Film
Truth in Argo

Truth in Argo

Pornography isn’t the only cinematic genre with a “money shot.” Historical reenactments like Ben Affleck’s new picture Argo are also keen to demonstrate their authenticity. Except that the proof comes, not in a milky stream of ejaculation, but in the details of a mise-en-scène painstakingly recreated from documentary evidence. More»

Occupy the Film Festival, Part II

Occupy the Film Festival, Part II

Hashtags were prominent, whether in the below screen titles, or in the title of the films themselves. ##12M mai no hem marxat (15Mbcn.tv) provided a birds-eye-view of Plaça Catalunya on the first anniversary of the 15 May protests that launched the Indignados movement (and inspired OWS.) The title means “We have not left.” More»

All Protest, No Porn

All Protest, No Porn

Michelle Fawcett, co-organizer of Occupy the Film Festival said people had asked about the title of the event. Did she mean “Occupy: The Film Festival” suggesting a festival about the Occupy movement, a completely suitable topic for a program taking place in the weekend leading up to S17, the first anniversary of the birth of Occupy Wall Street (OWS)? Or, did she mean, “Occupy the Film Festival”? More»

The Wall Around My Park

The Wall Around My Park

Documentaries featured prominently at this year’s Jerusalem Film Festival. The two award winners, Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi’s Five Broken Cameras, and Ran Tal’s The Garden of Eden, were decidedly deserving. Similarly contending with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, they could not be more different. Not just in terms of perspective, but in the correspondence between their respective production values, and their subject matter. More»

A Country Called Conflict

A Country Called Conflict

Israel is not just bedeviled by the occupation. It also struggles internally, with every manner of social problem. The two biggest winners of this year’s Jerusalem Film Festival could not do a better job of underlining this. Both films explore the insinuation of violence in Israeli society, by looking at the country’s Mizrahi and Bedouin communities. More»

I Am Nasrine

I Am Nasrine

In her award-winning film I Am Nasrine, Iranian-American director Tina Gharavi sheds light on the inexorable rise of post-9/11 xenophobia in the United Kingdom. Set in Tehran and northeast England, the film tells the story of teenage siblings Ali and Nasrine, who are sent off to England in hope of securing a better future. More»

This Is a Masterpiece

This Is a Masterpiece

It’s impossible to avoid politics in discussing This Is Not a Film. But this study of director Jafar Panahi, who was sentenced by the Iranian government both to prison and the purgatory of not being able to pursue his profession for two decades, is far more than your typical protest documentary. Indeed, the restrictions under which this project was conducted demonstrates what makes Iranian cinema so great. More»

Joseph Cedar's Footnote

Joseph Cedar’s Footnote

Moshe Feiglin is not known for his film criticism. A high ranking member of Israel’s ruling Likud party, the right-winger is better known for his extremist views. Yet, two months ago, he published one of the most important aesthetic pronouncements to be made in Israel in recent years. More»

Hollywood Counter-Reformation

Hollywood Counter-Reformation

Michel Hazanavicius’ The Artist is a lovely film, beautifully paced and performed. But those who have hailed it as “surprising” haven’t given its place in cinematic history sufficient thought. That Hollywood would be honoring this kind of picture in 2012 makes perfect sense. More»

Duplicate This Film!

Duplicate This Film!

Even when nothing is going on in Film Socialisme, the impulse to cry out, “What’s going on?” can be overwhelming. It’s hard to tell the people on screen apart; it’s harder to determine whether this involuntary sorting exercise matters. We may see the boy who wears the CCCP T-shirt repeatedly during the film’s middle section. We may understand, eventually, that he is the son of the couple that run a filling station. More»

The Egyptian Cinerevolution

The Egyptian Cinerevolution

Without a doubt, this period of global unrest is the most mediated in history—and only due to the rise of a global digital grassroots citizens media movement. Now that virtually every mobile phone is a camera, and most camcorders have become affordable, every protest seems to have its own crew filming itself. More»

Apocalypse Cinema

Apocalypse Cinema

What do we do when we reach the end of things? What does cinema look like, and how do we respond when we know the end is here? If you look at my list of favorite films of 2011, you’ll get some ideas. Split between films by Europeans like Lars Von Trier, Béla Tarr and Pedro Almódovar and American filmmakers such as Jeff Nichols and Spencer Susser, my favorite films share an apocalyptic vision of the world More»