Sunday, September 30, 2018


It’s never explained during the running time of the movie why exactly documentarian Errol Morris chose Vernon, Florida, as the subject of his 1981 documentary. Following on the heels of his acclaimed Gates of Heaven [review], it’s easy to see that the filmmaker is once again assembling a diverse cast of characters to tell their stories, but outside of their living in the same area, there isn’t an obvious connection. Legend has it that Vernon, Florida was originally supposed to be about people who had cut off limbs to collect insurance money, but when Morris found those folks less than cooperative, he pivoted to find subjects that were.

And he found no shortage of willing participants. Vernon, Florida is certainly replete with colorful characters--a nigh-obsessed turkey hunter, a preacher with demonstrable faith, a worm famer, and a cop who is more than content to police a sleepy burg where nothing happens are just a few of the townspeople who share their existences with Morris’ camera. Each is eager to impart what they know--which actually may be their connection. They are all backwoods know-it-alls, disdainful of that which doesn’t come straight from the land or is easily discernible with the naked eye. Even the fellow in the beginning who bought into some kind of jewel club is convinced the precious stone he was sent for his membership fee is a fraud. Why? Because even though he has a jeweler’s loupe, he doesn’t know what to look for. Where is the chain of evidence on this rock?

Then again, maybe he should listen to the old man who describes his encounter with an atheist. When the non-believer told him that all life “just happened,” it seems more than obvious to the believer that the thing that made it happen is God. If I exist and you exist and all that’s around us exists, and we don’t know where it comes from, what other explanation is there?

Morris, of course, does not challenge this or any of the other claims he hears. And there is nothing to say that any of his interviewees are necessarily full of crap. The worm farmer, for instance, who insists books written about the cultivation of “wrigglers” got it wrong, bases this on practical experience. The only thing that will really teach you is doing. Just like the only true deterrent to speeding, which is about the only crime Vernon knows, is for the cop to park his car out in the open and let the drivers see him. Then they’ll think before hitting the gas.

It’s all simple to grasp, and all the men are charming in their way, but where we get the Morris twist in Vernon, Florida is perhaps in his choice to let the men talk long enough that they sometimes show themselves up. The guy with the jewel, for instance, seems to have a habit of spotting things that aren’t there and then exhibits no follow-through to find out what he really saw. And for all his bravado about the turkeys he’s shot and his ability to track the “gobblers,” why is it that for Morris, the hunter only ever points out things that sound like the turkeys but aren’t? Sure, this is obviously him trying to prove how smart he is, believing the filmmaker would be fooled by the doppelganger sound, but it also feels like maybe Morris is winking at us. These know-it-alls don’t always know what they don’t know.

And hey, if God creates all things that “just happen,” then is He the unseen shooter that put a bullet through the police car’s windshield? Asking for a friend...

Saturday, September 29, 2018


This review was originally written for as part of the Roberto Rossellini 2-Disc Collector's Edition in 2008.

Dov'è la libertà...? (Where is Freedom?) a dark social comedy from 1954 that stars Italian screen icon Toto as Salvatore, a man pleading his case before a judge in a Roman court. Salvatore has spent twenty-two years of his life behind bars, and after only a short time of being on parole, he was arrested again, this time for trying to break back into jail.

As Salvatore explains, prison life had an order built on a mutual need amongst the imprisoned to survive their incarceration with as little hassle as possible. Ten or more men to one cell meant forming a miniature society, one where the quiet barber muddled through by keeping order and helping the others maintain a fresh perspective. Salvatore himself was sent down the river for killing a man who tried to force himself on his wife, a crime of passion he is ready to put behind him. Unfortunately, the march of time has passed him by while being away, and he is surprised to find the world is not as trusting of him as he is of it, nor as honest. On the outside, Salvatore bounces from one bad situation to another, getting involved in a crooked marathon dance, the flirtations of the selfish daughter of a boarding house landlady, and even his former in-laws, who prove to be the least trustworthy of the bunch. And don't even ask what he finds out about his late wife! With each set-back, Salvatore loses a little more of his faith in humanity, making him long for the moral order of prison life and inspiring his reverse jailbreak.

