Festival Reports

Berlinale 2020: Spotlight on New Iranian Cinema »

By Ali Moosavi. There were four films made by Iranian directors in this year’s Berlin Film Festival, shown at four different festival sections: Panorama, Forum, Generation and Berlinale (Main Competition). Mohammad Rasoulof’s There…

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Come One, Come All!: The 67th San Sebastian International Film Festival, 20-28 September 2019 »

By Ali Moosavi. San Sebastian is a beautiful coastal town in the Basque region of Spain. It has one of the oldest film festivals in the world which somehow has not become as…

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Back with 40 More: AFI Shorts 2019 »

By Gary M. Kramer. There are 40 shorts screening in six programs (as well as in front of features) at this year’s AFI Fest presented by Audi. Here are ten highlights from the…

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Three from the Open City Documentary Festival 2019 »

By Ali Moosavi. Three interesting documentaries screened at the Open City Documentary Festival in London, September 4-10, 2019. Sergei Loznitsa, the distinguished Ukrainian director known for films such as A Gentle Creature (2017) and…

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On Programming Content and Context: 73rd Edinburgh International Film Festival in Review »

By Mina Radovic. A lady patiently cleans her house. The yellow lights of Athens peer in through the windows as her husband smokes a cigarette and between puffs complains to her about his…

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Experimentation in NYC: NYFF Shorts 2019 »

By Gary M. Kramer. Two shorts programs at this year’s New York Film Festival are designed to provoke audiences. This is a welcome approach to short films, where the format encourages experimentation. As…

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Crises in Detail: AFI Docs 2019 »

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) »

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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Interview

Schizophrenic “Downstairs” and “Upstairs”: Filmmaker Vaughn Stein on Inheritance »

By Ali Moosavi. British writer-director Vaughn Stein’s feature film debut was Terminal (2018), starring Margot Robbie, Simon Pegg, Mike…

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On the Tribeca That Should Have Been »

By Gary M. Kramer. The Tribeca Film Festival sadly did not take place this year because of the global…

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Portraying the “Big Book of Testimonies”: Armando Espitia on Our Mothers »

By Gary M. Kramer. Our Mothers is a somber but powerful drama getting a virtual theatrical release on May…

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Dueling Identities: An Interview with The Quarry Writer-Director Scott Teems »

By Ali Mossavi. Review Scott Teems, The Quarry’s director who, together with Andrew Brotzman, adapted Damon Galgut’s novel for…

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Understanding Actors: An Interview with Laurent Maria »

By Gary M. Kramer. French filmmaker Laurent Maria started his career as an actor—he appeared in several theatrical productions…

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Nightmare of Cinematic History: An Interview with Matthew Rankin on The Twentieth Century (2019) »

By Yun-hua Chen. After winning Canadian Best First Festure at the Toronto International Film Festival and Best Film at…

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Rocket Mom: An Interview with Alice Winocour on Proxima »

By Ali Moosavi. A welcome fact at San Sebastian was that women film directors were conspicuous by their presence…

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Coding the Language: Corneliu Porumboiu on The Whistlers »

By Amir Ganjavie. A la Police, Adjective (2009) and with a tough of noir style, Corneliu Porumboiu’s The Whistlers introduces us…

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The Beast Survives: Ivan Silvestrini on Dragonheart Vengeance (2020) »

By Tom Ue. The opening of Dragonheart Vengeance (2020) juxtaposes two seemingly unrelated narratives. First, we learn of the…

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Interweaving Korean Film and Performance: A Conversation with Korean Filmmaker and Performance Director Kim Tae-yong »

By Areum Jeong. Korean filmmaker Kim Tae-yong made his directorial debut in 1999 with Memento Mori (directed with Min Kyu-dong), the…

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A National Tradition Continues: Festival Director Kamel Aouij on the 2020 Panorama International Short Film Festival »

By Matthew Fullerton. Tunisia is no stranger to film festivals. Well before its 2011 Jasmine Revolution, which toppled a…

