THEY WHO STEP ON A TIGER’S TAIL (Akira Kurosawa, 1945)

Based on a kabuki play, Tora no ō o fumu otokotachi is one of Akira Kurosawa’s most beautiful works. Its theme: legend loses facts but preserves humanity.      The action unfolds in the late twelfth century. Protected by samurai, General Yoshitsune is fleeing his brother, Yoritomo, through a forest. A barrier has been set up to […]

MY BROTHER’S WEDDING (Charles Burnett, 1983; 2007)

I haven’t seen the original version of Charles Burnett’s My Brother’s Wedding, but I have seen his new rich, irresistible “director’s cut” of it. This occasionally hilarious tragicomedy portrays life in South Central Los Angeles.      Pierce works in his parents’ dry cleaners. His mother has persuaded him to be best man at his brother’s wedding. […]

STRANGER INSIDE (Cheryl Dunye, 2001)

Motherless children have a hard time/ When their mother is gone. . . . — traditional gospel spiritual Cheryl Dunye, the African-American writer-director whose hilarious Watermelon Woman (1996) dazzles with its originality, is on more familiar turf with Stranger Inside—turf that her fine film utterly transforms. The protagonist is twenty-year-old Treasure, who succeeds in getting […]