting thing is new to me.

Don't mind my iPhone bar. I had to screenshot it on my phone. I actually watched the film on a TV I swear!!


The Tree of Life has been one of my favorite films of all time ever since seeing it in the theater back during its release. So I was very excited when Criterion announced they'd be releasing an extended (note: not director's) cut of the film. Now after having watched it, I think 99% of the time I will be sticking with the original theatrical cut. It was interesting to see all of these little deleted shots, but I felt some of them, especially towards the end, really screwed up the pacing, especially in relation to the music. Also, most of this new material was pretty unsubstantial. For the most part it was a new shot added to an existing scene or something just fleshed out a tiny bit more. Multiply that by about 40 times and there's your extra 40 minutes of run time.

Interested to hear others' thoughts.

Comments are locked

Hey Reddit: Want to write better? Eliminate grammatical mistakes, wipe out wordiness, and let your ideas shine. See for yourself why over 10 million users are hooked on Grammarly's free writing app.


full discussion video HERE

The blacks are deep, the colors are saturated, and the sound (especially in its' first half) is pure industrial melancholy. I went to my showing of Mandy with a group of normies that aren't as gore obsessed as I am but I was still surprised to come out of my showing and find that most everyone I came with had been unshakably bored.

"I liked the stuff at the end but they could have cut out the whole first half!"

I couldn't disagree more -- the first half is the bedrock of the movie. Every frame oozed with bottomless longing. Red and Mandy were completely enchanted by their time in Shadow Mountains but it was never without threat. All good things come to an end and the film-making seemed to bring us to that conclusions before Red ever could.

Red stares deep into Mandy's eye in their cabin when we start to hear the Johan Johansson score swell with "Mandy's Love Theme". Despite it being a loving, tender moment -- the melody is full of sorrow . This music is in-itself a clue. This beautiful moment will soon become just a memory we have from our place in a nightmare hellscape.

The starling story and the hollow horns we hear in the background points towards a similar conclusion as well as the small deer in the forest absolved of all it's life and brightness. This monochrome kaleidoscope locked with the best score I've heard in years drenches us in deep mood. Unrelenting beauty & melancholy.

When the horrific act takes place we're in the middle act we're put in a perfect position to embrace the rage of the second half of Mandy.

These are just a few examples but I'd love to hear from you guys about whether the first half worked for you or not.

My friends and I go much deeper into this film and try to explain some things HERE if anyone wants to check it out!


Hm. This idea just crossed my mind and thought it might make for a neat discussion topic. Could be either:

  • A filmmaker with a solid filmography who produced one special work of art

  • A filmmaker who had one hugely popular hit in their mostly low key career

  • Any other way this could be applied, it's all good

Maybe especially the first category as examples for the second category are fairly easy to find.


High Life

For fans of Claire Denis, this year has been blessed. Let the Sunshine In, which premiered last year at Cannes, was recently released by IFC Films and is available for streaming. And she already has a new film,High Life, which just premiered in Toronto and has been picked up for distribution by A24. Watching two new Claire Denis films, in theatres, in a single year, has sent me over the moon—cheesy space puns fully intended. I said in my review of Let the Sunshine In that it was a minor work; I was waiting, and hoping, for the long-gestating High Life to prove major, and it met those expectations and even surpassed them. High Life is Denis’s first foray into the science-fiction genre and also happens to be one of the most fearsome and challenging films of her entire career.

Robert Pattinson stars as Monte, a convicted criminal aboard a spaceship heading to the farthest reaches of the solar system. The entire crew is comprised of convicted criminals, and the cast is impressive; it also includes, notably, Juliette Binoche, Mia Goth and André “Ice Cold” 3000. They have all accepted a deal to be part of a two-pronged mission into space, a set of experiments designed to research and understand the possibilities that exist for the human species beyond their home planet. The first part of the mission is to harness the power of a black hole. I’ll leave the details of the second part for you to discover yourself.

The film begins with Monte nurturing his infant daughter, and these scenes are warm, tender and understated. But Monte teaching his daughter the word “taboo” is a pretty obvious clue as to where this film is going. As Monte roams the halls of the ship, it becomes clear nobody else is onboard. In an early sequence, he drags some (unconscious? sleeping? dead?) people to an escape hatch and tosses them out. The world of High Life is so oppressive that nothing can be bothered to float in space; bodies simply plummet downwards, endlessly. If they ever end up in Hell, they should be so lucky.

The sci-fi setting of High Life proves a necessary canvas for Denis, who is charting a course to the limits of human experience, diving into the deepest, darkest recesses of our souls. The film is full of binaries and explores the tensions between them: life and death, love and hate, nurture and murder, man and woman, etc. Denis wants to know what makes us tick, and pushes herself as hard and as far as she ever has, crafting a powerful film revolving around biological imperatives and the process of creation, a film obsessed with genes and cells and procreation and bodily fluids, the mechanisms and building blocks of life itself. Denis’s penchant for elliptical narratives is thoroughly uncompromising here, focusing on the most extreme and uncomfortable emotional moments in the lives of her characters.

