2018 San Francisco International Film Festival—Part 1
Contemporary life, and those who make films about it (in Iran, the US, Russia, Switzerland, Kyrgyzstan …)
By David Walsh, 18 April 2018
The San Francisco International Film Festival, founded in 1957 and one of the longest-running such events in the Americas, this year screened some 180 films from 45 countries.
Director of The Loves of a Blonde, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Amadeus
By David Walsh, 16 April 2018
Forman was originally identified with the so-called Czech New Wave, a group of directors whose lively and honest films came to international prominence in the mid-1960s.
By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 9 April 2018
The result is surprisingly optimistic and confident, not what one might have expected from Fassbinder, known for his emotionally dark, harsh and even cynical films.
68th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 8
By Bernd Reinhardt, 6 April 2018
Two feature films, part of the Berlin International Film Festival retrospective section, reflect a militant mood among workers in the late 1920s, in particular their striving for a common struggle and international solidarity.
68th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 7
By Bernd Reinhardt, 3 April 2018
The major retrospective at this year’s Berlinale, “Weimar Cinema Revisited,” presented films—along with their directors in many cases—that have been forgotten for decades.
By Sybille Fuchs, 2 April 2018
Babylon Berlin’s action takes place in the German capital, then the third largest municipality in the world, at the end of the so-called Golden Years of the Weimar Republic (1919-1933).
By Joanne Laurier, 30 March 2018
Alfred Hitchcock’s masterpiece, Vertigo, endures as one of the most troubling American films of the postwar period.
By David Walsh, 28 March 2018
Set in London in the 1950s, Anderson’s film concerns the relationship between a celebrated fashion designer, Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis), and a young woman, Alma (Vicky Krieps).
68th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 5
By Verena Nees, 26 March 2018
Karim Aïnouz’s impressive documentary about the mass housing of refugees at the former Berlin Tempelhof Airport was awarded the Amnesty International Film Prize.
Shedding light on the conditions of “millions of women in the shadows of mainstream America”
By Norisa Diaz, 24 March 2018
The 28-year-old Swedish director, Niclas Gillis, represents a new generation of artists and filmmakers responding to inequality and social misery.
By Nick Barrickman, 23 March 2018
Far from rejecting Black Panther’s “pro-black” message, white racists have endorsed its depiction of a feudal African monarchy whose rulers have sealed the borders.
68th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 4
By Stefan Steinberg, 22 March 2018
A handful of movies at the 2018 Berlinale dealt powerfully and insightfully with the European Union’s criminal policy toward refugees.
68th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 3
By Stefan Steinberg, 20 March 2018
The events surrounding Kurt Waldheim’s campaign and subsequent election in 1985-86 played a major role in uncovering the real role played by the Austrian ruling elite in the Second World War.
By Hiram Lee, 19 March 2018
Italian director Guadagnino’s film is beautifully photographed, and the performances are generally very good. Why, then, does the whole thing feel so flat?
By Joanne Laurier, 17 March 2018
Woody Allen’s newest film, Wonder Wheel, set in the 1950s, involves four characters whose unhappy lives become entwined in Coney Island—New York’s iconic amusement park.
68th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 2
By Stefan Steinberg, 16 March 2018
Three films at this year’s festival shed a piercing light on social relations in the United States.
68th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 1
By Stefan Steinberg and Verena Nees, 14 March 2018
The 68th Berlin Film Festival, whose 2018 edition ended February 25, is the world’s largest film festival open to the public.
By George Morley, 13 March 2018
Warwick Thornton’s second feature is a visually striking and powerful historical drama, which confronts audiences with some ugly truths about Australia’s colonial past.
By Carlos Delgado, 12 March 2018
The film depicts the life and times of Tonya Harding, the former Olympic figure skater who became the center of a media firestorm after the assault on rival Nancy Kerrigan in 1994.
By David Walsh, 9 March 2018
Ianucci’s new film about the demise of the gravedigger of the Russian Revolution is not so much maliciously anticommunist as it is, above all, historically clueless.
By David Walsh, 6 March 2018
The 90th Academy Awards ceremony Sunday night, as one media commentator observed, “passed off without a hitch.” How unfortunate.
