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  • Seventh Seal

    Playing Chess with Death

    By: Charles Giuliano - Mar 14th, 2020

    Recently, on Turner Classic Movies, I saw Ingmar Bergman’s iconic 1957 film Seventh Seal. That was before the death of the actor Max Von Sydow or the widening global pandemic. Yet again there is the contrast of art and artifice. Art is a means of navigating the collape of the American Empire in real time and vivid color. When this passes what will be left of our arts, culture and way of life? How will we pick up the pieces of a new order? Will the elections of 2020 be yet another cancellation? Is this Apocalypse Now?

  • Space Odyssey 2001 at NY Philharmonic

    Reprise of Classic

    By: Paul J. Pelkonen - Sep 18th, 2018

    Stanley Kubrick's seminal 1968 classic is now 50 years old, and remains as puzzling as ever. On Friday night, as part of this year's The Art of the Score festival, the New York Philharmonic performed the complete orchestral and choral music of 2001 as accompaniment to a large scale screening of the film at Lincoln Center.

  • Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman

    Exploring Blacks in America Post Civil War

    By: Jack Lyons - Aug 29th, 2018

    In his latest film, Lee explores the many aspects of the black experience in America since the Civil War. Lee has mellowed since his earlier “controversial, verbal, and incendiary rhetoric” days that some complained about in his movies. But there have never been stronger or more talented chroniclers of the black experience in America than Lee and the great black American playwright August Wilson.

  • Ivo van Hove's The Damned

    Hatred as Source of All Evil at Park Avenue Armory

    By: Susan Hall - Jul 21st, 2018

    The Damned by Ivo van Hove, based on the screenplay of Luchino Visconti, tears through the Park Avenue Armory. The stage is in four parts, if you don’t include a scene which goes out onto the Park Avenue where a shocked dog walker sees the mad Sophie von Essenbeck running wildly in search of her son.

  • Oscar Winner Sebastain Lelio Directs Disobedience

    Jewish Life in England

    By: Jack Lyons - Jun 02nd, 2018

    “Disobedience” is a mesmerizing, interior, fascinating, and affecting screenplay that carefully structures the movie to squeeze maximum emotional impact from its two stars, which it does in spades. It’s a bold and daring film even by today’s standards.

  • Nana and Hitler Versus Picasso and the Others

    Two New Documentary Films

    By: Nancy Kempf - May 10th, 2018

    Two recent documentaries, both directorial feature film debuts, approach the memory and history of World War II from distinctly different and refreshing perspectives. Serena Dykman’s “Nana” is a eulogy, not only for her grandmother, Maryla Michalowski-Dyamant but for all victims of the Holocaust. Claudio Poli’s “Hitler versus Picasso and the Others” is a thorough history of the labyrinthine fate of European art during World War II.

  • 2018 AM-DOCS Film Festival

    Annual Program in Palm Springs

    By: Jack Lyons - May 06th, 2018

    Seven years ago, AM-DOCS Film Festival founder Teddy Grouya, felt that filmmakers of documentaries needed a proper festival of their own to display their diverse and wide-ranging, special subject-matter films. Accordinglt, the documentary film genre has been presented a festival format with all the trimmings.

  • 68th Berlinale, 2018

    February 15-25, Germany

    By: Angelika Jansen - Mar 01st, 2018

    In general, the 68th Berlinale may be defined as a quest of women attempting to be heard and seen. Seven of twelve prizes went to women, an astounding conclusion, especially since most of the contributions were more on the quiet side and not on the ‘#me too’ loudness. 385 films were screened and 300,000 moviegoers were counted, cold weather or not.

  • Diane Kruger Star of In the Fade

    Award Winning German Actress in Thriller

    By: Jack Lyons - Jan 22nd, 2018

    Germany has become a perennial contender for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Once again, its industry is competing for another win with the emotion-packed thriller “In the Fade”, starring Diane Kruger. She won as Best Actress at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.

  • Prototype Festival New York

    Diving into Black Inscriptions

    By: Susan Hall - Jan 19th, 2018

    Black Inscription, from Carla Kihlstedt, Matthias Bossi and Jeremy Flower, is a multimedia song cycle that follows a free deep sea diver on her journey to the ocean's embrace. This tone poem fills an open slot in the Prototype Festival for works that don't quite fit the opera category.

  • Prototype Festival Two

    The Echo Drift by Mikael Karlsson

    By: Susan Hall - Jan 11th, 2018

    The Echo Drift is the second opera staged by the Prototype Festival, a group of creative producers who are working to develop new opera using all the media available, as opera has done from its earliest beginnings.

  • Palm Springs International Film Festival

    Third Largest American Film Festival

    By: Jack Lyons - Jan 11th, 2018

    On January 2nd, Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) officially launched its 29th Annual Film Festival and Gala. More than 2400 guests, attended, along with stars, celebrities, industry professionals, screenwriters, producers, directors, and actors to rub elbows at the Palm Springs Convention Center, as they accepted their Awards for their artistic accomplishments during 2017.

  • Oscar Bound Documentaries

    Final Five to be Announded January 23

    By: Nancy Kempf - Jan 11th, 2018

    If there were one word to characterize this year’s selection of possible documentary Oscar nominees, it would have to be nihilism. In its preliminary round of voting, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences selected 15 films of the 170 submissions for Best Documentary Academy Award, many produced by Amazon Studios, Netflix, HBO, et al.