The narrative structure is cruel and relentless. The opening passages of Monte and his child are frequently punctured by cuts to images of Earth and memories of Monte’s past. And as Monte wanders the empty corridors of the spaceship he calls home, the moments onboard that led him to this isolation slowly fill out the narrative with a growing sense of horror. As with the starship in System Shock 2, these corridors are haunted by prior traumas, and flashbacks occur like the ghostly apparitions of the Von Braun. Less a conventional narrative and more a psychological nightmare, High Life is a movie haunted by the sadness and horror and grief of human existence, struggling to make sense of our role in the universe.

High Life finds its characters at their most vulnerable, weakest states, and returns to these moments over and over again. Denis finds in these moments a pathetic loneliness, and an even more pathetic, even wretched and ugly and helpless, drive to fulfill biological imperatives. Characters resort to rape and murder to survive. On his deathbed, one character spends his final moments begging for the woman who is about to perform a mercy killing to suck his dick. The focus on the most fundamental aspects of our biology results in a film grounded deeper in the experiences of the human body than anything Denis has made before. The film is obsessed with bodily fluids, from blood to semen, and at one point Binoche gets in something called a “fuckbox” and the camera travels all the way inside of her (yes, really).

But the film also contextualizes all these bodily fluids within the existential vastness of the universe itself. If we are all stardust, then our beginning, and necessarily our destiny, is literally out there among the stars. Denis subtly and deftly explores these connections through her minimal, calculated use of special effects and her editing and shot selection. High Life suggests cosmic births and transdimensional rebirths, and at one point features a shot that almost directly resembles one of the more bewildering and terrifying moments in the third season of Twin Peaks. So if you’re worried that Denis may not fully engage with sci-fi concepts, worry not. The film’s plotting is directly impacted by the realities of space, as the effects of radiation in outer space are fundamental to driving the story, and Denis depicts, at various points in the film, what it would look like to travel close to the speed of light, and even what it would be like to die by approaching the event horizon of a black hole and being stretched into infinity (yes, really).

Claire Denis has always been a formidable, uncompromising artist. With High Life, she has delivered one of the most unapologetic experiences of her career. The film is often difficult and disturbing to watch. Denis, for her part, considers High Life to be a heartwarming story about a father and a daughter. It’s actually hard to argue with that. The film does not have a happy ending, per se—it’s as perplexing and ambiguous as you would expect—but it does end like it begins, in a way, with a gentleness that rarely exists anywhere in between, with human bonds forged and surviving through space and time. It’s hopeful in the way only Denis could be, working her way through pain and violence, and I daresay she has offered up one of the most singular science-fiction films in all of cinema.

Review by Jayson Mcnulty. To see the rest of his TIFF coverage visit :


In my previous dispatch, I said the back half of the festival is often the best half. Perhaps that needs a little more elaboration. Yes, the excitement and hype is over, but for a local, the more relaxed atmosphere of the last few days has its appeal. Most of the guests are gone, press screenings have come to an end, and King Street is starting to look like its normal self again. The mania has dissipated, allowing a certain sense of purity to emerge on the second weekend. The festival is a lot more accessible; it’s easy to just run up the street and hit up a film after work. And it’s a great time to just hang out and watch movies, casually walking into screenings for some of the year’s biggest festival debuts.

Over three-hundred films were invited to TIFF, and as we settle into the final weekend, these films are getting second or even third screenings. It’s a good time to cram in a few more movies, or catch up with the ones you couldn’t fit into your schedule earlier. And beyond the allure of the red carpet is an opportunity to catch up with films from, say, the Cannes Film Festival. One of the most discussed films this year was Bi Gan’s Long Day’s Journey into Night, which wowed audiences with its technical showmanship. I raced down to the Scotiabank theatre after work to squeeze in a screening, and I’m glad I did. This kind of movie is the reason big screens exist.

I don’t know how much I can really say about the film right now. Festival fatigue started to catch up to me again (working all day didn’t help, I’m sure) and I was feeling fairly drowsy as the film started to roll. I didn’t fall asleep at any point—that I can remember—but I struggled for a while and found it difficult to focus. As it turns out, I may have stumbled upon the best way to watch the film. Long Day’s Journey into Night is literally about a dude who falls asleep in a movie theatre, resulting in an astonishing narrative bifurcation, the details of which I don’t want to spoil (but if you’ve already read about the film, you may have heard about its impressive technical feats).

Confusion also seems to be a deliberate element of the films’s design, as the first half is highly fragmented and non-linear, operating more like a reverie than a rational detective story. The film’s second half stands in stark contrast, stylistically, and continually references or reconfigures the first, resulting in a hazy, shadow-soaked landscape of memories and filmic echoes. Every element of the production, from the gorgeous lighting (the film had three different cinematographers working on it) to the haunting music (provided by Hsu Chih-Yuan and Lim Giong), works together to mesmerizing effect. I have no idea what any of this is about. All I know for sure, at this moment, is that I can’t wait to see it again.

