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Kiarostami’s Final Scene

Kiarostami’s Final Scene

BY STEVE ERICKSON | “24 Frames” actually consists of 24 four-and-a-half-minute non-narrative short films made by the late Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami. In 2016, three years into production on the project — created using software with the aid of visual effects supervisor Ali Kamali — Kiarostami passed away and the film was completed in post-production under […]

Less Than the Sum of Its Parts

Less Than the Sum of Its Parts

BY GARY M. KRAMER | Writer and director François Ozon’s new film “Double Lover” plays with his favorite twinned themes of secret lives and shifting identities. Adapted from the Joyce Carol Oates novel “Lives of the Twins” (which the author wrote under a pseudonym), the film has Chloé (Marine Vacth) seeking help from Paul Meyer […]

An Idiosyncratic, Skewed Take on 1968

An Idiosyncratic, Skewed Take on 1968

BY STEVE ERICKSON | Brazilian director João Moreira Salles’ sprawling documentary “In the Intense Now,” which could be summed up as a chronicle of the worldwide political revolts of 1968, begins with the promise of hope, change, and revolution. It ends with death, despair, and a Portuguese-language pop song whose singer urges the listener to put […]

Uncivil Society

Uncivil Society

BY STEVE ERICKSON | “I wish Ariel Sharon had wiped you all out.” That sentence, initially delivered in anger by a Lebanese Christian man, Tony (Adel Karam), to a Palestinian refugee, Yasser (Kamel El Basha, who is also a director and playwright), gets repeated at least two dozen times in Ziad Doueiri’s film “The Insult.” The hatred […]

Original Sin

Original Sin

BY STEVE ERICKSON | In a statement in the press kit of “Vazante,” Brazilian director Daniela Thomas describes her country as “perhaps, the most miscegenated people on the planet.” Fifty percent of Brazilians have some African blood, and official versions of its history often claim it has achieved some kind of “post-racial” harmony. But slavery ended […]

From Reboots to Reckonings: The Best Films of 2017

From Reboots to Reckonings: The Best Films of 2017

BY SEAN EGAN | Well, we all thought nothing could possibly be as bad as 2016, but boy howdy did 2017 do its best to be worse. From Washington’s daily, anxiety-inducing developments to the still-active sexual misconduct reckoning facing Hollywood, it seems everything that’s happened this year was calculated for maximum miserability. One area, however, […]

The Nuances of Male Privilege

The Nuances of Male Privilege

BY STEVE ERICKSON | Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Phantom Thread” is set in the 1950s and it could have been made then — aside from the handful of F-bombs Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) drops with great force — and it borrows from the most perverse fantasies classical Hollywood was allowed to express. It’s the kind of film […]

An Abiding Contempt for Young Women

An Abiding Contempt for Young Women

BY STEVE ERICKSON | Austrian director Michael Haneke’s films leave no one cold. He frequently pops up in lists of the greatest living European directors and more personal social media posts about “filmmakers I can’t stand.” For me, he’s capable of masterpieces (“Code Unknown,” “Caché”) and utter crap (“Benny’s Video,” the American remake of his […]

A Finn Has the Immigrant Speak

A Finn Has the Immigrant Speak

BY STEVE ERICKSON | It’s often proclaimed today that every minority group should be the first in line to make films about themselves — and straight, white, Christian, cisgender men should be the last to make films about people other than themselves. There’s some justification for this perspective that goes beyond simply the historical entitlement […]

My Life Differently

My Life Differently

BY STEVE ERICKSON | Prolific South Korean director Hong Sang-soo’s “On the Beach At Night Alone” reflects on the failed relationship of a woman named Younghee (Kim Minhee) with a well-known filmmaker. It says something about Hong’s degree of self-critique and distance from standard male fantasies that he wrote a script that reflects the life he […]

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