Tony Pipolo

  • Federica Di Giacomo, Deliver Us (Liberami), 2016, HD video, color, sound, 90 minutes.
    film May 30, 2017

    Church Folk

    IT’S A PLEASURE TO REPORT that at least half of this year’s selections in the Open Roads series of New Italian cinema would make any film festival worth attending.

    Edoardo De Angelis’s Indivisible is a flashy opening feature, with its tale of twin teenage girls physically joined at the hip, but it also underlines the powerful forces of church and family that remain critical elements in Italian movies. Both themes are as inextricably bound in this film as the twins themselves (played by Angela and Marianna Fontana), whose condition is exploited by a father who parades them around Naples to sing

  • film April 21, 2017

    Digital Divide

    HOWEVER GRUDGINGLY film-lovers have accepted the hegemony of digital, there is no denying that avant-garde artists have spun gold from newer media. The indomitable, self-taught Ernie Gehr, whose film career began in the late 1960s and whose thirty-odd ventures in 16-mm include such gems as Still (1969–71), Serene Velocity (1970), Eureka! (1974), and Side/Walk Shuttle (1991), has more than doubled that output with digital works, the latest of which will be shown Monday at Redcat in Los Angeles.

    A master interrogator of space and gravity-defying cinema, Gehr has plumbed the possibilities of digital

  • Philippe Garrel, Les hautes solitudes, 1974, black-and-white, silent, 80 minutes. Jean Seberg.
    film February 20, 2017

    Jean Genie

    FRENCH WRITER AND FILMMAKER Philippe Garrel’s Les hautes solitudes (1974), a rueful, beautifully shot portrait of American actress Jean Seberg, is only now having its commercial release in the United States. Silent, black-and-white, and nonnarrative, the film has no discernible conceptual pretext. “I conceived Les hautes solitudes as outtakes,” said Garrel, “of a film that never existed in the first place . . . I arrived every day at Seberg’s apartment with my camera and filmed her on the balcony, close to the window, for hours, with no role and no script. No one thought it was a real film, but

  • Asghar Farhadi, The Salesman, 2016, HD video, color, sound, 125 minutes. Emad and Rana (Shahab Hossein and Taraneh Alidoosti).
    film January 24, 2017

    A Dangerous Method

    ASGHAR FARHADI’S THE SALESMAN is the director’s latest, most excruciating dissection of contemporary Iran. As in his other films, Farhadi treats social conditions, and the urban blight and political corruption they imply, almost tangentially. They are neither ignored nor his primary focus, and they are not the target of the characters’ or the viewers’ animus. For a lesser director, the catastrophic early scene in which an apartment building almost collapses, forcing its tenants to seek temporary quarters elsewhere, would have been a sufficient cause for the events that follow. But Farhadi’s

  • Ken Jacobs, Reichstag 9/11, 2016, HD video, color, sound, 38 minutes.
    film January 02, 2017

    Look Look Look Again

    AT A TIME when even high-profile movies face a nebulous afterlife, the First Look Festival at the Museum of the Moving Image, now in its sixth edition, has become increasingly indispensable to New York’s film community. Indeed, First Look is often the only look many worthy titles receive before falling into the bottomless pit of the forgotten, the neglected, and the impossible to see. From its opening feature—Hirozaku Kore-eda’s After the Storm—to the end, there isn’t a loser in this year’s lineup, and there are at least half a dozen must-sees, not likely to be better projected than on MoMI’s

  • Daïchi Saïto, Engram of Returning, 2015, 35 mm, color, sound, 19 minutes.
    film December 06, 2016

    Film Cool

    FILM IS DEAD. Or so we’ve heard. The news must not have reached Canada, where Japanese-born filmmaker Daïchi Saïto has been working diligently in Super 8 and 16- and 35-mm since 2003. In 2012 he extended this focus with the dual 16-mm Never a Foot Too Far, Even; and his most recent film, Engram of Returning (2016) is in 35 mm and CinemaScope. Both films, along with earlier work, will be screened at Anthology Film Archives—for one evening only, alas. I can’t think of a better fit of artist and venue: Although Saïto’s body of work is small, it’s an exciting testament to the vibrancy of film in

  • Raúl Ruiz, Three Crowns of the Sailor, 1983, 35 mm, black-and-white, sound, 117 minutes.
    film November 29, 2016

    Dream Weaver

    PERHAPS THE MOST PROLIFIC FILMMAKER of the past half century, Chilean-born Raúl Ruiz made more than seventy features and twenty-five shorts between 1963 and his death in 2011. He discontinued his university studies in theology and law—although both subjects surface in his films—to write plays, study filmmaking, and work in television. Though less overtly political than his peers, Ruiz left Chile when Pinochet came to power, and moved to Paris with his wife, Valeria Sarmiento, with whom, along with cinematographer Sacha Vierny and producer Paolo Branco, he collaborated over many decades. When

  • Maya Deren, At Land, 1944, 16 mm, black-and-white, silent, 15 minutes. Maya Deren.

