Festival Reports

Crises in Detail: AFI Docs 2019 »

Border South

By Gary M. Kramer. At the 2019 AFI Docs Film Festival this year, five provocative shorts and features tackled important topics ranging from the drug crisis and immigration to the creationism debate and…

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Coming of Age with Care: the 21st Maryland Film Festival (2019) »

Mickey and the Bear

By Gary M. Kramer. Now in its 21st year, the Maryland Film Festival in Baltimore is a showcase for eclectic independent features, shorts, and documentaries. This year’s program features films both homegrown and far-flung.…

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Portraits and Passions: Tribeca Film Festival 2019 »

Gasoline Thieves

By Gary M. Kramer. The Tribeca Film Festival, April 24-May 5, offers a variety of features, shorts, documentaries, television and new media productions from new and established filmmakers. This year’s programs offered some…

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Documenting the Past and Gender: Istanbul Film Festival, 38th Edition »

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By N. Buket Cengiz. Held only a couple of days after a social democrat mayor has won the elections in the city after long years, Istanbul Film Festival, organized by Istanbul Foundation for…

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The Weight of the Journey: The 2019 Miami International Film Festival »

Journey to a Mother’s Room

By Gary M. Kramer. At this year’s Miami International Film Festival, there are some interesting debuts, some intriguing slow-burn films, and some compelling documentaries. Here is a rundown of a half-dozen titles screening…

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Gods and Penguins: The 2019 DC Independent Film Festival »

Penguin Highway

By Gary M. Kramer. The DC Independent Film Festival, unspooling March 1-10 in Washington, DC, is celebrating its 20th year in 2019. This year’s program features dozens of features and shorts, along with a…

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Independents at 25: Slamdance 2019 »

We are Thankful

By Gary M. Kramer. Now in its 25th year, the Slamdance Film Festival – held in Park City, Utah, January 25-31, 2019 – is a showcase for independent filmmakers. Here is a rundown of…

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The Dawn of New Era: Locarno 2018 »

Dragonfly Eyes (2017)

By Martin Kudláč. The largest annual Swiss film gathering, and one of the longest running film festivals in the world, in Locarno flourished into a sought-after cinephile event, some say even “the worldwide cinephile…

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Interview

The Immigrant Dream Life: An Interview with Amir Ganjavie on Pendulum »

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By Ali Moosavi. Pendulum is the first film made by Amir Ganjavie, an Iranian diaspora film critic (and a Film…

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Dreaming on, Despite Brexit: A Conversation with Sean McAllister »

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By N. Buket Cengiz. Documentarist, an independent documentary film festival held in Istanbul since 2007, had the acclaimed British…

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Exposing the Filmmaker: An Interview with Ewa Banaszkiewicz and Mateusz Dymek About My Friend the Polish Girl »

My Friend

By Alex Ramon. As the place that produced the likes of Wajda, Polański, Kieślowski and Skolimowski, and that, under…

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“If You Don’t Learn from the Greats, You’d Be Stupid”: An Interview with Cinematographer Robin Vidgeon »

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By David A. Ellis. Robin Vidgeon BSC born in August 1939 is a retired cinematographer. For many years he…

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Violent Urban Transformation: Ali Vatansever on Saf »

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By N. Buket Cengiz. Ali Vatansever’s Saf (2018) was one of the outstanding films at the Human Rights in…

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Surveying Shorts in 2019: A Interview with Sharon Badal (Tribeca Film Festival) »

STREET MAIN

By Gary M. Kramer. This year, the Tribeca Film Festival had more than 5,100 submissions for its shorts programs.…

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Larry Cohen in Conversation with Tony Williams: on Bone (1972) »

Larry-Cohen

To celebrate the life of Larry Cohen (1936-2019), Film International will excerpt portions of Tony Williams’s interviews with the filmmaker from Larry…

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In Retrospekt: An Interview with Esther Rots and Dan Geesin »

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By Yun-hua Chen. With a puzzle plotline that resembles Memento, Retrospekt focuses on two women, Mette and Lee Miller,…

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Living the Truth: Claus Räfle on The Invisibles »

Invisibles

By Tom Ue. Claus Räfle has directed over forty feature-length documentaries for German television. Die Heftmacher earned the Grimme…

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Probing Bannon: Alison Klayman and Marie Therese Guirgis on The Brink »

