Nick Pinkerton

  • Mark Lester, Class of 1984, 1982, 35 mm, color, sound, 98 minutes.
    film February 24, 2017

    Canadian Makin’

    AFTER THE EMERGENCE of alluring Canadian production subsidies in the late 1990s, moviegoers of the aughts became inured to watching downtown Vancouver fill in for AnyCity, USA, in a parade of multiplex productions that managed to extract bland back-lot anonymity from location shooting. But Anthology Film Archives’ twelve-film series “Gimme Shelter: Hollywood North” pays tribute to a very different, pioneering era of runaway production, part of an ongoing sesquicentennial celebration of our neighbors above to be followed by “1970s Canadian Independents,” beginning at Anthology on March 9.

    The

  • Bruce Lee, Robert Clouse, and Sammo Hung, Game of Death, 1978, 35 mm, color, sound, 90 minutes. Bruce Lee.
    film January 26, 2017

    Bruce Almighty

    BRUCE LEE IS AMONG THE HANDFUL OF MOVIE STARS to attain a celebrity beyond mere stardom. Not long after his premature death in 1973, he joined the elite ranks of the few figures who would be recognizable from Madagascar to the Amazon basin, such as John Wayne and Muhammad Ali. Lee’s image, like Wayne’s and Ali’s, had political import. A late friend of my father’s, Bill Wood, who was in Iran in the 1970s, once recalled to me how much the Shah’s army loved Lee’s movies: “The first international Asian hero; he emboldened a lot of people, including a few we’d rather not talk about.” (Osama bin Laden

  • Peter Watkins, The Journey, 1987, 16 mm, black-and-white, sound, 870 mins.
    film January 06, 2017

    Going Nuclear

    ONE OF THE SCORES of interviewees offering their opinions on nuclear proliferation in Peter Watkins’s The Journey (1987) is a middle-aged Mexican woman in Guadalajara who implores that the presidents of powerful nations might link hands to “go around the world and look at the situation of the people.” This is among the not-inconsiderable undertakings attempted by The Journey, a film little seen in part because of availability issues and in part because of its daunting runtime: 873 minutes, which comes in at a frisky fourteen and a half hours.

    Light Industry, an experimental screening space in

  • Marcel Pagnol, César, 1936, 35 mm, black-and-white, sound, 141 minutes. Marius Ollivier and Fanny (Pierre Fresnay and Orane Demazis).
    film January 04, 2017

    Port Authority

    MARCEL PAGNOL’S MARSEILLES TRILOGYMarius (1931), Fanny (1932), and César (1936)—is one of the most beloved works of early French sound cinema, though it might be more accurate to call its true country of origin Provence. A region as distinct as Scotland is to Britain, Bavaria to Germany, Texas to the United States, the peculiarity of Provence has led some to question if it belongs to France at all; in J.K. Huysmans’s 1891 novel Là-bas, a Parisian character opines that “the coronation of a Valois at Rheims created a heterogeneous and preposterous France . . . uniting the most incompatible

  • Marien Ades, Toni Erdmann, 2016, HD video, color, sound, 162 minutes.
    film December 23, 2016

    Business as Usual

    HENRY JAMES’S DESCRIPTION of certain doorstop-size nineteenth-century novels—the “large, loose, baggy monster”—applies pretty well to Maren Ade’s Toni Erdmann, a downbeat comic study of a dysfunctional father-daughter relationship that comes in a bit short of the three-hour mark, and which has as its keystone gag an actual large, loose, baggy monster.

    Ines (Sandra Hüller) is a thirtysomething German professional adrift in professional stasis despite her monomaniacal focus on climbing the corporate ladder at the backwater Romanian branch of a consultancy firm. Her father, Winfried (Peter Simonischek),

  • View of “Martin Scorsese,” 2016, Museum of the Moving Image, Astoria, New York. Photo: Thanassi Karageorgiou.
    film December 12, 2016

    Sin City

    GEORGE LUCAS IS BUSY DESIGNING his Museum of Narrative Art, a Xanadu for his legacy. Francis Ford Coppola is now a gray gentleman vintner with a sideline in independent films. William Friedkin pungently adapts Tracy Letts stage plays when he’s making anything new at all. Paul Schrader has gone back underground, working fast, cheap, and dirty, venting spleen on Facebook in his downtime. And Peter Bogdanovich is . . . well, you know. Of the leading lights of the so-called New Hollywood who came to prominence in the late 1960s and 1970s, only Steven Spielberg, Terrence Malick, and Martin Scorsese

