Tony Pipolo

  • Nicholas Ray, On Dangerous Ground, 1951, 35 mm, black-and-white, sound, 82 minutes. Mary Malden and Jim Wilson (Ida Lupino and Robert Ryan).
    film September 01, 2015

    Brow Beating

    THOUGH NEVER ONE OF HOLLYWOOD’S BIGGEST STARS or romantic leading men, Robert Ryan arguably gave more great performances, even in mediocre films, than showier, bigger name actors like Marlon Brando. Unlike the latter, whose public image often loomed larger than any he left on screen, and who barely concealed his disdain for the many banal projects he agreed to do, Ryan never flaunted a superior air, was committed to his profession, and consistently, without irony, embraced the tortured souls of his characters, etching his way into film history and the consciousness of viewers with a killer grin

  • Joshua Oppenheimer, The Look of Silence, 2014, HD video, color, sound, 103 minutes. Adi and Rohani.
    film July 17, 2015

    Looking Both Ways

    EASILY ONE OF the most courageous and profound documentaries in ages, The Look of Silence is director Joshua Oppenheimer’s follow up to The Act of Killing (2012), his shocking exposé about the Indonesian “gangsters” who tortured and murdered over one million communists and suspected communists in 1965, following the military overthrow of the Sukarno regime. Neither movie aims to analyze the political, economic, and historical reasons behind the fall of the government and its aftermath, although there are allusions to the “containment” policy that fueled American involvement in Vietnam and made

  • Shingo Wakagi, Asleep, 2015, HD video, color, sound, 91 minutes. Terako (Sakura Ando).
    film July 06, 2015

    Cuts Above the Rest

    AMONG THE HIGHLIGHTS of the ninth annual Japan Cuts Festival are two movies starring the popular Sakura Ando. This chameleon-like actress (fleeting but unforgettable in Kyoshi Kurosawa’s television series Penance, later turned into a four-and-a-half-hour movie in 2012) is now twenty-nine, but she continues to play roles that exploit her uncanny gift for suggesting a timeless creature somewhere between the real world and the supernatural. Half waif, half sprite, she holds the screen with a commanding presence that utterly belies her slight physical stature and often barely audible voice. She is

  • Roy Andersson, A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, 2015, HD video, color, sound, 100 minutes.
    film June 02, 2015

    Bird’s-eye View

    IMPECCABLY CRAFTED AND VISUALLY ARRESTING, A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, the final chapter of Roy Andersson’s “The Living Trilogy,” is the wittiest, most engaging black comedy I’ve seen in ages. Mastering the art of setting antic action within a meticulously ordered mise-en-scène is not new (Jacques Tati comes to mind), but Andersson’s tone is hardly one-note: At once dour and hilarious, deadpan and dead-serious, it might be that of Ingmar Bergman in prankster mode. Though an introductory title informs us that Andersson’s trilogy is about “being a human being,” every one of

  • Jonas Mekas, Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania, 1972, 16 mm, color, sound, 88 minutes.
    film May 18, 2015

    Age of Innocence

    THOUGH THE TITLE of the upcoming program at BAMcinématek might seem a bit grandiose for the relatively modest group of works being shown, it’s a unique opportunity to catch rarely screened films and videos from a nearly ignored era and source. “Artists, Amateurs, Alternative Spaces: Experimental Cinema in Eastern Europe, 1960–1990” includes two features and forty-two shorts from twelve Eastern European countries, many of them products of film schools in Poland (Łódź) and Hungary (the Béla Balász Studio), made over an extended period of political and economic upheaval. Several of the shorts

  • Ken Jacobs, The Guests, 2013, 35 mm transferred to 3-D digital video, black-and-white and color, sound, 73 minutes.

    Ken Jacobs’s The Guests

    The truest, most astounding, and perhaps most dangerous glory of the Lumière brothers is not to have spun the development of a “seventh art”. . . . No, its glory is having created a form of witchcraft akin to that of the prophet Joshua, which frees our worldview from servitude to the single rhythm of external, solar, and terrestrial time.