Dov'è la libertà...? is a quietly satirical film, avoiding broad jokes and relying on a sort of common sense comedy. For as irrational as Salvatore's actions seem on paper, his point-of-view makes perfect sense, particularly as it is explained by Toto. With his expressive eyes and hound-dog face, the actor's weary bafflement comes across as totally logical. He's a little like a latter-day Buster Keaton, with maybe a smidgen of Marty Feldman and Peter Sellers thrown in. There's just something about his exasperated expression that makes you want to believe him even as you laugh at him for being so gullible. How can society be so out of tune with a man so down to earth?

Sunday, September 23, 2018


What a massive space a tiny apartment can be.

In A Raisin in the Sun, five people share two bedrooms, with a communal bath in the hallway. All family. A mother and her two children, a son and daughter, the son’s wife, and their child. Three generations of African Americans, with each intersecting lifeline representing different wants and needs. Walter Lee (Sidney Poitier, The World, The Flesh, and the Devil [review]) is a hard-working provider looking to be his own boss rather than drive cars for rich white men all his life. His younger sister, Beneatha (Diana Sands, The Landlord), is a dreamer in search of an identity, trying many hobbies but settling on being a doctor--relatively unheard of for a black woman in the early 1960s. The young Travis (Stephen Perry, The Sound and the Fury) represents a new hope, the link between old and young, while the family matriarch, Lena (Claudia McNeil, Black Girl), looks to maintain traditional values. The real double-sided coin, however, is Lena and her daughter-in-law Ruth (Ruby Dee, Do The Right Thing). The two mothers really want to keep their family together, but the big difference between them is the older woman has a resolve built through years of hard work and belief, and the young women is starting to give up hope. Lena is determined to make everyone see that they should appreciate what they have--especially each other.

So much going on in just three little rooms.

A Raisin in the Sun was released in 1961, with author Lorraine Hansberry adapting her own successful stage play for journeyman filmmaker Daniel Petrie to direct. (Petrie will be known to Criterion fans for his versions of A Wind from the South and Bang the Drum Slowly on the Golden Age of Television set [review].) Both timely and frank, A Raisin in the Sun deftly draws together many strings of the African American experience of the period. Many factors pull at the Younger family, from changing opinions about faith to a growing disenchantment with the limited possibilities available to the impoverished and people of color. Beyond race, there are also issues of gender and questions of how individuals deal with one another.

Poitier is combustible and restless as Walter Lee, a man who has never had much to call his own. Now in his mid-30s and still living with his mother, and his only son sleeping on a couch rather than having a bed in his own room, he’s desperate for an opportunity, and sees one in the insurance payment due to Lena following the death of Walter Lee’s father. He wants to take the $10,000 and start a liquor store with his friends. Ruth thinks it’s too risky, and Lena thinks it’s immoral. Poitier is physically set to burst with each rejection. All he can see are the things that are holding him back.

By contrast, Claudia McNeil is unyielding and resolute. She speaks confidently, but with an even tone. She is comfortable in her position as head of the family, and firm in her beliefs. In terms of performance, she is a rock for Poitier and, to a degree, Diana Sands to attempt to climb, only to fall off time and again. She’s too stubborn, too squarely planted, for these youngsters to overcome, no matter how hard they fling themselves at her.

A Raisin in the Sun is confined in both space and time. The narrative takes place over only a couple of days, and outside of a few scenes in other locations, mostly connective tissue between acts, the action is exclusive in the apartment. While this is a holdover from the stage, Petrie doesn’t treat it as a limitation. He and cinematographer Charles Lawton Jr. (3:10 to Yuma [review]) move the camera to follow the characters, and the characters are so vibrant, even if the frame remained static, the movie would still hum with their energy. While each family member has their central driving motivation, their interaction allows for sidelines and vignettes, sequences that round out who they are more than forwarding the narrative, allowing for both humor and drama. Beneatha in particular has some funny scenes as different gentlemen callers come around. She is as flighty as Walter Lee is single-minded, and though they bicker like siblings only can, it’s fun to see them stop squabbling to goof around when Beneatha is exploring African music and dance. This strikes me as a very honest way to portray a family. A unit like this can switch on a dime, at odds one minute and coming together for a common cause the next. In the film’s final scenes, we see how far that sort of bond can be pushed, and at a point where it really counts. Walter Lee can stand up and be the man he is meant to be, an example to his son, a point of pride for his mother.

