TONI ERDMANN, the critics’ winning film at the last Cannes Festival

George Miller was asleep at the wheel that day
Peter Simonischek, Sandra Hüller and Lucy Russell
Directed by Maren Ade

The Cannes Festival is long behind us. Audiences have gone home, replaced on the French Riviera by vacationers and a number of controversies, nothing to do with the silver screen. Still, some may remember that the jury, headed by “Mad Max” director George Miller, had dutifully doled out its awards to Cannes stalwarts—Ken Loach, Xavier Dolan, Cristian Mungiu, Olivier Assayas, no surprises there. It ... more >


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 >


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 >


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 >


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 >


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 >



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 >