I don’t know how much I can really say about the film right now. Festival fatigue started to catch up to me again (working all day didn’t help, I’m sure) and I was feeling fairly drowsy as the film started to roll. I didn’t fall asleep at any point—that I can remember—but I struggled for a while and found it difficult to focus. As it turns out, I may have stumbled upon the best way to watch the film. Long Day’s Journey into Night is literally about a dude who falls asleep in a movie theatre, resulting in an astonishing narrative bifurcation, the details of which I don’t want to spoil (but if you’ve already read about the film, you may have heard about its impressive technical feats).

Confusion also seems to be a deliberate element of the films’s design, as the first half is highly fragmented and non-linear, operating more like a reverie than a rational detective story. The film’s second half stands in stark contrast, stylistically, and continually references or reconfigures the first, resulting in a hazy, shadow-soaked landscape of memories and filmic echoes. Every element of the production, from the gorgeous lighting (the film had three different cinematographers working on it) to the haunting music (provided by Hsu Chih-Yuan and Lim Giong), works together to mesmerizing effect. I have no idea what any of this is about. All I know for sure, at this moment, is that I can’t wait to see it again.

Premiering exactly one week ago here in Toronto, Yury Bykov’s The Factory is a tense and taut action thriller, suffused with ethical dilemmas and, dare I say, economic anxiety. Five years ago at this very festival, as I was looking for a couple extra films to slot into my closing weekend schedule, I was attracted by some critical buzz to a little-known Russian film, The Major. I had never heard of Bykov before, but after getting my ass kicked by that film’s bleak, unrelenting drama, I made sure to file his name away as one to watch. As I’ve said before, the glitz and glamour is appealing and exciting, but this is a festival for everyone, with hidden gems scattered throughout, waiting to be discovered. The Major was one such gem, ensuring I would turn up whenever Bykov returned to TIFF; five years was a long time to wait (his previous film, The Fool, did not screen here), but The Factory did not disappoint.

The film stars Denis Shvedov, who worked with Bykov before on The Major, playing Greyhair, a factory worker who springs into action when the owner decides to shut down operations and lay off the staff. He convinces a few of his co-workers to kidnap the factory owner, demanding a ransom with the pretext of unpaid wages. The film is a lean, mean and ruthless genre exercise, with one particularly intense action sequence that Bykov directs with exceptional skill. But it’s a grounded film, never losing sight of harsh realities and the thorny moral maze into which each character helplessly stumbles. I remember thinking The Majorstumbled in its plotting towards the end, but The Factory builds confidently to an unsettling and clear-eyed conclusion, boasting one of the most simple and effective closing shots I’ve seen in a movie all year.

Up next, my final dispatch for the year, in which I take a look at Lee Chang-dong’s Burning and Shinya Tsukamoto’s Killing and reflect on the festival as a whole.

The 43rd Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 6th to 16th, 2018.


This is copied and pasted from my Letterboxd review of Thoroughbreds (2017), written and directed by Cory Finley.

Negative Space: The Movie.

Where do I begin with this? It's a beautiful Coenesque black comedy neo-noir anchored by two incredible actors and filled with so much insight into the mind of an atypical late adolescent.

Amanda (Olivia Cooke) believes herself to be a sociopath, feeling no emotions and faking her way through life. But throughout the film there are little hints--her compassion and remorse over her horse being prime among them, but also her love and sacrifice for her friend, and so many other, smaller details. She feels emotions. She doesn't understand how to express them. She sees it as mechanical, as something that happens, but has no way of understanding or expressing what she's feeling so hides behind her aloof facade. I'm sure a lot of late teens have felt that.

Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) on the other hand plays at being the normal, well-advised, successful one, but to her everyone in her life--even Amanda--is a pawn. She feels no remorse, no guilt. She's what Amanda is pretending to be, though she is pretending to be something else. The dichotomy is beautiful.

I wouldn't be surprised if either or both of the leads goes on to win Best Actress one day. Especially Taylor-Joy--between this and her performance in The Witch, she has talents well beyond her 22 years. She is the next big thing.

The film itself is astounding in how bare it is. Like I titled this review, so much of it is what's left unsaid, what isn't shown. So much of it is in the silent pauses and static shots. The subtleties of the characters' expressions--which the recurring appearance of The Technique draws attention to--or the shots absent of any action tell more than any dialogue. It's masterfully written and directed, and for a first film from such a young director it's stunning. Cory Finley is another name to watch. I'll be keeping my eyes on his further projects.

And while this film seems like a launchpad for these three young talents, it also marked the end of a career abruptly cut short. Anton Yelchin's final performance sees him play against type as a scruffy would-be drug kingpin on the sex offenders registry. He shows the diversity in roles he can play, and it only makes his untimely passing that much more heartbreaking.

Thoroughbreds is a stage play taken to screen, with all the appropriate beats and absences taken right along with it. A stellar debut for the writer/director and a great piece in the portfolio for the leads.


1 comment
Posted day ago

This semester I'm teaching a unit on the advent of digital filmmaking technologies. Examples of digital cameras/CGI/digital postproduction/etc. in mainstream commercial cinemas are legion, but I'm hoping to find some examples of their use to more unique, aesthetic ends.

