Aaron Cutler

  • interviews November 15, 2016

    Deborah Stratman

    The American film and video artist Deborah Stratman has made a number of works that use sounds and images in elliptical ways to lead audience members to question their awareness of their own surroundings. Her recent hour-long film The Illinois Parables (2016) tells eleven stories set in the titular state (and, by extension, the United States), between the years 600 C.E. and 1985, that refer to past traumas through voice-over, music, and reenacted scenes combined with present-day landscape studies. The Illinois Parables is distributed educationally in the US by Grasshopper Film and will screen

  • interviews May 26, 2015

    Andrew Bujalski

    Andrew Bujalski’s fifth feature film, Results (2015), is a romantic comedy about personal fitness that unfolds primarily in Austin. As in Bujalski’s previous works, such as Beeswax (2009) and Computer Chess (2013), humor arises from how the characters’ carefully made plans lead to unpredictable ends. Results opens in New York and Austin on May 29, 2015. Here, Bujalski discusses the ways in which the film is a continuation of his “kicking away [his] crutches.”

    RESULTS is my version of romantic comedy, a genre that has fallen into ill repute. Romantic comedies are fun to write, but they also tend

  • interviews April 20, 2015

    René Frölke

    Two films from German director René Frölke will screen on April 22, 2015 in New York as part of the Film Society of Lincoln Center series Art of the Real 2015. The feature-length Le beau danger (2014), which Frölke primarily discusses here, gives a present-day portrait of Romanian author Norman Manea, who has lived in exile for many years in the US; the medium-length Guided Tour (2011) presents a 2008 trip taken by German president Horst Köhler to the HfG Karlsruhe, a fine arts university, where he observes similarities between art and politics.

    IN BOTH OF THESE FILMS, I’m interested in exploring

  • film April 08, 2015

    Only Human

    THERE ARE FEW wider-sung songs than Brazilian composer Tom Jobim’s “The Girl from Ipanema,” myriad versions of which are performed in The Music According to Antonio Carlos Jobim (2012). The documentary, codirected by Nelson Pereira dos Santos and the late composer’s granddaughter Dora Jobim, almost entirely consists of archival concert and studio footage of musicians (among them Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Gal Costa, and Chico Buarque) rendering Jobim tunes like “Girl,” “Desafinado,” and “Waters of March” across a wide span of languages and decades. Occasionally performing is the Rio de

  • interviews March 19, 2015

    Eugène Green

    In La Sapienza (2014), the filmmaker Eugène Green’s fifth feature-length work, a middle-aged French architect named Alexandre (played by Fabrizio Rongione) travels to Italy to finish a book on the Baroque architect Francesco Borromini. His wife, Aliénor (Christelle Prot), comes with him, and the two find spiritual renewal in conversation with a pair of teen siblings named Goffredo (Ludovico Succio) and Lavinia (Arianna Nastro). La Sapienza is distributed in the United States by Kino Lorber and begins a run at Lincoln Plaza Cinema in New York on March 20, 2015. Here, Green speaks about the film.

  • film October 27, 2014

    Indie Rocks

    ALBERT SERRA’S STORY OF MY DEATH (2013) animates the past with glinting life. Serra, a thirty-nine-year-old Catalonian, focuses on a corpulent, decaying, half-mad Casanova (Vicenç Altaió) who spends his waning days in a Swiss castle admiring himself—and younger women. He leads a group of followers on a trip to a sunlit pastoral setting where no less forbidding a figure than Dracula (Eliseu Huertas) awaits them. The group succumbs to vampirism within a film whose nighttime images often hover on the precipice of visibility. We witness the spectacle of an older world burning out like a candle on

  • interviews August 29, 2014

    Nuria Ibáñez

    The Spanish documentarian Nuria Ibáñez’s most recent film, The Naked Room (2013), was recorded entirely inside a pediatric therapist’s office in a Mexico City children’s hospital and is composed primarily of close-ups of the young patients’ faces during consultations. The film will screen at Anthology Film Archives from August 29 to September 4, 2014 in its New York theatrical premiere run. 
 


    WITH THE NAKED ROOM I wanted to show something that is often treated as though it were invisible. There is no real and sincere media reflection today on the wounds of childhood and adolescence. Filming

  • interviews June 23, 2014

    Joanna Hogg

    The British filmmaker Joanna Hogg has made three intimate, sympathetic features in which vulnerable friends and family members attempt to hide secrets from each other within large houses and open frames. Exhibition (2013) is currently playing at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, through July 3, and Unrelated (2007) and Archipelago (2009) will also screen there from June 27 to July 3, 2014.