Producer Marie Therese Guirgis and Director Alison Klayman

By Elias Savada. The Kimpton Hotel Monaco is just 9 blocks east of the White House, the work place…

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Heisting Nixon: Mark Steven Johnson on Finding Steve McQueen »

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By Jake Rutkowski. The 1972 United California Bank robbery and the gang that pulled it off don’t occupy a lot…

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MOST RECENT

  1. In the Heart of the World: Soap Opera Meets Social Realism in Brazil
  2. Bonding vs. Protection: Jan Zabeil’s Three Peaks
  3. Deadites vs. Adaptation: Media and The Evil Dead
  4. The Immigrant Dream Life: An Interview with Amir Ganjavie on Pendulum
  5. Film Scratches: Multiple Remembrances of Things Past – Luz en la Copa (2017)
  6. Forbidden Desire: The Reports on Sarah and Saleem
  7. Reconciliatory Depiction of Time: Richard Billingham’s Ray & Liz
  8. All in the Method – Remembering British Television: Audience and Industry by Kristyn Gorton and Joanne Garde Hansen
  9. Alone on New Adventures: Lara and Patrick (Karlovy Vary International Film Festival)
  10. A Tricky Tonal Arc: Greg Kinnear’s Phil
  11. Dreaming on, Despite Brexit: A Conversation with Sean McAllister
  12. Exposing the Filmmaker: An Interview with Ewa Banaszkiewicz and Mateusz Dymek About My Friend the Polish Girl
  13. From Iran to Mexico: Fireflies (Luciérnagas)
  14. Manipulative Artistry: Ari Aster’s Midsommar
  15. Beyond Reason: Diamantino
  16. A True Cinematic Challenge – Moseby Confidential: Arthur Penn’s Night Moves and the Rise of Neo-Noir by Matthew Asprey Gear
  17. Crises in Detail: AFI Docs 2019
  18. Arguments for Greatness – Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am
  19. Phantoms from the Past: Gan Bi’s Long Day’s Journey into Night (2018)
  20. Homage to Humanity: La vie de Jesus and L’Humanite (Criterion Collection)
  21. Film Scratches: Listening to the Invisible – Notes from a Journey (2019)
  22. DocuChronicles: Barbara Rubin and the Exploding NY Underground
  23. Peace & Love, 50 Years On – Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation
  24. Gentrification on Film: Capital Expansion and the Limits of Video Activism
  25. Giving by Stealing: Denys Arcand’s The Fall of the American Empire
  26. Transcending the Chains of Illusion – The Assassin: Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s World of Tang China, Edited by Peng Hsiao-yen
  27. Film as Cultural Artifact: Palestinian Cinema in the Days of Revolution by Nadia Yaqub
  28. It’s a Hard Knock Life: American Woman
  29. Film Scratches: the Beguiling Play of Illusion – Gelateria (2019)
  30. A Device to Remember: Halston
  1. Tony Williams: Thank you for publishing this interview. There may be hope for this “ugly society” if more...
  2. Matthew Sorrento: Reading about this “misfit” cowboy narrator, I can’t help wonder if the Coens...
  3. Matthew Sorrento: This sounds like an interesting mediation on the politics of gender and, more specifically, our...
  4. Melinda: Great interview, John! I enjoyed the specificity of your questions as well as the conversational style of...
  5. Matthew Sorrento: I agree with Tony, Daniel — thanks for commenting on the issues this film addresses. This...

Review

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In the Heart of the World: Soap Opera Meets Social Realism in Brazil »

By Martin Kudláč. The Brazilian cinema has been in the viewfinder of the International Film Festival Rotterdam for some time now and certainly for a good reason. New talents have been…

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Bonding vs. Protection: Jan Zabeil’s Three Peaks »

By Gary M. Kramer. Made in 2017, but just getting a release now, Jan Zabeil’s Three Peaks is a flinty chamber drama set mainly in the Dolomites. And despite the spectacular mountain…

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Reports Main

Forbidden Desire: The Reports on Sarah and Saleem »

By Ali Moosavi. If the quality of a country’s cinema is judged on a per capita basis, then surely Palestine would be sitting at the top table. For a country…

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Reconciliatory Depiction of Time: Richard Billingham’s Ray & Liz »

By Mina Radovic. Richard Billingham’s debut as a director is an unjudgmental, observational, frequently difficult, and highly internalized portrait of his family. Composed to the brim, glacial but consistent in…

