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Condo / London

Condo, the brainchild of Vanessa Carlos of Carlos/Ishikawa, is back to liven up an otherwise quiet moment in London’s art calendar. The format is simple: thirty-six international galleries are hosted across fifteen of the most progressive commercial spaces in London.

Information is kept to a minimum: a frenziedly flashing map is all there is to the initiative’s website, a red snake traversing the city’s geography and showing the way from newly bohemian Peckham in the South to Soho and to the old vanguard East End. Originally conceived as a collaboration among emerging galleries, Condo has doubled in size from last year, and endorsements by longer-standing galleries, such as Sadie Coles HQ, Greengrassi, Herald Street, Maureen Paley and The Approach, are a testament to the success of its inaugural edition.

The event kicked off with the heaving opening of “Room” at Sadie Coles HQ, an all-women show featuring sculptural installations and photographic works, juxtaposed with a solo presentation of Martine Syms by Bridget Donahue Gallery (New York). A group of photographs of varying sizes frames representations of black subjects distanced by partial views and reflections or by historical space. The short looped video Lesson LXXV (2017), embedded horizontally in a purple plinth, pictures the artist close up, her face and T-shirt drenched with white milk — a reference to recent footage of demonstrators using milk to counteract the effects of teargas. Syms’s personal reflection on the mechanisms of production of black identity resonates poignantly with the works in the group exhibition, which challenge, with a rebellious attitude, the boundaries — physical and psychological — of the space assigned to femininity.

In Peckham, Arcadia Missa and VI, VII Gallery (Oslo) opted for a collaborative presentation of London-based artists. Emma Talbot’s colorful open tent, suspended from the vaulted ceiling, creates the feeling of an intimate, sacred space at the center of the gallery. Through delicately hand-drawn vignettes and vibrant patterns, You Do Not Belong To You (Universal Story) (2016) narrates the story of the Red Tent, a traditional space for women to take refuge and find mutual support. A theatrical dimension was brought by Than Hussein Clark’s set of elegantly balanced enamel and hand-blown glass lampposts, which seemed to cast Eloise Hawser’s minimal stretched fabric screen — embedded with cryptic security patterns — and Brad Grievson’s abstract patchwork canvas as enigmatic characters on a stage.

At Emalin, the gallerists were planning a group exhibition about the deconstruction of the face as a site of identity, and the work of Shana Moulton — represented by Gregor Staiger (Zurich) — fitted the brief perfectly. Moulton’s video Sand Saga (2008) riffs on new-age motifs as the features of the artist’s alter ego, as well as the objects in her boudoir, undergo psychedelic transmutations. Two headless mannequins — their faces reproduced on video tablets attached to their derrieres — complement the presentation, one aptly titled Medusa’s Stare (2016). A number of sculptural works are lined up along the perimeter of the space, like a curious crowd looking in at the visitors. One is quickly caught scanning their shapes in search of the identifying markers of human features: welded from found steel objects, Melvin Edwards’s contorted mask Iraq (2003) was made in response to the war’s dramatic events; Nicholas Cheveldave created an uncanny medical cast of Kaspar, a robot with minimal facial expressions that helps children with autism; The Grantchester Pottery deconstructed the fragile outline of muse Dora Maar’s eyes, mouth, nose and tears in glazed stoneware gracefully suspended from hemp cords.

The last stop was at Carlos/Ishikawa with guests Tommy Simoens (Antwerp) and ShangART (Shanghai), where the gallery was transformed into an arena. One was invited onto stadium seating among Oscar Murillo’s life-size effigies of Columbian workers, their papier-mâché heads simultaneously highly detailed and expressionless. From time to time, a guest singer animated the scene, bursting forth with a cappella love songs in Spanish. Ouyang Chun’s heavy impasto triptych of prostitutes under a spotlight and Yutaka Sone’s crude scale model of an Aztec theme park reinforced a sense of discomfort with being the onlooker or the subject of display.

Although it is hard to define what Condo is, the strength of its proposition lies in its ability to mobilize like-minded people to create productive collaborations, both locally and internationally. In a city like London, dispersive by nature and driven by capitalist gain, it seems vital to nurture a sense of connection and to take action.

by Silvia Sgualdini

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Amsterdam Art Weekend

The most recent edition of Amsterdam Art Weekend featured more than fifty official participants alongside many more satellite pop-ups around the capital. Eclectic, open and varied, it presented itself as a cross section of the Dutch artistic panorama.