Most of the problems raised in A Raisin in the Sun are sadly still relevant: economic independence being out of reach, racial perception creating boundaries where there should be none, the pressure of poverty on a family. When Ruth turns out to be pregnant again, it’s less a cause for celebration and more one of concern. In many ways, the bluntness with which Hansberry approaches issues like abortion reminds me of British kitchen sink dramas, like A Taste of Honey [review] or This Sporting Life [review]. Why couch taboo subjects in coded language when so many members of the audience are going through the same thing? This is what allows A Raisin in the Sun to remain timeless: its specificity is universal. To be less true would have neutered it.

For this new release, Criterion has created a beautiful 4K image with nicely balanced black-and-white photography. They’ve also packed the disc with lots of special features, both old and new, to explore the history of A Raisin in the Sun as a piece of theater and as cinema, and look at the people who brought it to life.

This disc was provided by the Criterion Collection for purposes of review.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

THE TREE OF LIFE (Extended Version) - #942

When Criterion announced their version of The Tree of Life, there was much to be excited about just in the idea that the 2011 film would benefit from an upgrade taking advantage of the improvements in home video technology from the last seven years. The announcement that it would have a new, longer cut of the film, however, was a real bombshell. What would restoring nearly 50 minutes of footage mean? Would it enhance and inform, or would it detract and obscure? Malick’s ongoing revisions certainly didn’t hurt The New World.

Though my excitement for such a thing might normally cause me to rush straight to what’s new, for The Tree of Life, I rewatched the theatrical version first, a warm-up for digging into the new cut. It had been many years and I wanted to refresh my memory in order to compare, lest the extended version supersede my recollection of Terence Malick’s masterpiece [also reviewed here].

On this new viewing, I was struck by how clear the movie’s themes were: the cycles of nature, how human experience is primal and consistent, how violence sometimes begets mercy, and how love sometimes is vicious. The struggle to be good, to be worthy. The bonds of love and trust amongst family and how we test them. The role of faith in all these things, but also science; fate vs. human determination. The failure of earthly rewards, the various necessary states of fealty, the triumph of connection. We are not original, our experience is not new, this has been going on since the dawn of existence and will continue long past our presence here--a notion that is illustrated visually by The Tree of Life’s feeling of constant moving, of short cuts and the camera in motion. But also those dinosaurs. A reptilian schoolyard bully exercising restraint.

And hanging over it all, grief. Grieving the loss of self, grieving the loss of others.

Which is what Malick leans into from the start of this new version, moving the middle child’s death to the front of the film, focusing more on the parents (Jessica Chastain and Brad Pitt), and then the grown Jack (Sean Penn), who aches over the loss just as acutely decades on. Rather than feeling a part of all existence, in this edit, at least in the early sequences, the humans appear small within the universe, and their faith is tested. If when we pass, God lifts us in his hands, then are we completely on our own while walking this Earth?

Newly added scenes in Jack’s adult life show that his troubles follow him--just as his father warned. The narrative of his youth is now more linear and comprehensive, losing some of the scattershot resemblance to the patchiness of memory, more expressive of his adolescent troubles, including the negative influences that shine a light on the hypocrisy of adults--his prime motivator being they do what they tell kids not to do. In particular, when his father is gone on an extended trip, Jack assumes his role; when the man returns, the child resents it and lashes out.

This extended cut is all about more. Not in an excessive sense, but in the sense that at one time Malick had planned out the whole of The Tree of Life, but then treated it as a giant block of marble and chipped away, sculpting something else, something more ephemeral. For instance, this fuller version offers more nuance in regards to the parents, particularly the mother, who is more of an interior figure, a symbol, in the other cut. Here she has regrets about her choices, about dreams lost. She frets over her husband’s behavior, but also has more resolve in terms of her devotion to her family. She could leave, but she stays. Jessica Chastain was a revelation when The Tree of Life first came to theaters, and seeing more of her performance only bolsters her strength as an actor and reinforces what Malick first saw in her.

Likewise, expanded scenes with R.L., the middle boy (Laramie Eppler), show he is more favored by the father, who indulges his gentle spirit. They bond over music, and he cuts R.L. slack in ways he never does Jack. This gives added layers of resentment to Jack’s cruel dares, pushing the sensitive boy to touch the inside of lamp or put his finger over a gun barrel, only to immediately regret the violation of trust. Jack is the dinosaur stepping on the weaker creature’s head.

