THE STONE FLOWER (Aleksandr Ptushko, 1946)

Variously referred to as the “Soviet Disney” and, later, the “Soviet Spielberg,” Aleksandr Ptushko is the Ukrainian-born fantasist whose feature-length The New Gulliver (1935), combining stop-motion animation and live action, predated Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs by two years. In a career spanning the dictatorships of Stalin, Khrushchev and Brezhnev, Ptushko maintained […]

SECRET DEFENSE (Jacques Rivette, 1997)

Fascinating and suspenseful from start to finish, Secret défense got bad press when it commercially opened in the U.S. in 2002. Needless to say, antirivettes—those morons, charlatans and imbeciles hopefully none of us know—need not apply. Others: what a treat’s in store for you!      Everyone says that Jacques Rivette’s Secret Defense is inspired by Vertigo, […]