    CLOSE-UP: PSYCHOLOGICAL PROJECTIONS

    How can a little girl born in Russia and reared in Syracuse, New York, find happiness as a Voodoun priestess in Greenwich Village? That question sort of sums up the story of Maya Deren, who was one of the most complex and legendary personalities among independent filmmakers of the 1940s and 50s.

    —Stan Brakhage, Film at Wit’s End: Eight Avant-Garde Filmmakers

    The source of inspiration is nothing but the object of the quest.

    —Jean Laplanche, The Temptation of Biology: Freud’s Theories of Sexuality

    IF BRAKHAGE’S REDUCTION of Maya Deren’s life to the tagline of a 1940s radio serial seems

  • Gianfranco Rosi, Fire at Sea, 2016, HD video, color, sound, 114 minutes.
    film October 20, 2016

    Seeing Clearly

    GIANFRANCO ROSI’S award-winning Fire at Sea comes as close as possible to achieving genuine objectivity, a quality that eludes most documentaries, including those that claim not to espouse a partisan viewpoint. True objectivity does not preclude moral conviction. A strong point of view, manifested through a visual style—the hallmarks of authorship in narrative filmmaking—also characterized documentary filmmakers, from Robert Flaherty to Errol Morris. Since Rosi is the cinematographer of most of his movies, his perspective is literally synonymous with his camera’s eye—gazing with admirable

  • David Rimmer, Variations on a Cellophane Wrapper, 1970, 16 mm, color, sound, 9 minutes.
    film October 03, 2016

    This Way and That

    THE FIFTY-FOURTH NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL’S Projections sidebar is its most impressive to date. In addition to films by known masters, many new works are noteworthy. Among the stalwarts, Nathaniel Dorsky and Jerome Hiler present new films, though they were unavailable for previewing, and Robert Beavers will show a restoration of From the Notebook of… (1971/1998). Canadian filmmaker David Rimmer is represented by three 16-mm films, and the late Peter Hutton’s In Titan’s Goblet (1991), an homage to painter Thomas Cole, is a luminous black-and-white contemplation of smoke, fog, and ships at sea.

  • Robert Aldrich, Hustle, 1975, 35 mm, color, sound, 120 minutes. Nicole Britton and Lt. Phil Gaines (Catherine Deneuve and Burt Reynolds).
    film September 12, 2016

    Paradise Gained

    THE FILMS OF ROBERT ALDRICH, like those of his contemporaries Douglas Sirk, Nicholas Ray, Anthony Mann, Raoul Walsh, Sam Fuller, and Otto Preminger, not only have stood the test of time but have become more affecting, more authentic, and more precious with each passing decade. Placed at “The Far Side of Paradise,” perhaps the most aptly titled, most beloved category in Andrew Sarris’s taxonomy of the American cinema, Aldrich was among those dark angels who couldn’t quite follow Lucifer to hell but remained ambivalent gatekeepers on the rebellious fringe. If many of his characters teeter on the

  • Zachary Treitz, Men Go to Battle, 2015, color, sound, 98 minutes. Henry Mellon (Tim Morton).
    film July 05, 2016

    Universal Soldier

    NOTWITHSTANDING ITS SOMEWHAT GRANDIOSE and perhaps misleading title, Zachary Treitz’s Men Go to Battle is an earnestly conceived, modest achievement. The screenplay, cowritten by Treitz and Kate Lyn Sheil, no doubt speaks for the lives of many lost and alienated young men in mid-nineteenth century rural America for whom enlistment in the Civil War may have seemed a temporary reprieve from their mundane lives. Not that the movie overtly declares such a message. On the contrary, it strives, almost too self-consciously at times, to avoid preaching, melodramatics, and explicit psychologizing, as