THE SEASON OF MEN (Moufida Tlatli, 2000)

The inferiority of Arab women is maintained by their men as a matter of prerogative but also by the women themselves who hand down their traditional lot to their daughters. Aicha, in Moufida Tlatli’s very quiet, magnificent Maussim al-riyal, is different. Aicha contests husband Said’s “rule,” providing a positive example to their daughters, Meriem and […]


Conjoining a coming-of-age tale with a social melodrama, Tinimbang ka ngunit kulang is likely to remind some of Carson McCullers, although the adolescent protagonist here is a boy and the self-righteous resolution of the plot is far afield of McCullers’ humanity and sensitivity. Be forewarned: the biblical title, from the Book of Daniel, refers to […]

THE ISLAND (Kaneto Shindô, 1960)

A far superior work to his tacky Onibaba (1964), Kaneto Shindô’s Hadaka no shima—Naked Island—chronicles the existence of a peasant family living on a small Japanese island. In solemnly gorgeous black and white (the cinematographer is Kiyomi Kuroda), the film proceeds without dialogue in profound quiet that’s punctured by ambient sounds. The sounds are precious […]

THE DOE BOY (Randy Redroad, 2001)

Exquisitely photographed by Laszlo Kadar, beautifully acted by James Duval as 17-year-old Hunter Kirk, The Doe Boy is Randy Redroad’s remarkable feature debut. The film is, I understand, semi-autobiographical.      In an Oklahoma town in the mid-1980s, Hunter exists between cultures; his father is white, his mother, Cherokee. Hunter plainly identifies more with his Cherokee heritage; […]