Honey and Ashes (Miel et cendres), from Tunisia and Switzerland, is by Swiss-born Egyptian filmmaker Nadia Farès. It is by turns a rich and a thin tapestry of the crisscrossing lives of two women and a girl, all Muslims, in a North African country. Confounding film! Some of it is quite lovely, such as the […]
The Peruvian film Ojos que no ven (What the Eye Doesn’t See), directed by Francisco J. Lombardi, is about the Fujimori-Montesinos scandal, and watching it I learned a lot about Peruvian politics and recent history, but there’s nothing formally to recommend the film. It tells various parallel stories, cutting across different classes, to compose a […]
Frantisek Vláčil’s Holubice—a bona fide classic—is, for me, an almost unendurable 67 minutes of fey whimsy, esoteric psychological symbolism, and half-baked black-and-white visual beauty. It’s very disappointing; I can’t recommend Czeching it out. And that bug-eyed boy; I couldn’t stand his “sensitive” face. Yes, the dove is heartbreakingly lovely, though—as doves tend to be.
Casanova, which is enjoyable, is easily the best thing that Lasse Hallström has done, and Heath Ledger is charming—a real Casanova. (Or is he?) In another tricky part, Ledger is as good here as in Brokeback Mountain, only in this case one doesn’t have to wade through a mediocre movie to cull the good part: […]
What a disappointment! Graced by a melancholy lyricism that might convince you that you’re watching a masterpiece, Minh Nguyen-Vo’s 2004 Mua len trau—called here, Buffalo Boy—is undone by its story. When will filmmakers grasp that cinema is antithetical to storytelling of any kind? Divested of “story,” this film from Vietnam could have been a brilliant […]