Nicolas Rapold

  • Tina Satter, Reality, 2023, 85 minutes. Reality Winner (Sydney Sweeney).
    film March 01, 2023

    Reality Check

    “THIS IS REAL LIFE,” a woman tells her bewildered newborn in Notre Corps, Claire Simon’s empathic nonfiction film about a Parisian gynecological clinic. The sentiment kept coming to mind amid the sheer multiplicity of cinematic visions at the 73rd annual Berlinale. Back in full force after two pandemic editions (one virtual, one constrained), the festival thrived across its sections, all the more impressively for not relying on past premieres or the sort of mind-numbing branding that afflicts some festivals. Nurturing the many ecosystems where all manner of movies can grow, Berlin elegantly

  • Laura Poitras, All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, 2022, color, sound, 113 minutes. Photograph by Nan Goldin.
    film September 14, 2022

    A Love Supreme

    BEFORE THE PANDEMIC crashed into our lives, the opioid epidemic was well underway, but both share a legacy of pain and suffering that has yet to be absorbed and properly addressed. So it felt somehow gratifying when the Venice Film Festival awarded the Golden Lion not to any of several fall-season “contenders,” but to All the Beauty and the Bloodshed—Laura Poitras’s sensitively wrought portrait of consummate survivor Nan Goldin. Taking us through Goldin’s numbing family history (her sister’s suicide, parents in furious denial, foster homes) and her many lives in New York in the late 1970s and

  • film March 10, 2022

    True Blood

    “WHERE IS YOUR COUNTRY GOING? It’s headed to an abyss, and it could bring the whole world with it,” Vytautas Landsbergis warned Soviet leadership in 1990, as it tried to strangle a newly independent Lithuania in the crib with bluster, blockades, and tanks. Watching this goateed music-professor-turned-leader steer the ship of state through the storm in Sergei Loznitsa’s Mr. Landsbergis, it was impossible not to think of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, even within the warmhearted Midwestern haven for documentary art that is the True/False Film Fest, where guests basked in the good vibes of being

  • Carla Simón, Alcarràs, 2022, DCP, color, sound, 120 minutes. Iris (Ainet Jounou).
    film February 23, 2022

    To the Wunder

    AFTER SUNDANCE CALLED OFF its physical edition just two weeks before opening, it was a comfort and a joy that the Berlinale had the good fortune to take place on a streamlined schedule. When the festival’s Golden Bear went to Carla Simón’s Alcarràs—a handsome, serviceable portrayal of a Catalonian farm’s fade-out—I couldn’t help but sense a “just happy to be here” feeling in the air. The Competition jury’s lineup—which put M. Night Shyamalan and Ryusuke Hamaguchi in the same room—was arguably more exciting than the stubbornly even-keeled Alcarràs. But good films at the 2022 edition were where

  • Yuri Ancarani, Atlantide, 2021, DCP, color, sound, 104 minutes. Daniele (Daniele Barison).
    film September 16, 2021

    Grand Illusion

    PEDRO ALMODÓVAR’S PARALLEL MOTHERS was the official opening night film of the 78th Venice International Film Festival, but through a twist of scheduling, mine was the less-trumpeted Atlantide. The new feature from gallery artist and filmmaker Yuri Ancarani was a playful overture, a coming-of-age portrait of teenagers and their fast boats on the lagoons and waterways of another Venice not mobbed by tourists. Reframing the games of status and speed from Ancarani’s luxe mirage The Challenge (with an assist from some re-creation), Atlantide has everything: drag racing, hot pursuit by police, boat

  • Andrzej Zulawski, Possession, 1981, stills from a color film in 35 mm, 123 minutes. Left: Mark (Sam Neill). Right: Anna (Isabelle Adjani).
    film December 05, 2011

    Crazy in Love

    DESERVEDLY NOTORIOUS, and now revived uncut by Film Forum, Andrzej Zulawski’s 1981 film Possession plunges into a vertiginous free fall of amour fou, lust, hysteria, and unnameable, uncontainable passion. A perfect match to the destabilizing urges under fresh study in David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, this is mania without analysis: Consumed by someone somewhere else, young mother Anna (Isabelle Adjani) effectively abandons her husband Mark (Sam Neill) and their boy. Guilty of his own absences, Mark enters a frenzy of desperation and jealousy. He eventually tracks down Anna’s ludicrous

  • Left: Edward Dmytryk, Crossfire, 1947, still from a black-and-white film in 35 mm, 86 minutes. Montgomery and Samuels (Robert Ryan and Sam Levene). Right: Nicholas Ray, On Dangerous Ground, 1952, still from a black-and-white film in 35 mm, 82 minutes. Jim Wilson (Robert Ryan)
    film August 10, 2011

    What About Bob?