As Amsterdam Art Weekend director Adriana Gonzalez Hulshof notes, the city is a vital incubator for young talent, and it is easy to understand why. Bicycles, canals and clean air help to maintain a positive atmosphere, bound together with Amsterdam’s identity as both stylish and transgressive.

The first stop was the green district close to the city zoo, where the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten is located. This venerable art academy offers residencies to approximately fifty artists, providing space for research, experimentation and artistic production in an atmosphere far from didacticism and ideology, leaving artists free to develop their own approaches. Every year, for just two days, visitors are allowed into the studios to behold this expanded laboratory. On this occasion, artists such as Deniz Eroglu, Sander Breure & Witte van Hulzen, Tamar Harpaz, and Kate Cooper, to name just a few, demonstrated an innovative spirit in tandem with a deep awareness of their field of research. Deserving residents are quickly absorbed by the local gallery system; for example, the ex-student David Maljkovic is now exhibiting at Annet Gelink Gallery with a series of eight collages and a video that investigates the space between artistic practice and everyday routines.

The varied structure of the gallery system, ranging from research-oriented spaces to more traditional venues, has helped balance this scene. Worth mentioning is Dustin Yellin’s exhibition at Grimm Gallery, which is currently staging 10 Parts (2016), a neo-apocalyptic collage comprising thousands of micro-figures cut from books, magazines and encyclopedias. These fragments are fixed within layers of glass, crystallizing a hallucinatory vision of humanity’s impending descent into the abyss. Yellin’s work is a catalogue of the collective unconscious, a stratification of human imagination.

Berend Strik’s exhibition “Redefining Realness” at Galerie Fons Welters is ambiguous and complex. The artist reworks photographic images as embroidery, stitching circular and flame-shaped patches of fabric to greatly enlarged C-prints. Applying an extra layer onto the support surface, Strick investigates the complex experience of the viewer and reflects on the fluidity of media.

Galerie Alex Daniëls shows new works by Marcus Harvey that investigate a possible idea of Britishness. His bronze sculptures mash up the iconography of Blair and Thatcher with galleons, police helmets, tattoos, and other junk-shop wares in a humorous, three-dimensional state-of-the-nation collage. The exhibition of Florian & Michael Quistrebert at Galerie Juliette Jongma has notable grace. The brothers, nominated for the Prix Marcel Duchamp in 2014 and featured at the Palais de Tokyo in 2015, present a series of transparent paintings suspended by ropes, calling to mind Alberto Burri’s “Combustione Plastica” series (1961–62).

Ellen de Bruijne presented a lyrical, intimate and humbly controlled improvisation by Jeremiah Day, while Wu Tsang entertained a queer audience with the support of poet Fred Moten. The performance, titled “gravitational Feel,” blurred touch, voice, space and time in a former bathhouse restored by the Splendor collective.

The highlight of the weekend was undoubtedly the exhibition of Jordan Wolfson, who kept the delicate constitutions of Stedelijk visitors under constant bombardment. Suspended by metal chains within a cubic stage is an animatronic mannequin that is brutally thrown in all directions. Colored Sculpture (2016) recalls an archetypical pop image, personifying a mix of Huckleberry Finn, Howdy Doody and Alfred E. Newman. References to child violence, to the manipulation of individuals by external forces and to the Debordian society of the spectacle infuse the exhibition, evoking both anxiety and impotence. The exhibition also includes the video Raspberry Poser (2012), presenting a world populated by Disneyesque cartoon characters, mutating red blood cells, a peripatetic condom, images from art history and a punk (played by the artist himself).

by Giulia Gregnanin

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Why Not Ask Again / 11th Shanghai Biennale

In the Chinese philosophical system known as feng shui, literally wind and water, qi, the metaphysical force of unity, is carried and dispersed on the wind. Water brings qi to rest. In the 11th Shanghai Biennale there are many such light breezes, enhancing works that play on all the senses.

These include Yin Yi’s Ocean Wave (2016), a tight cluster of electric fans at the entrance that rhythmically switch on and off. The image of water, in the form of the video Flag (Thames) (2016), turns out to be fake; it is a year-long computer simulation in which the artist, John Gerrard, has included a large patch of iridescent oil that smothers the restlessly moving surface.