By Fred Mazelis, 1 March 2018
Filmmaker Raoul Peck discusses his portrait of the young Marx and Engels.
By Stefan Steinberg, 26 February 2018
Nazif Mujić, according to first accounts, has died in extreme poverty in the impoverished hamlet of Svatovac in Bosnia.
By Richard Phillips, 23 February 2018
Emma Franz’s film is a fascinating overview of Frisell’s creative work and his constant search for new musical challenges.
By Richard Phillips, 23 February 2018
Filmmaker and musician Emma Franz speaks about her latest documentary and the political and artistic conceptions that informed her approach.
By Nick Barrickman, 22 February 2018
Hailed as a milestone in African American and film history, Black Panther is, in fact, a vacuous superhero blockbuster that does not withstand a moment of serious reflection.
Failed by the State co-writer and presenter Ish: “I wasn’t trying to push agendas, I was just trying to tell the truth about Grenfell.”
By Robert Stevens, 16 February 2018
The World Socialist Web Site interviewed Ish about the making of Failed by the State, a documentary on the Grenfell fire, and the attack launched against it by the Daily Beast and right-wing newspapers in Britain.
By Zac Corrigan, 12 February 2018
After allegations of sexual misconduct against Louis C.K. became public, the distributor pulled the film, one week before its scheduled opening in November.
Is it “all about the money” or all about race?
By David Walsh, 2 February 2018
Jeff Daniels’ drama is currently being performed at the Purple Rose Theatre in Chelsea, Michigan, some 60 miles west of Detroit. The play will run until March 10.
Marshall and #MeToo: A 77-year-old civil rights fight exposes the reactionary character of the sexual misconduct witch-hunt
By Fred Mazelis, 1 February 2018
The 1941 case, in which a black man was acquitted of rape charges, poses awkward questions for those who dismiss due process in their campaign against sexual harassment, both real and alleged.
By Hiram Lee, 29 January 2018
Veteran Hollywood actress Dorothy Malone, who appeared in the Douglas Sirk classic Written on the Wind, has died at the age of 93.
By Joanne Laurier, 26 January 2018
The classic film, based on the 1927 novel by German author B. Traven, is the tale of two down-and-out Americans in Mexico who join with an older prospector to dig for gold.
By David Walsh, 26 January 2018
The author of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre was the left-wing writer known as B. Traven. Considerable mystery surrounds Traven, some of it sustained by the writer himself during his lifetime.
By Hiram Lee, 24 January 2018
Guillermo del Toro’s film The Shape of Water led with thirteen nominations. Christopher Nolan’s World War II drama Dunkirk received eight nominations, while Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri received seven.
By Kevin Martinez, 18 January 2018
Morbid and banal, the story concerns a mother battling local authorities to find the killer of her daughter. Unsurprisingly, it has won considerable acclaim from the arts establishment, including the recent Golden Globes.
By Joanne Laurier, 17 January 2018
The new film recounts the internal struggle at the Washington Post over whether or not to publish the Pentagon Papers in 1971.
By Trévon Austin and David Walsh, 9 January 2018
This year’s Golden Globes award ceremony, organized by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, was a spectacle of self-absorption and self-pity.
By Joanne Laurier, 5 January 2018
Probably the most important thing about Ridley Scott’s new film, an account of the 1973 kidnapping of J. Paul Getty III, is the decision to erase Spacey’s performance. The Shape of Water is a charming “fairy tale,” with anti-authoritarian overtones.
Director of A World Not Ours, A Man Returned and A Drowning Man
An interview with Palestinian filmmaker Mahdi Fleifel: “A film is like a historical document, it should be solid enough to endure”
By David Walsh, 4 January 2018
Fleifel’s A World Not Ours (2012), Xenos (2014), A Man Returned (2016) and A Drowning Man (2017) are some of the important films currently being made.
Short films considered for Academy Award nominations: Emmett Till, a Jack London story and an isolated child
By Joanne Laurier, 3 January 2018
Ten films have been voted onto the Academy Award short list in the “Best Short Film (Live Action)” category.