So far I'm thinking of things like The Russian Ark (2002), Inland Empire (2006), Post Tenebras Lux (2012), Under the Skin (2013), and Knight of Cups (2015). Any suggestions would be welcome!


From saying a movie is unwatchable, to poorly constructed/cohesive and to say they have walked out of the theater or that it's the worst movie ever made/a travesty, do people exaggerate how much they dislike a film?

More often than not, a harmless movie is torn to shreds by both professional critics and audiences, but the audience generally is much more cynical and vitriolic against them; whereas movie critics move on, audiences who disliked a movie want to ensure they didn't like it and tear it to shreds. Is this an exaggerate? For me, a movie has to be really awful for it to have an exaggerated dislike, and I mean it to hateful films such as the God's Not Dead movies.

The near worst a movie can be is boring, which I think most of these annual bad comedies or horror films are. The basic point is, though: do people really think a random movie is "the worst ever done"? Did they really walk out the theater, or is that just a purposefully constructed exxageration to make the product seem worse than it is or to gain social approval by hating on something?


So I just watched Cinema Paradiso again (seen it like 5 years ago), driven mostly for the "Love of Cinema" theme. The thing is that I've got the same feeling in the ending part of the movie.

I like the movie and about the end, I like how it represents the feeling of longing and to return to be in touch with those diffusely beautiful things that you've lived long time ago and have been always persistent in your head.

But I was left over with a desire of having a much better emotional impact, being that the film has a lot of potential in this matter. Am I missing something or just being too demanding?

Tl;dr Just wanted some tears of joy and I didn't get any :(

Moderator of r/TrueFilm

Please don't downvote opinions. Only downvote comments that don't contribute anything. Check out the WHYBW archives.


I think Jean-Pierre Jeunet is one of the greatest filmmakers of our time, but sadly, he's pretty much unknown to American audiences, maybe with the exception of Amélie, which is widely loved, and Alien Resurrection, which, while has its own cult status and fanbases is mostly disliked by moviegoers.

My question is, why didn't he start an American career after the exposure he gained with Alien 4? I noticed Jeunet and Guillermo Del Toro share a weirdly similar beginning of career, doing originally movies on their homecountry (Delicatessen and City of Lost Children in France; Cronos in Mexico, and funnily enough, the latter two use Ron Perlman who can speak in French and Spanish). To add to the weird coincidences, they would both be called to make American horror films about oversized bugs - Jeunet with Alien Resurrection and Del Toro with Mimic in 1997. Likewise, their first American experience was hated by critics and wasn't a very good first experience.

But while Del Toro started making non-Mexican films, Jeunet continued to work on France, finding a huge success with Amélie, but surprisingly he never went full mainstream to Hollywood.

I suspect that if that happened, he would start reusing some of his American Resurrection actors; I could see an American-based Amelie, maybe with Winona Ryder on the main role as she stared in Alien 4 with him - she kinda reminds me of Audrey Tautou with the big eyes and small hair (during the time).

I guess he didn't like the lack of freedom with Alien 4? It's well documented Fox royally screwed and almost abruptly ended David Fincher's career with Alien³ and later did not let Jeunet have the freedom he would be able to do a really good movie for 4. It didn't help that his latest film was also incredibly badly released by Harvey Weinstein to screw with him because he wanted his own "cut" of the movie.

What do you think? I think that in the end the fact he never became too big in the US for whatever reason is really sad, because he's an excellent filmmaker and director, who could do a lot of cool and new ideas with even higher budgets (and personally, pardon for breaking the end- I didn't like how The Shape of Water - a movie I enjoyed - seemed to appropriate many scenes from Jeunet's earlier works).

1 comment

I just finished my long overdue watching of The Florida Project and this is more of a first impression post than anything.

While watching the movie I couldn't stop thinking about how a conservative person could see this situation and use it as an example of why it's a bad idea to have "freeloaders" in our society, if you give people welfare and financial aid from the government they could easily end up in a situation like Hailey's, you could argue that if there was not a wellfare system she would have to end up looking for a proper job instead of pinching pennies by scamming people, soliciting etc.

Bobby could be seen as the figure (the state) that she can relly on and this incentivices her behaviour.

Also at the end the state is also an antagonist because they are trying to take away her daughter, which could be seen as a very libertarian observation about a nanny state which is ultimately taking away Moonee because of the decisions her mom made over her body.

Obviously this is a very simplistic view of the movie but I haven't seen anyone discussing this issue, I also don't believe Sean Baker is a conservative guy, far from it.

And now that I think about it this and Tangerine are movies in which the protagonists are screwed because prostitution is illegal...

Comments are locked

BLUE 22! Sign up for the Reddit Gifts Football exchange by October 1st to get matched!


In older movies (30s-mid 50s?, most especially in detective/gangster and romance films), the spacial logic seems extremely explicit - not always, but very often showing a character open a door and leave a room, then leaving a building, getting into a car and then showing that car arrive somewhere, whereupon the character enters the building. At some point, those scenes no longer seem to appear. I can't think of any in Jezebel, Some Like it Hot and so on, though perhaps Gone with the Wind does? (I can't find any examples as I don't know what to even call it - though I have heard it mentioned before)

So what was this called? Was it an explicit thing, somehow a hold over from theater, a way to pad out the time in a film? How did they "learn" to leave it to implications/abstractions?

