Articles by Shahbaz Khayambashi

Reviews

Nerve

In their essay “Cinema-Ideology-Criticism”, Jean-Luc Comolli and Jean Paul Narboni speak of a category of cinema which is politically progressive in content, but whose politics can be discounted due to the generic and status quo supporting form.  This category is exemplified in Nerve, a film which, just like your friend who speaks about how others “don’t understand”, manages to talk for 96 minutes without ever actually saying anything.

Reviews

Queen of Spades: The Dark Rite

Making a mythology for a horror film is a complex concept.  Filmmakers have to take into account narrative, visual and paratextual elements in order to create an iconic creature that can stand the test of time.  The filmmaker may not realize this, but they are inherently forced into this routine when they make a film which involves the creation of an urban legend.

Reviews

9 Days with Cambria

9 Days with Cambria is sold as an experiment in character development and storytelling.  It tells the story of a young woman by the name of Cambria, who was once raped by her boyfriend-at-the-time which led to their breakup and her worsened mental state.  In more competent hands, this could have been an inquisitive work, but in the hands of directors Mike Klassen (Abolition) and Jason Armstrong, the final product is at best inconsequential and at…

Reviews

Chevalier

Based on my moviegoing experience, most romantic comedies, melodramas and other stereotypically feminine genre films are directed by men.  Based on this alone, Chevalier is an important film: a study of masculinity through the gaze of a woman filmmaker.

Reviews

The Before Time

Sometimes, a film may fail at one or two or even five things.  A much rarer find is a film that manages to fail at absolutely everything it attempts.  The term “attempt” is important, since The Before Time did unintentionally succeed at making me laugh out loud several times – a much higher success rate than many recent comedies.

Reviews

Hockney

I have liked pop art for as long as I can remember, but I really fell in love with the movement after seeing a large retrospective of pop art from around the world at the Tate Modern last year.  There are so many ways to use this movement for revolutionary purposes, through the reappropriation of established cultural artifacts and ideologies.  But, as certain artists have proven, it is also exceedingly simple to not use it…

Festival Coverage

Canadian Film Festival ’16: Chasing Valentine

There is no bigger proponent of Canadian cinema than myself.  If a film really captures me, I’ll go out of my way to champion it.  Low budget, undetectable indies sometimes need that extra push.  However, no matter if the film is big or small, if the end result is wildly inconsistent, I have to throw in the towel.  Case in point: Navin Ramaswaran’s shockingly inept Chasing Valentine.

Reviews

The Clan

People are fully capable of great evil.  This seems to be a frequent moral that is being used lately in South American cinema.  Of course, when the real, non-cinematic world is full of unimaginable horror, filmmakers refuse to ignore.

Reviews

The Lobster

One of the most exciting voices of contemporary cinema has hit that point in his career where he needs to make his first English language feature.  Thankfully, unlike countless others before him, Yorgos Lanthimos managed to avoid the usual pitfalls of the “first English feature” and results in The Lobster, a film as weird and brilliant as his previous features Dogtooth and ALPS.