EVENING (Lajos Koltai, 2007)

I was so moved by the freshness with which Hungarian filmmaker Lajos Koltai invested Imre Kertész’s Holocaust material in Fateless (Sorstalanság, 2005) that I am saddened by the dreary, hollow, sentimental mess of his second film: Evening, written by Susan Minot, from her novel, and Michael Cunningham. Koltai, of course, has been one of the […]

MOROCCO (Josef von Sternberg, 1930)

After their triumphant The Blue Angel in Germany, Josef von Sternberg brought his star and mistress, Marlene Dietrich, home to Hollywood—along with his wife. (Dietrich also was married.) There, they made six films together, the last two of which are brilliant, The Scarlet Empress (1934), about Catherine the Great, and The Devil Is a Woman […]

THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE (John Huston, 1947)

Brilliantly written and directed by John Huston, who won Oscars for doing both, Treasure of the Sierra Madre begins in Tampico as a current of what appears to be good fortune launches an expedition for gold by three Americans, two young struggling laborers and old prospector Howard (Oscar-winner Walter Huston, John’s father), whose eyes tell […]

BUÑUEL AND KING SOLOMON’S TABLE (Carlos Saura, 2001)

They were countrymen, both from Aragón; Carlos Saura considers himself Luis Buñuel’s disciple. Perhaps Saura’s masterpiece, Buñuel y la mesa del rey Salomón, which Saura wrote with Agustín Sánchez Vidal, whose documentary A propósito de Buñuel (2000) had investigated Buñuel’s Surrealism and atheism, is an attempt to imagine Buñuel alive again (nearly twenty years after […]