Archives for April 2016



A conversation with Nancy Buirski, director of “By Sidney Lumet”

This documentary premiered at the 2016 Tribeca Festival

Before Spielberg, Scorsese and Coppola, there was Sidney Lumet. The six-time Oscar-nominated director brought us the best films in almost every genre including mystery (“Murder on the Orient Express”), courtroom drama (“The Verdict”), crime (“Dog Day Afternoon”), political thriller (“Fail-Safe”) and even musical (“The Wiz”). He’s also perhaps the only director whose career is bookended by two ... more >



That legendary football match between Real Madrid and Barcelona
Wrya Ahmed, Dana Ahmed and Rozhin Sharifi
Directed by Halkawt Mustafa

I fear I might suffer from a certain cultural disconnect reviewing Halkawt Mustafa’s “El Clásico,” the winner of Tribeca’s 2016 award for Best Cinematography in an International Narrative Feature Film. The film hinges on a presumption that football, or “soccer” as it’s known here in the States, is a powerful enough force that the goodwill of one of its players can literally be enough to dissuade ... more >


The Cannes Festival just announced who this year's jury will be, completing the announcement made a few weeks ago that this year's president will be filmmaker George Miller. Here they are: Arnaud Desplechin, Kirsten Dunst, Valeria Golino, Mads Mikkelsen, László Nemes, Vanessa Paradis, Katayoon Shahabi, Donald Sutherland. The composition of the jury is more or less in line with tradition, i.e., ... more >


TRIBECA FEST, “Children of the mountain”

Appeared in the festival's Viewpoints Section
Rukiyat Masud, Grace Omaboe and Akofa Edjeani
Directed by Priscilla Anany

The pregnant women in the marketplace avoid her foodstand, afraid that whatever twisted her baby in the womb is contagious. Her mother says it came out deformed and dumb because she ate rabbit meat while she was pregnant. Her mother-in-law says it’s because she’s evil. The other villagers just say she has a “dirty womb.” The pediatricians at the nice hospitals use strange English words like “clept ... more >


INTERVIEW | Lydia Tenaglia, director of “Jeremiah Tower: the last magnificent”

Film premiered at this year's Tribeca Festival
Lydia Tenaglia has worked with Anthony Bourdain on several different projects for television

Who is Jeremiah Tower? Does anyone know? Jeremiah Tower is the first American celebrity chef, a culinary pioneer of American cuisine who started rising to fame in the seventies and has been recognized amongst foodies and culinary circles as the genius behind the style of cooking known as California cuisine. A solitary, outrageous and charismatic figure, Jeremiah Tower makes for a fascinating ... more >

“Special Correspondents,” TRIBECA

This is a remake from a 2009 French-made comedy
Ricky Gervais and Eric Bana
Directed by Ricky Gervais

I remember how many people were caught totally off guard by Ricky Gervais’s “The Invention of Lying” (2009), a film with a simple premise about a man who could lie in a world where nobody else could, when it suddenly became a vicious condemnation of religion. Gervais’s character, the liar, invented the concept of a “Man in the Sky” who would take good people to an afterlife if they followed “ten ... more >


TRIBECA “A hologram for the king”

Film was adapted from the Dave Eggers novel by the same name
Tom Hanks, Alexander Black and Sarita Choudhury
Directed by Tom Tykwer

As the credits rolled for Tom Tykwer’s “A Hologram for the King,” my friend and colleague Hubert Vigilla from over at Flixist leaned over and whispered, “This is the film Cameron Crowe has been trying to make for years.” “Yeah,” I replied. “If Samuel Beckett had written the first act.” I suspect many people might be put off from the film’s tonal whiplash. What begins as an Absurdist (in the ... more >