Toronto International Film Festival 2019: Part 1
By David Walsh, 11 September 2019
It already seems possible to assert that the most interesting and serious films at this year’s event concern immigrants and refugees and conditions in the Middle East and North Africa.
An interview with Hind Meddeb, director of Paris Stalingrad: “It’s not a film about refugees, it’s a film about human beings”
By David Walsh, 11 September 2019
The documentary focuses on the plight of asylum seekers on the streets of the French capital
By David Walsh, 30 August 2019
Bernadette Fox is at odds with her conventional, upper-middle-class environment. She doesn’t care to leave her house much, although the roof leaks badly in various places. She has an antagonistic relationship with a neighbor.
By Benjamin Mateus, 28 August 2019
The film is based on the story of Francesc Boix, a left-wing Catalan militant held during World War II at the notorious Mauthausen concentration camp complex in Austria.
By Nick Barrickman, 24 August 2019
In the third season of Justin Simien’s series, events culminate in a #MeToo-style attack on a popular professor.
Also, Rosie and Angels Are Made of Light
By Joanne Laurier, 21 August 2019
Brian Banks is based on the true story of a black high school football star in Long Beach, California falsely accused of rape at the age of 16. Rosie deals with homelessness in Dublin and Angels Are Made of Light the war in Afghanistan.
German film prize goes to Margarethe von Trotta, director of Rosa Luxemburg (1986) and Rosenstrasse (2003)
By Bernd Reinhardt, 19 August 2019
Margarethe von Trotta (Rosa Luxemburg, Rosenstrasse, Hannah Arendt) is one of the most important German filmmakers of the postwar period.
By Richard Phillips, 10 August 2019
Pennebaker pioneered the use of handheld cameras and editorial comment to achieve an immediacy and closeness not previously achieved in documentary film-making.
By Carlos Delgado, 9 August 2019
Ari Aster’s newest film is a carnival of grotesqueries surrounding a limp relationship drama.
16 Shots: Documenting the Chicago Democratic Party’s cover-up of the police murder of Laquan McDonald
By Michael Walters and Kristina Betinis, 3 August 2019
Through powerful interviews with family members, witnesses, attorneys, city officials and activists, the timeline of the murder and cover-up is reconstructed.
More on the removal of actress Lillian Gish’s name at Bowling Green State University
A conversation with actor Malcolm McDowell: “Once you erode freedoms like this, and artistic thought, where are we as a civilized society?”
By David Walsh, 1 August 2019
The WSWS spoke to veteran actor Malcolm McDowell about the decision by Bowling Green State University to remove actress Lillian Gish’s name from its film theater because of her role in D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation (1915).
By Joanne Laurier, 31 July 2019
Tarantino’s latest film reimagines 1969 Los Angeles and the disintegration of the traditional studio system.
By Joanne Laurier, 22 July 2019
Two recent British-made films delve into the field of popular music. Works about such a subject can be a means of getting at social life from an unusual and unorthodox point of view.
By Clara Weiss, 17 July 2019
Russian director Kantemir Balagov’s film treats the damaged lives of two young women who have just returned to Leningrad (today St. Petersburg) from the front after the end of the Second World War.
By Joanne Laurier, 4 July 2019
The Kursk’s sinking was bound up with both the decay of the Russian military and the catastrophic impact of Russian capitalism.
By Kate Randall, 1 July 2019
The Netflix series dramatizes the case of five black and Latino young men who were wrongfully convicted in the 1989 Central Park Jogger rape case.
“The Short Films of Raymundo Gleyzer”: Works by left-wing filmmaker murdered by Argentine military junta
By Kevin Martinez, 26 June 2019
Abducted and murdered by the Argentine junta in 1976, the documentarian made numerous films about the working class that have sadly been forgotten. Their strengths and weaknesses deserve to be considered.
By Frank Anderson and George Marlowe, 20 June 2019
The documentary film about Rockford, Illinois follows the lives of three young working-class men, trapped by harsh social circumstances, who love to skateboard.
By Joanne Laurier, 19 June 2019
The Dead Don't Die is the latest movie by American independent filmmaker Jim Jarmusch. It’s both a quasi-comic horror film and at the same time clearly a comment on what Jarmusch perceives to be the state of the nation.
