In a typical American high school, typical teenagers—the jock, the arty kid, the misfit—go about a typical autumn day, their small personal dramas and adolescent social rituals captured via endlessly gliding Steadicam shots that impart a hypnotic, vaguely unsettling sense of serenity. Then suddenly, horribly, violence erupts. Hauntingly lensed by ace cinematographer Harris Savides, Gus Van Sant’s chilling, Palme d’Or–winning meditation on Columbine and America’s school shooting epidemic is a mysterious, shattering work of art. An NYFF41 selection.
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