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Directing Mary Kay Place

Arts

Directing Mary Kay Place

Kent Jones, critic, documentarian, and director of the New York Film Festival, is one ballsy dude. He has gone out on that most precarious of limbs and made his own first feature film, “Diane.” And, most gratifyingly, this beautiful, delicately wrought, searingly honest, and deeply humane work is much more in the tradition of critics-turned-moviemakers Truffaut and Godard than of Rex Reed, who notoriously starred in “Myra Breckenridge.” Comment
Arts

When Film Busts Down Barriers

Arts

When Film Busts Down Barriers

The marvelous queer romance “Rafiki,” (“Friend”) — the first Kenyan film to screen at Cannes — was banned last year in its native country. Though the Kenya Film Classification Board objected to the film for “promoting lesbianism,” the ban was eventually lifted and “Rafiki” screened to crowds in Nairobi. The film’s temporary censoring, however, made it ineligible to be submitted as Kenya’s foreign film entry for the Academy Awards. Comment
Arts

The Great Awokening

Arts

The Great Awokening

In its six years of existence, the Satanic Temple has managed something remarkable: rebranding Satanism as enlightened and politically progressive. Penny Lane’s documentary “Hail Satan?” makes no attempt to hide the fact that it’s on their side, and the Christians here come across as hateful and dangerous, not the Satanists. Comment
Arts

The Angle of Approach

Arts

The Angle of Approach

At 66 minutes, Korean director Hong Sang-soo’s “Grass” barely qualifies as feature length. It works within a confined space, restricting its setting, apart from a few scenes, to a café. […] Comment
Arts

The Body as Your Tool Kit

Arts

The Body as Your Tool Kit

Félix Maritaud ignites the screen as Léo, an attractive 22-year-old gay male prostitute in writer/ director Camille Vidal-Naquet’s blistering drama “Sauvage/ Wild.” Léo is seen plying his trade with various customers when not taking drugs or sleeping wherever he can (often in the street itself). Léo is not well; he has a bad cough and he’s got it bad — that is, is in love with — Ahd (Eric Bernard), a sexy gay-for-pay hustler pal who looks out for him but doesn’t love Léo back. Comment
Arts

Terrors of the Body

Arts

Terrors of the Body

In space, no one can hear your existential terror. Sorry for the Dad joke, but French director Claire Denis’ “High Life” returns to a mode of arthouse sci-fi that flourished briefly in the wake of “2001: A Space Odyssey” but has been commercially marginal after “Star Wars” let the geeky boys take back the genre. Denis creates a more palatable version of the misanthropy expressed in her horror film “Trouble Every Day” and incest drama “Bastards.” As she has said, “ ‘High Life’ speaks only of desire and fluids.” Comment
Arts

Our Worse Selves

Arts

Our Worse Selves

Jordan Peele’s directorial debut, “Get Out,” is one of the most acclaimed American films of this decade. Needless to say, his second film “Us” arrives in theaters with a lot of baggage, particularly because the reception of “Get Out” felt like a political event as much as a cultural one. Comment
The Belgian drama “Girl,” directed by out gay Flemish filmmaker Lukas Dhont, is a character study depicting the true story of Lara (Victor Polster), a 15-year-old born biologically as a boy who wants to be a ballerina. Comment
Arts

Murders She Wrote

Arts

Murders She Wrote

Out gay actor Nicolas Maury steals his every scene in director Yann Gonzalez’s audacious thriller, “Knife+Heart,” set in the gay adult film industry in Paris, 1979. Comment
Arts

Art Made from Gangsters

Arts

Art Made from Gangsters

Chinese director Jia Zhangke is now 48 and is in the unusual position of being the leading representative of Chinese cinema at North American and European festivals and arthouses while having found a comfortable place at home. I don’t think he wanted his image as a dissident in the eyes of Western cinephiles. Comment
Arts

Transcendence in the Stillness

Arts

Transcendence in the Stillness

Making a very long film says “this story warrants more than a casual two hours in a movie theater or, especially, in front of a TV set.” Comment
Arts