  • Blank Out by Michel Van Der Aa

    Miah Persson and Roderick Williams Excel

    By: Susan Hall - Sep 26th, 2017

    Under the canopy formed by the dome of the Drill Hall in the Park Avenue Armory, Michel Van der Aa’s brilliant chamber opera, Blank Out, unfolds. In this gargantuan space, we seemed small and so did elements of the opera.

  • Step by Amanda Lipitz

    Award Winning Documentary Film

    By: Nancy Kempf - Aug 29th, 2017

    If there are antidotes to Charlottesville, one may be “Step,” the new documentary from Amanda Lipitz that won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Inspirational Filmmaking at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and the Audience Award for Best Feature at the 2017 AFI Docs festival. The film tells the remarkable story of the step team at the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women (BLSYW). The school opened its doors to sixth graders in 2009. In the spring of 2016, its inaugural class was preparing to graduate.

  • Brigsby Bear Directed by Dave McCary,

    A Sweet Indie Film

    By: Nancy Kempf - Aug 29th, 2017

    If you missed the movingly sweet indie film “Brigsby Bear,” you are not alone. My theater cancelled their scheduled weekend showings after a negligible audience for its opening Friday, though they did allow it a 4:00 p.m. showing the following Monday and Wednesday afternoons before sending it on its way.

  • Ian Bostridge Reimagines Winterreise

    Mostly Mozart Offers Hans Zender's Interpretation

    By: Susan Hall - Aug 12th, 2017

    Netia Jones has combined tenor Ian Bostridge's thirty year passion and a brilliant "compositional interpretation" of the piano music for orchestra into a hydra-headed tour de force with video, sets and the suggestion of cabaret. Bostridge has the perfect voice for the wanderer, a stranger at the start and at the end. The staging works well.

  • Phantom Limb Company at BAM

    Next Wave Festival Presents A Different Wave

    By: Susan Hall - Nov 10th, 2018

    The Phantom Limb Company presents Falling Out at BAM's Next Wave Festival. A decade after 9/11 in the US, an earthquake in Japan created a tsunami which swept over swept over Otsuchi, Japan. A terrorist attack and nature's own are comparable in the name dates by which they are remembered. The tsunami caused meltdowns at three nuclear reactors in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power plant. Hundreds of thousand of residents were affected in what came to be called 3/11.

  • Strange Window at Next Wave, BAM

    Marianne Weems Re-invents Henry James

    By: Susan Hall - Dec 16th, 2018

    The Builder’s Association re-invented Henry James’ Turn of the Screw for today. Strange Window takes its title from a story James heard from the Archbishop of Canterbury. A woman was so fearful of strange figures who appeared in the windows of her home that she moved to protect her children.

  • The Infinite Hotel at Prototype Festival

    Michal McQuilken's Rollicking Celebration of Community

    By: Susan Hall - Jan 10th, 2019

    The Prototype Festival rolls on with a big production at Irondale, a Brooklyn venue which offers a large space and unusual opportunities for audience viewing. The Infinite Hotel by Michael Joseph McQuilken is having its world premiere. This is a rollicking, joyful and often touching production. It is full of surprises.

  • Metropolis Ensemble Debuts at National Sawdust

    Ricardo Romaneiro's Score for Fritz Lang's Metropolis

    By: Susan Hall - Mar 11th, 2020

    Metropolis is a Grammy-nominated Ensemble founded by Andrew Cyr, who encourages artists to realize their bliss. The group was not named for the Fritz Lang film, but the temptation to take on this silent great must have been tantalizing. The live, electronic score by Ricardo Romaneiro was brilliant and brilliantly realized by the musicians. Cyr conducts.

  • Film: The 70th Berlinale 2020

    From February 20 - March 1

    By: Angelika Jansen - Mar 04th, 2020

    The 70th Berlinale, the huge international film festival in Berlin took place between February 20th and March 1st, 2020. Great expectations were put upon the new festival leaders, Carlo Chatrian (artistic director) and Mariette Rissenbeek (executive director).

  • Lincoln Center Great Performers' Mahler

    Surrounded by Concerts and Films

    By: Susan Hall - Feb 26th, 2020

    Lincoln Center's Great Performers surrounded us with Gustav Mahler for five days. In addition to a concert by Ivan Fischer conducting the Budapest Festival Orchestra, three films were offered.

  • Dutch Thriller Instinct

    At Palm Springs International Film Festival

    By: Jack Lyons - Jan 17th, 2020

    This year another Dutch film is in the Oscar hunt. It is a powerful, psychological, provocative thriller called “Instinct”. It’s set in a prison where a newly arrived, experienced psychologist Nicoline, (rivetingly played by Carice van Houten) is assigned to the case file of serial sex offender Idris (a clever psychopath scarily portrayed by Marwan Kenzari).

  • An Almost Ordinary Summer

    Launches Palm Springs International Film Festival

    By: Jack Lyons - Jan 17th, 2020

    The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF), the third-largest film festival in America, began in 1989 as the dream of then Hollywood celebrity turned politician and former Mayor Sonny Bono, who had a dream of making his city a focal point for the motion picture industry by launching an annual film festival.

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