By all accounts, this is not Malick’s preferred version, that would be the theatrical edit; rather, this is the master dipping back into his early draft and reconstructing it, reexamining his original impulses. With both the hour of extra material and a fair amount of editorial reshuffling, there is a lot to absorb, including whole subplots previously left on the cutting room floor. For instance, the mother now has a brother with a nervous condition, and one of Jack’s friends suffers very real abuse at the hands of his own father, which makes Brad Pitt’s disciplinarian seem a little less villainous. (Has Pitt ever been this stoic and conflicted in any other movie? The petty defeats this man suffers gives explanation to his behavior, though not excuse.) The additions even go beyond the interpersonal. A storm about three-quarters in puts the family directly at odds with nature. All those beautiful glimpses of the universe that color The Tree of Life suddenly turn deadly, another reminder of how small man is in the face of whatever higher power he believes in.

Had this expanded The Tree of Life been Malick’s official version in 2011, the film certainly would not have received the same high regard. Leaving less to the imagination, its engagement of the viewer is entirely different. Where previously, Malick had removed all the in-between moments, compelling us to connect the dots  on our own, his expanded The Tree of Life brings the full image into focus. Or was it the other way around, the theatrical cut was nothing but in-between, and we had to piece the larger puzzle together? Regardless, as an additive supplement, fans of the movie will find much in the extra hour and the narrative remix to appreciate, even if viewing it only proves to be a one-time thing. If nothing else, we now have that much more of Malick to watch, which is never a bad thing. Now, where is that full-length version of The Thin Red Line?

Note: The screengrabs in this review are from the 2011 home video release and not the Criterion disc under review.

Monday, September 10, 2018

THE TREE OF LIFE (Theatrical Cut) - #942

This review was originally written for the theatrical release of the film and published on in 2011.

Writing about Terrence Malick's new movie, The Tree of Life, is a bit like trying to describe a particular segment of a backwoods stream--a beautifully lit and photographed segment of stream, mind you, but a stream nonetheless. The task is like living out the old Heraclitus quote about how you can never step in the same river twice. The water moves too fast, by the time you dip your toes in, it has moved on.

I also struggle with writing about it, because to do so, I feel like I will break the spell it has cast over me. The Tree of Life hasn't left my thoughts since I left the theatre. To do so is to also pretend that I got it, which I don't think I did--at least not entirely. My impressions at this point are shallow. To stick with the river analogy, I am maybe in up to my ankles, I have yet to get to the deep middle.

Though, ironically, it's the middle of the movie that is easiest to grasp. The front and the back are what make The Tree of Life a mesmerizing conundrum. It's as if Malick took the first and last reels of 2001, cut them up, reassembled them randomly, and then grafted them on to a story about a family in the 1950s. The O'Briens (played with alternating fury and vulnerability by Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain) have three boys whom they are trying to steer through early life. Their parenting is a bit all over the place, balancing religion with an appreciation for art (or, specifically, music) and a Protestant work ethic with a laissez-faire day-to-day playfulness. The three kids run free with other neighborhood boys, causing trouble, testing the limits of their own perceived invulnerability. The two parents pull at them, particularly trying to mold the eldest, Jack (Hunter McCracken), into the man they want him to be. Both want their offspring to end up on the straight and narrow, but in that endeavor, one is strict where the other is lean.

Malick doesn't tell his story in any linear, sequential, or conventional manner. He prefers relaying information in short puffs of cinematic smoke. Small gestures stand in for greater events, and suggestion is preferable to explicitly laying out any greater meaning or intention. An individual moment as trivial as walking down the street might be shown in three different ways, from three different angles, at three different speeds. In this way, the real story blooms into being, revealing that Malick kept a tight grip on his narrative seedlings in the early portion of the film and is only letting things take shape after he has properly nurtured them. Family life for the O'Briens goes from idyllic to troublesome. Carefree romps in the woods turn to deadly games and dangerous dares. Malick also teases us with tragedy that is to come, one that nestles somewhere in the middle of his timeline. In a few brief scenes, we see Sean Penn playing Jack as an older man, contending with his past. As an adult, he is out of step with his environment, no longer at harmony.

