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Arguments for Greatness – Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am

By John Duncan Talbird. In 1988, Toni Morrison’s fifth novel, Beloved, won the Pulitzer Prize. Five years later, she won the Nobel Prize for Literature, the first black woman of any nationality to win it. It seemed to be the final bullet fired in the US Culture Wars that sprang up in the wake of […]

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Phantoms from the Past: Gan Bi’s Long Day’s Journey into Night (2018)

By Yun-hua Chen. Very few films can capture the feelings of a dream in an audio-visually mesmerizing way. What Andrei Tarkovsky, Ingmar Bergman and David Lynch achieved in their cinematic portraits of dreams and dreaminess is unparalleled, and now we can also comfortably add the young Chinese director Gan Bi to the list. Watching Long […]

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Homage to Humanity: La vie de Jesus and L’Humanite (Criterion Collection)

By Christopher Sharrett. Bruno Dumont is one of the outstanding figures of the twenty-first century’s European cinema, so the Criterion hi-definition releases of his two early films, la vie de Jesus (1997) and l’Humanite (1999), are something of a godsend. I have written at length about Dumont on this site, so I’ll restrict these remarks to an […]

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Peace & Love, 50 Years On – Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation

By Elias Savada. Fifty years ago (gulp!) I never made it to Woodstock. I didn’t even try, although I had a hallucinogenic blast four years later at the 1973 Summer Jam in Watkins Glen (instant weekend population: 600,000). $10 to see the Allman Brothers Band, Grateful Dead and The Band perform. Drove up from D.C., […]

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Giving by Stealing: Denys Arcand’s The Fall of the American Empire

By Thomas Puhr. Denys Arcand’s The Fall of the American Empire (2018) asks a question that most never have the luxury to ponder: What does one do when they have too much money? This moral conundrum confronts Pierre-Paul Daoust (Alexandre Landry) after two duffel bags full of money from a botched robbery literally fall at […]

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Film as Cultural Artifact: Palestinian Cinema in the Days of Revolution by Nadia Yaqub

A Book Review by Thomas Puhr. What does it mean to “document” a displaced people? Do humanitarian films, while helpful in raising awareness, inherently depict a people as helpless victims? How should the displaced go about documenting themselves? Are their own representations, while providing a sense of agency for both the filmmaker and his or […]

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It’s a Hard Knock Life: American Woman

By Elias Savada. Wanna watch a train wreck? Sienna Miller plays one in Jake Scott’s third feature. For the first half-hour of this blue-collar salute to misguided motherhood (and the remorse that follows in the wake of a parent’s “worst nightmare” scenario), Miller plays Deb Callahan, an angry, immature 31-year-old single mother and grandmother who […]

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A Device to Remember: Halston

By Dana Weidman. Halston, the new documentary from director Frédéric Tcheng (Dior and I) starts with a credit stating that the “following film is documentary. However, the narrator is a fictional character.” In the opening, Tcheng uses news clips to build a brief history of the iconic dress designer’s rise to the very summit of […]

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Kal-El Spelled Badly Is Brightburn

By Elias Savada. Here’s a twist on one of those what if comic book, sci-fi scenarios. What if an alien baby (conveniently human in form) crashes to Earth and becomes an evil superhero. A real vindictive one. His small, single occupancy spacecraft arrives not in Superman’s adopted hometown of Smallville, Kansas (the eponymous name of […]

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The De Palma Basics: Domino

By Ali Moosavi. I have been an ardent Brian De Palma fan ever since watching Phantom of the Paradise at the cinemas in 1974. That was 45 years ago; he was a 33-year-old director making his eighth feature film in six years and I was a teenage movie fan. Flash forward to 2019, Domino is […]

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