    I MAKE FILMS BUT DON’T LOOK AT THEM AFTERWARD, which means I haven’t seen Unrelated or Archipelago for some time. I feel strong connections between the three films, though. They form a chain, each one linked

  • film June 17, 2014

    Hope Springs Eternal

    NORTE, THE END OF HISTORY (2013) tells a Filipino tale. The film begins on the northern Philippine island of Luzon with a disillusioned former law student, Fabian Viduya (Sid Lucero), espousing to friends his “new morality,” according to which a society rebuilds itself by extinguishing its undesirables. For Fabian, these dregs include a local usurer and her daughter, both of whom he soon stabs to death. Joaquin (Archie Alemania), an impoverished DVD salesman, is framed and imprisoned for the crime, leaving his wife Eliza (Angeli Bayani) and sister-in-law Ading (Hazel Orencio) behind to raise

  • interviews January 27, 2014

    Marielle Nitoslawska

    Canadian Marielle Nitoslawska’s feature film Breaking the Frame (2012) is a portrait of the American artist Carolee Schneemann. A collage drawn from interviews, excerpts from her private notebooks, and music composed by the late James Tenney, the film celebrates Schneemann as a guide for subsequent generations of artists. Breaking the Frame’s US theatrical premiere will run at Anthology Film Archives in New York from January 31 to February 6, 2014, and will be followed by screenings at London’s ICA. Nitoslawska and Schneemann will be in discussion on opening night in NYC.

    MY PREVIOUS FILM BAD

  • film November 03, 2013

    In the Margins

    A MAN IS SHOWN RACING down a narrow, dimly lit corridor, with a handheld camera trailing him—this image, played out by several different patients in an unnamed Chinese psychiatric ward, recurs periodically throughout Wang Bing’s new documentary film ’Til Madness Do Us Part (2013). Wang and cameraman Liu Xianhui rarely leave the floor of this institution, remaining instead in close observation of the men and absorbing the rhythms of their daily lives. The resulting footage depicts a realm largely beyond the purview of any doctor or staff member. Throughout the film the men strive to take advantage

  • interviews September 16, 2013

    Roddy Bogawa

    MoMA’s film exhibition “Roddy Bogawa: If Films Could Smell” tracks twenty-five years in the life of the Japanese-American artist, who was born in 1962. The Los Angeles–bred punk rocker turned filmmaker has made a wide variety of films with topics ranging from the elusive story of a conflicted family (1991’s Some Divine Wind) to showcasing extreme self-portraiture (2003’s Talking Shit About Myself). The series runs September 18–23, 2013.

    THE TITLE OF THIS SURVEY comes from a few sources, one being the Clash song “If Music Could Talk” and the other being Proust, who famously wrote about smell

  • film May 30, 2013

    The Art of Conversation

    “THIS FILM WAS MADE for very little money, with very few people,” the great Brazilian filmmaker Júlio Bressane told his mainly Argentine audience. He paused. “And it was never released. Nobody saw it. There would be three people at the beginning, and they would all run away before the film was over. This room right now has more people than have ever seen it before. So thank you very much for coming, I hope you enjoy it, and we can have a conversation with whoever is still here at the end.”

    Seventeen of Bressane’s films (roughly half his output) screened during the fifteenth edition of the Buenos

  • film September 12, 2012

    This American Life

    JOSH AND BENNIE SAFDIE’S short film The Black Balloon (2011), inspired by Albert Lamorisse’s immortal children’s work The Red Balloon (1963), begins as a harried balloon man accidentally releases an array of brightly-hued delights into the sky. While most of the balloons fly high up, a lone black one floats back down over a trash heap, a highway, and then Times Square. It accompanies a little girl along an urban sidewalk, joins a homeless bum who has been turned away from a restaurant, and hovers between the members of a bickering couple. (“Go back to your little cubicle with the robots up

  • film July 12, 2012

    Dreams of Life

    A PROBLEM WITH NATION-THEMED PROGRAMMING is that it presumes a national character. In the case of Brazil, whose multiethnic population of two hundred million lives across a wide and diverse array of terrains, any summary of that character will always be incomplete. The twelfth edition of “Premiere Brazil!,” the Museum of Modern Art’s annual festival of new Brazilian films receiving their United States premieres (organized in collaboration with the Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival), gives a sampler of Brazilian life and art that goes far beyond the stereotypical images of beaches, drugs,

  • film May 07, 2012

    Present Past Present

    “THE XINGU WILL NEVER BE BOUGHT.” In recent months the Amazon’s Xingu River has been encroached upon by government development, but Megaron Txucarramãe, an important spokesperson for the Kayapó Indians, vowed his people wouldn’t leave their land. His speech preceded a São Paulo screening of Daniel Santiago’s Heart of Brazil (2011), a sweetly character-driven film in which two older men embark on a voyage they took fifty years prior into the Amazon. Heart played during the seventeenth It’s All True (IAT) documentary festival, which ran in four Brazilian cities. A scene between one of the men and

  • film December 08, 2011

    Now and Then

    THE DIALECTIC OF OLD AND NEW ruled this year’s São Paulo International Film Festival, the first without founder and director Leon Cakoff, who died of melanoma complications the week before its opening. One sensed the present addressing the past and future simultaneously. This feeling was even built into the programming. The opening was a twin bill: the Dardenne brothers’ new film The Kid with a Bike and a restoration of the hand-tinted version of Méliès’s 1902 film A Trip to the Moon. On every day following, one could watch repertory in the same rooms as more recent work, including retrospectives