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****** 16 ******
The 130-minute cut of The Grandmaster is every bit a poem of longing and sadness as Wong’s earlier works—but with fight scenes! And within those scenes, his focus emerges with alarming clarity, the camera panning or cutting to follow each punch, kick, drop, or leap. Wong’s is a ferocious rearrangement of styles, quaking with life before drooping ever-further into hazy melancholia as this film reveals its true design: this is no Ip Man biopic, rather a shimmering elegy for the golden era of stateside kung fu, never to return.
****** 15 ******
Night Across the Street
In Ruiz’s 1984 TV miniseries Manoel on the Island of Marvels, a boy watches silhouettes shadowbox on his bedroom wall; in this, Ruiz’s last film completed before his death, a boy and his friend shadowbox on their way to the local movie theater. Cinema was the art of shadowboxing for Ruiz, and he indulged in it with Night, a parade of images dancing around the figure of a man on his way to forced retirement.