Film

  • Harmony Korine

    Film critics and buffs, even connoisseurs of the offbeat, have such a fierce love-hate relationship with Harmony Korine that it’s easy to forget the splash he made as the precocious teenage screenwriter of photographer Larry Clark’s film debut, Kids (1995). Clark’s protégé has since written and directed the daring if unpopular Gummo (1997) as well as his Dogma-accred-ited second feature, Julien Donkey-Boy (1999), while Clark has man-aged only Another Day in Paradise (1998), a clunky, misshapen crime thriller as flimsy excuse to fuss over the beautiful Vincent Kartheiser—suggesting that, when it

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  • Pedro Almodóvar

    DEDICATED “TO ALL ACTRESSES who have played actresses, to all women who act, to men who act and become women, to all people who want to be mothers,” and last but not least, to his own mom, Pedro Almodóvar’s All About My Mother, which opened the New York Film Festival in September, is a gender- and genre-bending tale of grief and renewal. The thirteenth film by the director of such previous international hits as Dark Habits (1983), Matador (1986), Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988), and most recently Live Flesh (1997), All About My Mother walks the fine line between melodrama and

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  • Kimberly Price

    AS YOU LIKE IT? First-time director Kimberly Peirce’s Boys Don’t Cry (which opened in October) dramatizes the true-life story of Teena Brandon, the small-town Nebraskan girl who lived and loved as a boy until she was brutally raped and murdered in 1993 for getting caught at it. Like the recent Matthew Sheppard killing, Brandon’s senseless death reverberated in the hollows of the American psyche, pitting our collective intolerance of sexual deviancy against our personal abhorrence of thuggery. While the historical record is a case study worthy of Gender Theory 101, Peirce’s docudrama harks back

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  • Atom Egoyan

    BY LEAVING HIS CUSTOMARY Canadian settings and cast of regulars behind in this adaptation of William Trevor’s novel Felicia’s Journey, director Atom Egoyan may have intended to challenge himself by filtering his customary preoccupations with family dysfunction and video technology through someone else’s vision. But the result falls far short of his 1997 adaptation of Russell Banks’s The Sweet Hereafter.

    Here, Felicia (Elaine Cassidy), a pregnant Irish teenager, travels to England in search of her baby’s father and winds up in the clutches of the obsessional factory manager Hilditch (Bob Hoskins).

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  • Charles and Ray Eames

    IN 1954, WHEN I WAS A PINK-CHEEKED lad of a mere thirteen years, our family—newly returned to Los Angeles from the aging, sooty confines of Cleveland—paid a visit to an old friend of my father’s who’d made it big at Capitol Records and built a house on Webster Drive, in LA’s Silver Lake district. The house was a simple box, half redwood and half glass, with a little stainless-steel trim. The far wall of the living room was entirely glass, looking out onto a sparse deck and, beyond, a spectacular view of the Silver Lake reservoir. Standing for the first time in the living room, I thought the home

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  • Titanic: Anatomy of a Blockbuster

    “Instant books” first appeared in the ’70s: thin, hastily written paperbacks designed to hit drugstore and airport sales racks while public interest in a political event or celebrity scandal remains fresh. The ’90s have given us the academic instant book, collections of essays that, because of the slow pace of scholarly publication, generally appear after public interest in whatever “hot” topic they explore has waned. Madonna, Princess Di, and the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan affair have been given the cultural studies treatment; now comes Titanic: Anatomy of a Blockbuster. Like the film itself,

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  • Kristin Jones talks with Olivier Assayas

    ITALO CALVINO ONCE DESCRIBED his primary working method as “the subtraction of weight,” an idea that also animates the latest film from the forty-four-year-old French director Olivier Assayas. Late August, Early September, which opens in New York in early July, is a story about suffering and death, but one infused with an extraordinary degree of lightness and spontaneity, stemming in part from the film’s elliptical construction and loosely sketched characters. This effortless quality is the result of years of exploration on Assayas’s part. He studied painting and literature, then wrote film

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  • High Art and Pecker

    MOVIES ABOUT ARTISTS and their demimondes are notoriously unreliable. We’re not talking old-style Hollywood productions about the titanic geniuses of yore; such fare as The Agony and the Ecstasy, often screened on Ted Turner’s invaluable American Movie Classics cable network, has seen me through many predawn insomniac hours. More contemporary efforts focusing on artists, dealers, or collectors—e.g., Legal Eagles, 9 1/2 Weeks, Wall Street—have been miserable failures from the standpoint of art-world reality. (True, only those who are at best naïf go to any movie in search of la vérité, and I

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  • Sharon Lockhart

    SHARON LOCKHART’S Goshogaoka (1997) provides a much-needed slap on the wrist to the frequently tedious, self-involved goings-on of much American “independent” movie-making, by showing how a few simple and surprising elements—a single camera angle, six ten-minute sequences, a Japanese junior high girl’s basketball team—are all it takes to charm the eye and mind. We hear an extended bell tone, like a sound that might summon initiates to prayer; we see the polished sheen of a basketball-court floor in a gymnasium-cum-auditorium (whose stage and red curtain center the frame); we hear the rumble of

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  • Chow Yun-Fat

    CHOW YUN-FAT moves through a film like a time-traveler from the cinematic past. A violent apparition materializing from the shadows of memory, the Hong Kong star who made his Hollywood debut in The Replacement Killers and is slated to appear next in producer Oliver Stone’s upcoming The Corruptor imbues action with tenderness and regret, having one foot securely in the stoic moral codes of Only Angels Have Wings and the other in the weltschmerz of Wings of Desire. As an actor, Chow balances the innate and self-conscious with a special sort of bemused intensity, reconciling the emblematic qualities

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  • Frozen

    SUICIDE DRAWS a sharp line between the one who goes beyond and those who stay behind. The most painful thing to realize is that not only has the dead man become invisible to us, but we are no longer visible to him. When Qi Lei, a twenty-three-year-old performance artist, killed himself in Beijing in 1994, the living were left with unanswered questions, an unfinished story line, incomplete dialogue, and the cruelty of real or imagined guilt.

    Suicide poses a particular challenge to cinema, weaving a subtle dialectic between the known and the unknown. To investigate the “reasons”—the motives,

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  • Michael Haneke's Funny Games

    AN EXCRUCIATING compendium of banalities posing as “radical” filmmaking, the Austrian movie Funny Games suggests that celluloid serial killers have grown bored with murder sprees, necrophilic rape, and ritual sex mutilations. No longer content with violence—for—violation’s sake, they feel the need to place their acts in the larger context of media representation: using torture and slaughter for educational purposes, homicidal maniacs must now not only kill but comment on the whole death—making process. Indeed, the movie’s cherubic duo, Peter and Paul—suggesting a pair of run-amok

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