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Dr. Who

All in the Method – Remembering British Television: Audience and Industry by Kristyn Gorton and Joanne Garde Hansen »

A Book Review by Tony Williams. This recent monograph (Bloomsbury/BFI, 2019) aims to debate the importance of everyday TV memories involving academics, audiences, and fans, in terms of recent theoretical…

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Alone on New Adventures: Lara and Patrick (Karlovy Vary International Film Festival) »

By Ali Moosavi. Two films competing for the main prizes at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. Both having a person’s name as their title. Lara (Jan Ole Gerster) from…

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Phil

A Tricky Tonal Arc: Greg Kinnear’s Phil »

By Michael Sandlin. Greg Kinnear has come a long way since his early 1990s career phase sniggering at daytime talk show freaks for E! Network’s Talk Soup. Rising through the…

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Fireflies

From Iran to Mexico: Fireflies (Luciérnagas) »

By Ali Moosavi. After the Iranian Revolution in 1979, a number of national filmmakers, who were well-established in their homeland, such as Dariush Mehrjui (The Cow; The Cycle), Amir Naderi…

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Midsommar-movie

Manipulative Artistry: Ari Aster’s Midsommar »

By Gary M. Kramer. Heredity filmmaker Ari Aster’s eagerly awaited sophomore feature, Midsommar, is impressive when one looks at the craft that went into it. There are elaborate dinner table…

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Beyond Reason: Diamantino »

By Jeremy Carr. “Love has reasons that even reason can’t understand.” This is what the father of soccer star Diamantino Matamouros once told his son, as recalled by the sporting…

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Night Feat

A True Cinematic Challenge – Moseby Confidential: Arthur Penn’s Night Moves and the Rise of Neo-Noir by Matthew Asprey Gear »

A Book Review by Tony Williams. Moseby Confidential: Night Moves and the Rise of Neo-Noir (Jorvik Press, 2019) is an interesting monograph of a hybrid nature. Written by Matthew Asprey Gear, author…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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woodstock

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…

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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…

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Return to Haifa (Kassem Hawal, 1981)

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?…

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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…

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Halston - Still 1

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…

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BrightBurn

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…

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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…

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“Brooksie” Revisited: Beggars of Life (1928) from Kino Lorber and Beggars of Life: A Companion to the 1928 Film by Thomas Gladysz »

Beggars

A Film/Book Review by Tony Williams. While we eagerly await the Criterion release of The Sound of Music with audio-commentary by Quentin…

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Scholar, Lawyer, Catcher, Spy: The Spy Behind Home Plate »

Spy 01

By Elias Savada. I can’t take credit for creating that tagline, but it is a perfect John Le Carré allusion. It’s from author…

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Beyond the “Post-Western” – Marlina: A Murderer in Four Acts »

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By Matthew Sorrento. Marlina begins with a scenario all too familiar: the title character, recently widowed, is now an object of desire…

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Pondering the Ponderous: Malick’s A Hidden Life (Cannes 2019) »

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By Ali Moosavi. My relationship with Terence Malick films has been love and hate. Watching Badlands (1973) back in the 70s was like…

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Look and Listen: Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Cannes 2019) »

Portrait 01

By Ali Moosavi. Somehow I had not seen any of Celine Sciamma’s films until watching Portrait of a Lady on Fire at…

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Screening Communities: Negotiating Narratives of Empire, Nation, and the Cold War in Hong Kong Cinema by Jing Jing Chang »

In The Face of Demolition (1953)

A Book Review by Tony Williams. Hong Kong cinema studies has received detailed coverage over the decades in works written about specific…

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Where Has the Film Gone?: My Son »

Was this film made just so Liam Neeson could star in the inevitable American remake?

