New York

“New Directors/New Films”

Museum of Modern Art and Film Society of Lincoln Center

Cynical folks might say that any film series curatorially committed to the plight of the international underdog must wallow in liberal platitudes. Fortunately, some of the movies included in last spring’s “New Directors/New Films” series (cosponsored by the Museum of Modern Art and the Film Society of Lincoln Center) helped to remedy this cynic’s jaundiced eye. In lieu of reiterating high-minded but familiar rallying cries for human liberation, nearly half of the 14 films included reflect upon intricate social ironies in calm tones and cool styles, through characters and situations that are far from banal. These films, from countries as politically and culturally diverse as Italy, Brazil, and Ghana, I separate from the rest because of their prevailing antiromanticism and antimoralism; the different modulations of voices here all bespeak a nonconformist morality, a morality of despair.

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