By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 30 December 2017
It is impossible to discuss the best films of the year without considering some big social and cultural issues.
Remarkable collection of early Soviet films on DVD: The New Man—Awakening and Everyday Life in Revolutionary Russia
By Bernd Reinhardt, 29 December 2017
A notable collection of early Soviet films has been released on DVD in Germany to coincide with the centenary of the October Revolution.
By Joanne Laurier, 23 December 2017
Payne’s latest work is a science-fiction satire that proposes to solve the earth’s ecological and other problems by “downsizing,” or physically shrinking, human beings.
By Carlos Delgado, 21 December 2017
The two films are sometimes charming, occasionally amusing and generally benign. But something is missing.
By Matthew MacEgan, 19 December 2017
The third Star Wars film released by Disney does little to break with the prescribed formula. Bombast and some surprises fail to carry good talent to meaningful places.
… and a word on James Franco’s The Disaster Artist
By Joanne Laurier, 15 December 2017
Dee Rees’s Mudbound centers on two families, one black and one white, in rural Mississippi, immediately following World War II.The Disaster Artist is a decidedly slight effort.
By Paul Bond, 14 December 2017
A new three-part documentary shows how the Grenfell Tower inferno exposed the realities of class oppression and social inequality in the most brutal way.
By Joanne Laurier, 8 December 2017
Directed by Bharat Nalluri, the film is a biographical fantasy that brings a reinvention of A Christmas Carol (1843), with Dickens as a central character, to the screen.
By Joanne Laurier, 2 December 2017
Dan Gilroy’s Roman J. Israel, Esq. is a legal drama with an anti-establishment slant.
James Cameron’s 1997 film showing in the US for one week
Why are the critics lauding Titanic?
By David Walsh, 29 November 2017
To mark 20 years since its release in December 1997, James Cameron’s Titanic is being shown in 87 theaters in the US for a week, starting December 1. We are marking the occasion by re-posting two comments on Titanic that appeared on the WSWS in January and February 1998.
What the WSWS said about Titanic 20 years ago
By David Walsh, 29 November 2017
Originally posted February 25, 1998
By Fred Mazelis, 25 November 2017
In seeking to bolster illusions in the Democratic Party and the myth of an unsullied American democracy, both of these films obscure more than they reveal.
“And what if you track down these men and kill them? ... Even Nazis can’t kill that fast”
By Joanne Laurier, 22 November 2017
Michael Curtiz’s 1942 beloved melodrama, Casablanca, celebrating its 75th anniversary, was recently shown in select cinemas nationwide in the US.
By Carlos Delgado, 20 November 2017
The film, a sequel to the 1982 original, stars Ryan Gosling as a police officer who hunts down “synthetic humans” in futuristic Los Angeles.
1917: The Real October—An animated documentary by Katrin Rothe
By Sybille Fuchs, 17 November 2017
The two-time Grimme Award-winner Kathrin Rothe portrays the events of February to October 1917 in Russia from the viewpoint of a number of artists.
Cottbus Festival of Eastern European Cinema
From Slovenia, Jan Cvitkovič’s The Basics of Killing: “We are all alone in capitalist society, especially when things go wrong”
By Stefan Steinberg, 16 November 2017
The “basics of killing” are the social measures and pressures that can destroy the lives of entire families in a short time.
By Eric London, 15 November 2017
The film is an aesthetic and political milestone and Ai’s imagery is unforgettable because it is real. But in its political orientation, Human Flow lags far behind.
By David Walsh, 14 November 2017
The new film, which involves two Vietnam War veterans who help a third bury his son, killed in Iraq, is set in December 2003. It is an indirect sequel of The Last Detail (1973).
The Last Hour (La Hora Final) and Peru’s ongoing glorification of its military and intelligence forces
By Armando Cruz, 13 November 2017
A superficial and cliché-ridden work, the film’s most fatal weakness is its complete lack of seriousness in dealing with the historical and social forces that gave rise to Shining Path.
By Joanne Laurier, 9 November 2017
Jason Hall’s directorial debut, Thank You for Your Service, is a drama about three soldiers returning from the Iraq War and their difficulties adjusting to civilian life.
