SILVER NIGHT (Glenn Andreiev, 2005)

I have a fondness for vampire films, but I’m no pushover. Recently I expressed disappointment with the 1943 Return of the Vampire starring Bela Lugosi, a film I loved as a boy, and I find Werner Herzog’s Nosferatu (1978), for all its production values, vastly inferior to F. W. Murnau’s silent original (1922). But Glenn […]

ALEXEI AND THE SPRING (Motohashi Seiichi, 2002)

An unpopular war in Afghanistan, the economic drain imposed by a long “cold war” not of its making, the whetted appetite for freedom that liberalization, ironically, had wrought: there are all sorts of explanations for the collapse of the Soviet Union, the enormous fallout from which includes the world’s current crises deriving from an unchecked […]

PRIVATE CONFESSIONS (Liv Ullmann, 1996)

Liv Ullmann, the Norwegian actress, has never been a favorite of mine. I find her (like Meryl Streep, or Gloria Swanson) a “heavy,” pushy performer, and her selfconscious sincerity—her hallmark attribute—self-promoting and oppressive. I have admired some of her work, almost all of it for her former mentor and lover Ingmar Bergman, but none of […]

MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO (Gus Van Sant, 1991)

Romantic and atmospheric, Gus Van Sant’s passionate, personal My Own Private Idaho confounds and infuriates. Mike, the main character, is a narcoleptic street hustler. Separated from his mother and semi-estranged from his brother (who is also his father), the boy is always on the move, facing hardships daily, full of unsatisfied aspiration. The wholeness for […]