By Gary M. Kramer. My Son purports to be a taut thriller about a desperate father’s search for his missing seven-year-old son.…

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A Traditional Period Piece: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Cannes 2019) »

Once-2

By Ali Moosavi. Twenty-five years ago Pulp Fiction premiered at Cannes, won the Palm D’Or, and had an everlasting impact on the…

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A Disquieting Tale: Unarmed Man »

Unarmed Man

By Elias Savada. Harold Jackson III is a very focused, and quite talented, individual. He does just about everything in Unarmed Man, his…

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Almodovar Most Personal: Pain and Glory (Cannes 2019) »

Pain-and-Glory-2

By Ali Moosavi. Pain and Glory is Pedro Almodovar at his most personal and confessional, in the same vein as Bad Education…

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Martial Art: Zhang Yimou’s Shadow »

Shadow 01

By Jeremy Carr. Zhang Yimou has had a remarkable career, one distinguished by its approximate division into two distinct phases. There were…

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Dystopias in Disguise: Aniara »

Aniara

By John Duncan Talbird. In 1956, Swedish author Harry Martinson wrote an epic poem called Aniara. It tells the story of the eponymous…

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Life During Wartime: Ingmar Bergman’s Shame (Criterion Collection) »

Shame 03

  By Jeremy Carr. Save for the broad categories of drama or comedy, Ingmar Bergman isn’t a name often associated with genre filmmaking.…

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Universalizing a Movement – The Berlin School and Its Global Contexts: A Transnational Art Cinema »

La Ciénaga (Lucrecia Martel, 2001)

A Book Review by Thomas Puhr. As its title of this collection makes clear, The Berlin School and Its Global Contexts: A…

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Hours of Artistry and Independence: Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Happy Hour »

Happy Hour 02

By Matthew Fullerton. In a 1981 essay, the film critic Alan Booth (1946-1993) recognized independent directors as the strength of Japanese cinema.…

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Long Walk to Freedom: The Silence of Others »

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By Michael Sandlin. Despite its low-budget workmanlike feel, this documentary from Emmy-winning directors Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar – and produced by…

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Taming a Wild Man: Matteo Garrone’s Dogman »

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By Thomas Puhr. He is a slight man: short and hunched, as if perpetually carrying a heavy load. His head and eyes…

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Trick and Treat: Penny Lane’s Hail Satan? »

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By Elias Savada. Never has a Penny Lane film been this funny. An academic-now-turned-full-professional-documentary-filmmaker, she has provided a window into the weird…

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Super Heroes Matter – Avengers: Endgame »

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By Elias Savada. It has come to this, the emotional end of the Marvel Comic Universe as we know it. In our…

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Scared Stiff: Ghost of No Chance »

Scared 01

By Rod Lott. New on Blu-ray from Arrow Video, 1987’s Scared Stiff arrives with a stunningly inaccurate title – one that suggests a light…

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Dickinson Unbowdlerized: Wild Nights with Emily »

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By Elizabeth Toohey. Biopics, especially literary ones, tend to gravitate towards the grandiose. Sweeping vistas and luxurious estates command center stage as a…

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Beyond the Distractions: The Brink »

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By Michael Sandlin. Seeing populist political shyster Steve Bannon’s slow professional demise play out over the course of Alison Klayman’s documentary The…

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Knife+Heart: Of Felonies and Fellatio »

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By Rod Lott. Whereas several of Brian De Palma’s works famously suggested tools and utensils as phallic, Yann Gonzalez’s Knife+Heart removes all doubt.…

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All Fight, No Feeling – Master Z: Ip Man Legacy »

Mas Z

By Yun-hua Chen. Action itself is not enough to compose a good action film – we see yet another hard-earned lesson in…

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Little on the Syndrome: Stockholm »

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By Gary M. Kramer. Stockholm, written and directed by Robert Budreau, recounts the “absurd but true” 1973 Norrmalmstorg (Kreditbanken) robbery and hostage…

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Not “Just Another Giallo”: The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire (Arrow Video) »

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By Rod Lott. If the first two minutes of Riccardo Freda’s The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire (1971) had failed to…

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Crimes and Pastimes: Screwball »

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By Jake Rutkowski. It’s hard to view the discourse around baseball’s most recent and protracted steroid use scandal as anything other than…

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The Last Silent Hound: Der Hund von Baskerville (1929) »

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By Tony Williams. Like the recently restored Behind the Door (1919), Der Hund von Baskerville was shown at the San Francisco Silent…

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Too Much and not Enough – 1968 and Global Cinema, Edited by Christina Gerhardt and Sara Saljoughi »

Battle of Algiers

A Book Review by Mads Larsen. The timing could hardly be better. Every month seems to throw more gasoline onto the political…

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Everywhere and Nowhere: Kent Jones’ Diane »

Diane 01

By Jeremy Carr. There is so much potential tragedy in the first twenty minutes of Diane that the film appears instantly in…

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For the Love of a Gangster: Ash is the Purest White »