I'd be glad to see any leads about this!


Hi, I am a graphic design student, for one of my classes I have been assigned to work on a mock film festival for Brian De Palma. I have to pick at least 6 of De Palma's films to be screened at the festival, but these films have to fit or hold together thematically.

Does anybody know the selection of De Palma films that are as such? I am doing my own research but I would also love to understand De Palma's overall vision for those films and if there are any links between each films.

Thank you very much.


Given the paucity of discussion concerning the work of the most misunderstood, unpopular American filmmaker *Brian De Palma*, not only on Reddit, but on the whole of the English reading internet, one might suspect that his name was cursed from having committed some unspeakable atrocity, such as raping and murdering a school bus full of orphans after selling them heroin before driving it off a cliff.

To so much as mouth those five syllables would incur the wrath of the gods, and misfortune would rain down upon you harder than diamonds on Neptune. Your lover would abandon you for the herpes-riddled leader of a murder sex suicide cult, your cat would picket his litter box, and your junk would go to pot. Fear not! De Palma or no, your number's up when your number's up. And if it isn't, and you're saddled with one misery after another, at least you've got a good story to tell your associates while you toss dirty clothes and unread books and 12 Step pamphlets and dried up cat poop aside in search of your $5.99 Blu-Ray of The Bonfire of the Vanities, which your associates must watch from beginning to end, without breaks, except for when you pause to dive into every obscure reference and production anecdote.

Without warning, your associate says, "hey, he stole that from Hitchcock". You're unfazed. You keep a Louisville Slugger behind the couch for these occasions. You grab the handle, stand up, and move slowly towards the critic as the gravelly rumble of the bat dragging along the wooden floor quickly sucks all of the air out of the room...

We're just getting started, feel free to contribute at your leisure.


I think the man was a genius in many ways and multi talented, however, I’ve always had an uneasy feeling about his relationship with Charlotte. Charlotte now only praises her dad and said she never felt exploited (even for that ‘Lemon Incest’ duet they did together) but I’ve watched many 1980s interviews with them together and there is a very odd chemistry between them. Charlotte seems scared, meek and on the verge of tears and Serge seems drunk and would occasionally do inappropriate things like literally make out with Charlotte


For example, there was a clip at an awards show, where Charlotte won an award and Serge gives her a full on tongue kiss before she goes up and accepts. He also sexualized her a lot in films like Charlotte Forever, when she was only around 14.

I don’t want to sound like a prudish American but I really haven’t heard anyone truly question this...I know French culture tends to differ significantly from the current post-Weinstein America, which may be both good and bad.


Recently, a thread was started and deleted about the top directors of different countries. If nothing else, the thread showed a demand for showcasing the most accomplished directors in each country. That's why I decided to write an introduction to the top directors of my home country. Hopefully this will inspire others to do the same, because I would love to read about other countries too in the future.

Director spotlight: Finland

Traditionally, compared to the other Northern European countries, Finland has never been a powerhouse in internationally recognized cinema. In the mainstream, the most recognized Finnish director remains Renny Harlin (Cliffhanger, Die Hard 2 etc) which says a lot. Finland is a very small and isolated market, and therefore the film industry is very much dependent on public funding and subventions, leaving little room for artistic growth. However, despite this, Finland has been able to produce one international star director, Aki Kaurismäki. Unlike in Denmark for example, this hasn't unfortunately created a following of a next generation of directors. A few promising names introduced below will hopefully change this soon!

I decided to focus on active directors, picking a few of the most interesting auteurs in my own subjective opinion. Some of the popular directors I decided to leave out include Aku Louhimies, Lauri Törhönen, Olli Saarela and Markku Pölönen.

Star directors

Aki Kaurismäki

Kaurismäki is a Berlinale darling with an occasional Cannes visit, including a Grand Prix for The Man without a Past (Mies vailla menneisyyttä, 2002). He has an immediately recognizable visual style: minimalist, austere set design stemming from the brutal landscapes of the post-war Finland. His sets are often intentionally anachronistic: for example in his latest film The Other Side of Hope (Toivon tuolla puolen, 2017), supposedly set in the European refugee crisis of 2015, we see government employees use dated office tools from the 1970s. His dialogue and humor are characteristically deadpan (even more so than that of Yorgos Lanthimos), delivered by his actors with minimal facial expression, often while smoking or drinking. Camera rarely if ever moves, and editing is conservative. Another important factor to Kaurismäki's style is the music, ranging from typical Finnish makeshift instrumental rock music (called "rautalanka") to tango. The main feelings visually conveyed by Kaurismäki are often melancholy and despair.

Despite his toolbox looking sinister and depressing on the surface, Kaurismäki is always able to create films with exceptional humanism and hope. In fact, he is one of the most humanistic active directors I can think of. His subject matters are without exception focused on the people at the margins of our society: homelessness, poverty or more recently, refugees. Kaurismäki looks at their suffering with extraordinary altruism and empathy, showing conflicts being resolved by kindness rather than violence. His films are not interested in plot, but in the endurance of these people in constant distress.