    —Jean Epstein, L’intelligence d’une machine (1946)*

    WHEN THE GREAT FILMMAKER and theorist Jean Epstein made the slightly mad claim cited above, it’s unlikely he had in mind anything resembling The Guests, a recent venture into the world of digital 3-D by

  • Sylvia Schedelbauer, Erinnerungen (Memories), 2004, HD video, color, sound, 19 minutes.
    film March 19, 2015

    Hide and Go Seek

    WITH SIX SHORT WORKS to her videography, Sylvia Schedelbauer is easily one of the most impressive moving-picture artists to emerge in the past decade. Born in Japan of a Japanese mother and a German father—both of whom severed ties to their postwar childhoods—Schedelbauer’s videos are so eloquently and exquisitely constructed that it is easy to underestimate the passion and urgency that underlie them. Driven to conjure a past to replace the one her parents have denied or hidden from her, she has, through an ingenious use of found footage and the endless possibilities of montage, created a series

  • Jon Jost, Coming to Terms, 2013, color, sound, 89 minutes. James Benning.
    film January 07, 2015

    Look Who’s Talking

    THERE’S PLENTY OF GENUINELY UNUSUAL FARE at this year’s First Look series at the Museum of the Moving Image. In addition to new works by American stalwarts Jon Jost and Ken Jacobs (whose 3-D venture The Guests is not to be missed) and the final film of the formidable Russian filmmaker Aleksei German, the series, as it has in the past, will premiere a number of offbeat narratives and documentaries.

    Take Alone with My Horse in the Snow, Axel Bogousslavsky (France, 2014), Alexandre Barry’s singular portrait of a poet, actor, and artist who once collaborated with Marguerite Duras but who now lives

  • Andrey Zvyagintsev, Leviathan, 2014, 35 mm, color, sound, 141 minutes. Roma (Sergey Pokhodaev).

    Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Leviathan

    RUSSIAN DIRECTOR Andrey Zvyagintsev made an auspicious debut in 2003 with The Return, a film about the primal struggle of a father, returned from a long, unidentified war, to assume authority over his two adolescent, none too welcoming sons. The film’s dark biblical and mythic resonances, less blatant in Zvyagintsev’s subsequent films—The Banishment (2007) and Elena (2011)—are in full force in Leviathan, his latest work. Though it’s not exactly Long Day’s Journey into Night, lots of alcohol is consumed in Leviathan—vodka, to be exact. As in O’Neill’s play, the more we learn about

  • Vincent Grenier, Armoire, 2007–11, digital video, color, sound, 5 minutes.
    film November 04, 2014

    It’s the Small Things

    INITIALLY DRAWN TO PAINTING AND SCULPTURE, Quebec-born Vincent Grenier began making films in 1970 and has taught at Binghamton University since 1999. He has more than fifty films and digital works to his credit, many of which screened over the years in the Avant-Garde programs of the New York Film Festival. Watching and rewatching two dozen of them in a short span of time, I was struck by their modesty and simplicity, virtues that make it easy to overlook their concomitant beauty and observational acuity.

    Many of Grenier’s titles describe quite literally the subjects and imagery of the works. In

  • Lewis Klahr, The Occidental Hotel, 2014, HD video, color, sound, 26 minutes.
    film October 02, 2014

    Frame to Frame

    “PROJECTIONS” IS THE NEW LABEL for the sidebar of the New York Film Festival devoted to film and digital works formerly shown under the rubric Views from the Avant-Garde. With fewer programs, none of which overlap, it is possible, were one inclined, to see everything. (The series runs Friday October 3 to Sunday October 5.) Many names are familiar from Views, and two rarely shown films by Belgian poet/artist/filmmaker Marcel Broodthaers—Berlin or a Dream with Cream (1974) and Mr. Teste et La Lune (1970–74) will be projected in 35 mm. The selections vary in duration, format, and style, and at

  • János Szász, The Notebook, 2013, HD video, color, sound 104 minutes. László Gyémánt and András Gyémánt (Egyik Iker and Masik Iker). Photo: Christian Berger.
    film August 26, 2014

    Boys Will Be Boys

    HUNGARIAN DIRECTOR János Szász’s new film is based on Ágota Kristóf’s The Notebook (1986), the first and eeriest novel of a trilogy that follows the grim fortunes of identical twins Claus and Lucas (each name an anagram for the other) during and after World War II. Allegedly for their own safety during foreign occupation (no country is identified), the twins are sent to live with their grandmother—a “witch” suspected of having poisoned her husband. They purchase a notebook to record their experiences, which, in keeping with their uncanny mind-set—one begins a sentence that the other completes—are