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By Yun-hua Chen. Jia Zhangke’s latest, Ash is the Purest White, three years after his previous film Mountains May Depart (2015) which…

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Filling a Gap: The Music of Charlie Chaplin by Jim Lochner »

Modern Times (1936)

A Book Review by John Fawell. I’ve always been somewhat surprised by the amount of critical attention paid to Charlie Chaplin’s sound…

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Fessenden Meets a Brooklyn Frankenstein: Depraved »

DEPRAVED

By Elias Savada. Larry Fessenden has plenty of fans. A versatile producer, director, writer, editor, cinematographer, and actor in dozens of low-budget flicks,…

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“Movies No Genre Wants to Own Up to” – Blood Hunger: The Films of José Larraz (Arrow Video) »

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By Rod Lott. Death aside, it’s a good time to be José Ramón Larraz. The Spanish director finally gets his due, a…

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Wildlife: Family in the Dark »

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  By Christopher Sharrett. Among the few films that impressed me last season was Paul Dano’s first film as director, Wildlife, based…

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A “Spinster’s” Last Stand: Woman at War »

Woman at War

By Michael Sandlin. Icelandic director Benedikt Erlingsson, in his sophomore directorial effort Woman at War, imagines the chaos that ensues when a…

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The Uncanny Invades: Jordan Peele’s Us »

Us

By Matthew Sorrento. The most unfortunate aspect of Jordan Peele’s Get Out was its creator’s attempt at self-criticism. Some months after the…

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Idris at the Helm: Yardie »

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By Ali Moosavi. The media have been so preoccupied with whether or not Idris Elba will become the next James Bond that…

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Welcome to the Universe: Captain Marvel »

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By Elias Savada. Packing a $153 million weekend wallop here in her home country, and a huge $455 million on her native planet,…

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Tradition Against Trafficking: Birds of Passage »

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By Ali Moosavi. Films about drug trafficking in Central and South America have been on our cinema and TV screens almost continuously,…

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What We’re Left with at the End: Jupiter’s Moon »

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By John Duncan Talbird. In the opening seconds of Kornél Mundruczó’s White God (2014), we see a bird’s-eye view of Budapest, but…

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A Problem of Catharsis and Urban Space: Ondi Timoner’s Mapplethorpe »

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By Mina Radovic. Robert Mapplethorpe is one of New York’s famous black-and-white photographers of the 1970s: coming out after the Warhol generation…

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Deliberate Relief: Visconti’s Death in Venice (Criterion Collection) »

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By Gary M. Kramer. Death in Venice, Luchino Visconti’s sumptuous adaptation of the 1912 Thomas Mann novella, has been released on DVD…

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A Cinephile’s Cinephile – Mysteries of Cinema: Reflections on Film Theory, History and Culture 1982-2016 by Adrian Martin »

Immortal One

A Book Review by Jeremy Carr. At the very least, Adrian Martin’s Mysteries of Cinema: Reflections on Film Theory, History and Culture…

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A Career Cut Short – Laird Cregar: A Hollywood Tragedy by Gregory William Mank »

The Lodger (1944)

A Book Review by Tony Williams. “It was not only his desire to play heroic roles that made him diet, but the…

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The Compulsive Writer-Director’s Guide – Making Your First Feature Film by Dominick Bagnato »

Dominick Bagnato's A Convenient Truth (2015)

A Book Review by Mads Larsen. If you have a few hundred thousand dollars to burn, and although you have no experience,…

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Fighting in America: Tim Sutton’s Donnybrook »

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By Thomas Puhr. It’s only fitting that writer-director Tim Sutton’s latest, Donnybrook (2018), opens with a voyage by boat. Like Odysseus, Jarhead…

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Handicapping the Oscars: 2019 Oscar Nominated Shorts »

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By Elias Savada. Another year and another Academy Awards show looms large, filled with commentary about snubs and surprises and a program, the…

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“Lillie Plays Violet”: Exit Smiling (A San Francisco Silent Film Festival Review) »

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By Janine Gericke. On Saturday, December 1st, the SF Silent Film Festival held its annual Day of Silents winter program at the…

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They Shall Not Grow Old – But All Shall Perish »

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By Christopher Sharrett. I don’t feel especially generous toward Peter Jackson’s “new” (hardly the right word) film, and must call it stunt…

