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Kiarostami, twenty years ago | INTERVIEW

Abbas Kiarostami passed away on July 4th, 2016. He was 76.

Kiarostami, that filmmaker who spoke in a sweet and elegant voice and made the slow films that have, for long, been part of the pantheon, died nearly two weeks ago. Remembering an article that was published about twenty years ago I dug through an old box and found a Chanteh, a lit quarterly published in the D.C. area that was about Iranians. A special issue on Iranian cinema came out in spring of ... more >

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Whit Stillman’s LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP is a win!

A film that's not to be missed
Kate Beckinsale and Chloe Sevigny
Directed by Whit Stillman

Jane Austen’s world, as we know from a surfeit of book sales, fan clubs and literary societies and, mainly, countless films based on her stories, are filled with wide-eyes innocents who would be dragged into a loveless marriage in order to restore family fortunes, scheming widows weaving complicated plans, poor relatives scorned until triumphant, young men who bestow their affections on unsuitable ... more >

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Straight shootin’ about “Demolition”

Distributed by Fox Searchlight
Jake Gyllenhaal and Naomi Watts
Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée

DEMOLITION is off from the first frame and never grounds itself enough to make a coherent argument. Hard to tell whether it’s Jake Gyllenhaal’s perplexed expression as he endeavors to show himself empty of emotions after the accidental death of his wife or the ill-thought storyline that appears to go in one direction and then unexplainably veers into another. Jean-Marc Vallée, who previously ... more >

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ETTORE SCOLA, caricaturist before he was a filmmaker, was a giant of cinema

He was eleven years young than his friend Fellini

In his last film HOW STRANGE TO BE NAMED FEDERICO the great Italian director Ettore Scola recounts his decades-long friendship with Fellini, the undisputed master of cinema. But following the arc of that friendship, he also talks about himself and how at age fifteen, following in the footsteps of his elder (born in 1931, he was eleven years younger than Fellini) the future he saw for himself was ... more >

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CAROL, polished and polite doth not a good film make

CAROL premiered at the 2015 Cannes Festival
Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara and Kyle Chandler
Directed by Todd Haynes

The praise critics have showered on Todd Haynes’s CAROL gives me pause. Have I seen an entirely different film or is there something in this one that escapes me? A. O. Scott of the N.Y. Times sees CAROL as “fetishistically precise in its recreation of the look and sound of the past.” Sorry, but the fingernails with their bright red polish, the lips with their bright red lipstick, the ... more >

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THE WALK

Entering the void
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Charlotte Le Bon and Guillaume Baillargeon
Directed by Robert Zemeckis

In 1974 Philipe Petit, the French wirewalker, attempted and achieved the impossible. How often can a human being say that? Yes, people are capable of extraordinary feats, yes, there are always more difficult tasks to complete, races to win, higher summits to conquer, new worlds to discover, unknown chasms to explore, masterpieces to create but… I would venture to say that this man truly did the ... more >

FILM STILL - EVEREST - Rob Hall (JASON CLARKE) leads the expedition in "Everest". Inspired by the incredible events surrounding an attempt to reach the summit of the world's highest mountain, "Everest" documents the awe-inspiring journey of two different expeditions challenged beyond their limits by one of the fiercest snowstorms ever encountered by mankind.

EVEREST

Because it's there
Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin and Jason Clark
Directed by Baltasar Kormákur

If we posit that a great film is both cinematography and story, EVEREST is not great as it does extremely well in the first area but fares poorly in the second. Obviously, Everest, the mountain, summit of the world, films magnificently. It is mighty, spectacular, awe-inspiring, frightening. It is both threatening and irresistible. Irresistible to the multitude striving to climb to the top or ... more >