By David Walsh, 7 November 2017
A would-be “black comedy,” directed and co-written by George Clooney, Suburbicon is set in 1959 in a bland suburban community.
By Joanne Laurier, 2 November 2017
The Florida Project focuses imaginatively and sympathetically on the “hidden homeless” who eke out a bare-bones existence in the shadow of Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
Lifetime movie on the water disaster will air October 28
By Joanne Laurier, 27 October 2017
The film, directed by Bruce Beresford, was inspired by the ongoing Flint water crisis and bases itself more immediately on a February 2016 Time magazine report, “The Poisoning of an American City.”
By Joanne Laurier, 19 October 2017
The Polish-UK production is a tribute to the great artist and an attempt to bring his life and work to a wide international audience.
By Joanne Laurier, 19 October 2017
Natalie Gregorarz, a 27 year-old artist from the Detroit area, was one of the artists involved in the making of Loving Vincent.
By Tom Hall, 18 October 2017
The seventh show in the long-running science fiction franchise is a grim and militaristic special-effects extravaganza that largely repudiates the optimistic view of the future of earlier Star Trek television shows.
Toronto International Film Festival: Part 5
By Joanne Laurier, 4 October 2017
The Hansberry documentary presents a straightforward and enlightening picture of a woman who was smart, sensitive and rebellious, tragically dying of pancreatic cancer at the age of 34.
Toronto International Film Festival: Part 4
The Death of Stalin, The Other Side of Everything, Insyriated—The filmmakers’ inability to deal with complex questions, or worse
By David Walsh, 30 September 2017
Several films on political and historical questions underscore ongoing intellectual and artistic difficulties.
Toronto International Film Festival: Part 3
The Current War—about Edison, electricity and the 1880s—and Alexander Payne’s Downsizing—about “downsizing”
By Joanne Laurier, 28 September 2017
The Current War deals with the conflict between Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla. Downsizing is a semi-comic attempt to treat the earth’s ecological crisis.
By Kevin Martinez, 27 September 2017
Dehumanizing and brutal, Aronofsky’s new film fails on nearly every conceivable level.
Toronto International Film Festival 2017: Part 2
By David Walsh, 26 September 2017
Certain films at the recent Toronto film festival depict reality in important ways.
Toronto International Film Festival 2017
An interview with Stephan Komandarev, director of Directions: “The first step is to have a clear picture of what’s happening. I don’t see any other way.”
By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 26 September 2017
We spoke with Bulgarian filmmaker Stephan Komandarev, the writer-director of Directions, in Toronto.
Toronto International Film Festival 2017: Part 1
Trouble in paradise: A comment on the economics and politics of the Toronto International Film Festival
By David Walsh, 22 September 2017
This year’s event screened 255 feature films, a 14 percent decline from a year ago, when the festival presented 296 features, and the lowest number of full-length films in a decade.
By David Walsh, 13 September 2017
The Last Tycoon is an American television series about Hollywood and the film industry in the 1930s. The first and last season of the series, which emanates from Amazon Studios, comprises nine episodes.
By David Walsh, 31 August 2017
The Last Face, about relief workers in Africa, met with a savage critical response at the Cannes film festival. Meanwhile, the American film industry is deservedly suffering through one of its worst summers in decades.
By Joanne Laurier, 30 August 2017
Two current films, Ingrid Goes West, a cautionary tale about social media, and Wind River, a murder investigation near a Native American reservation, skirt around significant issues.
By David Walsh, 26 August 2017
The new film is set in West Virginia and North Carolina and involves the robbery of the Charlotte Motor Speedway during a major race.
By Charles Bogle, 17 August 2017
This collection samples the work of 14 early women directors (1902-1943). International in scope, the anthology brings to light the important contributions that these directors made to the development of film as an art form.
By Alejandro López, 14 August 2017
The glorification of the military is a response to the growing inter-imperialist tensions and the drive to war, which have been intensified by the installation of an aggressively nationalist and protectionist administration in the US.
