BY Kevin Dillon
Great Pop Culture Debate Panelist Kevin Dillon attended the 61st New York Film Festival this weekend. He was able to see three films: Perfect Days from director Wim Wenders, The Zone of Interest from Jonathan Glazer, and All of Us Strangers from director Andrew Haigh. Find this thoughts below.
Wim Wenders is back with his best film in years. The film follows Hirayama, played by the incredible Koji Yakusho, as he lives his daily life as a toilet cleaner in Japan. The film starts out following Hirayama with the mundanity of his everyday life, but quickly becomes a deeper examination about how the world around us intersects with solitude. Wenders and co-writer Takuma Takasaki nail this perfectly. This film left an indelible mark on me. This is also Japan’s selection for the Best International Feature for the 2024 Academy Awards.
The Zone of Interest
Jonathan Glazer is one of the most fascinating filmmakers around, and this may be his best film to date. The film centers around a Nazi who oversees the Auschwitz concentration camp. The film takes a cerebral approach around the way in which people went about their lives while atrocities are happening around them. Glazer is able to leverage incredible cinematography and sound design to help instill the brutality while never entering the camp itself. Mica Levi’s ominous score helps create a singular tone as though it were a shark circling a swimmer. This film is impeccable and will stay with me for a long time to come.
All of Us Strangers
I have followed Andrew Haigh’s career for years; he is in the pantheon of queer artists in film and television who hits emotional beats with relatability and singularity. Haigh launched onto my radar with the film Weekend and then entered my home with the HBO series Looking. Strangers is adapted from the 1987 novel by Taichi Yamada. The film follows Adam (Andrew Scott) as he finds himself almost alone in a London apartment building, but a chance encounter with Harry (Paul Mescal) challenges him to come to terms with his isolation. He also is writing about the death of his parents, and through both of these experiences the film tackles the subjects of loss, isolation, and grief in a pitch-perfect way. Scott and Mescal are so incredible, and Claire Foy and Jaime Bell — who play Scott’s parents — are also brilliant. This film is so beautiful and personal. A must watch!
Thank you for reading and taking the journey with me during my time at NYFF. I hope to attend more films next year!