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Features

Larry Cohen in Conversation with Tony Williams: on Bone (1972) »

Larry-Cohen

To celebrate the life of Larry Cohen (1936-2019), Film International will excerpt portions of Tony Williams’s interviews with the filmmaker from Larry Cohen: Radical Allegories…

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Hope from the Past: Dziga Vertov: Life and Work (Volume 1: 1896-1921) by John MacKay »

Man With a Movie Camera (1929)

A Book Review Essay by Tony Williams. In 1904, Lenin once wrote a monograph, “One Step Forward, two Steps Back” (1) that…

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Agnes Varda, 1928-2019 »

Set of the movie "Sans toit ni loi" by Agnes Varda

By Christopher Sharrett. I commented early this week on the ruthlessness of death. The occasion was my remembrance of Larry Cohen, a…

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Larry Cohen, 1936-2019 »

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By Christopher Sharrett. Death is ruthless, but it seems to have been especially vicious lately. We have received word that Larry Cohen,…

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The Uncanny Invades: Jordan Peele’s Us »

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By Matthew Sorrento. The most unfortunate aspect of Jordan Peele’s Get Out was its creator’s attempt at self-criticism. Some months after the…

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“What Might Have Been”: The Magnificent Ambersons (Criterion Collection) »

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By Tony Williams. “Anybody who does things their own way while they’re working with a corporation is going to be problematic.” –…

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Twilight of the Idol: Eastwood’s The Mule »

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By James Slaymaker. Like many late-period Eastwood films, The Mule is a revisionist genre piece with a pronounced self-reflexive streak. It only…

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His Own Man – George Raft: The Man Who Would be Bogart by Stone Wallace »

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A Book Review Essay by Tony Williams. Enter George Raft groom cum chauffeur – He lurked hand and collar and hands in…

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The Eternal Dilemma: Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev (The Criterion Collection) »

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By Tony Williams. After reviewing the disappointing Criterion Von Sternberg/Dietrich DVD Collection and noting the company’s inexplicable emphasis on popular films available…

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Watering the Money Tree: Eugen Damaschin’s Beautiful Corruption (2018) »

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By Brandon Konecny. In 2014, Moldova experienced what many observers called the “theft of the century.” One billion dollars disappeared from the…

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First Man and Last Things »

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By Christopher Sharrett. I have just recently seen Damien Chazelle’s First Man after putting it off during its initial release. The film…

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Just Slightly Off: True Stories »

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By John Duncan Talbird. My friends and I loved the Talking Heads when we were in college. You could not go a week…

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There’s No Place Like Home: Revisiting Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day (Criterion Collection) »

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By Jeremy Carr. In her essay for the Criterion Collection release of Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day, Moira Weigel opens with a…

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Re-Working Hitchcock: Brian De Palma’s Sisters (Criterion Collection) »

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By Tony Williams. De Palma’s Sisters has long been overdue for a new 4K digital restoration that Criterion now supplies along with…

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Notes on Pablo Larraín »

Natalie Portman and Pablo Larrain on the set of Jackie

By Christopher Sharrett. Some months ago I published in this location brief remarks on Pablo Larraín’s remarkable film Jackie (2016), one of…

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Screwball/Great Depression Denial Syndrome: My Man Godfrey (Criterion Collection) »

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By Tony Williams. Gregory La Cava’s My Man Godfrey (1936) is admittedly one of the best screwball comedies of the 1930s that…

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From a Longtime Insider/Outsider – Two Cheers for Hollywood: Joseph McBride on Movies »

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A Book Review Essay by Tony Williams. Joseph McBride, currently Professor of Film Studies at San Francisco State University, has had a…

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Colette in the #MeToo Era »

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By Elizabeth Toohey. If ever a movie was ripe for release, it’s the new bio-pic Colette. The life and career of one…

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“Good Sausage”: Felix Feist’s The Man Who Cheated Himself (1950) from Flicker Alley »

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By Tony Williams. Imagine Lee J. Cobb (1911-1976) playing a star role as an honest cop turned bad played for a sucker…

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Cinema Thinks: Film as Philosophy Edited by Bernd Herzogenrath »

Lost Highway (1997)

A Book Review Essay by John Duncan Talbird. The multi-authored book is a misnomer. Although out in the world there is no…

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Far from Paradise: Dietrich and Von Sternberg in Hollywood (Criterion Collection) »