“Unfortunately, none of this happened”: Kirill Serebrennikov’s Leto (Summer), a take on the pre- perestroika period in the USSR
By Clara Weiss, 14 June 2019
Serebrennikov’s new film treats two of Russia’s most famous rock groups, Kino and Zoopark, in the early 1980s, while managing to avoid all the major questions of the time.
Famed film actress Lillian Gish’s name removed from Bowling Green State University theater: The issues raised
By David Walsh, 12 June 2019
The Ohio university’s cowardly decision is a capitulation to the worst sort of ahistorical moralizing and the current obsession with race and gender politics within the affluent middle class.
By Joanne Laurier, 7 June 2019
Rocketman is a generally entertaining, fantastical tribute to the music of Elton John, one of the world’s most popular musical artists. Ron Howard has made a documentary about legendary Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti.
By David Walsh, 5 June 2019
The treatment, unfortunately, is largely leaden and relies on contemporary upper-middle class preoccupations to make sense of—or fail to make sense of—the life of an early 17th century artist.
By Jean Shaoul, 4 June 2019
The film charts Manning’s life following Barack Obama’s unexpected commutation in January 2017 of her vindictive 35-year-term jail sentence.
By Matthew Brennan, 3 June 2019
Amazing Grace, a concert film currently showing in select theaters around the US, captures the two-day recording of singer-pianist Aretha Franklin’s 1972 gospel concert album of the same title.
By David Walsh, 31 May 2019
Gilliam has famously been attempting to make a film inspired by Don Quixote, the 17th century novel by Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes, for decades.
By Gabriel Black, 27 May 2019
Game of Thrones’ final season was met with a widespread public backlash critical of its simplistic and misanthropic ending.
By Genevieve Leigh, 25 May 2019
Knock Down the House reviews the election campaigns of several Democratic Party primary candidates in the 2018 congressional elections, focused on Ocasio-Cortez in New York City.
By Sandy English, 22 May 2019
Rachel Kushner’s new novel centers on the grim conditions in a women’s prison and draws connections between them and the general state of American society.
By Josh Varlin, 20 May 2019
Endgame is more of a business enterprise than a work of art or cultural artifact.
… and John & Yoko: Above Us Only Sky (about John Lennon’s 1971 album Imagine )
By Joanne Laurier, 17 May 2019
A generally left-wing figure shaped by the Great Depression and the impact of the Russian Revolution, filmmaker Orson Welles (1915-1985) was artistically demanding and for the most part found Hollywood nightmarish.
By Joanne Laurier and David Walsh, 10 May 2019
By concentrating almost exclusively on Emily Dickinson’s supposed sexual relationship with her sister-in-law, filmmaker Madeleine Olnek and her collaborators recreate the poet in their own petty, self-absorbed image.
By Stefan Steinberg, 8 May 2019
Wojciech Smarzowski’s latest offering was released in Poland in the autumn of 2018 and broke several box office records.
By Fred Mazelis, 6 May 2019
The film is loosely based on the case of Melita Norwood, arrested in 1999 and accused of passing classified information to the Soviet Union.
Documentary about the brutal 2014 disappearance of teachers’ college students
By Rafael Azul and Don Knowland, 4 May 2019
The documentary on Netflix exposes the role of the military in the 2014 disappearance of 43 rural teaching students and the government’s cover-up of this atrocity.
Some films from the 2019 San Francisco International Film Festival—Part 2
Kabul, City in the Wind, Midnight Traveler and What We Left Unfinished: The catastrophe of US intervention in Afghanistan
By Joanne Laurier, 2 May 2019
The San Francisco film festival screened a number of movies from the nation ravaged in the longest conflict in US history.
Some films from the 2019 San Francisco International Film Festival—Part 1
By David Walsh, 26 April 2019
Paper Flags, Tehran: City of Love and Belmonte—three films from France, Iran and Uruguay, respectively—were screened at the recent San Francisco film festival.
Freep Film Festival 2019 in Detroit—Part 2
Midnight Family from Mexico, The Last Truck and American Factory—about a former GM plant, murderous Detroit police and I Am Richard Pryor: A mixed lot
By Joanne Laurier, 19 April 2019
In some cases, good intentions are mingled with a socially non-committal attitude—in others, an obvious feeling for important issues is marred by middle-class prejudices and conceptions.