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MOST RECENT

  1. Bruce McDonald’s Dreamland: Side Effects Include Drowsiness
  2. Screen and Canvas – Cinemagritte: René Magritte within the Frame of Film History, Theory, and Practice by Lucy Fischer
  3. Praise and Loathing in Bozeman, Montana: The Rabbi Goes West
  4. The Poetry and Politics of Dropping Balls: J-P Valkeapää’s Dogs Don’t Wear Pants
  5. Move Over Hallmark, Here Comes The High Note
  6. Mrs. Steve Austin: The Bionic Woman and The Woman’s Film
  7. Schizophrenic “Downstairs” and “Upstairs”: Filmmaker Vaughn Stein on Inheritance
  8. Wild at Heart: Philip Barantini’s Villain
  9. The Case of the Poorly Hidden Bunker: Vaughn Stein’s Inheritance
  10. Some Grace Notes from Tarantino: Thoughts on Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  11. Nailing a DIY Debut: Mark Jenkin’s Bait
  12. On the Tribeca That Should Have Been
  13. Told It Slant – The Nosferatu Story by Rolf Giesen
  14. Portraying the “Big Book of Testimonies”: Armando Espitia on Our Mothers
  15. The “Russian Griffith” with Jarring Physicality – The Bolshevik Trilogy: Three Films by Vsevolod Pudovkin (Flicker Alley)
  16. Looking Out, Looking In – Filmed Thought: Cinema as Reflective Form by Robert B. Pippin
  17. Into the Heart of War: Mikhail Kalatozov’s The Cranes Are Flying
  18. Joseph Losey’s British Apocalypse: The Damned by Nick Riddle
  19. Time Warp Documentary Steps Through Cult Film History
  20. Conflict in the Bubble of a Boarding School: Tayarisha Poe’s Selah and the Spades
  21. Hybridity Challenging “Un-Filmable”: The Story of Temple Drake (Criterion Collection)
  22. Dueling Identities: An Interview with The Quarry Writer-Director Scott Teems
  23. Understanding Actors: An Interview with Laurent Maria
  24. A One-Joke Film Sucking It Up: Butt Boy
  25. Nightmare of Cinematic History: An Interview with Matthew Rankin on The Twentieth Century (2019)
  26. A Stranger in a Strange Land: Never Rarely Sometimes Always
  27. A Unhailed Hero – Stirling Silliphant: The Fingers of God by Nat Segaloff
  28. A Distinctive Vision – Second Sight: The Selected Film Writing of Adam Mars-Jones
  29. Stuck in the Sprawl: Lorcan Finnegan’s Vivarium
  30. Berlinale 2020: Spotlight on New Iranian Cinema
  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

Bruce McDonald’s Dreamland: Side Effects Include Drowsiness »

By Rod Lott. With Dreamland, the Canadian creative triumvirate of raconteurs behind 2008’s beloved Pontypool are back together, Musketeers-style: director Bruce McDonald, writer Tony Burgess and actor Stephen McHattie. To…

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Screen and Canvas – Cinemagritte: René Magritte within the Frame of Film History, Theory, and Practice by Lucy Fischer »

A Book Review by Thomas Puhr. Given their ubiquity in the public consciousness (who wouldn’t recognize The Son of Man’s [1964] bowler-hatted gentleman with an apple covering his face?), it…

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Praise and Loathing in Bozeman, Montana: The Rabbi Goes West »

By Elias Savada. I’ve known critic-archivist-filmmaker Gerald Peary for at least a dozen years. He sought me out in 2007 to do some copyright research, and I’ve worked for him…

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The Poetry and Politics of Dropping Balls: J-P Valkeapää’s Dogs Don’t Wear Pants »

By Alexandra Heller-Nicholas. In some of its most famous forays into mainstream cinema, BDSM seems to almost instantly bestow some filmmakers with the belief they have found a one-way ticket…

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Move Over Hallmark, Here Comes The High Note »

By Elias Savada. In a pandemic-free world, The High Note would have been playing in movie theaters, maybe to decent business but not stellar success. The coronavirus playbook for every…

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Wild at Heart: Philip Barantini’s Villain »

By Thomas Puhr. The latest poster for Philip Barantini’s Villain (2020) smacks of an effort to reach as broad an audience as possible. Adorned by flames and sporting a stylish…

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The Case of the Poorly Hidden Bunker: Vaughn Stein’s Inheritance »

By Thomas Puhr. The opening montage of Vaughn Stein’s Inheritance (2020) exposes a fundamental flaw: in a sequence that juxtaposes DA Lauren Monroe (Lily Collins) sparring in court, Congressman William…

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Nailing a DIY Debut: Mark Jenkin’s Bait »

By Ali Moosavi. In the old days, in most cases the decision to whether to shoot a film in colour or black and white was determined by budget and economics.…

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Told It Slant – The Nosferatu Story by Rolf Giesen »