By Joanne Laurier, 7 August 2017
Set in the early 1990s, Amnesia is an exploration of German historical memory and the impact of the legacy of Nazism on sections of the middle class after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
By Kevin Martinez, 5 August 2017
In 1989, before the fall of the Berlin Wall, MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton is sent to retrieve a secret list hidden in a wristwatch that has the names of every active agent in the Soviet Union.
By Ed Hightower, 1 August 2017
In a number of ways, Hulu’s serialization of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel challenges the viewer to oppose the status quo.
By Joanne Laurier, 28 July 2017
Bigelow’s film is a fictionalized account of an incident that occurred during the July 1967 rebellion in Detroit, the cold-blooded murder of three young black men by police at the Algiers Motel.
By Clare Hurley, 27 July 2017
The subject of Matt Tyrnauer’s documentary is journalist and activist Jane Jacobs, perhaps best known for her crusades against several large-scale infrastructure projects in New York City in the 1960s.
By David Walsh, 26 July 2017
British director Nolan’s new film is about the famed evacuation of large numbers of British and French troops from northern France in May-June 1940.
By Joanne Laurier, 17 July 2017
Lady Macbeth is an adaptation of the well-known novella by Russian writer Nikolai Leskov, transposed to northeast England. Mali Blues offers a glimpse of that country’s remarkable musical scene.
Netflix series on Elizabeth II
By David Walsh, 13 July 2017
The Crown is a biographical drama series, created and written by Peter Morgan (The Queen, The Damned United), about the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II. The first season covers the years 1947 to 1955.
By Joanne Laurier, 12 July 2017
Directed by Miguel Arteta (Cedar Rapids) and featuring Salma Hayek and John Lithgow, the new film promotes a New Age-type opposition to a Trump-like figure.
By Joanne Laurier, 7 July 2017
Along the way, the film demonstrates once again how contemporary gender and racial politics tyrannizes over much of current cultural life.
By David Walsh, 27 June 2017
Between 1957 and 1965 or so, American photographer Eugene Smith took some 40,000 photos and recorded nearly 4,000 hours of audio tape, many dedicated to jazz and jazz musicians, in a New York City loft.
By Joanne Laurier, 23 June 2017
Set during the Iraq war in 2006, Megan Leavey deals with the relationship of a female Marine corporal and her military dog companion. It is an unvarnished pro-war film.
By David Walsh, 17 June 2017
Roger Michell’s film, based on the 1951 novel by Daphne du Maurier set in the 19th century, follows a callow young man who falls for his sophisticated, perhaps calculating older “cousin.”
By David Walsh, 13 June 2017
The story involves an Amazonian princess/demigoddess who makes her way, in the company of an American Allied spy, from her island paradise to Europe toward the end of the First World War.
Three intriguing new films that should not disappear unnoticed: Sami Blood, Past Life and Radio Dreams
By David Walsh, 10 June 2017
Most of the films in movie theaters in the US at the moment are poor, or worse. As a result, the public is increasingly turning away. But there are exceptions.
By Wasantha Rupasinghe, 3 June 2017
Prasanna Vithanage’s documentary deals with the sexual assault of two village women by a magistrate and the subsequent cover-up.
By David Walsh, 1 June 2017
The HBO film is an account of the downfall of Wall Street swindler Bernard Madoff, whose multi-billion-dollar stock and securities fraud unraveled in December 2008.
Conversations with Joseph Goebbels’s secretary
By Bernd Reinhardt and Verena Nees, 27 May 2017
The Austrian-made documentary centres on Brunhilde Pomsel (1911-2017), who worked as a secretary in the office of Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels from 1942 to 1945.
By Carlos Delgado, 20 May 2017
The series stars Kiefer Sutherland as Tom Kirkman, a low-level cabinet member who ascends to the presidency after a devastating attack on the US government.
By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 11 May 2017
The film broaches a dozen subjects and avoids treating any of them in depth, and often fails to take a clear position of any kind.
By Genevieve Leigh, 10 May 2017
The new Netflix series treats the background to the decision by Hannah Baker, a high school student in a more or less average American suburb, to kill herself…and its consequences.