MOON

By Peggy Nelson

Moon – 2009 – dir. Duncan Jones

In Moon (dir. Duncan Jones, 2009), Sam Rockwell plays the scruffy hipster-next-door on the moon, who turns out to be both more and less than what he seems.  With impressive set design, constructed with tiny models instead of CGI, Moon inhabits not the 1960s techno-future of visible progress, but the 1970s paranoid present of hidden ulterior motives.  In a way, Moon recalls not so much the actual space race, but the aftermath of plastic modules on the kitchen table, with an excess of glue and tiny pieces that don’t seem to fit anymore.
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MERRY CHRISTMAS, MR. LAWRENCE

By Peggy Nelson

Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence – dir. Nagisa Oshima – 1983

Prisoner of war films offer an eye-of-the-storm perspective from which to contemplate the chaos of war.  In the tradition of Jean Renoir’s The Grand Illusion (1937), and David Lean’s Bridge Over the River Kwai (1957), Nagisa Oshima’s Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence investigates the psyches of men from very different cultures in this tale of British captives in a Japanese POW camp.  Co-written by Oshima and Paul Mayersberg from an Afrikaner’s published memoirs, Oshima uses the perspective of the non-Japanese to turn his lens on WWII Japan.

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