Tony Pipolo

  • film September 18, 2020

    Current Affairs

    UNDETERRED BY THE PRESENT HEALTH CRISIS, the Fifty-Eighth New York Film Festival will premiere its annual selections of world cinema virtually and, in Brooklyn and Queens, in drive-in screenings—the latter a resourceful reprise of the way many families saw movies in the 1950s. It may not be pure coincidence, in light of the circumstances, that the festival also offers a new slate this year, appropriately called Currents. Comprised of the same mix that characterized the Projections sidebar, which it has displaced, Currents offers more than a dozen feature-length movies and forty-six shorter works

  • film January 09, 2020

    Either Ore

    FEW DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKERS have been as consistently preoccupied with the fate of the planet as the Austrian producer, director, writer, and cinematographer Nikolaus Geyrhalter. One wonders, in fact, why it took him so long—nearly a dozen films—before hitting upon the title Earth. Like his previous documentaries, Erde has screened at multiple film festivals and comes trailing awards: the 2019 prize of the Berlinale Ecumenical Jury, Best Green Dox at DokuFest, and even a special award for Best Film on the Topic of Soil at Innsbruck Nature Film Festival. Judging from the topical narrowness of

  • film October 03, 2019

    Eternal Present

    PROJECTIONS, now in its sixth year, remains the most eclectic sidebar of the annual New York Film Festival, now in its fifty-seventh year. While at first the series seemed to be the heir to Views from the Avant-Garde, Projections has increasingly embraced works that could easily be part of the main slate or other sidebars of the festival, in addition to films and videos by artists who were regularly presented at Views. Among the latter are Pat O’Neill, whose dazzling 35-mm Saugus Series (1974) was recently restored by the Academy Film Archive and the Film Foundation, and is being screened at

  • film June 05, 2019

    Hope Against Hope

    LINCOLN CENTER’S ANNUAL “OPEN ROADS” SERIES, now in its nineteenth edition, is a precious opportunity for New Yorkers to see new Italian cinema. Over the years, my experience has been that, even when the quality varies, this national cinema rarely avoids pertinent subject matter and, in the case of narrative films, consistently provides stellar performances. One anxiety that emerges loud and clear this year is a lack of hope, and the dismal future that working-class Italian youth face. Given the conviction and heart of these films, it’s hard to conclude that the concern is the obsession of just

  • film January 09, 2019

    Trial Runs

    THE ANNUAL FIRST LOOK SERIES at the Museum of the Moving Image provides an opportunity for adventurous New Yorkers to see international movies not likely to show up elsewhere. Among the must-sees in this year’s edition, which opens January 11, are three titles focused on Russian history, past and present. Sergei Loznitsa’s Donbass (2018), the opening-night feature, with the director present, is a somewhat absurdist rumination on the civil war that continues to plague Ukraine. Conflating contrived situations with newsreel-worthy facts in mosaic-like fashion, the movie is composed of long-take

  • film November 16, 2018

    Brush Folks

    TWO NEW FILMS ABOUT ARTISTS offer contrasting approaches to the biopic, a genre arguably subject to greater scrutiny of its claims to truth than any other. Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s Never Look Away coerces biographical details to augur the future genius of its painter protagonist, scrambling events to connect the dots and keep the story moving. Repudiating such conventions, Julian Schnabel’s At Eternity’s Gate is a deeply personal portrait of painter Vincent van Gogh, its handheld camera immersing us almost physically in the man’s anguished compulsion to paint in a way no previous film

  • film November 01, 2018

    The Soprano

    IN THE FALL OF 1971 AND THE SPRING OF ’72, the American-born soprano Maria Callas conducted ten master classes at the Juilliard School of Music at Lincoln Center in New York. Responding to a tiny announcement in the New York Times, I paid the registration fee, along with some equally devoted friends, and each week we sat amid artists, musicians, and other fans for what would become one of the most exhilarating and indelible experiences of my life. The moment Callas walked onstage, she blew out of the water every trite stereotype of the demonic, temperamental diva that dogged her relentlessly—the

  • film October 03, 2018

    Strangest Things

    A LOONY FAIRY TALE opens this year’s “Projections” sidebar of the Fifty-Sixth New York Film Festival. Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt’s Diamantino alludes to the immigration crisis, cybernetics, gender-bending, political corruption, internet crime, and global sports mania, yet it remains fanciful to the end, replete with a bevy of villains and a too-good-to-be-true hero, who gives the film its title. Diamantino Matamouros (Carlo Cotta), like Wagner’s Siegfried, is, as English comedian Anna Russell’s hilarious spoof described Siegfried, “very brave, very handsome, and very stupid.” Soccer

  • film May 30, 2018

    Heart and Soul

    IN ADDITION TO HOSTING the American premiere of what may be the best new film of 2018 from anywhere, this year’s Open Roads at the Film Society of Lincoln Center pays tribute to four key figures of the past. Roberto de Paolis’s film Pure Hearts (about which, more below) is, at the very least, a sign of hope that the Italian cinema that gave rise to the beloved the Taviani brothers (Paolo and the recently deceased Vittorio), maverick director Marco Ferreri, and the elegant but largely underappreciated actress Valentina Cortese—not to mention the formidable masters who preceded them—still lives.

  • film May 10, 2018

    All Work and No Play

    IF THERE IS A SINGLE, OVERRIDING THEME in Tony Zierra’s Filmworker (2017), it is that the life of Leon Vitali, the subject of this documentary, has been more or less divided between the twenty-odd years before he met Stanley Kubrick and the nearly fifty years since. Every talking head in the film, including Vitali’s, testifies to this fact, so much so that it makes us question the reality of every aspect of the man’s life that is not related to Kubrick. Late in the doc, for example, we hear Vitali’s children voicing not very happy memories about their father’s psychological (when not physical)

  • film March 07, 2018

    Young Folks

    SPUNKY YOUNG WOMEN FACING UNCERTAIN FUTURES leave their marks on this year’s “Rendez-Vous with French Cinema” series at the Film Society of Lincoln Center—two in the smashing directorial debuts by Léonor Serraille (Montparnasse Bienvenüe [2017]) and Léa Mysius (Ava [2017]), and a third in Bruno Dumont’s refreshingly offbeat Jeannette, The Childhood of Joan of Arc (2017). Ava is about a thirteen-year-old girl (Noée Abita) whose imminent blindness prompts her to seize what comes with reckless abandon before darkness sets in. At first a pouty Mouchette, she takes up with Juan (Juan Cano), a migrant

  • film February 09, 2018

    Final Cut

    ONE OF THE WORLD’S most prolific filmmakers, the late, great Raúl Ruiz is on view again at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, which is presenting part two of the retrospective it began in December 2016, one of the highlights of the year. This round offers such rarities as The Insomniac on the Bridge (1985), The Blind Owl (1987), Comedy of Innocence (2000), and Mammame (1986)—a film record of Jean-Claude Gallotta’s nine-person dance performance. It also includes Night Across the Street (2012), Ruiz’s final film, and a weeklong run of Time Regained (1999), his adaptation of Proust’s In Search of