A Book Review by Tony Williams. Usually, I have a fondness for direct-to-library publishers such as Bear Manor, McFarland, and Scarecrow since they often provide a very important service in…

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The “Russian Griffith” with Jarring Physicality – The Bolshevik Trilogy: Three Films by Vsevolod Pudovkin (Flicker Alley) »

By John Duncan Talbird. Vsevolod Pudovkin entered Moscow University to study physical chemistry at the age of seventeen. His studies were disrupted by the start of World War I where…

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Looking Out, Looking In – Filmed Thought: Cinema as Reflective Form by Robert B. Pippin »

A Book Review by Thomas Puhr. It’s hard to make the mental jump from Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel to, say, Douglas Sirk, but Robert B. Pippin pulls off such connections…

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Into the Heart of War: Mikhail Kalatozov’s The Cranes Are Flying »

By Jeremy Carr. According to Ian Christie, Mikhail Kalatozov’s The Cranes Are Flying is “in many ways the most important post-war Soviet film.” Christie, who is interviewed for the Criterion…

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Joseph Losey’s British Apocalypse: The Damned by Nick Riddle »

By Tony Williams. This short, but concise 120-page monograph belongs to a developing series initiated by Auteur Publishing: Constellations: Studies in Science Fiction Film and TV. Akin to those BFI…

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Time Warp Documentary Steps Through Cult Film History »

By Rod Lott. Pop quiz, hotshot: What makes a film a cult film? A. They have a quality of danger. B. It has to be the audience finding the film,…

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Conflict in the Bubble of a Boarding School: Tayarisha Poe’s Selah and the Spades »

By Gary M. Kramer. Writer/director Tayarisha Poe’s feature debut, Selah and the Spades, is a precisely calibrated spellbinder. Anchored by an exacting performance by Lovie Simone as the title character,…

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Hybridity Challenging “Un-Filmable”: The Story of Temple Drake (Criterion Collection) »

By Tony Williams. This adaptation of William Faulkner’s notorious novel Sanctuary (1931) first appeared as a Paramount production in 1933, a year before the imposition of the notorious Hays Code,…

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A One-Joke Film Sucking It Up: Butt Boy »

By Gary M. Kramer. Director, co-writer, and star Tyler Cornack’s Butt Boy is a one joke sci-fi comedy thriller. Discerning viewers intrigued by this title will find this low-budget, high-concept…

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A Stranger in a Strange Land: Never Rarely Sometimes Always »

By Elias Savada. Now, more than ever, films that you’d expect to find in your Sadly Infrequently Occasionally Constantly attended art house cinemas aren’t there because of the Covid-19 crisis.…

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A Distinctive Vision – Second Sight: The Selected Film Writing of Adam Mars-Jones »

By Jeremy Carr. There’s no denying Adam Mars-Jones has amassed a considerable resume of writing experience. The research professor at Goldsmiths, University of London has penned novels, essays, a memoir,…

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Stuck in the Sprawl: Lorcan Finnegan’s Vivarium »

By Thomas Puhr. With just two features under their belts, director Lorcan Finnegan and writer Garret Shanley have already mapped out a distinct approach to genre filmmaking. “Mapped” is the…

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All Senses Considered – Contemporary Film Directors: Lucrecia Martel by Gerd Gemünden »

A Book Review by Thomas Puhr. I received Gerd Gemünden’s Contemporary Film Directors: Lucrecia Martel without having seen a single film by the titular artist. To say I’ve been missing…

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Light and Silly: Love Type D »

By Elias Savada. Love Type D is a light, silly satire that could use a little more development in its wacky plotline.…

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Folks, Please Lock Your Doors!: The Dark End of the Street »

By Elias Savada. World premiering at the DC Independent Film Festival, director-writer Kevin Tran’s feature debut brews up a disconcerting cross-sampling of…

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An Immersive Observational Doc: Paris is Burning (Criterion Collection) »

By Gary M. Kramer. Jennie Livingston’s vibrant, groundbreaking 1990 documentary, Paris Is Burning, about the Harlem drag-ball scene, has been digitally remastered…

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Suspense Gone Sluggish: The Burnt Orange Heresy »

By Gary M. Kramer. The Burnt Orange Heresy purports itself to be the power of the critic in shaping the experience of…

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(Re)considering Rudolph Valentino »

By Thomas Gladysz. We are going to see why Rudolph Valentino got his first star billing, in a picture called Blood and…