Freep Film Festival 2019 in Detroit—Part 1
Glimpses of social life: The Feeling of Being Watched, Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool and Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts, among others
By David Walsh and Helen Halyard, 17 April 2019
The Detroit film festival organizers made an obvious effort to program works oriented toward contemporary reality and recent social history, including many of their difficult and painful aspects.
And Working Woman from Israel
By David Walsh, 13 April 2019
Jia Zhangke has demonstrated a concern with the fate of workers and others whose lives have been turned upside down by the full integration of China into the global capitalist economy.
By Joanne Laurier, 11 April 2019
A group of homeless people in Cincinnati resist being thrown out of a public library onto the streets on an especially frigid night.
By Nick Barrickman, 8 April 2019
With Trigger Warning, rapper Michael “Killer Mike” Render combines occasional flashes of insight and intellectual courage with a tendency to resort to mere shock tactics or juvenile behavior.
By Kevin Martinez, 6 April 2019
Director Jordan Peele’s latest horror film tells the story of a vacationing family stalked by their doppelgängers. The results are murky, pretentious and strangely unaffecting.
By David Walsh, 3 April 2019
The most recent film by veteran American director Gus Van Sant focuses on quadriplegic cartoonist John Callahan (1951-2010), based on the latter’s memoir.
69th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 9
Three Turkish films (A Tale of Three Sisters, Daughters of Two Worlds, Oray)—Hoping for a better life
By Bernd Reinhardt, 25 March 2019
Three films at the Berlinale exude a humanistic spirit of enlightenment and dialogue. They suggest that everyone, regardless of their ethnic, religious or cultural background, has the right to a better life.
69th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 8
By Stefan Steinberg, 21 March 2019
In February, the deputy director of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Propaganda Department declared that the country’s filmmakers “must have a clear ideological bottom line and cannot challenge the political system.”
By David Walsh, 20 March 2019
The production and release of Captain Marvel, the new science fiction adventure from Marvel and Disney, has a number of remarkable features, but none of them involve the film’s drama, action or characters.
By Joanne Laurier, 18 March 2019
Amazon Video and British ITV’s new eight-episode series is a political thriller set primarily in the war-torn and impoverished Democratic Republic of Congo.
69th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 7
By Bernd Reinhardt, 16 March 2019
The pursuit of naked profit interests and government-imposed austerity dominate an ever broader swath of life. Some of the German films at this year’s Berlinale point to the consequences.
By David Walsh, 15 March 2019
The film is based on an episode from Jacques the Fatalist and His Master, a novel written by Denis Diderot (1713–1784), the great Enlightenment figure, in the years 1765 to 1780, but not published until after his death.
69th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 6
By Verena Nees, 13 March 2019
This year’s Berlin International Film Festival once again presented a number of documentary and feature films from eastern and southeastern Europe. Some took a new and refreshing approach.
By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 8 March 2019
The decision to bestow the Best Picture award on Green Book (directed by Peter Farrelly) at the Academy Awards on February 24 has triggered a furious and ongoing response in the American media.
Why is there so little media skepticism about Leaving Neverland and its allegations against Michael Jackson?
By David Walsh, 6 March 2019
Leaving Neverland consists principally of two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, detailing their claims that singer Michael Jackson sexually abused them over the course of many years, in the 1980s and 1990s.
69th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 4
By Stefan Steinberg, 5 March 2019
Interest in the playwright and poet Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) is undergoing something of a revival.
By Ed Hightower, 2 March 2019
The two-hour biopic—a tedious cinematic effort—seeks to rally a core constituency of the Democratic Party: upper-middle-class women.
69th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 3
By Stefan Steinberg, 28 February 2019
This is the third in a series of articles on the recent Berlin International Film Festival, the Berlinale, held February 7-17, 2019. The first part was posted on February 15 and the second on February 22.
By Hiram Lee and Andre Damon, 26 February 2019
Its central crime, the critics declare, is the view that racial prejudice is a social problem that can be solved through education, reason and empathy, and that racial hatred is not an essential component of the human condition.
