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#MeToo’s Hurdles in China

#MeToo’s Hurdles in China

BY STEVE ERICKSON | Let’s retire the phrase “this is the movie we need now” from reviews and headlines. It just feeds into the shallow topicality dominating so much film criticism right now. That said, Chinese director Vivian Qu’s “Angels Wear White,” while made in Asia before the #MeToo movement began, intersects with it in intriguing […]

Women — and Their Audience — on the Verge

Women — and Their Audience — on the Verge

BY GARY M. KRAMER | Miguel Arteta makes squirm-inducing movies. His 2000 comedy-drama “Chuck & Buck” is a classic of uncomfortable cinema. Last year’s “Beatriz at Dinner” was also awkward — and rather nasty. His latest film, “Duck Butter,” which he co-wrote with bisexual actress Alia Shawkat, who stars and produced, is equally disconcerting. The film, […]

When the ‘60s Were Over

When the ‘60s Were Over

BY STEVE ERICKSON  | The 1990s were a golden age for world cinema, as the New Waves taking place in Iran and “the three Chinas” matured and finally came to the West’s attention. France also went through a resurgence after a fallow period when the major filmmakers who followed the French New Wave were largely ignored […]

Tribeca’s Rich Offering of Queer Cinema

Tribeca’s Rich Offering of Queer Cinema

BY GARY M. KRAMER | The Tribeca Film Festival, unspooling at half a dozen Lower Manhattan venues April 18-29, features several LGBTQ films and filmmakers. While not every queer-focused title was available for preview, a handful of features, documentaries, shorts, and special programs were. One of the highlights of this year’s fest is the world premiere […]

Grace Jones Revealed

Grace Jones Revealed

BY GARY M. KRAMER | How does anyone approach the inimitable, indomitable Grace Jones? The singer/ actress/ model turns 70 this year and still has impeccably sculpted legs and cheekbones, a distinctive, throaty voice, her androgynous appearance, and an outré sense of fashion. She is utterly unconventional and totally alluring. In a remarkable documentary, “Grace Jones: […]

Adrift in the Colonies

Adrift in the Colonies

BY STEVE ERICKSON | Two things describe Argentine director Lucrecia Martel’s characters: they’re never really alone and the help others offer them is rarely truly benign. Her debut, “La Ciénaga,” showed an extended family going to seed and placing themselves unknowingly in danger over the course of a humid summer. It borrowed from Renoir and Altman […]

A Brutal World Largely Unchallenged

A Brutal World Largely Unchallenged

BY STEVE ERICKSON | Scottish director Lynne Ramsay’s “You Were Never Really Here” goes out of its way to (1) show the audience how grimdark it is and (2) suggest that Joe (Joaquin Phoenix), its hitman protagonist is an unreliable narrator (Joe is undoubtedly not his real name) whose brain nonetheless dictates the film’s POV. The […]

Andrew Haigh’s Emotional Acuity

Andrew Haigh’s Emotional Acuity

BY DAVID EHRENSTEIN | Is there some special insight LGBTQ folks posses? In my most copasetic moments, I’ve thought this to be true. After all, being disenfranchised by the status quo offers one the possibility of a keener perspective on its workings than that enjoyed by those who aren’t obliged to question it in order to […]

Queering the Whodunit

Queering the Whodunit

BY GARY M. KRAMER | Sleek and smart, “Gemini,” written and directed by Aaron Katz, is a delicious slow-burn mystery. Set in and around the film world in Los Angeles, the story opens with Heather Anderson (Zoë Kravitz), a successful actress, backing out of a role in a major motion picture. When her personal assistant, […]

Young Blood and a Wide Net

Young Blood and a Wide Net

BY STEVE ERICKSON | The multi-national co-production credits for films in this year’s “New Directors/ New Films” series say a lot about its reach: Sri Lanka/ United Kingdom/ USA, Iran/ Canada/ Qatar, Dominican Republic/ Brazil/ Argentina. In the five years since long-time Film Society of Lincoln Center programmer Richard Peña quit that organization, the New York […]