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Trans Lives Matter: The Garden Left Behind »

By Elias Savada. Director Flavio Alves’s indie feature The Garden Left Behind is all about dreamers, whether they are transgender people looking…

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Home Sweet Ho-Hum: José Ramón Larraz’s Deadly Manor (Arrow Video) »

By Rod Lott. One month after releasing 1998’s Edge of the Axe on Blu-ray, Arrow Video returns to the José Ramón Larraz…

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Sound and Vision: Kantemir Balagov’s Beanpole »

By Thomas Puhr. You hear before you see anything: a muffled gurgling noise accompanies the black screen over which the opening credits…

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“The Man with the Million Dollar Smile”: The Douglas MacLean Collection »

By Jeremy Carr. Douglas MacLean is hardly a household name, even among those who consider themselves ardent enthusiasts of silent cinema. It’s…

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Chile, a Rough Beast Emerging: Patricio Guzman’s The Cordillera of Dreams »

By Michael Sandlin. In this, the third and final entry of Chilean exile filmmaker Patricio Guzman’s documentary trilogy poetically examining his native…

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The “Kids” are Back: Rene Eller’s WE »

By Gary M. Kramer. We (aka Wij), now available on DVD and Blu-ray from Artsploitation Films, is being billed as a shocking…

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What Do You See? Alien in the Mirror: Scarlett Johansson, Jonathan Glazer and Under the Skin by Maureen Foster »

A Book Review by Thomas Puhr. Recently appearing on both Cahiers du Cinéma’s top 10 of 2010-2019 and Variety’s list of the…

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A Masterful Work of Synthesis: The Legacy of the New Wave in French Cinema by Douglas Morrey »

By Margaret C. Flinn. The New Wave cast a shadow that extends far beyond influencing French film of the late 1950s-early 1960s. That is…

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Cinema of Hidden Histories: Leontina Vatamanu’s Siberia in the Bones (2019) »

By Brandon Konecny. Moldova has a fascinating recent history, and Leontina Vatamanu is perhaps its most articulate cinematic chronicler. Poke through her…

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Blunt Force Psychodrama: José Ramón Larraz’s Edge of the Axe (Arrow Video)    »

By Rod Lott. By the time the 1980s settled into middle age, the Gothic and/or supernatural horrors in which José Ramón Larraz…

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The Language of Lovecraft: Richard Stanley’s Color Out of Space »

By Alexandra Heller-Nicholas. To say that the US premiere of cult filmmaker Richard Stanley’s much-awaited return to feature filmmaking was one of…

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Jack Clayton’s “Angry Young Man”: Room at the Top (Kino Lorber) »

By Gary M. Kramer. The 1959 classic drama, Room at the Top, based on John Braine’s “angry young man” novel, has just…

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More Than You Can Bear: The Cloud-Capped Star (Criterion Collection) »

By Jeremy Carr. When Montu (Dwiju Bhawal), the youngest of four children in a Bengalese family, returns home after having been injured…

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Post-Soviet Descent into Capitalist Chaos: Alex Gibney’s Citizen K »

By Michael Sandlin. After narrowly avoiding being nicked by the UK authorities for supposed “document theft” during the filming of his Troubles…

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Babenco’s Swansong: My Hindu Friend »

By Ali Moosavi. Death has been a popular theme for filmmakers to explore almost ever since cinema was invented. Some of the…

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A Very English Cinema – Britpop Cinema: From Trainspotting to This is England by Matt Glasby »

A Book Review by Thomas Puhr. Hear the term “Britpop,” and the usual musical suspects come to mind: Blur, Oasis, Suede, and…

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Empathetic and Unblinking: The Painted Bird »

By Yun-hua Chen. Seldom can film-viewing be such a devastating experience. Having competed in the category of main competition at the Venice…

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Making and Taking: Overseas »

By Yun-hua Chen. After a very personal debut Full of Missing Links (2012) about her journey back to South Korea in search…

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 “All Archives Create Futures” – Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project »

By Alexandra Heller-Nicholas. There’s a moment in Matt Wolf’s documentary Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project where the enormous value of the VHS…

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To Know Them Doesn’t Mean You Love Them: Bombshell »

By Elias Savada. The stars are blondly aligned: Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, as three of the many victims of the…

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Perforation: On Ken Loach’s Factory Humans in Sorry We Missed You »

By Susana Bessa. We could never say it had been the worst week of her life. Because to see it as the…

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Richard Jewell and the Damn Yankees »

