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Meet the Young Critics (X)

Film Critic (Ronald Searle, 1952)


We asked the participants in the tenth edition of the Young Critics Workshop at Film Fest Gent three simple questions. Who are they? What is their favorite “cinephiliac” moment? And which three films are they most looking forward to at the festival? Below are their answers.

Follow the Young Critics’ exploits at Film Fest Gent from October 10 until 20!

Liska Brams

I completed a master in Contemporary Art History at the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam earlier this year. I write about visual art, film, and literature and work as an assistant curator.

Cinephiliac Moment

The enirity of Godard’s Deux ou trois choses que je sais d’elle (a film so perfect that you want to reenact it from beginning to end—to own the images and the sounds, to live in them).

Top three anticipated FFG Films

May December – Todd Haynes
Chambre 999 – Lubna Playoust
The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover – Peter Greenaway

José Emilio González

I’m a Mexican cinephile. My texts are published in outlets like El cine probablemente, Correspondencias, Butaca Ancha and photogénie. I majored in English Literature; my thesis degree was about Matías Piñeiro and Shakespeare. In 2021, I was a part of the Young Jury at Black Canvas, and, last year, I participated in the Guadalajara Talents Press. I’m the Programming Coordinator at Bogota International Shorts Film Festival (BOGOSHORTS).

Cinephiliac Moment

A favorite ‘cinephiliac moment’ is a scene from Hawks’ To Have and Have Not (1944). Marie, played by Lauren Bacall, is having coffee in the hotel’s restaurant. Then, she lights a cigarette and starts humming a song with the piano player next to her. The sum of all these small gestures is very beautiful. For me, this scene is a clear example of how films can show the grandiloquence of daily life.

Top three anticipated FFG Films

Just three? Let’s make it three premieres and three classics. Premieres: The Daughters of Fire (Pedro Costa), Cerrar los ojos (Víctor Erice), and Youth (Spring) (Wang Bing). Classics: A Brighter Summer Day (Edward Yang), Stravisky (Alain Resnais), and the chance to watch on the big screen Distant Voices, Still Lives (Terence Davies), which is one of my all time favorites.

Vedant Srinivas

I graduated with a distinction in Philosophy and went on to do a short course in Filmmaking. Apart from regular film writing for reputed publications, I have collaborated with leading critics/theorists in India, contributed a book chapter to an upcoming anthology on contemporary Indian cinema, and also attempted a translation of a book on the filmmaker Kumar Shahani. Over the years, I have dabbled in diverse disciplines, ranging from literature and cinema studies to art-history and anthropology (I got into Oxford for Visual Anthro but unfortunately couldn’t secure funding). What has remained constant throughout is my abiding love for and devotion to the seventh art.

Cinephiliac Moment

I keep going back to Maurice Pialat’s The Mouth Agape. What leaves me gobsmacked every time is the disjunctive editing style. The sudden – and brutal – leaps across time, space, and character motivations, oftentimes with no explanation whatsoever, quite literally knock the wind out of you. Watching Agape, I realised for the first time the latent belligerence of a cut, that simple and most elementary of cinematic techniques. An unmistakable Pialatian cut that, to put it rather grandly, reveals an ontological dimension beyond all narrative functions; that fractures, ruptures, and peels reality apart until one comes face to face with the yawning chasm underlying it. Pialat’s own declaration perhaps provides a clue—“What I mean by realism goes beyond reality.”

Top three anticipated FFG Films

Youth (Spring) by Wang Bing
Samsara by Lois Patiño
Eureka by Lisandro Alonso

Christy Tan

I write poems, reviews and essays for various Australian publications. I was a recent alumna of Melbourne International Film Festival’s 2023 Critics Campus and currently live in Melbourne on unceded Wurundjeri land.

Cinephiliac Moment

I will never fully recover from the final scene of Celine Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire.

Top three anticipated FFG Films

Edward Yang’s A Brighter Summer Day, Ryuichi Sakamoto’s final concert Opus, Jia Zhangke’s Touch of Sin.

Sam Warren Miell

I’m from Lewisham in South East London, and I write about film and art when I’m not doing my day job in the charity sector. My academic background is in English literature, where I worked on the Romantics and recent British avant-garde poetry. This dual interest in the canonical and the experimental also maps fairly well onto my cinematic proclivities, which span from Ford and Hawks to Benning and Rousseau.

Cinephiliac Moment

The arbitrariness of favourites means the only possible answer is the first thing that comes to mind. Today, that’s the moment half an hour into Anthony Mann’s Winchester ’73 when Jimmy Stewart and Millard Mitchell are riding through the desert in search of the titular rifle. A running gag is Mitchell’s character getting his words in a muddle. On this occasion, Stewart tells him to spit out his tobacco; making a small gesture with his finger, he explains: ‘Just wanted to get your tongue straightened around’. Stewart’s delivery is so casual—low and sotto voce as against his usual tenor drawl—that the exchange almost seems like it’s happening outside of the world of the film, between the actors themselves and not their characters. If its unassuming naturalism also turns the characters into something more like real people, this would be impossible without the formal and generic edifice of the film as a whole, everything that tends in the direction of artifice. The history of film is studded with these moments in which the complex dialectics of the form crystallize into small, hard gems.

Top three anticipated FFG Films

  1. Wang Bing – Youth (Spring)
  2. Wang Bing – Man in Black
  3. Pedro Costa – The Daughters of Fire