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By Tony Williams. A box set containing the Josef Von Sternberg (1894-1969) and Marlene Dietrich (1901-1992) collaboration, even if copyright reasons exclude…

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For and Against the Grand Narrative: The Hollywood War Film by Daniel Binns »

The Steel Helmet (1951)

A Book Review Essay by Matthew Sorrento. Genre studies, whether treating film genre history as evolutionary or as cycles, always has to…

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Rediscovering a “Lost Art”: How Did Lubitsch Do It? by Joseph McBride »

Ninotchka (1939)

A Book Review Essay by Tony Williams. Any book or article by Joseph McBride is worth reading, especially in this era of…

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The Epitome of Cool: The Films of Ray Danton by Joseph Fusco »

The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond (1960)

A Book Review Essay by Tony Williams. I initially saw this 2010 book as a main feature on this company’s web site and requested…

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“May Well Offend” – Magnificent Obsession: The Outrageous History of Film Buffs, Collectors, Scholars, and Fanatics by Anthony Slide »

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A Book Review Essay by Tony Williams. Deliberately described as a “provocative film scholar,” this prolific, self-educated expert in film, who has…

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Beyond Genre to the Other Arts: King Hu’s Dragon Inn (1967) from the Criterion Collection »

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By Tony Williams. For those really interested in the art of cinema, the achievements of King Hu (1932-1997) are comparable to others…

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Why the Neglect?: Lubitsch’s The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg (1927) »

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By John W. Fawell. The following is an excerpt from Ernst Lubitsch’s The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg: the Art of Classic Hollywood,…

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The Cinematic Form of the Football Match »

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By Declan Cochran. Introduction (Pre-Match Warm-Up) Cinematically speaking, the filmed football match is a curious phenomenon, one that seems to integrate a…

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Tarkovsky’s The Sacrifice: Against All Doctrine »

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By Christopher Sharrett. I have been meaning for some time to put pen to paper about Andrei Tarkovsky, about whom I’ve been…

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North Korea’s International Movie Co-Productions, 1985-2012 »

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By Johannes Schönherr. Kim Jong Il, the son of North Korea’s founder and Great Leader Kim Il Sung, went early in his…

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Defying Ideology (and the Academy) – Mr. Novak: An Acclaimed Television Series by Chuck Harter »

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A Book Review Essay by Tony Williams. When recovering from reviewing lesser works by well-established publishers, whether direct-to-library or university presses, it…

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Hefting the Masterpieces: Filmworker »

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By Elizabeth Toohey. Do we really need another Stanley Kubrick documentary? There’s the comprehensive Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures (2001), with…

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“As Usual, Ladies First”: Manners, Manuals, and The Hunger Games »

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By Richmond B. Adams. During “The Reaping” sequence from Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) “volunteer[s] as tribute” to…

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Consistent Passion, Little Fanfare: RBG »

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By Elizabeth Toohey. Towards the end of the powerful new documentary RBG, we follow the 85-year-old Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg into…

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Genius in Collaboration: The Outer Limits, Season One from Kino Lorber »

"The Galaxy Being"

By Tony Williams. I saw my first episode of The Outer Limits on a regional independent television station in the mid-60s. Opening…

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Beauty and the Dogs: Women’s Revolution in Tunisian Cinema »

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By Matthew Fullerton. As Hollywood grapples with diversity issues, it is interesting to note how Tunisia, an emergent democracy since its 2011…

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Family Values and Civic Duties: Fassbinder’s Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day »

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By Jeremy Carr. Rainer Werner Fassbinder was particularly adept at transitioning between the cinema and television (and theater, for that matter), starting the…

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Unlovely Spectacle: D.A. Miller on Call Me By Your Name »

Call Me Feat

By David Greven. An exchange I had with an older, straight, white academic in Film Studies serves as an instructive example of…

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Marcel Pagnol’s “Marseille Trilogy”: An Essential Reemerges on Criterion »

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By Christopher Weedman. Among the most impressive film restorations of 2017 was Marcel Pagnol’s Marseille Trilogy (1931-36), which I reviewed last March…

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The Form and Function of a Cult Film: Deep Red by Alexia Kannas »

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A Book Review Essay by Jeremy Carr. Alexia Kannas’ Deep Red (Columbia University Press, 2017), her contribution to the Wallflower Press Cultographies series,…

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Evil Dead II: "It's a requel, whatever you want to call it!" Bruce Campbell