By Christopher Sharrett. I have had sympathetic interest in the work of Clint Eastwood over the years, but such interest has been…

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A Sense of Loss: Dónal Foreman’s The Image You Missed »

By James Slaymaker. Jean-Luc Godard once explained that he pioneered his late-period, archival style after realizing that “in a striking manner, film…

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And You Thought Your Family Was Dysfunctional: Mario Bellocchio’s Fists in the Pocket (Criterion Collection) »

By Rod Lott. Given how ahead of its time Fists in the Pocket is, I’m surprised Mario Bellocchio’s first feature isn’t more…

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This is the End: 63 Up »

By Michael Sandlin. “Give me the child until he is seven, and I will give you the man,” is the bit of…

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Real-Life Libertarian Nightmare: Luke Lorentzen’s Midnight Family »

By Michael Sandlin. From a strictly academic point of view, 26-year-old boy wonder documentarian Luke Lorentzen’s Midnight Family affecting ticks all the boxes…

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Strange Metamorphosis: Jessica Hausner’s Little Joe »

By Thomas Puhr. “Who can prove the genuineness of feelings?” a scientist asks in Little Joe (2019). “Moreover, who cares?” These startling…

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John Waters’ Polyester: The Suburbs Arrive (Criterion Collection) »

By Christopher Sharrett. Anyone viewing Polyester for the first time might be a little confused: hasn’t all this been done before? Satires…

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A Hunt, Sans Suspense: After the Murder of Albert Lima »

By Gary M. Kramer. The earnest documentary After the Murder of Albert Lima depicts the painstaking efforts of Paul Lima to get justice…

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Transnational Identities in the Dramatically Tense Synonyms »

By Travis Merchant. The power of language and assimilation runs rampant throughout Synonyms (2019), Nadav Lapid’s semi-autobiographical film about an Israeli immigrant…

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Whose Decision?: To Kid or Not to Kid »

By Janine Gericke. “When are you having kids?” on my wedding day people half joking (but not really) asked me. Most women…

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The Irishman: Requiem for Very Little »

By Christopher Sharrett. It has been some time since Martin Scorsese has interested me, his achievements in Taxi Driver and Raging Bull…

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An Author’s World, Extended: George Orwell on Screen by David Ryan »

A Book Review by Tony Williams. After reviewing the latest Criterion DVD release of Michael Radford’s 1984 (1984), I felt obligated to obtain a…

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Stuck in Time: Daniel Joseph Borgman’s Resin »

By Alexandra Heller-Nicholas. Born and raised in New Zealand, filmmaker Daniel Joseph Borgman has traveled from one of the most southernmost cities…

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A Time of Transition: Yasujirô Ozu’s Tokyo Twilight »

By Jeremy Carr. There are, in Tokyo Twilight (Tokyo Boshoku), many of the familiar refrains common to Yasujirô Ozu’s conspicuously singular filmmaking.…

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1984, Revisited in 1984 (The Criterion Collection) »

By Tony Williams. Although envisaged before the rise of Trump and his campaign hate clarion calls of “Send her back!” etc., on…

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A War Film without War?: Natalia Shaufert’s Resentment (2019) »

By Brandon Konecny. Moldova is currently the least visited country in Europe, attracting fewer tourists each year than Juneau, Alaska. So when…

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The Ground Holds the History: Dragos Turea’s Soviet Garden (2019) »

By Brandon Konecny. During Nikita Khrushchev’s tenure, he wanted to make Moldova an agricultural powerhouse. The “Garden of the Soviet Union,” he called…

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Let the Glory Flow – Going Attractions: The Definitive Story of the Movie Palace »

By Elias Savada. April Wright likes to get the word out about grand things. As with Going Attractions: The Definitive Story of…

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Father’s Day: Family, Masculinity and Ant Timpson’s Come to Daddy (Fantastic Fest) »

By Alexandra Heller-Nicholas. There’s a scene in Ant Timpson’s debut feature Come to Daddy where Elijah Wood’s character, Norval Greenwood, is being…

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Juvenile Offender: Nicholas Winding Refn’s Too Old To Die Young »

By James Slaymaker. It’s been less than a decade since the momentous critical and commercial success of Drive catapulted Nicolas Winding Refn…

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Tangled Webs: Minos Nikolakakis’s Entwined (Toronto International Film Festival) »

By Alexandra Heller-Nicholas. With its world premiere in the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival’s Discovery program, stalwart short film director Minos Nikolakakis…

