Tony Pipolo

  • Radu Jude, The Potemkimists, 2022, DCP, color, sound, 18 minutes. (Alexandru Dabija and Cristina Draghici.)
    film September 30, 2022

    Battle Lines

    THE “CURENTS” SIDEBAR of the sixtieth-anniversary edition of the New York Film Festival offers fifteen features and more than thirty short works. We might begin with the inspired pairing of a program that includes one of each—Alain Gomis’s riveting Rewind & Play, preceded by Elisabeth Subrin’s cleverly conceived and executed short Maria Schneider, 1983. Since I generally avoid reading notes about movies before watching them, I fell right into Subrin’s trap. The video presents what I assumed was footage of a 1983 television interview with Schneider, followed by the same camera setup with two

  • Xavier Giannoli, Les Illusions Perdues (Lost Illusions), 2021, DCP, color, sound, 141 minutes. Lucien de Rubempré and Louise de Bargeton (Benjamin Voisin and Cécile de France).
    film March 03, 2022

    French Dispatch

    THE LINEUP of this year’s “Rendez-Vous with French Cinema,” presented by New York’s Film at Lincoln Center, may be the strongest in years. In addition to new work by seasoned auteurs Jacques Audiard, Claire Denis, Arnaud Desplechin, Cedric Klapisch, and Francois Ozon, several directorial debut features merit particular note. One of these is Constance Meyer’s Robust, an unpretentious sketch of the relationship between an aging, temperamental actor struggling with health problems (the ever-resilient Gerard Depardieu) and his temporary guardian-cum-female-wrestler (Deborah Lukumuena). The rapport

  • Vincent Meessen, Juste un a Mouvement (Just a Movement), 2021, DCP, color, sound, 110 minutes.
    film September 24, 2021

    Social Studies

    WITH FIFTEEN FEATURES and eight programs of shorts, the second edition of the New York Film Festival’s “Currents” sidebar almost qualifies as a festival in itself. Again international in scope, this year’s selections reflect the ongoing impact of social media, not only in terms of how it has altered the speed and perspective by which global events are registered, but in how it suggests a possible new direction for cinema; this seems to be the point of Tiffany Sia’s Do Not Circulate. In reworking cellphone images of the violent police response to protests in Hong Kong in 2019, Sia’s work seeks

  • Ismaïl Bahri, Apparition, 2019, DCP, color, sound, 3 minutes.
    film September 18, 2020

    Current Affairs

    UNDETERRED BY THE PRESENT HEALTH CRISIS, the Fifty-Eighth New York Film Festival will premiere its annual selection 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. Comprising 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

  • Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Erde (Earth), 2019, DCP, color, sound, 115 minutes.
    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

  • Peggy Ahwesh, Kansas Atlas, 2019, four-channel HD video, color, sound, 14 minutes.
    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

  • Claudio Giovannesi, Piranhas, 2019, DCP, color, sound, 112 minutes.
    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

  • Vitaly Mansky, Putin’s Witnesses, 2018, DCP, color, sound, 102 minutes.
    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

  • Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, Never Look Away, 2018, DCP, color, sound, 188 minutes.
    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

  • Maria Callas in 1958.
    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

  • Daniel Schmidt, Diamantino, 2018, 35 mm color, sound, 92 minutes.
    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

  • Roberto De Paolis, Pure Hearts, 2017, color, sound, 115 minutes.
    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.