NEWS FROM HOME (Chantal Äkerman, 1977)

Belgium’s greatest filmmaker ever is a Jewish woman and (as some of her films make explicit) a lesbian. This is Chantal Äkerman, whose masterpiece, D’Est (1993), I named one of the ten best films ever in my 100 Greatest Films List.      For a spell, Äkerman lived in New York City, where she made, at a […]

HOTEL MONTEREY (Chantal Äkerman, 1972)

Shot in a New York City hotel, Belgian minimalist Chantal Äkerman’s Hotel Monterey coolly, compassionately observes in perfect silence. Until the documentary’s final movement, the shots are static and close to claustrophobic. The hotel’s residents are half a century older than Äkerman, whose camera captures solitary existences whose most social occasion appears to occur when […]

BORDER STREET (Aleksander Ford, 1948)

Generically and stylistically complex, Border Street (Ulica Graniczna) is a great film about resistance, and total German reprisal, in the Warsaw Ghetto. It was made by Aleksander Ford, the premier Polish filmmaker prior to Andrzej Wajda, and it shouldn’t work at all, given how much it does and the numerous and contradictory ways in which […]