Kaurismäki himself has listed R. W. Fassbinder and Luis Buñuel as his main influences. Especially the influence of Fassbinder can be seen in the simple and gloomy set designs. As an often-mentioned anecdote, Kaurismäki is still using a camera he once bought from Ingmar Bergman. In a recent interview he was quoted saying, in his typical deadpan style, "Bergman used the camera in two films, I have now shot 18 of them with it. When can we start calling it my camera instead of his?".

Kaurismäki recently announced his retirement from filmmaking, but I have hope of him being back behind the camera sooner or later. After all, it's his third retirement announcement already and he has always come back.

For newcomers, to get into his filmography I would recommend the following starting points: The Match Factory Girl (Tulitikkutehtaan tyttö, 1990), The Man without a Past (Mies vailla menneisyyttä, 2002), Le Havre (2011)

Established directors

Klaus Härö

Härö is a well established director domestically, who is still waiting for his real international breakthrough. His films are often very emotional historical dramas, set against the backdrops of some of the most painful scars in the history of Finland, Sweden or Estonia. For example, his film The New Man (Den nya människan, 2007) tells the story of a young girl in the 1950s Sweden, where special needs children faced compulsory sterilization based on eugenic reasons. His most successful film is The Fencer (Miekkailija, 2015), set in Estonia under Soviet occupation, earning him a Golden Globe nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.

His best films, in my opinion, are the tearjerkers Mother of Mine (Äideistä parhain, 2005) and Elina: As If I Wasn't There (Elina - Som om jag inte fanns, 2002). The former deals with the despair of a Finnish mother during the World War II, who has to send her son to Sweden to be raised by a substitute mother in safety, and the sense of abandonement of her son. The latter tells the story of a Finnish-speaking girl in the 1950s Sweden, facing discrimination after losing her father to tuberculosis.

Härö's films are interesting and carry an emotional punch, but so far lack an ability to tell an universally compelling and timeless story. With Letters to Father Jacob (Postia pappi Jaakobille, 2009), Härö tackled a Bresson-esque project about a blind pastor and a pardoned convict, but didn't manage to find the theological or philosophical insight to raise the film to the international stage. So far his films, although good, have not been able to take the next step, but I think he has the potential to make it in the future.

Dome Karukoski

Karukoski is a more mainstream director with a good sense of pop culture and the current zeitgeist. He is currently close to an international breakthrough (currently filming a J.R.R. Tolkien biopic in England for Fox Searchlight), but it remains to be seen if he's able to make the cut. In Finland, however, he's a household name with several major hits under his belt. To me, he has been a hit-or-miss director with a couple of noteworthy films.

His best film, in my opinion, is his last. Tom of Finland (2017) tells the story of the titular artist. Growing up in an environment hostile to homosexuals, the film follows his life in a straightforward fashion towards becoming the iconic symbol of homoerotic fetish art and gay culture in the 1970s United States. Although the film has its shortcomings (hello, makeup department), Karukoski manages to tell a compelling story while creating fitting visual homage to the artist himself.

Other noteworthy films of his include The Home of Dark Butterflies (Tummien perhosten koti, 2008), a powerful drama set in an abusive foster home for boys, and Lapland Odyssey (Napapiirin sankarit, 2010), a light-hearted and entertaining comedy about a man trying to please his girlfriend who wants a new digital converter box for her TV.

Rising directors

Juho Kuosmanen

Kuosmanen broke through in Cannes in 2016 with his second feature The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki (Hymyilevä mies, 2016). He went home with the Un Certain Regard award and later received high praise across the Atlantic from the likes of Barry Jenkins and Sean Baker. The brilliant, unconventional boxing comedy that is completely uninterested in the sport of boxing tells the true story of a Finnish featherweight boxer who is set to fight for the world title. Empire described it as by "as if Aki Kaurismäki remade Raging Bull" and I think this hits the nail on the head. The humanism and downplayed emotions reminded me of Kaurismäki while being something completely original. In addition, the crisp black-and-white photography is alone a reason to watch this film, reminding me of nouvelle vague films at their best. If Kuosmanen is able to keep it up, he will be the next Finnish star director.

Selma Vilhunen

Vilhunen got famous in Finland after winning the Academy Award with her short film Do I Have to Take Care of Everything? (Pitääkö mun kaikki hoitaa?, 2012). I haven't seen any of her films yet, but I'm looking forward to the new film Stupid Young Heart (Hölmö nuori sydän, 2018) which just premiered at TIFF to positive reviews.


I was just watching BBC's the Bodyguard and two characters shared a stolen kiss before fading to black. I thought "ooh!" ...and then a minute of romantic foggy shots of them making love followed...

How does it add to the story beyond just implying it/otherwise making it known that the people are now together?

There's that French movie with some horrible violent scene, which I guess does something useful - since the film relies on such brutality... I'm sure a few others do useful stuff with it. But in the typical film, what's the point?

