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The Last Autumn & Asteroid City

The Last Autumn

On its face “The Last Autumn” is a documentary about aging sheep farmers and their last herding around a seemingly inhospitable landscape that they have been farming for a generation. However, the film is really about impermanence and the passing of time.

The film opens with haunting black and white scenery shot on grainy 16mm film stock, accompanied by a poetic Icelandic myth. From there, we see seemingly mundane tasks happening on the farm, such as moving wood with machinery and eating breakfast. We also witness a storm rolling in and the rain falling on the seas. Throughout the film, there is a calm, meditative, and almost Buddhist quality that allows us to live in the moment and appreciate the sights and sounds around us.

Although there are moments in the film that almost feel like a horror film, generally when it focuses on the relationship between farmers and their farmed animals and it examines the inherent dialectic of this relationship through a critical lens.

The film has a timeless feel thanks to its purposeful style shot in a 4:3 aspect ratio. The stunning landscapes of Iceland add to the film's overall beauty, and the use of primarily diegetic sounds gives us a solid sense of place. I recommend watching The Last Autumn when you have time to fully immerse yourself in it and let it wash over you.

There is something ephemeral about this film, it left me with a sense of having just experienced something special, something meaningful.

The Last Autumn has just been released by Film Movement and is available on Kanopy.

Asteroid City is a film that's hard to pin down. It's about a play that takes place in a fictional desert roadside motel during the atomic age, next to a tourist attraction where an asteroid left a huge crater years before.

Like all Wes Anderson films, it's meticulously stylized, but this story feels airier and quieter than most of his other films. "Whispy" is the word that comes to mind. The dialogue is still constructed, but the plot is lighter, simpler, and more lived-in. This is a strength, as it allows us to experience the world Anderson has built and get to know the characters.

Although they speak like Anderson characters, they feel more real, exuding a heaviness. At its heart, this is a film about grief and the unexpected tragedies of life. Even as we're introduced to a UFO, grief still lives under all the magic and world changing moments. Don't get me wrong though, this movie is still incredibly funny, but there is a lot of pain under the surface.

Asteroid City is now in theatres.

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Joshua LaBure is a documentary filmmaker, radio producer and podcaster based out of Omaha, Nebraska. His experience includes having directed and produced several short films, two narrative features and two documentary features, with his works featured at the Lone Star Film Festival, The Bureau of Creative Works and other filmmaker showcases. His most recent documentary had a sold-out premiere and received a standing ovation at the Benson Theatre. Furthermore, he founded the Denver Filmmakers Collective, which hosted local filmmaker showcases, has served on jury for major film festivals and has hosted countless film screenings.
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