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IN THE CINÉMA CLUB OF… DENNIS LIM

Dennis Lim is a critical voice in the contemporary film landscape. A curator, teacher, and writer, his programming efforts have illuminated cinemas with the most exciting new discoveries from around the globe. He was the film editor of The Village Voice in the early 2000s, served as the director of programming at Film at Lincoln Center from 2013 to 2022, and was named the artistic director of the New York Film Festival this year.

 

On the occasion of the release of his book about South Korean auteur Hong Sangsoo’s Tale of Cinema, Lim shared five favorite films, along with this thoughtful note about the selection:

 

“In writing a monograph on Hong Sangsoo, I found myself returning time and again to the question of smallness. What makes a film small, as Hong’s movies are so frequently termed? Why are some modes of filmmaking deemed minor? Does minority status refer to a depletion of ambition, a reduction of stakes, an evacuation of incident? These questions inevitably led me back to Manny Farber’s 1962 manifesto “Termite Art Vs. White Elephant Art.” In revisiting this landmark essay, I have often wondered how it might be updated for our times. What does termite art look like when the white elephants have all but taken over? This list of five relatively recent favorites (all from this century) is an attempt to answer that question, and I hope it suggests that there exists a range of films and filmmakers for whom smallness remains a fount of ethical and formal possibility — in other words, a site of resistance.”

CLASSICAL PERIOD, Ted Fendt, 2018

How do you film the life of the mind? In attempting to do so, this perversely bookish movie winds up posing an even more fundamental question: what is cinema?

EL FUTURO, Luis López Carrasco, 2013

This singular contribution to the house-party genre takes on another big question: How does history happen? Or rather, how is it experienced on the margins, in the everyday?

THE HUMAN SURGE, Eduardo Williams, 2016

Perhaps the signature termite film of these times, not least in its burrowing movements, across landscapes and networks and states of mind.

OXHIDE II, Liu Jiayin, 2009

Domestic drama at its most elemental. The art of subtraction, perfected.

SHOWING UP, Kelly Reichardt, 2022

For nearly three decades, one of American cinema’s greatest filmmakers has demonstrated the virtues — and the quietly radical potential — of modesty. Her latest, about a sculptor readying for a show, is a vivid account of the day-to-day annoyances and satisfactions of art making, and a meditation on what it means to be a particular kind of artist.