• None of Your Business

    None of Your Business

    ★★★★

    Program notes for Kamran Heidari's Spectacle retrospective now up here: www.spectacletheater.com/kamran-heidari/?fbclid=IwAR1sFxZFIPutUSkAwihjJE_a8ERwtVnrm_lelpKXlqkGDaxSSmS8GBANm-g. Note: this film is brand new, and we will be presenting its world premiere! It takes Kamran Heidari's work to a new level of ambition, and I'm very excited to be able to help bring it to an American audience.

  • Maya

    Maya

    ★★½

    Comments in my article on "Rendez-vous with French Cinema": www.gaycitynews.nyc/stories/2019/5/french-film-2019-02-28-gcn.html

  • The Human Pyramid

    The Human Pyramid

    ★★★½

    Jean Rouch's experiment in trying to solve racism through friendship between white French people and Africans in the Ivory Coast ends on a note that now seems painfully naive, but along the way we get some fascinating interactions built on an attempt to improvise fiction on a documentary foundation. For Rouch, the real point of this film was what took place off-screen, between its actors, but something worthy made it onto the project anyway.

  • The Trouble with You

    The Trouble with You

    ★★★

    Comments in my article on "Rendez-vous with French Cinema": www.gaycitynews.nyc/stories/2019/5/french-film-2019-02-28-gcn.html

  • Tongues Untied

    Tongues Untied

    ★★★★

    As so much of the American left becomes convinced that "identity politics" has to come at the expense of economic justice and fighting against racism and homophobia should go on the back burner, this film's insistence on the specificity of black gay male experience is tonic and hasn't dated much in the 30 years since it was made. The way its form drew from poetry and the essay instead of aiming for straightforward documentary (despite the many shots of men filmed against a black background speaking directly to the camera) was ahead of its time.

  • Mister Frost

    Mister Frost

    ★★½

    Feels like a spec script that would've been sent to Jonathan Demme after THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS or David Fincher after SEVEN (although made earlier than either film), but the concept and execution are direct-to-video silliness that never rises above mediocrity. At least two thirds of the shots must be close-ups (I'm being generous), and the editing is choppy and awkward (it looks like some shot/reverse-shot sequences were cut from actors filmed separately, with quite different lighting.)

  • Smile

    Smile

    ★★★★

    This might have seemed like an ordinary American film of 1975, but it represents a kind of cinema that's vanished from the mainstream now. In 2019, the regional setting and large cast made me think of A BREAD FACTORY. The cinematography is grainy. The tone wanders all over the place, from horndog sex comedy to serious satire (but not too impressed with itself) to a few fairly dark moments. It avoids depicting much of the central beauty contest in favor of the human drama happening around it. Its characters often seem ridiculous, but the film never reduces them to that quality.

  • Ali Aqa

    Ali Aqa

    ★★★★

    Program notes for the Kamran Heidari series I curated at Spectacle in April here: www.spectacletheater.com/kamran-heidari/?fbclid=IwAR1sFxZFIPutUSkAwihjJE_a8ERwtVnrm_lelpKXlqkGDaxSSmS8GBANm-g

  • Birds of Passage

    Birds of Passage

    ★★★½

    Here's my review: www.gaycitynews.nyc/stories/2019/4/birds-film-2019-02-14-gcn.html?fbclid=IwAR3iihdm0bh5CwTUq3PFhEsvvsrRV_uoDs1Ybd7YVmfRw2Sf6-ixWjZBcQ4

  • The Heiresses

    The Heiresses

    ★★★

    The style of THE HEIRESSES seems to designed to reflect the impact of a life spent in the closest. The film seems most comfortable dealing with this subject indirectly, but it's the story of 60-ish lesbian Chela's (Ana Brun) tentative steps towards liberation after her partner is imprisoned for fraud and she is able to drop the facade that she's wealthy and find new friends. But if director Marcelo Martinessi has cited Fassbinder's THE BITTER TEARS OF PETRA VON KANT…

  • A Dream Longer Than the Night

    A Dream Longer Than the Night

    ★★★★

    I've been very impressed by the 2 films directed by Niki de Saint Phalle, who was best known as a sculptor. They're very playful, to the point of whimsy, but also have a sense of menace. This comes across much stronger in DADDY, which was inspired by her personal experiences as a survivor of incest. UN REVE PLUS LONG QUE LA NUIT is lighter in tone, but it depicts her child alter ego navigating a sexually charged fantasy world. Both…

  • Soni

    Soni

    ★★★½

    This is an Indian film, but not a Bollywood one, as one can tell from the muted cinematography, cluttered production design, complex and flawed female characters, and narrative grounding in political corruption and the effects of casual and glaring misogyny. It's closer to 2000s Romanian cinema, with a touch of the TV show HOMICIDE: LIFE ON THE STREET. But while all of the above is effective and suggests a genuine vision from director Ivan Ayr, it winds up feeling overly…