WORLD ON A WIRE (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1973)

Made for West German television, Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s 3½-hour Welt am Draht is based on American novelist Daniel F. Galouye’s 1964 Simulacron-3. Resembling Edward Albee’s astounding play Tiny Alice, which was first produced the same year as Galouye’s novel was published, Fassbinder’s legendary science-fiction masterpiece revolves around Fred Stiller (Klaus Löwitsch, convincing and compelling), technical […]

OH! WHAT A LOVELY WAR (Richard Attenborough, 1969)

This elephantine, star-studded production, based on Joan Littlewood’s theatrical series of satirical antiwar sketches, was actor Richard Attenborough’s official directorial debut. Despite its best film Golden Globe, Oh! What a Lovely War is sufficiently shallow and obtuse that Littlewood had her name removed from the credits. It is a soulless, insufferable, bloated thing.      A lavish, […]

MAHAL (Kamal Amrohi, 1949)

Its extreme length burdened to the point of multiple fractures in a meandering, attenuated narrative, writer-director Kamal Amrohi’s The Mansion nevertheless possesses an eerie charm that sporadically draws us in after we feel we’ve been shut out: a facsimile of protagonist Hari Shankar’s enrapture with Kamini, the succulent, ghostly girl who keeps appearing and disappearing, […]