UTAMARO AND HIS FIVE WOMEN (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1946)

Based on Kanji Kunieda’s 1931 novel Utamaro o meguru onnatachi, Kenji Mizoguchi’s Utamaro o meguru gonin no onna is delicately “split,” a fiction about an actual person: Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806), the Tokugawa Era woodblock portraitist. Mizoguchi, who trained as a painter, himself identified with Utamaro’s dedication to his art. From the outset, however, Mizoguchi posits […]

THE HORSE OF TURIN (Béla Tarr, Ágnes Hranitzky, 2011)

“Look, imagine this horse, if it was your whole life, your whole livelihood, and if your horse doesn’t work anymore, you die with the horse, because your life is gone and everything is over. These words: allegories, metaphors—it’s none of that. It’s just a simple horse.” — Béla Tarr When dance critic and cinéaste Mindy […]

YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU (Frank Capra, 1938)

Frank Capra won his third directorial Oscar for the zany, frequently hilarious social comedy You Can’t Take It with You, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart. Robert Riskin wrote the film, which also won the best picture Oscar, to neutralize the tart Leftist politics of the original and […]

FILM SOCIALISME (Jean-Luc Godard, 2010)

The Egyptian watch that has passed from wrist to wrist—both wearers that we see are black women—contains the universe in a grain of mechanism. And contains history. In the middle of Film Socialisme, Jean-Luc Godard’s first theatrical film shot exclusively in high-definition video, the gold watch stands—hangs, like a star?—alone, a figure against an illimitable […]