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The Fire This Time

The Fire This Time

BY GARY M. KRAMER | The extraordinary documentary “I Am Not Your Negro” uses text from James Baldwin’s unfinished work “Remember This House,” along with archival footage ranging from the author speaking at Cambridge University to his appearance on “The Dick Cavett Show,” as the cornerstone for examining the oppression and invisibility endured by African […]

Discovering Sanctity

Discovering Sanctity

BY STEVE ERICKSON | Expatriates can act strange, particularly if they didn’t leave their home country out of necessity but because they were disgusted by its culture. Eugène Green, an American director who lives and works in France, is a case in point. He now refers to the US as “la barbarie,” and don’t get him […]

Representing Is Important; Content Counts, Too

Representing Is Important; Content Counts, Too

BY STEVE ERICKSON | “Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins has said that if people don’t have images of themselves, they’ll start to feel like they don’t exist. Jenkins’ film has given an unprecedented amount of visibility to gay African-American men –– at least in cinema. (TV shows like “The Wire” and “Empire” have beaten him to the […]

False Faces for a Global Economy

False Faces for a Global Economy

BY STEVE ERICKSON | Maren Ade’s “Toni Erdmann” is cinema, the real thing. A 162-minute German comedy might sound like a barrel of oxymorons to some spectators. However, Ade brings both visual and verbal wit to bear on a number of essentially serious subjects: the business community, what richer countries are doing to poorer ones, the […]

Life Relaunched

Life Relaunched

BY STEVE ERICKSON | Thanks to the gods of timing, New Yorkers have the opportunity to see two of French actress Isabelle Huppert’s best performances simultaneously, in Paul Verhoeven’s “Elle” and Mia Hansen-Løve’s “Things To Come.” Hansen-Løve has said, “I rate her as the greatest French actress.” I agree, except that I would take “French” […]

Loving, Up Close

Loving, Up Close

BY STEVE ERICKSON | Director Jeff Nichols’ “Loving” has all the ingredients to make an irritating piece of Oscar-bait. It’s a period piece addressing important issues. The Academy Award voters will never realize that “Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle” was a more subversive take on racism than Paul Haggis’ “Crash,” so a film […]

Iggy Pops Off, Stooges Get Their Due

Iggy Pops Off, Stooges Get Their Due

BY STEVE ERICKSON | “Gimme danger, little stranger,” sings the Stooges’ Iggy Pop on the song that lends its title to Jim Jarmusch’s documentary on the band. He was probably thinking of an exciting sexual encounter, but the power of the Stooges’ music is so primal that it suggests something a whole lot more serious and […]

The Man He Becomes

The Man He Becomes

BY GARY M. KRAMER | “Moonlight” is Barry Jenkins’ extraordinary film adaptation of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue,” which takes its title from a nighttime scene of teenage sexual experimentation on a Miami beach. Before the film gets there, Jenkins introduces the main character, Chiron, as a nine-year-old boy (Alex Hibbert). […]

Absorbed in Western Self-Absorption

Absorbed in Western Self-Absorption

BY STEVE ERICKSON | Imagine a film about the Hiroshima bombing that spent two thirds of its running time depicting the son of the American pilot who destroyed that city. Sounds like a strange decision, huh? I felt much the same way about Italian documentarian Gianfranco Rosi’s “Fire At Sea,” which is set on the now-notorious […]

NYFF Does Better By Women

NYFF Does Better By Women

BY STEVE ERICKSON | Did someone at the New York Film Festival take a look at my article on last year’s festival, which complained about its lack of diversity? While female directors are still far from parity in the festival’s Main Slate, their numbers have increased. Most notably, the festival’s opening night film is Ava DuVernay’s […]

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