THE BRANCHES OF THE TREE (Satyajit Ray, 1990)

Although Satyajit Ray claimed to have written it much earlier, Shakha Proshakha (Family Reunion), his penultimate film, centers on widower Ananda Majumdar, likewise about 70 and also bedridden from a heart attack. (Ray was near death when he became India’s only filmmaker to get an Oscar.) This sudden illness brings vistors: three sons and his […]

GABRIEL OVER THE WHITE HOUSE (Gregory LaCava, 1933)

An early 1933 release, Gregory LaCava’s nervy Gabriel Over the White House, about a freshly inaugurated U.S. president, was applauded by reality’s freshly inaugurated U.S. president: Franklin Delano Roosevelt. No Hollywood film of the 1930s better reflects the capacity for militaristic oppression to erupt in the U.S., given the agitation caused by economic suffering during […]