LE QUATTRO VOLTE (Michelangelo Frammartino, 2010)

Somewhat reminiscent of Franco Piavoli’s work, Michelangelo Frammartino’s Four Times is a pseudo-documentary, or partial-documentary, set in the hills of Calabria in southernmost Italy. In a rural village, little talk goes on (and none, apparently, necessary to subtitle) and the silence is constantly interrupted, sometimes humorously, by barking dogs, bleating goats, collar bells, church bells […]

THE ICEMAN COMETH (John Frankenheimer, 1973)

Although Lee Marvin is only moderately effective as Hickey, The Iceman Cometh is a powerful, witheringly complex, brilliantly acted film—the finest achievement of director John Frankenheimer’s career, based on Eugene O’Neill’s greatest play, indeed, the greatest American play ever produced. In the grip of this electrifying work, with its Ibsenian overtones, for four straight hours, […]

A LETTER TO UNCLE BOONMEE (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2009)

Clocking in at under 18 minutes, “A Letter to Uncle Boonmee” is nevertheless a major work by Thai writer-director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, not merely a nifty preface to Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, for which Apichatpong won the 2010 Palme d’Or at Cannes. Its brevity, moreover, helped impose a powerful rigor on the material. […]

POLICE, ADJECTIVE (Corneliu Porumboiu, 2009)

By the same Romanian writer-director who made 12:08 East of Bucharest (2006), Politist, adjectiv is a police procedural that develops into something considerably more. Indeed, the film proceeds from the start along simultaneous lines, one that’s external, how a young undercover cop goes about his business trailing a kid who is a suspected pot dealer, […]