When it was falsely rumored that his next film would confront the disputed results of Iran’s 2009 presidential election, Iran’s Revolutionary Court sentenced Jafar Panahi to six years of imprisonment and prohibited his making another film, or engaging in political activity or traveling, for twenty years. Although it deals with musicians rather than filmmakers, Bahman […]

SPIDER LILIES (Zero Chou, 2007)

There is a touch of Kathleen Turner’s China Blue, from Ken Russell’s Crimes of Passion (1984), in Rainie Yang’s 18-year-old Jade in Ci qing, a consideration of haunted, alienated contemporary youth. Bedecked in a “glossy green” wig that underscores her artificial, aimless existence, Jade foists her Web-cam fantasies on visitors to her strutting Website, one […]

THE FIGHTER (David O. Russell, 2010)

Thin, repetitious, hectic dysfunctional-family comedy-drama, based on actual lives, many still among the living, hence the upbeat imperative, The Fighter revolves around Lowell, Massachusetts boxer Micky Ward, whose technical knockout against champion Shea Neary won him the world light welterweight title in 2000. More specifically, David O. Russell’s film, largely written by Scott Silver, homes […]

JOE HILL (Bo Widerberg, 1971)

Form expresses content.      In 1902, following the deaths of their parents, Joel Emmanuel Hägglund and his brother, Paul, left Sweden and entered the United States. For this “new life,” Joel became Joseph Hillström—and, eventually, Joe Hill. A union organizer, principally, as songwriter for the Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.—the “Wobblies”), Joe Hill thus found […]