MONKEY BUSINESS (Howard Hawks, 1952)

Howard Hawks’s Monkey Business is one of the too few excellent American film comedies past the 1920s and ’30s. Its characters want desperately to get out of the American mindset in which they feel, to the point of defeatism, entrenched. During the 1930s and, thanks to Preston Sturges, the first half of the 1940s, Hollywood […]

FROM THE OTHER SIDE (Chantal Äkerman, 2002)

Likely an unintended companion-piece to María Navaro’s fictional El Jardín del Edén (The Garden of Eden, 1994), Belgian-born filmmaker Chantal Äkerman’s documentary De l’autre côté (From the Other Side), from Belgium and France, is about the fate of Mexicans who steal their way across la frontera, the shared border heavily guarded on the U.S. side. […]

YELLOW ASPHALT (Danny Verete, 2000)

Its three segments made over seven years, during which time writer-director Danny Verete won the trust of the Bedouins he cast in Bedouin roles, Yellow Asphalt (Asphalt Zahov) is a sharp, if thin, slice of cultural collision. The Israeli film is set in the Negev Desert (in Hebrew, negev means south), which Mark Twain, after […]