HURTS SO GOOD, ITALIAN STYLE

Film

Jules Dassin has a gift for depicting highly ritualized violence, both physical and psychological. Well, and psycho-sexual, too. The Code made sure the rough stuff in his American films was implied, never depicted—our loss.

PHIL SPECTOR: HE'S A RELIC

Film

If there were stages of grief for our dying culture, they would have to move from hedonistic to scandalized to weary. The Agony and the Ecstasy of Phil Spector, Vikram Jayanti’s new documentary about the revolutionary pop and rock producer who defined sound as we know it, showcases all those many moods of the American public.

JAPAN CUTS

Film

Possibly the biggest achievement of Japan Society’s former film programmer Ryo Nagasawa was the inception of JAPAN CUTS, New York’s annual festival of Japanese cinema. JAPAN CUTS has become an anticipated summer event, featuring special guests, theme parties, and the best movies Japan has to offer, from mainstream hits to crazy cult epics.

TOTALLY, TENDERLY, TRAGICALLY

Film

The arrival of the 50th anniversary restoration of Breathless at Film Forum left me with a distinct feeling of trepidation.

PSYCHADELIC MATURITY

Film

Describing the work of Alexander Shulgin to the uninitiated is not an easy task. A friend of mine summed it up by calling Alexander Shulgin the “George Washington Carver of psychedelic drugs.”

GET SOME

Film

The great war correspondents are understaters. Ernest Hemingway, Bernard Fall, Jonathan Schell, and even hoary old Ernie Pyle dealt with war by applying the rules of daily journalism: a distanced, supposedly objective voice, describing events in a remote third person voice.

MAD, BAD... & DANGEROUS TO KNOW: THREE UNTAMED BEAUTIES

Film

Inspired by the revolutionary climate of the ’60s and ’70s, young filmmakers sought to reshape Japanese society by challenging women’s traditional roles. In a beguiling body of films, three actresses—Kaji Meiko, Okada Mariko, and Wakao Ayako—flouted prevailing screen stereotypes of chaste, submissive, and self-sacrificing women.

DVDCULTURE

RED DESERT

Film

Today one cannot watch Antonioni’s Red Desert, with its ever-present smokestacks and overwhelming industrial milieu, without thinking of that underwater camera, constantly bringing us seemingly ceaseless images of oil billowing into the sea.

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JUL-AUG 2010

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