So much collapse had filled the day—the flattened space and digital collage of Benning’s pixels, especially the exquisite, ink-drawing look of Ruhr’s 3rd shot of latticed leaves and branches; Brooks’s unendingly re-forming shapes and Ghost Alebgra’s drowsy mash-up of a Nature and History Channel nocturnal hybrid—that discovering the simplicity and factuality of Liu Jiayin’s Oxhide II was palatably exciting, even if the film’s form and subject—the real time creation, cooking, and eating of 73 dumplings—sounds fit for pure formal exactitude. A further description may exacerbate that possibility: in 130 minutes Liu cuts only 8 times, with each cut pivoting 45 degrees around the table (side, corner, side, corner) where the cooking takes place, altering the height or cant but otherwise paying strict adherence to the intimate geometric circle the camera draws. But Oxhide II rides high on process, on the pleasure one takes in seeing things assembled, made, slowly come to together; parts fitted, vague shapes formed, function revealed. A direct descendent may in fact be the no less communal nor less pleasurable seminal pseudo-real time doc by Eustache and Barjol on the slaughtering of a pig, Le couchon.
—The Auteurs Notebook