ROBERTA (William A. Seiter, 1935)

Many years ago, a doo wop group called the Platters recorded “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,” one of the songs composed by Jerome Kern and written by Otto Harbach for Harbach’s 1933 stage musical Roberta, based on Alice Duer Miller’s novel Gowns by Roberta. The monotony of the Platters’ harmonizing and the mindlessness they applied […]

ROMA (Adolfo Aristarain, 2004)

Living in Madrid, Joaquín Góñez is writing his final book: an autobiography of sorts, beginning with his childhood in Buenos Aires. Manuel Cueto is typing the manuscript. In this young journalism student Góñez sees himself at that age, facilitating his memories.      The gentle pacing of Adolfo Aristarain’s Roma, the slow dollies as Joaco’s memory penetrates […]


Well, does one recommend American Blackout or not? It is a sincere, lightweight documentary about which its maker, Ian Inaba (wonderful name!), offers the following description of its thrust: “Chronicles the recurring patterns of disenfranchisement [of blacks and Latinos] witnessed from 2000 to 2004 [in those two U.S. presidential elections] while following the story of […]

TO DIE FOR (Gus Van Sant, 1995)

Clear, elegant, complex, Gus Van Sant’s To Die For examines media’s hand in shaping the American psyche—in particular, television’s role in nurturing our aspiration to become “celebrities,” and in sealing our delusion that we have become so when all we have done is parade our aspiration before a slumming public. In this context, video camera […]