Hirokazu Kore-eda’s latest film
By Kevin Martinez, 25 February 2019
Director Hirokazu Kore-eda has made an interesting film about a family living on the fringes of contemporary Japan. Although not a groundbreaking work, its liveliness and compassion make it worth watching.
69th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 2
By Verena Nees, 22 February 2019
The film provides an authentic and moving portrayal of people just like us, who just happen to live in the wrong country at the wrong time.
By Clara Weiss, 18 February 2019
The film is a poignant indictment of social inequality and has been subject to a campaign of Russian government censorship.
69th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 1
By Stefan Steinberg, 15 February 2019
The fact that festival director Dieter Kosslick decided on short notice to include the film Who Will Write Our History? is a reflection of the growing opposition in the artistic community to the growth of the far-right in Germany.
By David Walsh, 12 February 2019
Dan Gilroy is one of the more interesting American filmmakers currently working.
By David Walsh, 9 February 2019
Amazon’s refusal to distribute Allen’s film and honor its contract with him is a brazen act of censorship that is the direct product of the #MeToo witch hunt.
Also, Capernaum and Stan and Ollie…
By Joanne Laurier, 8 February 2019
Cold War, directed by Polish-born Pawel Pawlikowski, is a film about two artists caught up in Cold War culture and politics in the 1950s.
By David Walsh, 1 February 2019
William Makepeace Thackeray’s work, a remarkable social satire and picture of life, is set during and after the Napoleonic Wars, with the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815 playing a role in the events.
By Joanne Laurier, 30 January 2019
The movie deals with the subject of drug addiction—a national public health emergency and social crisis, and the source of immense suffering.
Critic-at-large Wesley Morris on the Academy Awards
By David Walsh, 28 January 2019
The New York Times critic-at-large Wesley Morris published an article January 23 headlined “Why Do the Oscars Keep Falling for Racial Reconciliation Fantasies?”
By David Walsh, 23 January 2019
The 91st awards ceremony will be held February 24 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles.
By Tom Pearce and Paul Mitchell, 21 January 2019
In the documentary, we witness the distress resulting from teacher shortages, large class sizes, dilapidated buildings and insufficient support for children with special needs, all in pursuit of “balancing the budget.”
By Joanne Laurier, 19 January 2019
Netflix began streaming Bird Box on December 21 and, a week later, reported that the film had the largest seven-day viewership, 45 million accounts, of any of its original productions.
By Richard Phillips, 14 January 2019
The main problem of We The Workers is not the director’s stylistic approach but the film’s uncritical attitude towards the political agenda of the labour activists.
By Matthew MacEgan, 12 January 2019
One of the top anime series of 2018, based on a 2015 video game of the same name, deals with a small group of friends who discover a way to time travel, with dangerous consequences.
By Joanne Laurier, 10 January 2019
The film centers on the love between two African American youth, one of whom faces a police frame-up, in New York City’s Harlem.
By Joanne Laurier, 5 January 2019
The six-episode documentary released in December is based on bestselling novelist John Grisham’s only non-fiction effort. The miniseries chronicles the wrongful incarceration of four men in the 1980s in Ada, Oklahoma.
“Life is forbidden to us … do you want to comply with that?”: The rediscovery of Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz’s The Traveler in Germany
By Clara Weiss, 4 January 2019
Though written 80 years ago, The Traveler is not just a remarkable literary document of the Nazi period, but speaks immediately to the major political and historical questions of our time.
By Kevin Martinez, 3 January 2019
Eastwood’s latest film fictionally dramatizes the potentially intriguing true story of Leo Sharp, an elderly World War II veteran and horticulturist who smuggled drugs for a Mexican cartel. However, it is a conformist and clichéd work.
By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 31 December 2018
The film world in 2018 can be viewed and judged in different ways and by distinct standards.
By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 29 December 2018
In regard to the Bush-Cheney administration, the WSWS pointed in the early 2000s to an unprecedented development, the “rise to the pinnacle of the American political system of elements of a gangster character.”
By Rafael Azul, 17 December 2018
Roma is a sensitive portrait of a family breaking apart in the broader context of a social crisis. It follows Cleo, a Mixtec Indian, as she performs her daily chores, which include caring for the family’s four children.
