Last Chants for a Slow Dance, Jon Jost’s “Gary Gilmore film” (metaphorically, not literally), proceeds by set-pieces, switching between color and black and white, sound and silence, static and moving camera, realism and moody dreaminess, script (by Jost and Peter Trias) and improvisation. A haunting evocation of some interior male American landscape, the film follows […]

DINNER AT EIGHT (George Cukor, 1933)

Because Grand Hotel (1932) had won for it the best picture Oscar, M-G-M needed a follow-up, another star-crammed multi-character entertainment in which people’s lives crisscross, intersect. George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber’s play Dinner at Eight, which Herman J. Mankiewicz and Frances Marion adapted, with Donald Ogden Stewart adding dialogue, and which George Cukor sensitively […]

SATAN’S BREW (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1976)

Fusing elements of the Theaters of Cruelty and the Absurd, Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Satansbraten—never has a film been more aptly titled—is a dazzling, riotously funny assault on German bourgeoisism. Denied advances from his publisher, Walter Kranz (Kurt Raab, brilliant), an anarchist poet, screws and manipulates a variety of women to extract money as wife Luise […]