Art Supplanting Life

Arts

Art Supplanting Life

Ondi Timoner’s canny, episodic biopic “Mapplethorpe” chronicles significant moments in the last 20 years of the famed gay photographer’s life. It also features dozens of the artist’s indelible images. Robert (Matt Smith) is first seen in his dorm room at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn in 1969. He soon meets Patti Smith (Marianne Rendón), and they become friends, supporting each other and moving into the Chelsea Hotel. At the hotel, a neighbor encourages Robert to take photographs. Comment
LGBTQ stars and those playing queer on screen arrived at the Oscars Sunday night well-dressed and left well-decorated, capping off an historic year of queer representation in the film industry. Comment
Arts

Foreign Cinema’s Survivor

Arts

Foreign Cinema’s Survivor

Francophilia and cinephilia have long gone hand in hand. While the market for subtitled films in the US has changed greatly, we still get to see more films from France than any other country outside the multiplex circuit for mainstream cinema from India and China. Comment
Arts

Trade and Tradition

Arts

Trade and Tradition

The gangster film is based in a mythology that has proved remarkably malleable across history. If it started in the US, filmmakers in France, Italy, Japan, South Korea, and Hong Kong (just to begin with) have put their own stamp on it. An international conversation has always taken place through the genre, reflecting the history and values of each nation that has adopted it. Comment
Lean into the offbeat rhythms of out gay writer/ director Christophe Honoré’s sophisticated new film “Sorry Angel” and absorb all its romantic splendor. This intimate, affecting drama, set in 1993, alternates between Jacques (Pierre Deladonchamps), an HIV-positive writer in Paris, and Arthur (Vincent Lacoste), a Breton. Comment
Arts

Fraught Thriller Too Far Afield

Arts

Fraught Thriller Too Far Afield

The concept of the “elevated genre film” has recently become fashionable. Critic Bilge Ebiri wrote an essay about it for Vulture last year, which offered a provisional definition: “The demands of genre — the jump scares, the spectacle, the pulse-pounding suspense, etc. — become secondary to the movies’ emotional undercurrents and the filmmakers’ aesthetic and thematic obsessions.” Comment
Arts

Playing With Passions, Not Fire

Arts

Playing With Passions, Not Fire

“The Gospel of Eureka” is out gay filmmakers Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher’s engaging and even-handed documentary about Eureka Springs, Arkansas, which narrator Mx. Justin Vivian Bond describes as, “a place where stories come to life.” Comments (1)
Arts

Dreams and Their Demise

Arts

Dreams and Their Demise

In “The Wild Pear Tree,” Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan creates his own time and space to relate a period in the life of Sinan (Dogu Demirkol), a young man who aspires to be a novelist. […] Comment
On the heels of high visibility LGBTQ representation at the Golden Globes, queer actors, characters, and filmmakers made another splash in the Academy Award nominations on Tuesday. Comments (1)
Jean-Luc Godard’s “The Image Book” is a demonstration of thinking through and about images and sounds that makes most other films now playing New York look awfully basic. A much condensed follow-up to Godard’s four-hour “Histoire(s) du Cinéma,” it shows the uselessness of labels like “documentary,” “avant-garde film,” and “essay-film” or even “post-cinema,” when faced with something that spans all four. Comment
Doubtless you’ve been reading a lot about Kevin Spacey lately. The chickens — or in this case chickenhawks — have come home to roost for the two-time Academy Award-winning actor whose penchant for “barely legal” youths has been well-known for decades and completely tolerated by an entertainment industry that will stand for anything insofar as the person responsible has “market value.” Comments (6)
Arts

The Oppression Within

Arts

The Oppression Within

“The Heiresses,” Paraguay’s official Oscar submission, is a subtle and moving character study about Chela (Ana Brun), whose lover, Chiquita (Margarita Irun), is sent to prison for bank fraud. Alone and adrift, Chela drives her neighbor Pituca (María Martins) around to card games. Eventually, she meets Angy (Ana Ivanova), a beautiful young woman who also employs Chela’s taxi service. Comments (1)
Arts

Liberating the Body

Arts

Liberating the Body

When Romanian director Adina Pintilie’s “Touch Me Not” won the top prize at the 2018 Berlin Film Festival, it wasn’t a typical consensus favorite. The scenes at a BDSM club have made some spectators and critics uneasy. But “Touch Me Not” isn’t softcore porn; if anything, it’s painfully earnest. Pintilie’s film is a hybrid of fiction and documentary elements whose premise evokes Steven Soderbergh’s “sex, lies and videotape.” Pinitilie depicts herself on a quest to show subjects searching for intimacy and trying to find sex and love in a world with very narrow beauty standards. Comment

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