Deadites vs. Adaptation: Media and The Evil Dead »

By Valerie Guyant. The following is an excerpt from The Many Lives of The Evil Dead: Essays on the Cult Film Franchise, © 2019, Edited by Ron Riekki and Jeffrey A. Sartain…

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Dr. Who

All in the Method – Remembering British Television: Audience and Industry by Kristyn Gorton and Joanne Garde Hansen »

A Book Review by Tony Williams. This recent monograph (Bloomsbury/BFI, 2019) aims to debate the importance of everyday TV memories involving academics, audiences, and fans, in terms of recent theoretical…

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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…

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DocuChronicles: Barbara Rubin and the Exploding NY Underground »

DocuChronicles is a blog dedicated to independent documentary cinema by filmmaker Marjorie Sturm. It includes a mix of reviews, interviews, and longer pieces.  By Marjorie Sturm. Barbara Rubin was an experimental filmmaker most…

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ASSASSIN

Transcending the Chains of Illusion – The Assassin: Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s World of Tang China, Edited by Peng Hsiao-yen »

A Book Review Essay by Tony Williams. In Mostly About Lindsay Anderson, his long-time friend Gavin Lambert speaks about the in-flight movie seen by his colleague that drove him to…

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Researcher Beware! – Frankly: Unmasking Frank Capra by Joseph McBride »

A Book Review Essay by Tony Williams. Joseph McBride’s latest mammoth book, well-written and copiously documented as usual, is an unusual production in the field of cinema studies. It is…

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Reassessing Blue Velvet: a Criterion Collection Release »

By Christopher Sharrett. I have had a difficult history with David Lynch’s breakthrough film Blue Velvet (1986), and for that matter, much of the director’s work. At first, I thought…

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Pondering the Ponderous: Malick’s A Hidden Life (Cannes 2019) »

By Ali Moosavi. My relationship with Terence Malick films has been love and hate. Watching Badlands (1973) back in the 70s was like a breath of fresh air; a film that,…

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La vérité: the French Woman’s Prison (Criterion Collection) »

By Tony Williams. Henri-Georges Clouzot (1907-1977) is best known as the director of Le Corbeau (1943), Quai des Orfevres (1947), The Wages of Fear (1953), Diabolique (1955) for the majority of…

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Long Walk to Freedom: The Silence of Others »

By Michael Sandlin. Despite its low-budget workmanlike feel, this documentary from Emmy-winning directors Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar – and produced by Spanish directorial titan Pedro Almodovar – just may…

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Even Dwarfs Started Small

Planning and Execution: Werner Herzog’s Scenarios II and Meeting Gorbachev »

By John Duncan Talbird. Werner Herzog should win the Nobel Prize in Literature. If Bob Dylan can win it, I don’t see why a filmmaker can’t and it’s hard to…

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The Struggle for a City’s Soul: Fassbinder’s Berlin Alexanderplatz (Criterion Collection) »

By Jeremy Carr. Newly released from Tegal Prison, Franz Biberkopf cautiously looks over a custodial stretch of land just inside the wall that separates the penitentiary from the city streets.…

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Film Review - Never Look Away

Never Look Away: Art Against Death »

By Christopher Sharrett. Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s Never Look Away is a good – but not great – film of this past season that deserves recognition; I wanted to wait…

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JT LeRoy

I Made the Documentary The Cult of JT LeRoy, and I Must Discuss Savannah Knoop’s New Film »

By Marjorie Sturm. I am the director and producer of the The Cult of JT LeRoy, the documentary that explores the elaborate literary hoax perpetrated by Laura Albert and Savannah…

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“Louise Brooks? What’s all this talk about Louise Brooks? She was nobody. She was a nothing in films." George Cukor

Never the Victim: Louise Brooks and The Chaperone »

By Thomas Gladysz. The Chaperone, the first theatrical release from PBS Masterpiece, is a story of beginnings as well as a kind of origin story. Its plot revolves around the…

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Drums of Fu Manchu (1940)

Daredevils of the Red Circle and Other Cliffhangers: Sax Rohmer’s Fu Manchu and Republic’s Drums of Fu Manchu (1940) »

“Daredevils of the Red Circle and Other Cliffhangers” is a blog on serials by Geoffrey Mayer, the author of Encyclopedia of American Film Serials (McFarland, 2017). At last they truly were face to…

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