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Nolan Kelly

Nolan Kelly is a writer and filmmaker based in Brooklyn, NY.

Janine Antoni: I am fertile ground

I am fertile ground is a piece imbued with the themes of Antoni’s work—the body as an artistic tool, both for making and meaning-making, which corresponds to the art objects that will inevitably outlast it. Her work as a product hinges upon her physical form in the time she makes it, a period sometimes as specific and short as the instant of a photograph.

Ann Hamilton: Sense

The artist’s ability to develop an intuitive alternative to typical photography, one that naturally corresponds to themes she has previously explored in performance and object arrangement, is the great triumph of Hamilton’s present career.

Maria Stepanova’s In Memory of Memory

This sense of bewilderment, of a past that is both accessible and impossible to decipher, is the real subject of Maria Stepanova’s In Memory of Memory, translated from the Russian by Sasha Dugdale. Its ostensible subject is her own genealogy, going back through four generations of Russian Jews, which is presented to the reader like a cadaver on a table—all parts intricately connected and covered in film, both sticky and slippery to the touch. Stepanova is less interested in holding these parts up to the light than she is in recording her horror at the death of her history, its inability to speak for itself, and the plethora of morbidities which could inform its cause of death.

Wolfgang Hilbig’s The Interim

The strange curse of privilege is the proper subject of The Interim.

Andrew Semans’s Resurrection

Semans’s Resurrection (2022) is a genre flick that grapples with the power of trauma as a tool of manipulation and a destroyer of credibility.

Luca Guadagnino’s Bones and All (2022)

Bones and All manages to balance the chaste intimacy of a typical YA novel with an appetite for the shock and gore of a body horror flick. But it is Guadagnino’s vision of 1980s Americana that arises as particularly potent for a film making a statement about the relationship between queer desire and social exclusion.

Daniel Antebi’s God’s Time

It can feel risky, as a director, to put a well-thought-out scenario at the mercy of New York streets, but, as indies like Daniel Antebi’s God’s Time (2022) go to show, the loss of control also breeds high rewards, capturing spectacles inherent to the city itself.

Cristian Mungiu’s R.M.N.

Talk of ethno-nationalism pervades all corners of Mungiu’s film, though no one can seem to decide who exactly is Romanian enough for it.

Audrey Diwan’s Happening

Adapted from a relatively obscure semi-autobiographical novel by the French author Annie Ernaux, Happening (2021) is director Audrey Diwan’s second feature. Happening is a deeply affecting encounter with illegal abortion—specifically Ernaux’s, which took place when she was twenty-three, in 1960s France.

Iuli Gerbase’s The Pink Cloud

A toxic pink smog appearing simultaneously across the whole world is liable to kill a person in under ten seconds. That Gerbase’s film was entirely written and produced before the pandemic began is the basis of what makes it so powerful.

Andrei Monastyrski’s Elementary Poetry

This anthology assembles the poetic compositions of the poet and performer scarcely known in this country, but influential in Russia since the days of the Soviet Union. Monastyrski’s poems call for action, and by their very nature draw attention to the activity of reading.

Motor City Underground: Leni Sinclair Photographs 1963–1978

Unlike so many other exhibition monographs—which are often treated as something between a program guide and show souvenir—Motor City Underground presents detailed reproductions of Sinclair’s photographs, often blown up to full-page, alongside a wide variety of testimony. The range of dates and sources across which these statements are culled suggests years of research combing through a decade’s worth of underground missives—the type of ephemera that does not often make it into digital archives.


The Brooklyn Rail

JUNE 2023

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