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REWIND | LETTER FROM PARIS, The culture feast

"Le Redoutable," "Young Karl Marx" and "Loving Vincent"
All of the above-mentioned films are in theaters in France now

(this article is a reprint; it was originally published on Screen Comment in 2017) Were I ever tempted to leave Paris and pitch my tent in a warmer city, a city where it doesn’t rain as often, where skies are bluer and inhabitants smile, I only need to look back on this last week to realize that I could never live elsewhere (but I already know that.) So how did that week go? I saw ... more >

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Doris Day leaves us — she was 97

Her favorite role? Calamity Jane

Doris Day’s death at age 97 was announced today. A star in a league of her own, mainly between 1948 and 1968, she was one of those dainty American women living in a world of charming comedies where the most forward move possible in a couple would be a chaste kiss, where a housewife wearing high heels and an apron like those of a French maid busily put meatloaf or casserole in the oven, where blond ... more >

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PARTING WORDS: “Amazing Grace”

The documentary “Amazing Grace,” the filmed version of an Aretha Franklin concert in a black church, was originally filmed in 1972 by Sidney Pollack. The problem—lack of synchronization between image and sound—that prevented the project from being completed, has finally been fixed thanks to digital technology. That which gives us a superb and moving moment of music and film history and ... more >

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“Us,” every person in the world is stalked and will eventually be destroyed

Monkeypaw Productions
Lupita Nyong'o, Elizabeth Moss and Winston Duke
Directed by Jordan Peele

Given the praise showered on “Us,” the latest by Jordan Peele, I’m beginning to wonder whether this is the same movie I saw as everyone else, a movie that I found neither as original nor as gripping as the director’s previous film “Get Out.” Or maybe I missed the entire point, whatever it was? A middle-class African American family arrives at their vacation home, in a middle-class neighborhood ... more >

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“Tel Aviv on Fire,” an acid and humorous take on Palestinians, Israelis and DYIsm

It's showtime!
Kais Nashif, Lubna Azabal and Yaniv Biton
Directed by Sameh Zoabi

This Israeli film by Sameh Zoabi, an Arab Israeli, comes to us boasting a number of awards but that doesn’t prepare us for the treat of this thoroughly enjoyable and unpretentious story. “Tel Aviv on Fire” is one of those gems––think “The Band’s Visit” or “Tony Erdmann”––that grab and delight from the opening scene to the very end, with nary a slackening of rhythm. Salam (Kais Nashif, a ... more >

Agnès Varda leaves us, she was 90

French cinema, the movie world, we've lost big

Agnès Varda, gone? Is this even possible? Wasn’t she the one renewing herself with every decade, with every year, always growing new skin, always morphing into a new language, another mode of expression, breaking barriers, making art forms flow into each other? Wasn’t she the little lady with the funny hair who started out as a photographer, commissioned by no less a luminary than Jean Vilar to ... more >

Benoît Jacquot’s “Dernier Amour,” yawn

An aging casanova finds love? Who can resist this?
Vincent Lindon and Stacy Martin
Directed by Benoit Jacquot

If there have been more boring recent films than Benoît Jacquot’s “Last Love,” ("Dernier Amour" in the French original) none readily comes to mind. Though one must admit that it’s a feat in itself to have such rich material to deal with and to turn it into a yawn-inducing couple of hours. The last fling of the maestro of love himself, Giacomo Casanova, (and, if the script based on the Venetian ... more >