South Korea and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week: Default (Gukgabudo-ui Nal / 국가부도의 날 2018)

In the closing days of November 1997, South Korea discovered that it had one week before the Asian financial crisis depleted its foreign reserves. One woman at the Bank of Korea was determined to avoid an IMF bailout. This is her story.

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Thoughts on Song to Song (2017)

I’m a huge fan of Terrence Malick, but I have to admit that Song to Song (2017) gets away from him. It’s still full of gorgeous shots and all that, but each individual element is just a bit subpar, resulting in an unsatisfying film overall.

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Fear and Loathing in Outer Space: High Life (2018)

Editor’s note: This piece is part of a series on the 2018 Golden Horse Film Festival.

Despite having seen Trouble Every Day (2001), nothing could’ve prepared me for the savage nihilism of Claire Denis’s High Life (2018). Set in a future when humanity sends its death row convicts into space for science, the film centers on the crew of ship #7, headed by de facto leader Dr. Dibs (Juliette Binoche) and ostensible moral leader Monte (Robert Pattinson). Their primary mission is to explore the possible use of black holes as an energy source, making it for all intents and purposes a suicide mission; a secondary objective is revealed when Dibs forcibly impregnates the women via artificial insemination with sperm donated by every man but Monte: to answer the question, Can human life be created in space? The answer is always no, because of irradiation—almost always.

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