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Keeping Them at Bay

Keeping Them at Bay

BY STEVE ERICKSON | Theo Anthony’s “Rat Film” is the most original and unique documentary I’ve seen this year. It ties together two subjects that, at first, might not seem to have anything in common: rats and the history of segregation and institutional racism in Baltimore. If it resembles any other film, it’s Errol Morris’ […]

Excellent ‘LIBRIS’ Testifies to Wiseman’s Talents

Excellent ‘LIBRIS’ Testifies to Wiseman’s Talents

BY SEAN EGAN | “I don’t even use the term documentary,” asserted legendary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman, 87. “In my youth when people used the word documentary it always had the connotation of something that would be boring and would be good for you. I don’t think either of those has to be the case. It […]

A Doctor’s Conscience

A Doctor’s Conscience

BY STEVE ERICKSON | With their third film, “La Promesse,” Belgian directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne essentially reinvented neo-realism and made it relevant in European cinema again. Most Americans at the time probably thought they were brand-new filmmakers when “La Promesse” was released in 1997. I know that I did myself, but they had actually made […]

Macho Takes It On the Chin

Macho Takes It On the Chin

BY GARY M. KRAMER | Hazlo Como Hombre” (“Do It Like a Man”) comically satirizes Mexican machismo by depicting the gay and straight identities of three buddies. Santi (Alfonso Dosal), Eduardo (Humberto Busto), and Raúl (Mauricio Ochmann) are best friends. However, the dynamic among the guys changes when Santi comes out — during a group shower, […]

Eroticism and Shame in a Male Ritual

Eroticism and Shame in a Male Ritual

BY GARY M. KRAMER | Out director/ co-writer John Trengove’s remarkable feature debut, “The Wound,” opens with Xolani (openly gay musician Nakhane Touré, in an astonishing performance) leaving his Johannesburg factory job to head out to the mountains in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. There, he will be a caregiver for Kwanda (Niza Jay Ncoyini), […]

Long-Gone Director’s Work Timely Still

Long-Gone Director’s Work Timely Still

BY STEVE ERICKSON | One of the biggest regrets of my life as a cinephile is that I skipped the entirety of MoMA’s 1995 retrospective of British director Alan Clarke, simply because I had no idea who he was or that he was a major filmmaker. But I think I can be forgiven my ignorance. At […]

Extremism’s Violent Allure

Extremism’s Violent Allure

BY STEVE ERICKSON | It’s very hard to capture the zeitgeist when the process of getting a film made takes years. French director Bertrand Bonello’s “Nocturama” manages it, with an up-to-the-minute and startlingly sympathetic depiction of his nation’s terrorists. Music did a better job than cinema of capturing the hopes of the ‘60s left, with the […]

A French Icon Passes from the Stage

A French Icon Passes from the Stage

BY STEVE ERICKSON | In cinema, death usually means a gunshot and a dime-sized spot of blood or a photogenic elderly person lying in bed and giving one final sigh. Some horror movies have delved further into the weaknesses of the body, especially the possibility of becoming a victim of violence in excruciating ways. There are […]

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 […]

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