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We’re halfway through the year, and thought it would be fun to share some of our staff’s favorite films they’ve seen from January-June! It’s been a great year for film already, and there are plenty of films coming soon to a/perture that will make our lists change by the time December rolls around. Catch up on these selections and stop by to catch something new!


sta/ff member: Lawren Desai

film pick: Perfect Days

why this film:

I thought Perfect Days was pretty, well, perfect. Directed by a legendary filmmaker, Wim Wenders, it’s a simple and tranquil film about a simple and tranquil man, Hirayama, who spends his days cleaning public toilets in Japan. Hirayama appreciates the joys in life and I just love the scenes where he drives around Tokyo in his minivan and pops a cassette in full of classic American rock.  See the playlist I created here 

what you’d pair this film with:

If I could pair Perfect Days with any film for a double feature it would be Columbus, directed by Kogonada. To me they both have a similar vibe and use architectural elements of their city locations to elevate the story. In Perfect Days, the Tokyo Toilets are a character and in Columbus it’s the buildings in Columbus, Ohio designed by architect legends like Saarinen (father and son) and I.M. Pei. 


sta/ff member: Jason Leeper

film pick: Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

why this film:

I think “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” is downright phenomenal. I struggle to wrap my head around the fact that its director, George Miller, is nearly eighty years old and retains a keen ability to craft such memorable characters, detail-oriented environments and highly ambitious action sequences in the fifth-entry of a nearly fifty-year old franchise. 

 Although it uses several of the same environments and characters from “Fury Road,” I think “Furiosa” is a very different film in the structural sense. While “Fury Road” is a high-octane chase movie, “Furiosa” acts as a decade-spanning revenge epic doubling as a character study for its virtually silent and incredibly captivating protagonist. Anya Taylor-Joy doesn’t say much throughout the film, but her piercing eyes and nuanced physical performance together speak volumes about her character. 

 Chris Hemsworth’s performance as the power-hungry Dementus was immensely enjoyable to watch. I found it wonderful to see a villain on-screen with such a big personality that turned out to be somewhat incompetent and amusingly pathetic by the end of the film. The final confrontation between him and Furiosa I found to be very satisfying as well. 

what you’d pair this film with:

I am certainly not the first person to say this, but the relationship between “Fury Road” and “Furiosa” reminds me a lot of the Tarantino two-part revenge epic: “Kill Bill.” “Fury Road” and “Kill Bill Vol. 1” are similar in the sense that they are more action-oriented, while “Furiosa” and “Kill Bill Vol. 2” slow things down pacing-wise and allow for characterization and dialogue to come to the forefront. As a result, I think there is a definite split among audiences and critics for both films. Some prefer the relentless action-packed nature of Fury Road/Vol. 1 while others gravitate more toward the character-focused narrative in Furiosa/Vol. 2. I personally feel that I can appreciate “Fury Road” and “Furiosa” on near-equal terms because they both strive for different goals and ended up exceeding my expectations; I think they are both masterpieces in their own right.


sta/ff member: Lilly Parker

film pick: Dune: Part Two

why this film:  

While this film was an excellent experience from start to finish, what stood out most to me was the gorgeous cinematography and incredible soundtrack. In this age of streaming services, the huge sweeping shots and vast rumbling music in Dune: Part Two were a much-needed testament to the magic of experiencing a film – or rather, a cinematic masterpiece – on the big screen. Plus, as someone who has read all six of Frank Herbert’s Dune novels, the book-to-film adaptation did not disappoint. The film captured the spirit of the books while still developing its own identity.

what you’d pair this film with:

With Dune: Part 2, I would pair another of director Denis Villenueve’s master works set to a Hans Zimmer soundtrack, Blade Runner: 2049. Of course I’d also be the first to vouch for a double feature of Dune and Dune: Part Two.


sta/ff member: Aaron Botts

film pick: Perfect Days

why this film:  

I really like the cultural differences and connections in regard to work life between Japan and the United States. Very rarely can a film capture the essence of what “a day in the life” feels like. And Perfect Days did just that. Moreover, I loved the small interactions the main character had with his co-worker. It shows everyone is subject to a call out, an extra bout of work, and lending a helping hand.

what you’d pair this film with:

I’d pair it with: This movie needs to be tied with any spring cleaning that you need to do. After this movie I was cleaning places in my apartment that I know haven’t been touched. Joking aside, I’d pair it with, “Office Space.” I think it’s a funny juxtaposition to go from ‘a day in the life’ with a focused plot line to ‘cultural commentary’ with a several plot lines. 


sta/ff member: Jake Laystrom

film pick: La Chimera

why this film:  

This was my first Alice Rohrwacher, and I fell in love with her playfulness as a filmmaker. There are several sequences in this film that use sped-up action like you see in Buster Keaton movies, and it completely works with the mysterious and tranquil tone she sustains throughout the story. Plus Josh O’Connor’s white linen suit will be this year’s go-to Halloween costume (in a perfect world)!

what you’d pair this film with:

My essentially tied-for-favorite film this so far year, also a playful and moving story of found families – The Ross Brother’s GASOLINE RAINBOW, which follows a group of teenagers taking an eventful road trip to the Oregon coast at the end of their senior year of high school. Is it a documentary, is it scripted? It’s both, kind of, you just have to watch it and find out for yourself!  


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