Those scenes with Penn mark a fascinating change for Malick, who for the first time films modern cityscapes rather than the nature scenes he is most known for (the wheat fields of Days of Heaven [review], the Asian-Pacific jungle of The Thin Red Line). He and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (Burn After Reading [review], Children of Men [review]) shoot the towering skyscrapers the same way they would shoot a forest of redwoods--in awe of their majesty and from the vantage point of a puny human who is but a speck on the timeline by comparison. The Tree of Life is full of Malick's trademark visual poetry. The camera is rarely at rest. Instead, it circles and tracks and zooms; the whole of existence is constantly in movement.

If, as many would posit, the overall theme of Terrence Malick's filmography is the interconnectedness of all life, then some of the outlying sequences start to make sense. The director takes the viewer through time and space, to the farthest reaches of both, threading a slender line through various modes of existence. In some of his technique, one can see Stan Brakhage; in other spots, particularly the introduction of neon tracers as we enter the concrete jungle, Wong Kar-Wai (The Gradmaster [review]; In the Mood for Love [review]). There is also a touch of Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman [review]; Babel [review]) in the metaphysical final act--though in this, it is the master taking the pupil to school, showing Iñárritu how to evoke providence via simplicity rather than self-importance. (Hint: You look outside, not inside.) (Also, one could easily argue that Malick could school Wong Kar-Wai in aesthetic technique; as much as I love Kar-Wai's movies, one assumes the Chinese director was influenced by the American one, not necessarily vice versa.) It all comes together rather amazingly, though upon first viewing, I can't entirely decide if I'm just impressed that it ended up anywhere at all. My gut reaction is that Malick is saying something profound about grief, symmetry, and the eternal endurance of the human spirit, but there are so many pieces to put together here, I don't feel confident that I have it after just a single sampling. The Tree of Life demands more time, a commodity I will happily give in exchange for a chance to see its dreamy images again.

The Tree of Life is sure to be a movie that is hotly debated for some time to come. The first thing anyone heard about the movie coming out of Cannes last month was how it was both booed and cheered, by some reports in equal measure, with others suggesting the response skewed to one particular side. (The Tree of Life eventually took the festival's top prize.) Those with a predisposition for Malick will go see the film regardless, and I have no idea how to assess what a newcomer to the man's work will make of this ambitious endeavor. Part of me worries that The Tree of Life is almost too sincere for most audiences, be it the common man or the critical establishment. Too many are quick to reject honest sentimentality. (He's carrying a Bible! Run!) Good or bad, Malick means everything this film is trying to say. It's a deliberate, deeply felt artistic expression of the like few filmmakers are capable of. At least try to meet it on its own terms before you judge. It would be easy to fold your arms against it or to embrace it wholeheartedly because of the name above the title; instead, walk in with your hands at your sides, and let the film lift them all on its own.

Sunday, September 2, 2018


A masterwork of Cuban cinema recently restored, 1968’s Memories of Underdevelopment is a revelatory effort, fully formed, unique in voice, marrying the virtuosity of Mikhail Kalatzov’s I am Cuba [review] with the freestyle experimentation of the Nouvelle Vague to bring to life the literary style of Latin American fiction. Directed by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, working from a novel by Edmundo Desnoes (who also contributed the screenplay), Memories of Underdevelopment is a challenging examination of a country in flux, as well as a dissection of its central character, whom we can take as representative of a certain apathetic class of Cuban citizen. Memories of Underdevelopment  manages to be both political and subversive, using its lead as a way to never take a side, and thus leaving you to wonder if Gutiérrez Alea is for or against the revolution; perhaps neither.

Sergio Corrieri stars as Sergio, an intellectual idling away his days, nursing a novel we know he’ll never finish writing, while quietly judging those around him. The narrative of Memories of Underdevelopment nestles between the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis, at a time when many were getting out of Cuba before the political tide turned against them. Sergio has decided to stay, even as his wife and family immigrate to the United States without him. Much like the film itself, Sergio is of no particular stripe. He professes disdain for his fellow bourgeoisie, but also has no affinity or understanding for the proletariat. When his maid (Eslinda Núñez), who has gone unnoticed by her employer for a good amount of time, her subservience initially overshadowing her beauty and total identity to a selfish man, tells him about her Christian baptism, Sergio imagines it as an orgiastic escapade; later, when she shows him photos of the event, he is surprised to realize that not only was it a completely chaste affair, it was a public one. Sergio rarely considers there are other people, and that they are connected to one another in ways he mostly avoids.

