Museum Films’ Best Films of 2018

Below are my top ten world premieres of 2018, each with short capsule descriptions, plus eleven runners-up and my favorite belatedly viewed 2017 premieres. I am also including five additional 2017 festival favorites, which screened for this first time in the Noble Theater in 2018. I am including these as insight into which films I… Learn More

Reports on Today’s Youth: Jacques Becker's Postwar Trilogy

Made during a four-year period of recovery following the end of the Second World War, director Jacques Becker’s (1906-1960) postwar “Youth” trilogy of Antoine and Antoinette (1947), Rendezvous in July (1949), and Édouard and Caroline (1951) represents one of the most important bridges between pre-World War II realist French cinema and the artistically seismic nouvelle vague (or French New Wave) that emerged… Learn More

The Camera as a Body Cast: On Radu Jude’s Scarred Hearts

A masterful recent work of the Romanian New Wave—a film movement, born in 2005, which shows no signs of creative exhaustion—Radu Jude’s Scarred Hearts (Inimi cicatrizate, 2016) transports us to the Black Sea coast in the summer, fall and winter of 1937, in that moment after Hitler ascended to power in Germany, and before the National Legionary… Learn More

Exiled in Myself: “L’enfant Secret” (1979) & The Autobiographical Cinema of Philippe Garrel

In 1979, French filmmaker Philippe Garrel (b.: 1948) turned to a new form of autobiography. Following the political and cultural upheavals of the May ’68 protests, which he filmed in the recently discovered Actua 1 (1968), and a decade spent with legendary Velvet Underground collaborator and Warhol superstar, Nico, Garrel embarked on the new, more memoiristic mode… Learn More

“The Other Side of Hope” & Museum Films’ Best of 2017

Few films were more of their moment this year—in the very best sense as it engaged critically with a global human tragedy, and did not simply reflect the rancid spirit of our times—than was Aki Kaurismäki’s The Other Side of Hope (2017; screening December 15-17 at OKCMOA). The second of the Finnish director’s “port cities” series,… Learn More

Dispatches from the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival: Jeannette, the Childhood of Joan of Arc & The Killing of a Sacred Deer + Festival Recap

It’s the middle of summer, 1425, and on a sandy stretch of land beneath the Bleu de France sky, a young Joan of Arc wrestles with her vocation–and her country’s fate–amidst a never ending, off-screen war with the English. Written and directed by Bruno Dumont, mid-career maestro of Li’l Quinquin (2014) and Slack Bay (2016), which both successfully… Learn More

The Decorative and the Vulgar in Une chambre en ville (1982)

So as not to bury the lede, let me begin by acknowledging that Une chambre en ville (1982) is a very strange film: made at the end of what was, by most counts, a lost decade for its writer-director, Jacques Demy, Une chambre en ville is a dark and deeply romantic all-singing musical operetta (like 1964’s The… Learn More