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Blackwood Politicized – William McGregor’s Gwen »

By Tony Williams. Gwen (2019) is one of those rare surprises in contemporary film reviewing. Rather than fall into the usual mindless…

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Forest for the Sleaze: The Prey (Arrow Video) »

By Rod Lott. One of the first lines uttered in 1983’s The Prey is “Good chow,” a simple statement that could double…

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Features

Light and Silly: Love Type D »

By Elias Savada. Love Type D is a light, silly satire that could use a little more development in its wacky plotline.…

Read More »

Folks, Please Lock Your Doors!: The Dark End of the Street »

By Elias Savada. World premiering at the DC Independent Film Festival, director-writer Kevin Tran’s feature debut brews up a disconcerting cross-sampling of…

Read More »

(Re)considering Rudolph Valentino »

By Thomas Gladysz. We are going to see why Rudolph Valentino got his first star billing, in a picture called Blood and…

Read More »

Trans Lives Matter: The Garden Left Behind »

By Elias Savada. Director Flavio Alves’s indie feature The Garden Left Behind is all about dreamers, whether they are transgender people looking…

Read More »

The Magnificent Stranger: Pasolini’s Teorema and its Tradition (Criterion Collection) »

By Christopher Sharrett. Many years ago I moved into a small house not far from the university where I took my first…

Read More »

Interweaving Korean Film and Performance: A Conversation with Korean Filmmaker and Performance Director Kim Tae-yong »

By Areum Jeong. Korean filmmaker Kim Tae-yong made his directorial debut in 1999 with Memento Mori (directed with Min Kyu-dong), the second installment of…

Read More »

Danton Revisited – Ray Danton: The Epitome of Cool (a Career Retrospective) by Joseph Fusco »

By Tony Williams. I previously reviewed an earlier version of this book from BearManor Media where I commented that another edition was…

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The Decline and Fall of an Innovative Series – The Outer Limits: Season Two (Kino Lorber) »

By Tony Williams. The Outer Limits now has a justifiable reputation as one of the great achievements of American science fiction television.…

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What Do You See? Alien in the Mirror: Scarlett Johansson, Jonathan Glazer and Under the Skin by Maureen Foster »

A Book Review by Thomas Puhr. Recently appearing on both Cahiers du Cinéma’s top 10 of 2010-2019 and Variety’s list of the…

Read More »

“A Love Letter to Life and Film”: An Interview with Willem Dafoe on My Hindu Friend »

By Patrick McGilligan. Five years after it was made, My Hindu Friend, directed by Hector Babenco, finally is being shown in limited…

Read More »

The Language of Lovecraft: Richard Stanley’s Color Out of Space »

By Alexandra Heller-Nicholas. To say that the US premiere of cult filmmaker Richard Stanley’s much-awaited return to feature filmmaking was one of…

Read More »

More Than You Can Bear: The Cloud-Capped Star (Criterion Collection) »

By Jeremy Carr. When Montu (Dwiju Bhawal), the youngest of four children in a Bengalese family, returns home after having been injured…

Read More »

Post-Soviet Descent into Capitalist Chaos: Alex Gibney’s Citizen K »

By Michael Sandlin. After narrowly avoiding being nicked by the UK authorities for supposed “document theft” during the filming of his Troubles…

Read More »

Babenco’s Swansong: My Hindu Friend »

By Ali Moosavi. Death has been a popular theme for filmmakers to explore almost ever since cinema was invented. Some of the…

Read More »

Marion Davies: Gifted Actress and Impossible Boy »

By Thomas Gladysz. I rejoice in this opportunity to record something which today is all but forgotten except for those lucky enough…

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The Best Iranian Films of the Year: A Personal Selection »

By Ali Moosavi. Among the many Iranian films that I have watched this year, six have stood out for me. If we don’t…

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“When There Are No Good Answers”: Barbara Kopple’s Desert One (2019) »

By Kate Hearst. At the New York premiere of Desert One at the DOC/NYC film festival, Barbara Kopple recounted how the History…

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Richard Jewell and the Damn Yankees »

By Christopher Sharrett. I have had sympathetic interest in the work of Clint Eastwood over the years, but such interest has been…

Read More »

This is the End: 63 Up »

By Michael Sandlin. “Give me the child until he is seven, and I will give you the man,” is the bit of…

Read More »

Much to Remember: Chris Wade on Memories of Lindsay Anderson »

