Tony Pipolo

  • Florin Serban, If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle, 2010, still from a color film in 35 mm, 94 minutes.
    film January 03, 2011

    Young Offender

    AN ARRESTING CONTRIBUTION to the increasingly evident “new wave” in Romanian cinema, Florin Serban’s remarkably assured debut feature, If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle, makes effective use of prison drama conventions to create an impressive portrait of a youthful offender and to introduce a charismatic new actor to the screen. Based on a play, the film has dramatic focus and a temporal urgency that builds with quiet intensity. Though less than two weeks away, eighteen-year old Silviu’s parole is jeopardized when he learns that the mother who abandoned him eight years earlier is about to take the

  • Left: Jeanne Liotta, Crosswalk, 2010, still from a black-and-white and color film in 35 mm, 19 minutes. Right: Robert Beavers, The Suppliant, 2010, still from a color film in 16 mm, 5 minutes.
    film September 27, 2010

    Poetry in Motion

    THE FOURTEENTH EDITION OF “VIEWS FROM THE AVANT GARDE,” an event of the forty-eighth New York Film Festival organized by Mark McElhatten and Gavin Smith, presents seventeen programs of films and videos. Though some are devoted to a single artist––e.g., Jean-Marie Straub, Phil Solomon, and Helga Fanderl––most are eclectically composed. The works vary in length and format, some in Super 8 or 16 mm, others in alternative media. James Benning’s Ruhr (2009) represents his first foray into digital. It is an occasion to study and appreciate the potential and values of different media. Of those I

  • Michelangelo Antonioni, Le Amiche (The Girlfriends), 1955, stills from a black-and-white film in 35 mm, 95 minutes. Left: Rosetta and Cesare (Madeleine Fischer and Franco Fabrizi). Right: Clelia and Momina (Eleonora Rossi Drago and Yvonne Furneaux).
    film June 18, 2010

    Designing Women

    RESTORED TO A LUSTROUS GLOW, the blacks, whites, and grays of a new print of Michelangelo Antonioni’s Le Amiche (The Girlfriends, 1955) accent the elegant surfaces of mid-1950s Turin where it was filmed. From the opening pan under the credits to the long shots of the arcades and buildings that form the backdrop for the fashionable personae in the story, the city’s modernity sparkles before us. There is no evidence of the ruins from the Second World War, a conflict that still haunts the lives of the characters in the 1949 Cesare Pavese novel on which the film is based, titled Among Women Only.

  • Connie Field, Have You Heard from Johannesburg, 2010, black-and-white and color film, 517 minutes. Left: Members of the Leandra Youth Congress regroup after repelling an attack by vigilantes at the funeral of their community leader, Chief Ampie Mayisa, in Leandra Township, Transvaal on January 25, 1986. Photo: Paul Weinberg / Mayibuye Centre Archives. Right: Oliver Tambo with Nelson Mandela in Addis Ababa in 1962. Photo: © IDAF.
    film April 13, 2010

    Voices Carry

    IF ANY ONE WORD could describe this epic documentary about the struggle against apartheid in the latter part of the last century, that word is exhilarating. More compelling and instructive than any fictionalized movies on the subject, the seven-part, eight-and-a-half-hour Have You Heard from Johannesburg (2010) is charged by the impassioned, clear-eyed approach of its producer/director Connie Field and energized by a cast of characters, whose names, but for one or two, are no doubt unknown to most Americans, including those who lived through the period—the 1960s through the ’90s—when the majority

  • Juliette Garcias, Be Good, 2009, still from a color film, 90 minutes. Ève (Anaïs Demoustier) and Jean (Bruno Todeschini).
    film February 19, 2010

    All About Ève

    A HIGHLIGHT of the year’s “Film Comment Selects” series, Juliette Garcias’s first directorial feature, Be Good, is a tense thriller that gradually dispels suspicions of its affinities with the lovesick-teenager and demonic-babysitter genres to reveal its more unsettling subject as a study of the psychological effects of early sexual violation. Recalling vintage Chabrol in setting and tone, Garcias’s serenely composed images are both backdrop and foil to the quietly unnerving interactions between a disturbed young woman and the inhabitants of a provincial French village. It’s a sign of the film’s

  • Aleksandr Gornovsky and Karen Shakhnazarov, Ward No. 6, 2009, still from a color film, 83 minutes.
    film November 27, 2009

    Madness and Civilization

    “CELEBRATING CHEKHOV,” a miniseries of adaptations of the Russian author’s work, is currently being presented at the Walter Reade Theater by the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Confined to works by Soviet and Russian filmmakers, the series includes both familiar titles—Andrei Konchalovsky’s Uncle Vanya (1970) and Yuli Karasik’s The Seagull (1970)—and lesser-known ones: Chekhov’s Motives (2002), directed by Kira Muratova, and Ward No. 6 (2009), directed by Karen Shakhnazarov and Aleksandr Gornovsky, the Russian submission to the 2009 Oscar race, which is having its American premiere in the series.