Rule of Three
directed by Todd Haynes
A chance meeting at a department store counter proves to be the catalyst for Carol and Therese’s affair. The festive season is fraught with clashes between Carol and her husband, soon to be divorcee. Therese, an aspiring photographer, holds her own boyfriend at arm’s length; while he hopes for marriage, she remains ambivalent at best. The strained relationships, defined by boundaries and punishments, are placed in clear contrast to the open nature of Carol and Therese’s affections. Both women doggedly refuse to be drawn in by their respective partners, or to trudge down the narrow path that society has offered them. The film’s muted tones augment the air of repression, cut through only by the sharp red flashes of Carol’s lipstick.
Words by Katherine Fieldgate
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
directed by Jalmari Helander
Two boys are caught in a familiar discussion. ‘Is Santa Claus dead?’ one asks. ‘What a baby,’ the other retorts. ‘You still believe in Santa?!’ The young friends’ back-and-forth would seem perfectly ordinary, were it not for the bizarre excavation project taking place atop the fell behind them. An explosion there catches the children’s attention, bringing the conversation to an abrupt halt. As the score’s urgent strings fade in, the scene fades out to black. The screen is emblazoned not with the film’s title, as may be expected, but with the icon of a bearded, large-bellied man. With the next cut, the focus returns to the young believer, now reading an informative book titled 'The Truth about Santa Claus'. The illustrations of horned beasts and piles of skulls scattered through its pages reveal that this flick is anything but a Christmas cliché.
Words by Hugh Maloney
directed by Sean Baker
We see a scratched yellow diner table in close-up, on which clasped hands rest. Opening credits roll over the top, in a neat cursive script at odds with the story that follows. Keen to catch up with her best friend after completing a four-week prison sentence, Sin-Dee Rella bears a sweet gift: a glazed doughnut with sprinkles, for the pair to share between them. She may be broke, but she remains in a buoyant mood; she has some good news to tell about her boyfriend. But before Sin-Dee is able to make the big reveal, her confidant counters with some information on her own: Chester cheated. We trail the two women as they sweep through the streets of Hollywood, on a raucous mission to locate the rivals for his affection.
Words by John Wadsworth
More to discover
Carol: You can watch the trailer here. Nick Davis has interviewed Todd Haynes (the film’s director) for Film Comment, as have Miriam Bale for IndieWire, Rachel Cooke for The Observer (UK), Tim Robey for The Telegraph, and Hugh Ryan for Vice.
Tangerine: You can watch the trailer here. Jordan Cronk has interviewed Sean Baker (the film’s director) for Film Comment, as has Andreas Stoehr for Filmmaker Magazine. Zack Etheart has interviewed Baker and actress Mya Taylor for Interview Magazine, as has Peter Macia for Vogue.