By Tony Williams. Leeds-born Chris Wade is one those unique talents thankfully outside the existing psychologically dysfunctional terrain of higher education. A…

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Real-Life Libertarian Nightmare: Luke Lorentzen’s Midnight Family »

By Michael Sandlin. From a strictly academic point of view, 26-year-old boy wonder documentarian Luke Lorentzen’s Midnight Family affecting ticks all the boxes…

Read More »

John Waters’ Polyester: The Suburbs Arrive (Criterion Collection) »

By Christopher Sharrett. Anyone viewing Polyester for the first time might be a little confused: hasn’t all this been done before? Satires…

Read More »

The Irishman: Requiem for Very Little »

By Christopher Sharrett. It has been some time since Martin Scorsese has interested me, his achievements in Taxi Driver and Raging Bull…

Read More »

A Time of Transition: Yasujirô Ozu’s Tokyo Twilight »

By Jeremy Carr. There are, in Tokyo Twilight (Tokyo Boshoku), many of the familiar refrains common to Yasujirô Ozu’s conspicuously singular filmmaking.…

Read More »

1984, Revisited in 1984 (The Criterion Collection) »

By Tony Williams. Although envisaged before the rise of Trump and his campaign hate clarion calls of “Send her back!” etc., on…

Read More »

Working Toward Recovery: Fassbinder’s ‘BRD Trilogy’ »

By Jeremy Carr. Over the span of five years, from 1979 to 1982, Rainer Werner Fassbinder directed three films dealing with the…

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Refusal to Respond – David Shields and Lynch: A History »

By Matthew Sorrento. Review Filmmaker David Shields found an ideal style to document the onscreen (but off the field) career of NFL…

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Father’s Day: Family, Masculinity and Ant Timpson’s Come to Daddy (Fantastic Fest) »

By Alexandra Heller-Nicholas. There’s a scene in Ant Timpson’s debut feature Come to Daddy where Elijah Wood’s character, Norval Greenwood, is being…

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Joker: Notes from Underground »

By Christopher Sharrett. In what follows I am conscious that Todd Phillips’ Joker is another addition by a corporation to its “DC…

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Before KaneMarching Song: A Play by Orson Welles with Roger Hill, Edited by Todd Tarbox »

A Book Review Essay by Tony Williams. As we move further into the new millennium, we appear to benefit not only from development…

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The Spiral and the Fugue – This Thing of Darkness: Eisenstein’s Ivan the Terrible in Stalin’s Russia by Joan Neuberger »

A Book Review by Thomas Puhr. Joan Neuberger’s This Thing of Darkness (Cornell University Press, 2019) illustrates, perhaps more than any other cinema…

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An Artist’s Obsession: Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles (2018) »

By Yun-hua Chen. Salvodor Simó, the layout artist for Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (2017), The Jungle Book (2016) and Prince…

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The Clown in the Mirror: Todd Phillips’ Joker »

By Jake Rutkowski. There’s an old Simpsons bit that I often turn to in times of ambivalence: Homer, faced with the prospect…

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Redemption through Chaos: Takashi Miike’s First Love (2019) »

By Matthew Fullerton. First Love (Hatsukoi), prolific Japanese director Takashi Miike’s sixtieth film in twenty-four years according to last count, is a…

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Versatile Journeyman – Edmond O’Brien: Everyman of Film Noir by Derek Sculthorpe »

A Book Review Essay by Tony Williams. This book is the latest production of prolific archivist Derek Sculthorpe. If not, “The Man…

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Daredevils of the Red Circle and Other Cliffhangers: Hollywood (1939-1942) and Spy Smasher »

“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).…

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Wild Women and the Great Karoo: Jenna Bass’s Flatland (Toronto International Film Festival) »

By Alexandra Heller-Nicholas. South African filmmaker Jenna Bass has made somewhat of a splash with her third film, Flatland, as it makes…

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A Young Woman’s Noble Fight: Ms. Purple »

By Yun-hua Chen. Justin Chon, the American actor of Korean descent who made his name since his role as Eric in The…

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Hitler is Not Your Friend: Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit (Toronto International Film Festival) »

By Alexandra Heller-Nicholas. With its world premiere at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit functions as the final…

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Portrait of a Lady on File: Seberg (Toronto International Film Festival) »

By Alexandra Heller-Nicholas. Although often unspoken, there is a frequently assumed “right” and “wrong” way to approach an artist’s body of work,…

