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Auteur for the Underclass

Auteur for the Underclass

BY STEVE ERICKSON | A PSA used to air on New York cable stations showing a child witnessing domestic violence and ending with the words, “If this were a movie, you wouldn’t let them watch it.” This came back to mind while seeing Sean Baker’s “The Florida Project,” a film essentially told from a poor six-year-old girl’s […]

An Outsider Look at Outsiders

An Outsider Look at Outsiders

BY STEVE ERICKSON | Low-cost video technology has always carried the promise of democratizing and demystifying filmmaking. The people who have benefited from it, however, are generally the kind of people who would become directors anyway. This is true in the US, at least. In Nigeria and other parts of Africa, digital video has led to […]

Aggie Awards for the Year Just Ended

Aggie Awards for the Year Just Ended

BY DAVID NOH | As we welcome 2016 and bid farewell to the tumult that was 2015 –– which for me and, I’m guessing, a lot of you out there comprised both the best and the worst of times –– it’s time for a cultural review of what’s just concluded with our annual Agnes Moorehead […]

Lesbian, Transgender Themes Led the Year in Queer 

Lesbian, Transgender Themes Led the Year in Queer 

BY GARY M. KRAMER | In 2015, the LGBT films that received the most attention ranged from the sublime to ridiculous. On the plus side, there was “Carol,” out filmmaker Todd Haynes’ outstanding adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel, “The Price of Salt,” about lesbian desire in the 1950s. The film was another unqualified success for Haynes, […]

About Women, Even If Still Not Often By Women

About Women, Even If Still Not Often By Women

BY STEVE ERICKSON | 2015 was a good year for films about women, which is reflected on my top 10 list, but not such a good year for films by women. Increasingly, Hollywood’s inability to employ more than a token percentage of female directors is getting attention, but the problem exists worldwide. Only in the documentary […]

The Inimitable Soph

The Inimitable Soph

BY DAVID NOH | From birth to age 18, a girl needs good parents. From 18 to 35, she needs good looks. From 35 to 55, she needs a good personality. From 55 on, she needs good cash.” There were show biz originals, and then there was Sophie Tucker (1887-1966). Porcine-faced and decidedly stout, Tucker was, […]

Aiming for Realness on LA’s Gritty Streets  

Aiming for Realness on LA’s Gritty Streets  

BY GARY M. KRAMER | Tangerine,” Sean Baker’s funky little comedy — shot entirely on an iPhone — is full of dram-ah as motor-mouthed transgender sex worker Sin-dee (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) finds out from her BFF Alexandra (Mya Taylor) that her boyfriend Chester (James Ransone) has been cheating on her while she’s been in jail. As […]