Screening Log: March 2016

Guide to Numerical Ratings The Flowers of St. Francis (Rossellini, 1950, 6.8/10) A powerful — if very, very slow — deliberation on Christianity that is at once critical of and awe-struck by the powers of religion. Rossellini alternates between devout adherence and sharp inquisition within the space of a few scenes. Black Narcissus (Powell/Pressburger, 1947,…

List: Top 30 Films of the Decade So Far

1. Certified Copy (Abbas Kiarostami) 2. Neighboring Sounds (Kleber Mendonca Filho) 3. Tabu (Miguel Gomes) 4. Carol (Todd Haynes) 5. Museum Hours (Jem Cohen) 6. A Separation (Asghar Farhadi) 7. Toy Story 3 (Lee Unkrich) 8. Under the Skin (Jonathan Glazer) 9. Arabian Nights: Vol. 1-3 (Miguel Gomes) 10. Fire at Sea (Gianfranco Rosi) 11. Closed Curtain…

The Child Heroes of Abbas Kiarostami’s Cinema

*This essay was originally published at Movie Mezzanine. Abbas Kiarostami’s cinema was only discovered outside of Iran in the late 1980s, when Where is the Friend’s Home? (1987) was screened at the Locarno International Film Festival and won several awards. By then, the director had been active in the industry for nearly two decades and…

Interview: Joshua Oppenheimer and Adi on ‘The Look of Silence’

*This interview was originally published at The Film Experience. I first fell in love with Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Look of Silence in September 2014, at TIFF. It was the last, and best, film I watched at that festival, and it left an emotional mark that I lived with for days. I caught up with the…

Screening Log: February 2016

Rio Corgo (Kosa/da Costa, 2016, 8.7/10) A charming, droll and enchantingly beautiful meditation on aging and loneliness, set in the magnificent vistas of rural Portugal. This is a completely immersive visual and emotional experience. Valderama (Amini, 2016, 5.8/10) The dramatic beats of this film — about a young boy who’s forced to leave his small…

88th Academy Awards Predictions

There was a time, several years ago, when I followed the so-called “awards season” rigorously. Although I find the whole charade to be rather tedious and bloated these days, I feel no shame in admitting that my entry into the world of cinephilia — and writing about films — began with awards, and I do…

Berlinale: Fuocoammare Wins the Golden Bear

*This article was published at The Film Experience as part of the coverage of the 66th Berlinale. The Berlinale officially closed today. Although we’re not yet finished with our coverage – a couple of interviews still to come – it’s the perfect time to look back and discuss the festival’s awards. In my review of…

Soy Nero

*This review was originally published at The Film Experience as part of the coverage of the 66th Berlinale. Rafi Pitts’s first film made outside of his native Iran tells the story of Nero Maldonado (Johnny Ortiz), a young Mexican boy who dreams of following his older brother’s footsteps across the northern border to obtain American…

Alone in Berlin

*This review was originally published at The Film Experience as part of the coverage of the 66th Berlinale. Alone in Berlin, adapted from the novel ‘Every Man Dies Alone’ by Hans Fallada and directed by former actor Vincent Pérez, is about justice, and you best believe that. The film wants you to know this so…

Genius

*This review was originally published at The Film Experience as part of the coverage of the 66th Berlinale. Berlinale is known for inviting one or two Hollywood pictures to the festival every year to add glamour to the sprawling selection of mostly arthouse curios. One of those films in this year’s edition was Michael Grandage’s…

Being 17

*This review was originally published at The Film Experience as part of the coverage of the 66th Berlinale. Téchiné has been an ever present figure on the European festival circuit, though the top prize has always eluded him. His latest film, Being 17 (Quand on a 17 ans) is unlikely to change that pattern at…