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Screen and Canvas – Cinemagritte: René Magritte within the Frame of Film History, Theory, and Practice by Lucy Fischer »

A Book Review by Thomas Puhr. Given their ubiquity in the public consciousness (who wouldn’t recognize The Son of Man’s [1964] bowler-hatted gentleman with an apple covering his face?), it…

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The Poetry and Politics of Dropping Balls: J-P Valkeapää’s Dogs Don’t Wear Pants »

By Alexandra Heller-Nicholas. In some of its most famous forays into mainstream cinema, BDSM seems to almost instantly bestow some filmmakers with the belief they have found a one-way ticket…

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Mrs. Steve Austin: The Bionic Woman and The Woman’s Film »

By David Greven. The following is an excerpt from The Bionic Woman and Feminist Ethics: An Analysis of the 1970s Television Series © 2020 David Greven by permission of McFarland…

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Some Grace Notes from Tarantino: Thoughts on Once Upon a Time in Hollywood »

By Christopher Sharrett. Those who know me will be shocked to read this piece, a partial valuation of Quentin Tarantino’s last film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. I have considered…

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The “Russian Griffith” with Jarring Physicality – The Bolshevik Trilogy: Three Films by Vsevolod Pudovkin (Flicker Alley) »

By John Duncan Talbird. Vsevolod Pudovkin entered Moscow University to study physical chemistry at the age of seventeen. His studies were disrupted by the start of World War I where…

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Looking Out, Looking In – Filmed Thought: Cinema as Reflective Form by Robert B. Pippin »

A Book Review by Thomas Puhr. It’s hard to make the mental jump from Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel to, say, Douglas Sirk, but Robert B. Pippin pulls off such connections…

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Into the Heart of War: Mikhail Kalatozov’s The Cranes Are Flying »

By Jeremy Carr. According to Ian Christie, Mikhail Kalatozov’s The Cranes Are Flying is “in many ways the most important post-war Soviet film.” Christie, who is interviewed for the Criterion…

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Joseph Losey’s British Apocalypse: The Damned by Nick Riddle »

By Tony Williams. This short, but concise 120-page monograph belongs to a developing series initiated by Auteur Publishing: Constellations: Studies in Science Fiction Film and TV. Akin to those BFI…

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Conflict in the Bubble of a Boarding School: Tayarisha Poe’s Selah and the Spades »

By Gary M. Kramer. Writer/director Tayarisha Poe’s feature debut, Selah and the Spades, is a precisely calibrated spellbinder. Anchored by an exacting performance by Lovie Simone as the title character,…

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Dueling Identities: An Interview with The Quarry Writer-Director Scott Teems »

By Ali Mossavi. Review Scott Teems, The Quarry’s director who, together with Andrew Brotzman, adapted Damon Galgut’s novel for the screen, hammers home one of the main themes of his…

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Nightmare of Cinematic History: An Interview with Matthew Rankin on The Twentieth Century (2019) »

By Yun-hua Chen. After winning Canadian Best First Festure at the Toronto International Film Festival and Best Film at the Los Cabos International Film Festival, The Twentieth Century was showcased…

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A Stranger in a Strange Land: Never Rarely Sometimes Always »

By Elias Savada. Now, more than ever, films that you’d expect to find in your Sadly Infrequently Occasionally Constantly attended art house cinemas aren’t there because of the Covid-19 crisis.…

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A Unhailed Hero – Stirling Silliphant: The Fingers of God by Nat Segaloff »

A Book Review Essay by Tony Williams. Thanks to one of my connections, I was able to see all of the episodes of the TV series Naked City (1957- 1963), 32 of the…

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A Distinctive Vision – Second Sight: The Selected Film Writing of Adam Mars-Jones »

By Jeremy Carr. There’s no denying Adam Mars-Jones has amassed a considerable resume of writing experience. The research professor at Goldsmiths, University of London has penned novels, essays, a memoir,…

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“They’re Gonna Put a Walmart Here”: PJ Harvey and A Dog Called Money »

By John Duncan Talbird. I became aware of Polly Jean Harvey in 1993 when I first saw the video for her song “50 Ft Queenie” on MTV’s 120 Minutes. I…

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All Senses Considered – Contemporary Film Directors: Lucrecia Martel by Gerd Gemünden »

A Book Review by Thomas Puhr. I received Gerd Gemünden’s Contemporary Film Directors: Lucrecia Martel without having seen a single film by the titular artist. To say I’ve been missing…

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