AMPHIBIAN-MAN (Gennadi Kazansky, Vladimir Chebotaryov, 1962)

When Ichthyandros was a child, his scientist-father Dr. Salvador explains, “he developed an incurable lung disease. To save him, I gave him a transplant of shark’s gills.” The success of the operation launched Salvador’s dream of an underwater republic, with Ichthyandros its “first citizen.” A young man now, Ichthyandros alternates his life amongst his lair […]

FESTIVAL (Rituparno Ghosh, 2000)

“Construction, deconstruction, construction, deconstruction . . .” Winner of best film and best director prizes at India’s National Film Awards, Bengal writer-director Rituparno Ghosh’s Utsab is an exquisite, rich, vibrant tapestry of a mostly middle-class family—two sons, two daughters, spouses and offspring—that has gathered together under matriarch Bhagabati’s expansive roof during Durga Puja, the annual […]

DEMONS OF WAR [BY GOYA] (Władysław Pasikowski, 1998)

Despite the opening montage of trenchant Goya etchings portraying, often phantasmagorically, the inhuman nature of war or of human nature at its worst, Polish writer-director Władysław Pasikowski’s Demony wojny według Goi more or less resolves itself into a conventional actioner whose centerpiece consists of the oversized posturing of Bogusław Linda as Major Edward Keller, the […]

TEN BEST FILM PERFORMANCES OF THE 1920S

1. Called here Maria, there, Renée, Falconetti gives the greatest performance of the decade—in this, the greatest decade of all for film actresses. The occasion, of course, is Carl Theodor Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928). Her unadorned face in varied closeup, Falconetti enrobes us in the silence of Jeanne’s destiny, much as […]