Is it just shitty porn/fan service?

Edit: And how could they be used better/more constructively?


Highly recommend the link for all the images attached to this writeup.

A Coen Brothers movie can be spotted a mile away. Look for noir elements, quirky characters, and human error; from such elements we get classics like FargoThe Big Lebowski, and Burn After Reading. While these pieces play well together in a comedic tone, they can become dark and sinister with only a few small tweaks. There is no better example of this than the 2007 neo-western No Country for Old Men.

The film is an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's book of the same name. Both works are harrowing modernizations of the Western genre. There are no lone rangers or valiant victories. It's a world of poverty, psychopaths, death, and hopelessness. The law doesn't win. The good guy doesn't win. The bad guy doesn't really win either. And it all just happens on screen in objective, nihilistic fashion. I respect the Coen Brothers; they could've easily played all of this for laughs, but they were true to the book and its intention, and they built the film around that existentialist intent.

Being nihilistic in nature, the Coen Brothers use voids and emptiness when constructing the cinematic experience of the film. This is particularly apparent in the sound design. The film has little to no score. Or dialogue. Or anything. There are portions of this film that are just long stretches of silence.  The only sounds heard are those that are diegetic and absolutely necessary to tell the story. It's a matter-of-fact approach that compliments this story of "man versus inevitability" quite well. In a traditional film, sound design suggests other parts of the world that aren't in frame. For example, if the scene is a commander walking across a military base, then you would not only hear the commander, but also basic training, practice ranges, rhythmic call and responses, aircraft landing or leaving, and much more to add to the size of the operation without the need of showing it. The only things you hear from off screen in No Country is either existential narration from Tommy Lee Jones or the incoming threat of Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem). The complete lack of sound in this film suggests a void that the main character Llewelyn (Josh Brolin) is wandering in. The startling silence is incredibly effective, giving those quiet moments an ominous presence while giving the louder shootouts so much greater impact.

The cinematography plays with these voids just as much as the sound design does. Darkness is often used in the film to frame characters or vice verse with backgrounds silhouetting characters. Both techniques bring to mind the darkness motif again. Within the frames themselves, the use of emptiness is emphasized by a lack of periphery details. Every character who appears on screen has lines. There are no extras or CGI crowds, just a bunch of people directly or indirectly involved in Chigurh's hunt for Llewelyn. In nihilism and other fate-oriented philosophies, one main similarity is that, in the face of death, every one is the same, no matter their status or earthly wealth. The silhouettes and darkness have this effect. Everyone looks the same in the dark. The only person you can distinctly recognize in silhouette is Chigurh, which says something about him as a figurehead for chaos.

Chigurh is an archetype found often in many post-modern stories that I will just dub "The Comedian". The basis of the Comedian character is that he realizes the reality of his existence, processes it, and continues living by "laughing it off" or accepting the chaos wholeheartedly. You can see this archetype in the Dark Knight's Joker, Watchmen's Comedian, or even Sisyphus in Camus' existential manifesto "The Myth of Sisyphus". With this archetype being the foundation, how Chigurh is designed and captured on film adds layers to the film's message

For one, his look is so distinctive. The world of No Country is full of jeans, boots, belt buckles, button ups, and leather. The men are all wearing their hair close to their head, and the women all have manicured nails, roughed up by being in the country, and hair that they take an awful lot of pride in. And then we have Chigurh. His dark palette goes against literally everyone else, an obvious example of how he is aesthetically different. His gait, his accent, his weapon of choice, his conversation... all make a prime example of a sore thumb. The haircut is just the icing on the cake. The strange length and cut of it are so un-American or fashionable and, as I mentioned before, make his presence strange but recognizable. It reminds me of Death in The Seventh Seal, and the relation between the two characters is obvious.

Given the film's theme of man versus inevitability, and Chigurh's role in that theme as the bringer of the ultimate inevitability, the Coen Brothers often frame him as such, focusing on his dark visage or—in the case of one shot—the symbol of finality at the end of a passage.  The editing also sees Chigurh's deeds as meaningless. Often times deaths will happen swiftly and with grotesque realism or, perhaps even more telling, not shown at all. Main characters die completely off screen. No pomp and circumstance, no swan song. Just dead. The realism is as matter-of-fact as the rest of the filmmaking.  It's not there to shock, it is there because that is what happens in the story. The Coens give the audience a completely grounded world. What is so disturbing about the film is how emotionally realistic it is. Whenever people die in the real world there is often no large set piece for a blaze of glory. The top billing dies like the day players. And towards the end, it rings true that even the worst among us can get hurt in this chaotic and messed up world.

No Country for Old Men is an existentialist Western examining the anxieties of mortality. It is a benchmark in post-modern filmmaking. It draws on older genres and stories but captures them with such a bleak and hopeless perspective, the absurdist nature of the world can be nowhere else but in the forefront of the audience's mind.