The notion of agitated movement is in keeping with a remark at the opening reception by Monica Narula of the curatorial team Raqs Media Collective: “The work of art is an antidote to the poison of inevitability.” The suggestion is of an urgent need to administer a cure. Throughout the exhibition, wall texts describe the works in the present tense, as actions. The curators frame the exhibition as a quest “to discover, transmit and learn…” The titular question “Why Not Ask Again” resonates with Vladimir Lenin’s title “What Is To Be Done?” Lenin’s essay outlines a problem and opines a program for change. Nikolay Chernyshevsky’s novel, from which Lenin borrowed his question, fleshes out an ideological way of living. In this exhibition uneasy questions are proffered—but no answers are suggested.

Many works create ambiances with odor, surface texture, motion, illumination or proximity, making these elements just as important as sound and vision. For example, Sun Yuan & Peng Yu’s So Far (2016) presents a whiff of mineral fuel amid two forklifts arranged face-to-face in a tug of war. They are parked close to the entrance of the Power Station of Art, the Biennale’s primary site, so that they obstruct access to the vast atrium. Three sealed eggs, composed of ceramic crocks joined by their rims, are braced in chains between the trucks. The drama implied refers to Otto von Guericke’s experiment demonstrating atmospheric pressure. This was spectacularly performed in 1654 when thirty horses attempted to separate two copper hemispheres with a vacuum inside. The current work is even more elaborate, yet by replacing the hot bodies of sixteen snorting horses with cold machines, and the plasticity of copper with vitrified material and silicone sealant, the awe of grasping the science of air pressure is dissipated. Gone too is the culture of labor that later led the Levi’s jeans brand to use a logo depicting horses pitted against the resilience of the company’s product, likely inspired by an image of the experiment. So Far is a memorial to praxis. But, today visitors cannot enter through the implied arch; they have to go around.

If an ethos of manual work can be evoked by representations of tools, in this case the tools have all been laid down. In As Long as You Work Hard (2013) by Cell Art Group, a dense constellation of hand tools are embedded in a wall of steel; in Susanne Kriemann’s Pechblende (2016), “miner’s objects” lie inert within dim projections; or in Vinu V.V.’s Noon Rest (2014), sickles are impaled in a tree. These are final acts, job done—everyone gone.

Life doesn’t flourish in this exhibition. In Caparazón (2010), Regina José Galindo peacefully curls up in a protective double-skinned plastic bubble, only to be subjected to a percussive assault from a small baton-wielding mob. Spiders and bees endure in the works of Tomás Saraceno and MouSen+MSG, but their citadels are frail and can easily be eradicated by thoughtless fingers or casual boots. Presence is mainly in traces, such as the washing left to dry on a fighter jet, a public monument in Lahore, in Ayesha Jatoi’s Clothes Line (2006); or in Georges Adéagbo’s extensive array of objects and artifacts, “The Revolution and the Revolutions”…! (2016).

“Why Not Ask Again” yearns for the future, but many of the artworks look back quizzically, passively or with humor to show how the past buffets and fractures the present. YoHA (Graham Hardwood & Matsuko Yokokoji) provide a notable exception. Plastic Raft of Lampedusa (2016) is a meticulously dismantled inflatable boat. The fileted rubber craft inevitably speaks of the exhausted desperation of migrants. There is some hope here. It would be an arduous and complex task to put it back together, but not impossible. A few artists try new ways to fit the pieces together, to persevere and to restore balance.

by Andrew Stooke

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Culture in Chaos Unsound Festival / Krakow

There’s more to Unsound Festival’s theme of “Dislocation” than mirroring the name of this year’s controversial Berlin Biennale curators, the collective known as DIS. From the Latin word for “apart,” “asunder,” “away,” the prefix dis now evokes the shattered geographical, political and psychosocial states of a world that has become fragmented by the very global networks paradoxically meant to bring people together.

Having last visited the medieval Polish capital of Krakow for this most progressive cultural program in 2012, the possibility of a British exit from the European Union was a mere fantasy. How things have changed.

