LITTLE CAESAR (Mervyn LeRoy, 1930)

Edward G. Robinson, tremendous, claimed the role that made him a star in Little Caesar, Mervyn LeRoy’s ultimately brilliant meditation on the unnaturalness and perniciousness of the American ethos of “rugged individualism,” which, to say the least, wars with humanity’s quest for sociability. LeRoy’s film, based on an unpublished novel by W. R. Burnett, also […]

CHRONICLE OF A SUMMER (Jean Rouch, Edgar Morin, 1961)

This monumental film by anthropological documentarian Jean Rouch and sociologist Edgar Morin, Chronique d’un été (Paris 1960), marks the invention of cinéma vérité, the name given it by Rouch. An unconcealed “living camera,” “a highly portable lightweight camera connected to a synchronized sound recorder” (Sadoul), was used by the cameraman accompanying an interviewer who asked […]

EVEN THE RAIN (Icíar Bollaín, 2010)

Paul Laverty took aim at globalization, comparing it to European conquests of the New World, in his partially successful script for También la lluvia, from Spain, Mexico and France; but Icíar Bollaín’s labored, unimaginative direction added nothing to this, resulting in a sour, schematic film. There are so many valuable anti-globalization films available for viewing—and, […]

LIMITE (Mário Peixoto, 1930)

In his early twenties, Brazil’s Mário Peixoto wrote, produced, directed and edited Limite, which would remain his one film. It became legendary once Sergei Eisenstein praised it. Actually, he did no such thing; the Portuguese translation of Eisenstein’s remarks was a hoax: Peixoto’s own invention.      Combining moody languorousness and feverishly dazzling experimentalism, Limite is mostly […]