    EVEN IF HE WINS—especially if he wins—he loses. That’s Robert Ryan in The Set-Up (1949), playing beaten-down boxer Stoker, who opts not to take a fall. The first half of Robert Wise’s boldly drawn film, set mostly in the ring’s warm-up room, captures in miniature Stoker’s life as a whole until that moment: one long wait for the fight that will change everything. And then it’s happening—success, or failure—in front of everyone choreographed by lank former university champ Ryan and enacted before a vividly realized avid crowd, the bout is edited into an exhausting sequence. By the end, we feel

  • Jean-Pierre Melville, Léon Morin, Priest, 1961, still from a black-and-white film in 35 mm, 117 minutes. Barny and Léon Morin (Emmanuelle Riva and Jean-Paul Belmondo).
    film July 29, 2011

    Keeping the Faith

    CALL IT MY NIGHTS AT MORIN’S: An attractive widow (Emmanuelle Riva) in a rural village visits a priest’s bare walk-up to mess with him and gets drawn into religious and philosophical debates shadowed by desire. Jean-Pierre Melville helped inspire the La Nouvelle Vague with Bob le Flambeur (1956), and in Léon Morin, Priest (1961)—the filmmaker’s return after the flop of Two Men in Manhattan (1959)—he directs Riva (Elle in Hiroshima Mon Amour [1959]) as the bored Barny opposite Jean-Paul Belmondo. Ten years after Robert Bresson’s Diary of a Country Priest, the Breathless icon plays the improbable

  • Left: Georges Perec and Bernard Queysanne, A Homme qui dort (The Man Who Sleeps), 1974, still from a black-and-white video, 77 minutes. Right: Nicolas Provost, Stardust, 2010, still from a color video, 20 minutes.
    film June 22, 2011

    Together Again

    THE NICOLAS PROVOST PROGRAM shown on the second evening of this year’s ten-day Migrating Forms proved a suitable foil to any unified accounts of the festival. Stardust, an uncanny film perpetually verging on narrative intrigue, features a nocturnal Las Vegas haunted by hidden-camera shots of half-caught glances, suggestively linked gestures, and the ready-to-read faces of actual off-duty stars (Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson). Much like Provost’s Long Live the New Flesh, which beads together a bottomless visual continuum from madly artifacting digital images of gore, it’s a recipe for paranoid

  • Éric Rohmer, Le Rayon vert (Summer), 1986, stills from a color film in 35 mm, 98 minutes.
    film June 08, 2011

    Leisure Principle

    DELPHINE, the fretful and fussy antiheroine of Éric Rohmer’s Le Rayon vert (The Green Ray, 1986; originally released in North America as Summer), may be at a loss for those all-important July-August vacation plans, but she doesn’t lack for friends and strangers telling her where to go or how to live. Still brittle two years after a broken engagement, which is echoed by a friend’s last-minute change in travel itinerary at the film’s opening, the pale Parisian will find herself, for example, airily defending vegetarianism to a table full of people she barely knows, or watching a Swedish girl she

  • Alma Har'el, Bombay Beach, 2011, still from a color film, 80 minutes.
    film May 08, 2011

    Doc Holiday

    WITH A SLATE divided roughly 40/60 percent between nonfiction and fiction films, any foray into the Tribeca Film Festival this year was bound to involve documentary. And an unlucky sampling of dramas could make the docs portion seem all the more engaging. Swede Lisa Aschan’s World Narrative Competition award-winner She Monkeys, for example, was an assured yet inert depiction of two teenage equestrian frenemies, its young actors incapable of sustaining our interest in the trickle of revelation and humiliation (periodically stopped dead by a tone-deaf side plot about a younger sister’s awkward

  • Luchino Visconti, Senso, 1954, stills from a color film in 35 mm, 123 minutes. Left: Countess Livia Serpieri and Laura (Alida Valli and Rina Morelli). Right: Countess Livia Serpieri (Alida Valli)
    film March 15, 2011

    Senso Sensibility

    IT’S THE CONCEIT of historical melodramas that their characters’ passions overshadow the earth-shattering events going on around them. Luchino Visconti’s Senso (1954), set during the Risorgimento and the foreign occupation of Venice, willfully confounds love and war, with each having consequences for the other. Over the course of the film, the countess Serpieri’s amour fou for Austrian officer Franz Mahler will drive her to betray a movement (and her own family, given that the nationalist revolution is run by her cousin) and, fatally, the very object of her obsession. In Visconti’s framing,