Since the mid-1970s, the artists Angela Ricci Lucchi and Yervant Gianikian have built a remarkable body of work across a range of media — from films and installations to drawings and expanded cinema performances. Following Ricci Lucchi’s death last year, their new collaboration would seem to be their last. Completed by Gianikian after his partner’s death, Angela’s Diaries – Two Filmmakers (Il Diario di Angela – Noi Due Cineasti) collages the couple’s meticulous documentation of their lives, work, and travels, offering the rare chance to explore the mercurial and utterly … Read the rest
PARIS — It began as a biopic. In 2005, Ilya Khrzhanovsky — a young Russian director — set out to tell the story of Lev Landau, the Nobel Prize-winning Soviet physicist. The effort soon ballooned into the most ambitious film project of all time. Backed by oligarch cash, Khrzhanovsky hired thousands of “participants” and built a massive set — an attempted recreation of a mid-century research facility — on the outskirts of Kharkiv, Ukraine. He called this set “the Institute.”
From 2009 to 2011, the amateur actors stayed more or less in character. They lived like full-time historical reenactors, dressing in Stalin-era clothes, earning and spending Soviet rubles, doing their jobs: as scientists, officers, cleaners, … Read the rest
PARK CITY, Utah — One of the challenges of translating an election race to the big screen, once we know the winners and their faces, is retaining the urgency and relevancy of that continued fight. Politics thrives on a fickle memory. It’s a good thing then, that Rachel Lears directs Knock Down the House, a documentary tracing the campaigns of four insurgent female candidates challenging incumbent Democratic candidates in the 2018 primary elections.
Throughout the documentary’s 86-minute runtime, Lears concerns herself with deftly capturing the “feeling” of unwavering optimism, hardened resolve, crushing disappointment, and infinitesimal change that … Read the rest
For the 14th year, ShortsTV and Magnolia Pictures have teamed up to publicly screen the 15 films nominated for the Academy Awards’ three shorts categories: Best Live Action Short Film, Best Animated Short Film, and Best Documentary (Short Subject). With the Oscars ceremony in continual uncertainty, it’s possible some or all of these categories will be among the ones relegated to getting handed out during commercial breaks. The selections, though, are idiosyncratic, with a few gems mixed among some truly bizarre picks.
Some of the nominees invite comparison. The documentaries Black Sheep and A Night at the Garden both tackle racism and white supremacy. Black Sheep is a first-person profile of a black youth relating how he survived his family’s … Read the rest
The first five minutes of this bang, and I maintained hope for it quite a long way in. But,no – I’m sorry to report that it’s a load of toot.
This is a boilerplate 90-minute action film centred around a bodyguard, but the twist is – gasp! – it’s only a bloody woman! That’s right folks, it’s that Flashdance opening sequence all over again: there’s a welder, welding away, being a man, as per usual, nothing to see here, until the welding mask comes off and – wait, what??? It can’t be… it is! It’s a WOMAN!
Spoiled poor little rich girl, Zoe (Sophie Nélisse) has just inherited her father’s phosphate mines and must hang out in a safe house in Morocco for a … Read the rest
Some minds are cornucopias; sources of creative ephemera. Such is the case for artists and photographers Nicholas Kahn and Richard Selesnick, a dream team bringing fairytales to life for the new millennium.… Read the rest
Rob Stewart’s new documentary will make you want to save the ocean’s top predator… Read the rest
Elliptical, self-effacing, and subdued, Fabrizio Terranova’s Donna Haraway: Story Telling for Earthly Survival (2016) is no ordinary talking-head documentary about the influential philosopher, thinker, and scholar. Set in and around her forestial California home, which Terranova conceives as an assembled space with filmic techniques, the documentary (screening this week at Anthology Film Archives) is at once a glimpse into Haraway’s life and a casual credo exuding her way of thinking.
Although it’s a daunting task to summarize the depth and breadth of Haraway’s complex and abstract thoughts, to put it generally and briefly, she is a feminist whose beliefs are not rooted in out-and-out environmentalism, … Read the rest
This year’s Academy Award nominees in the Animated Short Film category are kind of downer for a medium that’s often associated with uplifting children’s fare. In “Dear Basketball,” director Glen Keane partners with basketball legend Kobe Bryant to tell the story of the star’s retirement from the sport. The French “Garden Party” follows a cadre of amphibians as they pick over the detritus of a luxurious party at an opulent estate mysteriously devoid of residents. Pixar’s “Lou” begins with a playground bully robbing children of their cherished toys, and “Negative” Space features a character mourning his absentee father. Finally, the framing device of “Revolting Rhymes” — the … Read the rest
TIRADENTES, Brazil — A foreigner arriving here — a pristine baroque town in Minas Gerais, the site of Portugal’s colonial-era gold mines — may not know that it’s a place where cultural and social tensions are at a boiling point. Tiradentes is a major tourist destination, but much more importantly, it’s also where, for 21 years, Brazil’s pioneering indie film festival, Mostra de Cinema de Tiradentes, has brazenly set the course for the country’s cinema. Now the festival increasingly channels anger about the status quo.