Tragedy into Form, Form as Cultural Expression: On Kenji Mizoguchi’s The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum (1939)

By 1939, in the work of Japanese director Kenji Mizoguchi (1898-1956), the cinema achieved a measure of formal brilliance and complexity that it has very rarely matched, and still hasn’t surpassed, in the nearly eighty years since. With The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum (1939), which is often considered the pinnacle of the director’s prewar career, and… Learn More

67th Berlin International Film Festival: The Other Side of Hope, Mr. Long, Bright Nights, On the Beach at Night Alone, El mar la mar, Ghost in the Mountains

In its sixty-seventh year, the Berlinale, or Berlin International Film Festival, continues to function as one of the better barometers for the current climate of world cinema. It is in Berlin, after all, that X-Men universe blockbusters (Logan) and generations-late sequels (T2 Trainspotting)–I didn’t happen to see either–receive their international, red-carpet premieres, next to ethnographic… Learn More

Eternity in this Life: On Roberto Rossellini's The Flowers of St. Francis (1950)

Roberto Rossellini’s 1950 masterwork The Flowers of St. Francis, whose Italian title, Francesco, giullare di Dio translates as “Francis, God’s Jester,” seeks less to tell the story of its saint’s life than to show the impact of “the Franciscan message… and spirit” on its followers. This axiomatic expression of Italian neorealism depicts both scenes from the life… Learn More

2016: The Year in Film

Thanks to the continual health of the international art cinema, a deeper dive into recent Chinese independent filmmaking, key restorations, and a Jean Renoir program precipitated by the Museum’s “Matisse in His Time” exhibition, Oklahoma City audiences had many fine alternatives to the multiplex in 2016. Among the more than seventy new releases that Museum Films programmed during that… Learn More

Sometimes the Death Column Brought Good News: For the Devilish Pleasures of Ealing's Kind Hearts and Coronets

Once stupidly dismissed by French film critic and director François Truffaut as a “contradiction of terms,” the British cinema was responsible for a great number of outstanding films throughout the 1940s and early 1950s, first with the poetical, wartime non-fiction of Humphrey Jennings (Listen to Britain) and the myth-focused collaborations of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger (The Life… Learn More

José Luis Guerín’s Art of Negotiation: On The Academy of Muses (2015)

A Catalan filmmaker and educator whose body-of-work consists predominately of documentaries and shorts, José Luis Guerín achieved universal acclaim with his fictional 2007 feature, In the City of Sylvia, a minimally plotted portrait of an artist who falls under the spell of the titular Sylvia. Comprised, for much of its frequently dialogue-free duration, of shot/counter-shot sequences of the artist observing café… Learn More

Homo Sapiens & the Post-Human Landscape

As Museum Films begins its October-November 2016 program with three new non-fiction features this Thursday, it is the most experimental of the group, Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s Homo Sapiens (2016), whose cause—cinematically—I am most eager to champion. Born in Vienna in 1972, Geyrhalter attained his greatest international notoriety to date for Our Daily Bread, a 2005 documentary that explores uses of technology and unskilled… Learn More

Marginal Geographies: Independent Masterworks from China

Historically Unprecedented Growth Over the course of a single year, China, by its own measure, lifted nearly 40 million people out of poverty. In 2013 alone, China’s share of the world’s extreme poor fell an astonishing 5 percentage points, from 13 to 8 percent. Between 2008 and 2011, China and India (which continues to be much… Learn More

Dispatches from the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival: Yourself and Yours, Daguerrotype, Sieranevada & Paterson + Festival Favorites

One of the greatest pleasures of the major international film festival is the opportunity to see the latest work by leading international auteurs. In the case of South Korean director Hong Sang-soo, whose masterful previous feature Right Now, Wrong Then (2015) played at the Museum earlier this month, there has been at least one “latest” film every year since 2008, and… Learn More