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For the greater part of “The Limits of Control,” one can’t help but look into actor Isaach de Bankolé’s rigid, contemplating face as one might a member of the Queen’s Guard outside Buckingham Palace, waiting for a break in character, for even a small change in Bankolé’s deadpan expression.
The film opens in an airport bathroom, as Bankolé’s unnamed protagonist, dressed in a sharp grey-blue suit finishes a series of strange, meditative rituals. He exits, duffel bag in hand, to meet two sunglass-clad individuals who hand him a red box of matches, and give him instructions to fly to Madrid, hang around a café for a couple of days, and wait for a violin.
Carefully directed by Jim Jarmusch (“Broken Flowers,” “Coffee & Cigarettes”), “The Limits of Control” features extraordinarily sparse dialogue, so that when words are spoken they almost bleed meaning. As Bankolé’s character is approached throughout the film by various informants, whom Bankolé always exchanges a different box of matches with, the audience is treated to insightful commentaries on the nature of film, science, art and hallucinogens.
“The Limits of Control” is a quiet film. The protagonist does nothing more than carry out his mission, the details of which are held captive from the audience until the very end. It is a film that keeps the audience guessing, and is paced expertly to give the viewer proper time for thought without having to pause the film.
If the devil is in the details, then Jim Jarmusch is Satan’s right-hand man. The films many intricacies serve to instill the audience with a sense of mystery, meaning, and an unshakeable love for the unknown.
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“Blue Is The Warmest Color,” a story of first love and, inevitably, first love lost, is a cinematic experience of subtle brilliance not to be missed. Awarded the Palme d’Or (one of the most prestigious awards in film) at Cannes International Film Festival 2013, the film moves its audience in the same way it does its characters: gradually.
After noticing a girl with short, cropped blue hair on the street, high school junior Adèle’s (Adèle Exarchopoulos) mind is invaded by thoughts of the mysterious girl. Soon after, the tomboyish Emma, brought to life by Léa Seydoux (“Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol,” “Midnight in Paris”) finds her way into Adèle’s life and shows her a world of young love, desire and satisfaction.
Adèle is a character the audience can’t help but fall in love with. She is a genuinely attractive girl, her tired eyes, lips, teeth, wide warm smile and breath betray her thoughts at every turn in this meandering story. For the majority of the film’s two hour and fifty-five minute run, Adèle’s face stretches across the screen top to bottom, lending itself to a deep sense of intimacy in the viewer as they are taken by Adèle’s decade-long coming-of-age experience.
Controversial to some because of their occasional near-pornographic qualities, sex scenes between Adèle and Emma early in the film are significant, but not comparatively large parts of “Blue.” A main goal of the film is to portray first love in it’s entirety; these scenes serve both to underscore the unfortunate distancing of the two girls as they grow away from each other, as all first loves do, and depict the intimate passion that precedes it. However, it must be admitted that despite the blueness of Emma’s hair, these intimate encounters are enough to turn anyone red in the face.
“Blue Is The Warmest Color” is not for everyone, but for those who want an engrossing, detailed and artistic look into a world of love, lust and misunderstanding, this film is for you.
“Blue Is The Warmest Color” is showing at Landmark Hillcrest theatre.