EXITING THE FACTORY (Louis and Auguste Lumière, 1895)

The Lumière brothers provided a treasure-trove of under-one-minute filmlets, one of which, showing an ostrich leading a line of humans in their Sunday finest, surely influenced the satirical tone of René Clair’s Italian Straw Hat (1927), and another that startles with its snowball fight in a wintry street because the participants, including ladies, are all […]

THE VANISHED EMPIRE (Karen Shakhnazarov, 2008)

Written by Sergei Rokotov and Evgeny Nikishov, and brilliantly directed by Karen Shakhnazarov, Ischeznuvshaya imperiya may be a masterpiece.      In mid-1970s Moscow, 18-year-old Sergei has begun university. He is immersed in a social life that involves vodka-fueled comradery, the purchase of Western rock albums on a floating black market, and his romancing Lyuda Beletskaya, the […]