COMMISSAR (Aleksandr Askoldov, 1967, 1988)

A work of considerable artistic merit, Aleksandr Askoldov’s Commissar (Komissar) is nonetheless most famous on other than artistic grounds. Based on the story “In the Town of Berdichev” by Ukrainian Jewish author Vasili Grossman, it is writer-director Askoldov’s only film. Made in 1967, it was suppressed by the Soviet government for twenty years, appearing at […]

SHORT CUTS (Robert Altman, 1993)

Within a common location, the zigzag orchestration of separate though related and overlapping “stories” became a trademark style of Robert Altman’s. In Short Cuts, co-written by Frank Barhydt, it achieves a very rich flowering, a brilliant dynamism, shrewd coherence and absolutely revelatory unity. For all the L.A. stories by Raymond Carver it juggles (ten, actually), […]