Film Bitch History
Oscar History

The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.


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"They're saying this is for Adam Driver what Kramer vs Kramer was for Dustin Hoffman. More about him than about her.  Scarlett, to me, is the open question. By now it's Driver vs Phoenix for best actor." - Melchiades - Andrew

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Directors (For Sama)
Lulu Wang (The Farewell)
Ritesh Batra (Photograph)
Schmidt & Abrantes (Diamantino)
Jia Zhang-ke (Ash is Purest White)

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Entries in Ash is Purest White (4)


Halfway Mark - Team Experience Favourites

I'll be sharing my midyear ballots (such as they are) over the next couple of days but first let's hear from the whole team. Or, some of them - those that volunteeered their little in progress top fives. The team hopes you enjoy these little peeks into our individual film experiences from January through June at the movies (and in some cases, at home).

Chris Feil's midyear top five  
Twitter | Instagram | This Had Oscar Buzz | TFE Articles 

01 Her Smell's redemptive anarchy in five acts

02 Ari Aster's hilarious Midsommar -time sadness

03 Claire Denis' sci-fi descent into the black hole of our biology High Life.

04 The haves-and-have-nots horror of Us.

05 Zhao Tao giving another masterclass in Jia Zhangke's Ash is Purest White.  


Paolo Kagaoan's midyear top five
Twitter | Instagram | All of Paolo's articles

01 Homecoming: A Film By Beyonce... When  Beyonce descended from those steps, Sergei Eisenstein rose back from the dead, burned every copy of Battleship Potemkin, and killed himself.

02 Elizabeth Olsen in Endgame because she reminded me that Thanos is an asshole... 

Click to read more ...


Interview: Jia Zhang-Ke on 'Ash Is Purest White' and his collaboration with Zhao Tao

by Murtada Elfadl

Fan Liao, Zhao and Jia at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival

Ash Is Purest White, opening tomorrow in select theaters, is Jia Zhang-Ke’s latest film. It has his trademark immersive, decades spanning storytelling. This time it is also a blend of gangster film, romance, and social critique. Again it starts his muse and collaborator Zhao Tao, this time playing Qiao, a quick-witted resourceful woman who falls into a decades long epic entalegment with her mobster boyfriend Bin (Fan Liao) within the jianghu (criminal underworld) of post-industrial Datong. We called it "bold, epic and fully detailed in equal measures" in our review. While in New York last October for NYFF, we got a chance to talk with Jia about his film. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Murtada Elfadl: What ideas did you want to push forward with this film?

Jia Zhang-Ke: This film spans from 2001 to 2018 and within these 17 years I wanted to examine how Chinese people are living in this particular historic context. For this particular film, even though it has the same thread of my previous films of examining the transformation of society and its impact on interpersonal relationships among characters, this time I focused on the principles and values that people either uphold or give up during societal transformation. I created these two characters who are moving in opposing directions. Bin was a drifter at the beginning, then he decided to join the mainstream culture which is very much about power, money and fame whereas the female character Qiao takes the opposite route so we can see how diametrically they have changed...

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NYFF: Ash is Purest White

Murtada Elfadl reporting on the New York Film Festival which begins Friday

Have you seen Jia Zhangke’s previous film Mountains May Depart (2015)? Did you whoop with joy when his wife and collaborator Zhao Tao danced to the Pet Shop Boys’ Go West in the memorable opening sequence? Well you are in for another treat from this duo. Tao dances again, and to another delightful well known song that we won’t spoil here. More than that, Ash is Purest White is the showcase for her immense talent that we were hoping for...

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Cannes: How's the Palme d'Or Competition Shaping Up?

by Nathaniel R

Which of the 21 films that Cate Blanchett and her jury are screening, will win the Palme d'Or? It's the most coveted film festival prize in the world and it's always a nail biter even when the prize seems obvious due to the vagaries of jury voting. Only one film will win the Palme but juries are expected to spread the wealth so there's a lot to consider each year among the best-received films when you're talking "winners" since acting prizes, writing, and special prizes await us next weekend. Juries have been known to surprise by handing a random award here or there to a film that critics didn't like at all... or ignoring some obvious giant especially in the two acting awards. So in other words, take the "Cannes sensation!" reviews with a block of salt because you never know.  

Not all of the 21 films have screened yet but these 4 look like contenders of some sort to us from our vantage point across the Ocean...

Click to read more ...