Documentaries About Remembrance and Cultural Celebration in the 2022 BlackStar Film Festival

From Kash Kash (2022), dir. Lea Najjar (all images courtesy BlackStar Film Festival) Lea Najjar’s debut Kash Kash defies expectations. Countering the smoke that floats upwards from the devastating 2020 explosion in Beirut, Najjar’s gaze jumps sideways. We go from one rooftop to another, observing three men in a game of kash hamam — players … Read more

An Experimental AI Film Director Calls it Quits

In 2018, the Eye Filmmuseum in Amsterdam welcomed its first robot filmmaker: “Jan Bot” is an artificial intelligence tasked with producing experimental short films using the material in the museum’s archives. Each day, Jan Bot scours the web for trending topics, then takes them as inspiration for abstract interpretations. Creators Pablo Núñez Palma and Bram … Read more

The Art of Making It Is a Film for Those Who Haven’t Been Paying Attention

If you’re a frequent reader of this website*, this won’t come as a shock to you (otherwise, are you sitting down?), but the art world currently faces myriad issues of exploitation, pay inequity, sexism, racism, ableism, and much more, often on multiple intersecting systemic and institutional levels. For those who haven’t been keeping up, the … Read more

A Film Asks: What Is Home? 

CHICAGO — “Home is a place where you try to leave,” muses Işin over breakfast in her Manhattan apartment. She is reflecting on the impossibility of living and working in Turkey, her native land, as a curator of contemporary art who has taken a stand against the regime of President Recep Erdoğan. She is thinking, … Read more

Beware! Horror Film Master Dario Argento Is Coming to NYC

From Suspiria (1977), dir. Dario Argento (all images courtesy Film at Lincoln Center) In the fall of 2019, when Film at Lincoln Center’s extensive Dario Argento retrospective was first scheduled to premiere, it seemed possible to catch a screening of Suspiria in New York City without even intending to. When the 1977 film wasn’t showing … Read more

What Documentaries to Catch at This Year’s Tribeca Film Festival

The Tribeca Film Festival provides one of the most wide-ranging menus of new documentaries that New Yorkers can catch all in one place. There are biographies of musicians ranging from Sinéad O’Connor to Lil Baby to The DOC. Sports figures like Colin Kaepernick, John McEnroe, Derek Jeter, and Jeremy Lin have their own profiles. Activists … Read more

All Men Are Evil, According to This Film

If it isn’t evident from the basic-to-the-point-of-elemental title, Men is thematically ambitious. The latest heady thriller from writer/director Alex Garland posits an alternate version of the Biblical creation myth. While a lot of the film is open to interpretation, this aspect is fairly blatant. Early on the protagonist Harper (Jessie Buckley) picks a crisp apple … Read more

A Film Follows Wayward Lovers in the 13th Arrondissement of Paris

There are titles aplenty in the genre of French romantic dramedies about fetching young people negotiating their romantic entanglements in Paris — hell, even filtering things through tasteful black and white doesn’t narrow the field down much. Still, Paris, 13th District finds enough specificity, as well as a distinct vibe of actual sensuality, to stand … Read more

Years After its Release, a Film about Ukraine’s Donbass Region Seems Relevant Again

Donbass, a film from prolific Ukrainian director Sergei Loznitsa, is a series of 13 vignettes which take place in the namesake eastern region of Ukraine. In the wake of the 2014 Maidan Revolution, armed uprisings amongst the Russian-speaking segment of the population resulted in the formation of the separatist Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics. Since … Read more