By Jacob Watson. For similar writeups:


usually, people write off television shows, especially 'spin-off's,' for good to low tier cinematography, framing, or any other piece of film rhetoric that is used to describe a good piece of audio/visual storytelling.

paul thomas anderson once said that the best film is just 'pictures and music.' the use of dialogue, even since the silent era, has always felt 'included' or somewhat forced into film. film affords itself a unique storytelling device with every available thing at the directors disposal.

in this clip from better call saul (season 04 up to current episode visual spoilers)

jimmy is working at a deadbeat job while waiting to get his old lawyering job back. vince gilligan i feel like has finally hit his mark trying to convey this sense of meaningless american masculine labor, in order to provide for ones own destiny and those they love and support. he does this with many, many repetitive shots of mike, saul, and walter from breaking bad, doing meaningless tasks.

the repetitiveness in film becomes primal, and it goes beyond words. its a shared experience that gilligan is really becoming great at capturing.


So like any good pretentious movie goers my friend and I recently had a long discussion about the movie Heriditary. Now I love movies but horror movies in particular, especially ones done artfully, are basically my crack. So I mean it when I say Ive seen a lot more than Im comfortable admitting outside this sub.

Basically our discussion focused around the end of the film. My friend argued that the ending was its weak point. To cheesy, heavy handed, ect, ect. I, on the other hand, loved it. I personally am tired of movies with the cop-out “it was all in her head” ending or the “its a massive allegory for depression” ending. Sometimes I just wanna see headless corpses worshipping the devil.

I am definitely all for the return of the campy style. You dont need to be Ebert to see the similarities to Rosemary’s Baby, and popular culture is definitley shifting its tastes to a 60’s and 70’s style. That can clearly be seen with the influx of witch and occult movies. I think films from that era were just more fun and weren't trying too hard while still looking beautiful and being decently scary. Do yall think that the campy ending are fun and satisfying or dumb and not thought out?


I know this is such a pretentious bullshit way to title a topic but that's the whole thing. Obviously film brings something into our lives in a purely personal way. It educates us, or confuses us (also valuable), challenges, inspires, warns, hurts, enraged, etc. us. There's value to viewing and thinking and experiencing on your own. I do find it frustrating to see a film that I simply cannot find anyone else to talk to about it.

I'm a private person most of the time, but I want to be able to talk about an art form that has repercussions on society and on the way we see the world, but it often feels like I'm stuck alone for all practical purposes on some of that.

I honestly just don't go to festivals anymore because a lot of the films I usually go see don't get distribution, or it's so limited people have to actively seek it out and just don't or won't. I have Mubi which shows great films but a lot of the time, if you don't see it on its Mubi run you probably never will if you ever even hear about it. I'll watch specific genres/topics of films that are also often too specific for most people which holds back a lot.

Is this something that happens to anyone else? Do you ever get this feeling? I try to be happy on my own watching things, and I usually accomplish it. I just end up feeling a little out in the cold sometimes.


Lots have been said, written, sung, played and put to film about the Samurai mythos. In all contemporary works regarding these mythical warriors there is a common word that keeps popping up: honour. Samurai are presented as honourable soldiers that hold this principle in the highest of esteems. Yet, much like every other act of representation of groups of people or phenomenae of centuries gone by, it comes with a good deal of a romantization. The 1962 film “Harakiri”, directed by Masaki Kobayashi, questions this ideal of the samurai’s code of honour, and the result is an unforgettable jidaigeki that very well deserves to be held among the greatest achievements in japanese film history.

Set in the Edo period, the film tells the story of ronin Tsugumo Hanshiro (Tatsuya Nakadai), a lordless samurai who arrives at the estate of the li clan with the request of them letting him commit harakiri on their ground. At the time it was common for ronin to make such requests in order to receive gold from the clans or even a job to deter them from doing this. Suspecting that this might be the case, senior counselor Saito Kageyu (Rentaro Mikuni) tells him the story of another ronin that recently came to the li clan with the same request. Tsugumu, however, sticks to his resolve of commiting harakiri, claiming that he has “every intention of dying”. Little do the members of the li clan know, that Tsugumu has come with a hidden agenda of his own.


Spoilers for both Eighth Grade and Searching

Both films are about the relationship between a teenage girl and her father. The mother is absent, and the father and daughter have issues communicating with each other. The father makes an effort to connect with his daughter, but can be overbearing at times. The daughter expresses herself through a personal vlog, but doesn't have much of a following. And the daughter goes through a traumatic experience when a boy makes advances on her in a car (although this happens off screen in Searching).

There are plenty of other examples of two films being released around the same time about similar things. Armageddon/Deep Impact, The Illusionist/The Prestige, etc. But the interesting thing about this particular case is that each film is about one person's perspective in a relationship about two people struggling to communicate. It is also interesting how other examples of this phenomenon are very similar stylistically, but Eighth Grade and Searching are so different. Searching is a thriller told through the perspective of the father. Eighth Grade is a dramatic comedy told through the perspective of the daughter.

What do you think this says about audiences in 2018?. The internet is prevalent in both films, but how do they relate?

Community Details





An in-depth discussion of film

Create Post
r/TrueFilm Rules
Why are there people like Frank?
What a bunch Ophuls
You left, just when you were becoming interesting...
No Ban, No Wall
Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services or clicking I agree, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.