After a fashion, Sergio is the classic professorial type, living an impotent life of the mind while chasing a potent physical one. At one point, he picks up a copy of Nabokov’s Lolita, and indeed, there is a bit of Humbert Humbert in Sergio, from his false sense of superiority to his predilection for young women. Sergio’s central relationship in the present is with Elena (Daisy Granados), a teenager whose mercurial nature infuriates him as much as it draws him in. The dalliance with Elena fits the pattern of his other relationships, including the selfish games he played that drove his wife away. Perhaps more telling, though, is how Sergio pines for his first love, a European transplant who was still in school when they met, and whose parents whisked her away to New York before they could be married. Pretentious gentlemen, it seems, prefer young blondes; her youth and color are both symbols of innocence.

This sexual peccadillo gives an added meaning to the title Memories of Underdevelopment, though not necessarily a meaning Sergio sees. The word “underdevelopment” has many applications in Gutiérrez Alea’s film. Sergio applies the term to both the nation of Cuba and its people, seeing them both as un-evolved and lacking in culture. He complains regularly of a lack of consistency, while he remains rigid, ironically failing to evolve himself. He is a man in the middle of a social revolution who continually alienates himself from society. When his friend Pablo (Omar Valdés) is leaving for America, Sergio’s voiceover tells us how glad he is to be rid of the man, but his face suggests a loneliness he doesn’t care to admit.

Gutiérrez Alea has a lot of fun juxtaposing word and image throughout Memories of Underdevelopment. Even as Sergio denigrates his countrymen, we see a vibrant fellowship of man going on all around him.  The director and his editor, Nelson Rodríguez, compose a complex mis en scene, weaving documentary footage in with their fictional narrative, going so far as to insert Sergio in real-life events, including a scholarly roundtable that the stuffy Sergio dismisses as being all about words, and no action--making it all the more ridiculous that he also dismisses Hemingway from moving in the opposite direction, leaving the words and taking his own life. Gutiérrez Alea even puts a self-reflexive joke into the movie, showing us a collection of quick scenes censored from movies by the previous regime. Because everyone knows that cinema is a source of moral decay.

Image and sound actually end up being very important to Sergio’s romantic failings. He more than once replays an audio tape on which he and his wife argue about the very fact that he’s recording her. And when Sergio’s stinkin’ thinkin’ undoes his affections, Gutiérrez Alea illustrates this through montages of still images, shown in reverse. For instance, when Sergio has had enough of Elena, he plays back their time together, starting with the most recent coupling and working back to when he first ran into her on the street. He mentally regresses, undoing any emotional connection they’ve otherwise nurtured. In one way, this is an exercise in memory, but then, so is all of Memories of Underdevelopment, its disjointed structure mimicking the choppy nature of its narrator’s remembrances.

Naturally, Sergio can’t make it all the way through the movie without getting some kind of comeuppance, and it’s fitting that it comes from Elena, the strongest personality next to his own. (Daisy Granados is remarkable, and could have just as easily been transplanted into one of Jean-Luc Godard’s peppier ’60s efforts.) Symbolically, though, Elena and her family coming for Sergio is representative of the proletariat lashing back at the bourgeoisie, and the fact that he gets away with his bad deeds shows how little has been done to topple his kind from positions of privilege.  Then again, given that they manage to dismantle his confidence and shake his moral belief, perhaps it’s more fitting. He is a man who should be taken down through ideas rather than more punitive measures. While the rest of the country must deal with the very real threat of potential nuclear destruction, Sergio is faced with a more existential crisis. Knowing that he probably deserved to be punished for his behavior, he becomes paralyzed by his own thoughts. Again, this makes his dismissal of Hemingway all the more ironic, because Sergio is too crippled by his own ideas to pursue a solution. Sergio noted that Hemingway conquered the fear of death, it was just the fear of time and life he could not handle, and as Memories of Underdevelopment ends, time and life seem to be all Sergio actually has.

The cover and interior illustrations for this edition of Memories of Underdevelopment are by comic book artist Danijel Zezelj, known for his work with Brian Wood on books like DMZ, The Massive, and Starve. His style is unique in comics, combining street art and European propaganda design with graphic narrative for something altogether his own. He is currently drawing Days of Hate for Image Comics, and he previously contributed art to Criterion’s release of Francesco Rosi’s Hands Over the City.