In 2016, music and audiovisual event titles like “Turbulence,” “Brace Position” and “Fracture” dominate, while daily talks cover subjects such as “Geographic Blur,” “Authentic Exoticism” and “Brexit Strategies.” The façade of the semi-defunct Soviet-era Brutalist building Hotel Forum — begun under one regime and finished at the dawn of another — is now entirely covered by an English-language start-up recruitment ad that reads “DON’T BE A CORPORATE SLAVE.” The once-shabby and claustrophobic Room 3 of this main Unsound venue is now a trendy bar where young and interesting music crews like London’s Bala Club and the Stockholm-founded collective Staycore perform. The white-tiled walls of the hotel’s former kitchen host the flashing dry ice and so-called “post-genre” club music of Mexico City’s N.A.A.F.I collective and Berlin’s Mobilegirl. Everyone here plays with pop music, whether it’s the standard four-to-the-floor beats from Lao — sampling Usher, Dan Bodan, and Masters at Work — or Berlin-based Ziúr’s manic rhythms and heavy-metal touchstones interrupted by a slowed and pitched-down version of Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” mangled to eerie unrecognizability.

Mostly the other rooms are reserved for the older, more established acts. The epic carpeted ballroom of Room 1 — almost pitch black with an elusive though dazzling light display in its ceiling — features artists like Raime, Demdike Stare and Forest Swords. Once, though, its too-dark ambience for music to be mulled over is shocked through with the Gestapo-like audience-facing spotlights of Dean Blunt’s Babyfather project. The Hackney-born performer, with his cohort of an emcee, DJ and ever-present bouncer-figure, tears through ’90s hip-hop hits like Luniz’s “I Got 5 on It” and shout outs to South London before assailing the crowd with strobes and shrill white noise, booming “Don’t panic!” The modest sound desk stands draped with a Union Jack flag: a somber reminder of the looming prejudices that led to the British vote to leave the EU, and Babyfather’s own thundering “agit-rap” in response.

Identity and how a person plays with it in the face of such monumental shifts in borders and communication becomes a strong driver of this year’s Unsound survey of global art and club music. One example being PC Music–affiliate Felicita’s presentation of an hour of cultural confusion in his “Soft Power” performance in the newly built congress and conference center, called ICE. An attempt by the London-based producer to reconnect with his Polish roots comes in the form of a collaboration with the Śląsk Song and Dance Ensemble. His characteristic conflation of sweet and effeminate melodic motifs with discordant rhythms and malicious drones meets the polarized gender binaries of traditional folk choreography as his dancers perform their assigned roles. The signature whoops and whinnies of Felicita’s girlish sound palette are marked by dissonance, the occasionally empty stage doused by low-lying smoke and Florence To’s pink-hued lighting displays. The clash of identities and representations here is palpable, in an event that raises a pertinent question in these times of rising nationalist sentiment in the UK and elsewhere: “If this culture isn’t mine, then what is?”

Unsound tries to locate — or at least reconfigure — ideas of time and space with its scattered “listening stations” that are dotted across a map of the city into what the program calls “temporary disconnected zones.” Field recordings from Tanzania, New York, Thailand, the Czech Republic, Ukraine and Poland’s primeval Białowieża Forest play from speakers in cafes, restaurants and bars as people consume.

The sense of literal, violent dislocation is also felt back at Hotel Forum, where artists like Kablam, Toxe and Kamixlo sling out sounds and samples that shouldn’t sit together. Brutal mash-ups of metal, melodic rock and electro come hand-in-hand with dismembered pieces of songs by Skrillex, Beyoncé and Britney Spears. Soft and hard sonic possibilities exist momentarily in the same space before shattering completely, generating the kind of bare hedonism that a recently reformed Death Grips unleashes in the outer-suburb venue of Łaźnia Nowa Theatre. There, Bach plays on stage while hooded roadies run a sound check, as the crowd, pregnant with anticipation, surges forward, full cups of beer flying before the show even begins.

As Yves Tumor hangs from the ceiling over the Room 3 sound desk in a butcher’s apron and jockstrap, shout-singing to waves of noise and flinging himself on his audience, one wonders what we are looking for by listening to such music. There’s a sense of frustration, of urgency here that’s electrifying in its hopelessness — where things have gone bad and there’s not much we can do about it.

by Steph Kretowicz

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Le Grand Balcon / La Biennale de Montréal

Montreal, 1967: in celebration of the Canadian Centennial, a world’s fair representing sixty-two nations not only blessed the city with a metro system, but also with some related architectural leftovers. Two years later, Mies van der Rohe’s gas station was completed on Nun’s Island.

