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20th century women, it’s primo turns and great American cinema!

New from Annapurna Pictures and Archer Gray
Elle Fanning, Annette Bening and Greta Gerwig
Directed by Mike Mills

The mood is melancholy, the road ahead unclear. Which may explain the slew of biographical, autobiographical novels and films in a meandering Proustian fashion that go for the past. And, just like Proust’s oeuvre, never boring but intriguing and beguiling at the same time. After the Norwegian Karl Ove Knausgaard’s six-volume memoir, “My Struggle,” the gorgeous Mike Mills film, “20th Century ... more >

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“Arrival” by Denis Villeneuve

Strange encounters
Amy Adams, Jeremy Renners and Forest Whittaker
Directed by Denis Villeneuve

After too many Metaphysics 101 (Malik’s “Tree of Life” and Gaspard Noe’s “Love” come to mind) and anguished what’s-the-meaning-of life questions awkwardly addressed, Denis Villeneuve’s “Arrival” takes us into adult territory. The Canadian filmmaker has already accustomed us to his diverse and masterful corpus of works, so his venture into science-fictionish territory doesn’t disappoint. Twelve ... more >

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Quelle tristesse! Emmanuelle Riva dead at 89

She was also a published poet, her voice, unforgettable

French screen icon, famously cast in her first major part in New Wave Alain Resnais’s first film, “Hiroshima mon amour,” legendary actor Emmanuelle Riva died in Paris yesterday. At age eighty-nine she has had a career that’s spanned five decades, starting with auteur filmmakers in the sixties all the way to her heartbreaking and understated portrayal of an Alzheimers victim in Michael Haneke’s ... more >

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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 >

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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 >