In Another Country: David Perrault’s Savage State

By Thomas Puhr. Too plodding for genre enthusiasts and hackneyed for arthouse devotees, Savage State will likely underwhelm both audiences.” Westerns set during the American Civil War are a dime a dozen, but David Perrault’s Savage State (L’état sauvage, 2019) offers an enticing twist: that of a French family attempting […]

A Scorching Slow Burn: Paul Schrader’s The Comfort of Strangers

By Jeremy Carr. Lingering apprehension goes on and on like some unyielding, if seemingly uneventful dream, which befits the film’s surreal and otherworldly constitution.” Colin and Mary (Rupert Everett and Natasha Richardson) are two English tourists on holiday in Venice, and they’re hungry. The hotel concierge directs them to a […]

Jorge Ameer Does the Yuletide Decorating with The Family Tree

By Elias Savada. No doubt the film is somewhat stifled by its technical faults (at least in my online viewing). The Family Tree offers up a spiritual dish in a different setting, probably outside your comfort zone.” Panamanian indie filmmaker Jorge Ameer’s name (and initials) is all over the place […]

A RomCom during Ramadan: Mike Mosallam on Breaking Fast

By Ali Moosavi. It is a romantic comedy about how people live their lives and how people love each other. I think nobody should watch this film and say here is what it means to be a Muslim, because there is no one way to be a Muslim.” REVIEW When […]

Two Tales of the Border: Identifying Features and No Man’s Land

Identifying Features By Gary M. Kramer. The austere approach of Identifying Features contributes to the film’s haunting quality,,,,, (while) No Man’s Land‘s bluntness is why it is ineffective.” Two films that deal with characters crossing the U.S.-Mexican border are being released January 22. Identifying Features is a potent drama, but […]

I Thank You: The Arthur Askey Story

The Ghost Train (1941) A Book Review by Tony Williams. Meticulously researched, accessible to all readers, and full of Anthony Slide’s usual discerning comments, it is an important study of one of Britain’s most misunderstood popular entertainers. For American and U.K. counterparts interested in the British past and watching Talking […]

Film Scratches: January 2021

Film Scratches is a blog by David Finkelstein focusing on the world of experimental and avant-garde film, especially as practiced by individual artists. It features a mixture of reviews, interviews, and essays. Theory versus Practice: Letters from Vancouver (1973) Canadian filmmaker Kirk Tougas made his film diptych Letters from Vancouver in 1973, and […]