On September 21, 2016, one month before its official opening, the ninth Montreal Biennale presented its first event, which took place at this very gas station. It consisted of a sound performance by Joseph Namy involving nine passenger cars. While the opening day of Expo 67 at Parc Jean-Drapeau drew a crowd of more than three hundred thousand visitors, Namy’s 2016 piece was shut down early by the police. However, the Biennale’s official and very well attended opening was successfully held at the Musée d’art contemporain one month later. These complex shifts over time are conditioned by what is both inside and outside the city of Montreal, of Quebec, and of Canada.

What is the purpose and meaning of a Eurocentric world’s fair concept in 2016, when a globalized “world” confronts a reconciliation of colonialism amid an impending New Chapter in Quebec’s fastest gentrifying city?

The Montreal Biennale is well aware of the criticality of this question. Tanya Lukin Linklater’s He was a poet and he taught us how to react and to become this poetry Part 2 (2016) and David Lamelas’s The Desert People (1974) are among the strongest responses to what curator Philippe Pirotte in an exhibition tour described as a “perverse situation.” The Biennale then, in reference to Jean Genet’s The Balcony, intends to offer “a place where representation itself can be perversely troubled.” According to the curatorial statement, it is this perversity that resists universalization and instead enables fantasy as the structuring and strictly individual element of encountering things. Within the Biennale’s exhibitions, this perversity is produced by the physical presence and captivity of many of the works on view, including the falcons in Anne Imhof’s fashion “opera” Angst III (2016), appearing not only in Montreal but frequently on Instagram as well. But the piece that most enables the stated idiosyncrasy of art is perhaps Moyra Davey’s Hemlock Forest (2016), an intimate and gloriously spare homage to Chantal Akerman.

What does this encounter look like when it comes to people rather than things? Marina Rosenfeld’s Free Exercise (2016) is a score for an orchestra made up of military and experimental musicians — a large-scale composition for drummers, percussionists, wind players, and others. It was performed at the opening night of the Biennale at the Armoury of the Fusiliers Mont-Royal by Les Fusiliers alongside Philippe Lauzier, Valérie Lacombe, Adam Kinner, Cléo Palacio-Quintin, Jessica Moss, Kristie Ibrahim and Noam Bierstone — luminaries from Montreal’s contemporary and improvised music scenes. This uncannily magic exercise in the limits of tolerance was monitored by the Maisonneuve Infantry’s motto “Bon coeur et bon bras” (Good heart and strong arm). After seventy minutes of drums and trumpets, the sound of a turntable finally appeared like an amplification of silence. Every presence produces an absence. Candice Hopkins helped me understand how, from an Indigenous perspective, a utopia is necessarily also a dystopia. The utopia of the New World was built upon eliminating the world that was there before. There are different concepts of time at work in the present, which cannot simply be subsumed into a timeless “archaic.”

Every presence produces an absence, and every presence needs to be maintained. Corpus Cleaner by the New York–based research and production collective Thirteen Black Cats, on view at Galérie UQAM, is based on a correspondence between Claude Eatherly, the US Air Force pilot whose “all clear” weather report enabled the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, and Günther Anders, a German philosopher and antinuclear activist. When first immigrating to Los Angeles, Anders worked as a movie prop cleaner in the Hollywood Custom Palace. In the correspondence that appears as voice-over in the film, he tries to prevent Eatherly from agreeing to an offer by a Hollywood producer to make a film about his life because he thinks that the Hollywood apparatus will not be able to process the fatal act of the bomb. “The property man knows where everything is,” writes Eatherly to Anders, “but only the cleaner sees it fully.”

Back to the gas station: During her night shift, gas station keeper Y in Knut Åsdam’s film Egress (2013) thriftlessly uses Norwegian oil to wash off the blood stains of a violent fight. The Montreal Biennale 2016 meets its own presence with a self-criticality that keeps the city’s horizons open. Perhaps, in order to allow for encounters to take place outside of itself, it needs to be handed over from “property men” to cleaners.

by Corinn Gerber

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A Season of Girls / Toronto International Film Festival

People in Toronto are looking at girls. The girls are being digitally projected onto giant screens, where they walk around in different outfits and time periods. It’s the Toronto International Film Festival and it’s unseasonably warm.