  • Lucio Fulci, ...E tu vivrai nel terrore! L'aldilà (The Beyond), 1981, 35 mm, color, sound, 82 minutes.
    film October 21, 2016

    The Eyes Have It

    THE GENRE DIRECTOR LUCIO FULCI, though a deity for the average Chiller Theatre conventioneer, is probably best known to the wider world for directing the underwater struggle between a zombie and a shark that was used in a commercial for Windows 7, extracted from his 1979 Zombi 2—not actually a sequel, but an attempt to cash in on the success of George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (1978), released in Italy as Zombi.

    While Romero and even Fulci’s fellow Italian Dario Argento have, in the main, achieved and maintained a degree of critical legitimacy, Fulci was strictly a cult object for the splatter

  • Edward Yang, The Terrorizers, 1986, 35 mm, color, sound, 109 minutes.
    film October 19, 2016

    It’s All Over

    EDWARD YANG DIED IN 2007, aged fifty-nine, after a long bout with cancer that cost him his opportunity to follow up on his international breakthrough, Yi Yi (2000). By any measure this would be a tragedy, and I am sometimes convinced that film culture has yet to recover from Yang’s passing. Though his films never left his native Taipei, Yang was a cosmopolitan figure unusually attuned to the benefits and perils of twenty-first century globalization and corporate capitalism, who seemed not only inclined but able to explore what effects the unprecedented changes taking place the world over were

  • Marlen Khutsiev, Mne dvadsat let (I Am Twenty), 1965, 35 mm, black-and-white, 189 minutes.
    film October 05, 2016

    Marlen the Magician

    BETTER LATE THAN NEVER. At ninety-one, filmmaker Marlen Khutsiev will be paying a visit to the Museum of Modern Art, presenting a program of his life’s work in cinema, largely unknown to audiences outside of the former Soviet Bloc, though the movies were dropping jaws when they played at last year’s Locarno Film Festival. (The next stop on the tour is the Harvard Film Archive.) They are films never timid in ambition, though external factors often conspired to thwart that ambition, keeping them away from an original intended audience that was very far away from Fifty-Third Street.

    Marlen Khutsiev,

  • Michael Cimino, Heaven's Gate, 1980, 35 mm, color, sound, 219 minutes.
    film October 01, 2016

    Back and Forth

    IT WAS PERHAPS INEVITABLE that a Michael Cimino retrospective would pop up in the wake of the filmmaker’s death at age seventy-seven in June, but something along the lines of BAMcinématek’s nine-film Cimino series might very well been in the works regardless. After a career that, in the balance, was filled with more setbacks than triumphs, Cimino had recently been the subject of a rehabilitation effort. In 2012 his epic Heaven’s Gate (1980), whose over-budget shoot, box-office failure, and key role in the foundering of United Artists studio had effectively derailed Cimino’s until-then charmed

  • Laida Lertxundi, 025 Sunset Red, 2016, color, sound, 14 minutes.
    film September 22, 2016

    Breaking the Waves

    WHILE MOST FILM FESTIVALS can’t be accurately encapsulated in anything close to comprehensive fashion, summing up the Toronto International Film Festival would be next to impossible. Founded a year before the Blue Jays, in 1976, as the Festival of Festivals, TIFF—and the city around it—has metastasized in the years since. Today it’s the largest North American festival, lashing together almost every significant title that’s been making the rounds in European and American fests… along with The Magnificent Seven? I don’t think anyone—TIFF employees included—knows just how many movies, exactly,

  • Lois Weber, Shoes, 1916, 35 mm, black-and-white, silent, 60 minutes.
    film September 16, 2016

    Wise Guy

    ALICE GUY-BLACHÉ—then just plain Alice Guy—was working as a secretary for Léon Gaumont’s photographic equipment company when the boss received an invitation to an event hosted by Auguste and Louis Lumière, two brothers from Lyon, set for March 22, 1895. The focus of the evening was color still-photography processes, but for an encore the brothers introduced their “projection Kinetoscope,” a machine that projected moving images—in this case, the images of workers leaving a factory. While both Gaumont and Guy-Blaché immediately perceived the commercial possibilities of such a novelty, Guy-Blaché