And Can You Ever Forgive Me?
By Joanne Laurier, 13 December 2018
Set in 1960 in Great Falls, Montana, Wildlife is a relatively somber look at postwar American life. Can You Ever Forgive Me? focuses on an eccentric forger.
By David Walsh, 11 December 2018
Icebox focuses on a 12-year-old Honduran boy, Oscar (Anthony Gonzalez), forced by gang activity to flee his home country and head for the US, where an uncle lives.
By Joanne Laurier, 8 December 2018
Tom Volf’s Maria by Callas, about the legendary Greek-American opera soprano, has opened in the US.
A quarter-century since the release of Steven Spielberg’s film
By David Walsh, 7 December 2018
Schindler’s List opened in movie theaters in the US in December 1993. A restored version is now playing in selected theaters. We are reposting today a review published in the International Workers Bulletin, a forerunner of the WSWS, in January 1994.
And Widows, Bohemian Rhapsody
By Joanne Laurier, 6 December 2018
Jason Reitman’s The Front Runner chronicles the downfall of Gary Hart, the leading contender for the 1988 Democratic Party presidential nomination, whose campaign was abruptly brought to an end by a sex scandal.
By David Walsh, 4 December 2018
Given the film’s subject matter, the generally hostile or condescending treatment Submission received at the hands of the major film critics in March 2018 should not have come as a surprise.
By Joanne Laurier, 29 November 2018
Set in 1962, Green Book is a heartfelt film about the relationship between a famed black pianist and his white, working class chauffeur. In At Eternity’s Gate, artist Julian Schnabel treats the last period in the life of legendary Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh.
By Richard Phillips and David Walsh, 28 November 2018
Bertolucci will be remembered for valuable films he made in the 1960s and 1970s, including La commare secca (1962—English title, The Grim Reaper), Before the Revolution (1964), The Conformist (1970) and 1900 (1976).
By David Walsh, 26 November 2018
The Coens’ latest film is made up of six stories set in a mythical “Old West.” The thread connecting the various episodes is a generally nasty attitude toward humanity, and American humanity in particular.
By Ed Hightower, 20 November 2018
The often humorous drama follows beloved children’s television personality, Mr. Pickles, through personal and social tragedy.
… And two much weaker series, Maniac and Wanderlust
By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 17 November 2018
Homecoming, a compelling, disturbing 10-episode web television series, concerns itself with a facility in Florida that supposedly helps Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans.
By Paul Bond, 15 November 2018
Jackson’s documentary, assembled from footage shot in World War I and soldiers’ oral recollections, has resonated with millions of people.
By Nick Barrickman, 12 November 2018
The film addresses itself to the phenomenon of police violence and its effect on a young African-American working class girl and her family.
By David Walsh, 8 November 2018
On November 2, Netflix released The Other Side of the Wind, a film directed by Orson Welles, who died in 1985. The footage was shot, with many breaks and delays, from August 1970 to January 1976.
By Matthew MacEgan, 7 November 2018
The latest Marvel film from Sony serves up a dish of superficial characters and contrived drama for a big box office success.
By Carlos Delgado, 5 November 2018
The 2016 miniseries, available on HBO’s online streaming service, is an indictment of a criminal justice system that is massively biased against the working class.
By Benjamin Mateus, 3 November 2018
The Wife is being celebrated, in the context of the #MeToo movement, as further proof that brutish, overbearing men largely exist to crush talented, deserving women’s hopes and dreams.
2 November 2018
By David Walsh, 1 November 2018
Each is a relatively unpretentious, low-budget, “independent” film. Each follows a group of middle-class adults as they attempt to navigate certain complicated moral or emotional situations. Each film is slight.
Two short films: The Overcoat, based on the Nikolai Gogol story, and Detainment, about the Jamie Bulger murder case
By David Walsh, 29 October 2018
The Overcoat, directed by Patrick Myles, is based on the famed 1842 short story by Russian author Nikolai Gogol. Detainment treats the aftermath of the killing of a toddler on Merseyside, England in 1993.
By Joanne Laurier, 24 October 2018
Having assured his kids they will be welcomed in France, Abbas, a refugee from the Central African Republic, encounters the opposite: a horrible web of bureaucracy and personal abasement.