JOSHUA SPERLING teaches film and literature at Oberlin College. His first book, A Writer of Our Time: The Life and Work of John Berger, has recently been translated into Korean, Chinese, and Turkish.
Vincent Van Gogh: A Life in LettersBy Joshua Sperling
Though lacking the inexpensive allure of the old paperback editionsnot to mention the comprehensiveness of the six-volume collectors set released in 2009A Life in Letters succeeds by placing a modest sampling of Van Goghs correspondence into dialogue with both the life and the paintings. Each phase of the artists wandering is bracketed with a brief biographical précis, refreshingly unadorned and free of the usual apocrypha.
OLIVIER ASSAYAS with Joshua Sperling
When Brooklyn Academy of Music ran a retrospective of French filmmaker Olivier Assayas in 2010, they hailed him as a post-punk auteur.
HANY ABU-ASSAD with Joshua Sperling
Hany Abu-Assads Paradise Now balanced an uncompromising commitment to the Palestinian cause with a sensitivity to the contradictions of Palestinian experience. His most recent film, Omar, turns the complex tensions of occupationand the taboo of collaborationinto a tightly plotted espionage thriller.
ABDERRAHMANE SISSAKO with Joshua Sperling
Abderrahmane Sissakos Timbuktu somehow balances the urgency of current events with the grace and timelessness of a story told in the shade of a village tree. Set in and around the North African city of its title, where newly arrived jihadists enforce religious law with brutality, the film centers on a stubborn cattle herder and his family resisting encroachment.
JOSHUA OPPENHEIMER with Joshua Sperling
The Act of Killing opens July 19 at the Landmark Sunshine Cinema
While the past decade has seen the comeback of reenactment within the non-fiction film, none has pushed the device to such intricate and chilling extremes as Joshua Oppenheimers new documentary about the Indonesian genocide, The Act of Killing.
AGNIESZKA HOLLAND with Joshua Sperling
Agnieszka Holland is a curious director. She works on both sides of the Atlantic, in both cinema and television. Although her style has remained consistently accessible, often genre-inflected, her career demonstrates a commitment to the difficult moments of European history.
PAWEL PAWLIKOWSKI with Joshua Sperling
If a more serious Jim Jarmusch made a road movie about a nun, a judge, and a musician in 1960s Poland, the result might be close to Pawel Pawlikowskis Ida.