Armenian filmmaker Sergei Parajanov’s tribute to Ukrainian mentor Aleksandr Dovzhenko, Tini zabutykh predkiv draws upon weirder, denser visual material than does the master’s beautiful piece of Ukrainian folklore, Zvenigora (1928). I find Parajanov’s film remarkable but also, because I can only imperfectly follow it, frustrating. There is a melodramatic plot in the Carpathian Mountains a […]
A frantic Elisabeth struggles with Simon on their bedroom floor. Apparently Simon has had a heart attack. Dr. Rozier pronounces him dead. After the doctor has left, though, light as air Simon descends the corkscrew staircase that reminds us of the spiral staircase encapsulating the mysteries of Time in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958). Simon, we […]
On Good Friday 1958 they gathered in Trafalgar Square and began their four-day march to the atomic weapons factory in Aldermaston, Berkshire. They kept to their mission despite, weather-wise, the century’s worst Easter Saturday, and their numbers grew along the way. Organized by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, the peaceful protest led to subsequent marches […]
Please see my essay on Scott McGehee and David Siegel’s The Deep End, listed under “Hollywood Film Reviews,” where I discuss The Reckless Moment. The tag here will link you to it.
Remakes rarely approach the quality of the original films, least of all American remakes, for a variety of reasons. For one thing, the original artist has generally already given the material the best possible form, requiring the remakers, to distinguish their work, to settle for a second-best form or one even more inferior than that. […]
A teacher of mythology at a conservative Christian college, engaged to marry a fellow teacher at the school, is drawn into an unanticipated lesbian relationship with a circus acrobat. When the dust settles, she forsakes the guy for the gal. The light of love thus wins out over homophobic Christianity’s darkness. Uneventful would be a […]
Cinematographed by 24-year-old Léonce-Henri Burel, whose use of chiaroscuro is gorgeous, Abel Gance’s Mater dolorosa was an even huger hit in the United States, where it was called The Torture of Silence, than in France. Its silly sentimental melodrama could even pass for something American. However, the deliberate mistranslation of subtitles and of the written […]