In the rising heat, the festival looks more like Los Angeles than ever: outside the Princess of Wales Theatre, pedestrians are herded in lanes of traffic, and La La Land, a Los Angeles–set musical nostalgic for old Hollywood, is going to be the People’s Choice Award winner. For the largely male press corps, the festival this year has the suspiciously engineered taste of a finishing school: every press bag comes with a canister of Axe body spray, and the escalators within the festival’s central megaplex are broken, forcing bedheaded, unexercised reporters up six flights of steps before they can reach the majority of press screenings.

Onscreen the women are in crisis. It’s the year of the actress. Rebecca Hall stalks the halls of a 1970s newsroom in Christine while Sonia Braga whips her hair to the drumbeat of Brazilian moral collapse in Aquarius. Sigourney Weaver, playing a genius surgeon gone rogue, gives Michelle Rodriguez a forced sex change operation in (re)ASSIGNMENT, the only time the Avatar franchise has gotten one over on The Fast and the Furious. Hong Sang-soo’s Yourself and Yours confronts a series of forgettable men with a female protagonist — or is it two or three? Either way, a woman whose identity is mobile. We’re meant to lose track. Confusion, too, can be savored.

So many of this year’s festival favorites are tooled toward earnest political ends that one cherishes the playful moments when movies are about, simply, themselves. During one sequence in Things to Come, French film star Isabelle Huppert’s character goes to a cinema to see the 2010 movie Certified Copy, where she stares up from the audience — at Juliette Binoche. The years coalesce. At the press conference for American Pastoral, a reporter looks straight ahead at Jennifer Connelly while lowering a vape from his mouth and exhaling a cloud of wet.

*  *  *

The night before the festival I get my hair cut by a twentysomething at a barbershop named after the Kanye West/Jay-Z collaboration album. The barber says he’s Filipino, and he asks if there are a lot of movies playing and if any of them are supposed to be good. “I don’t like to watch the ones with subtitles,” he clarifies, “and no horror.”

Mostly he wants to know about the parties. Any given night of the festival there are the parties. They exist to make credible the one essential party where everyone wishes to be, and where a female editor might now be standing with a foreign director many years her senior. The drunken court. The actresses have already left. The director’s broken English is further broken by the dinning crowd, his sentences limping to their finish. He is reassuring her that several of his films have shown here, elsewhere too, does she need another drink? Has she seen anything that struck her?

She is still young, she thinks. There are things about his life that would surprise or even disgust her. Tonight she is the only one watching as, on his way out of the party, he trips over a rumpled mat and through the revolving door.

*  *  *

In Personal Shopper, the celebrity Kristen Stewart plays Maureen, the assistant to a celebrity. Like Bella Swan, Maureen is a mortal girl with immortal desire: in this case, to communicate with her recently deceased twin brother. Stewart’s background in Twilight is enriching; Personal Shopper is an afterimage held up to the familiar one, certain key but subtle elements erased. It’s a magnificent performance. It reminds us that every movie screen is a palimpsest at the center of its own world. Today’s Sully will be tomorrow’s Storks.

Elsewhere, Natalie Portman-as-Jackie Kennedy teeters around the White House in 1963 with gin splashing in a cut-glass tumbler. The theater for Jackie is packed and reverent; days into the festival, word is already circulating that she’ll be nominated for another Oscar. Jackie cannily analogizes our experience of Natalie Portman performing Jackie Onassis to the real Jackie’s performance of First Lady in Mourning. Jackie’s veiled funeral march down Pennsylvania Avenue becomes Natalie’s march to the podium after winning Best Actress for Black Swan, and vice versa. “When men see me now, what do you think they feel?” Natalie-as-Jackie asks, knowing that she’s about to find out.

Arrival doesn’t wonder at all what a man feels: imagine your dad renting Independence Day and discovering that it was made for your mom. Director Denis Villeneuve’s last two, Prisoners and Sicario, also played at Toronto, and together with Arrival form an unofficial moral trilogy: Moral Anger, Moral Confusion, and now, Moral Love. The kind of movie Arrival seems to be is carefully stripped away in the third act, until all we’re left with is Amy Adams herself, suspended in an amniotic voiceover. The subtraction is staggering. We’re surprised to still be in the room with her.

And then we’re not. Arrival ends and the audience spills directly into the street, where anti-pipeline protesters have gathered to picket the world premiere of Deepwater Horizon. The two crowds merge into a gauntlet of limbs, pushing toward an unseen escape route. When I’m released I notice that I still haven’t caught my breath. I’ll need it back, but I’m in no rush.

by Mike Spreter

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