THE INHERITORS (Eugenio Polgovsky, 2008)

Closeups of hands at work—hands weaving, bundling logs, making bricks, harvesting: hard work—work done by children, some as young as four or five, sometimes helping their elders, sometimes laboring off on their own. Los herederos, Eugenio Polgovsky’s most recent Mexican documentary, which Polgovsky directed, digitally videographed and edited, all brilliantly, vindicates what I wrote about […]

VINCERE (Marco Bellocchio, 2009)

A Pirandellan air permeates Vincere, which means to win, to overcome, written (along with Daniela Ceselli) and directed by the maker of Enrico IV (1984), Marco Bellocchio. Mockingly aping his father, dictator Benito Mussolini, after one of Mussolini’s exaggerated speeches, Mussolini’s son, also named Benito (Filippo Timi plays both characters), goes insane under a combinate […]

THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (William Wyler, 1946)

Written by Robert E. Sherwood from MacKinlay Kantor’s blank-verse novella, Glory for Me, The Best Years of Our Lives is William Wyler’s finest, most moving film, the one most infused with his humane sensibility and least compromised by melodrama. It essays the civilian readjustment of three soldiers upon their return home to Boone City somewhere […]

AGNES’S BEACHES (Agnès Varda, 2008)

Although a notch below her Vagabond (1985) and Les glaneurs et la glaneuse (2000), Belgian-born Agnès Varda’s farewell film, the autobiographical documentary Les plages d’Agnès, is her most deeply affecting piece. Throughout watching it, I was either in tears or close to tears. It isn’t too much to say that Agnès (pronounced on-YES), along with […]