An On-Set Education: Graham Swon on The World is Full of Secrets

The World is Full of Secrets

When The World is Full of Secrets showed earlier this year at a festival for debut films in remote Khanty-Mansiysk, Siberia, its director, Graham Swon (a 25 New Face of Film in 2016), briefly became almost as much of interest to the public audience and critics there as did his hypnotic cinematic spectacular. That I was there as the only international journalist in attendance to witness Swon fielding eager questions from this newfound audience of intrigued Siberian spectators strikes me now as a fluke of wondrous good fortune. The movie’s long, discursive monologues, in which 15- and 16-year-old girls narrate bloodthirsty stories to each other at night, preserve the enveloping feeling of being told a spooky story in real time.…  Read more


Le Cinéma Club Relaunches With Claire Denis’s Very Rare Keep It for Yourself

Keep It for Yourself

Founded in 2015 by Marie-Louise Khondji, the streaming site Le Cinéma Club relaunches today with an exciting offering: Claire Denis’s long-lost 1991 40-minute short Keep It for Yourself. The only film she’s ever made in the states, it stars Vincent Gallo and Sara Driver, has a John Lurie score and was shot in New York City. After years of unavailability, a copy was found on a Japanese VHS being sold on Australian eBay. (For more on that story, click here.) From the official press release: The opening weeks of programming are completed with other streaming premieres, rarities and films by new talents including: a restoration of Chris Marker’s The Koumiko Mystery (1965, 54 min), a beguiling portrait of a young woman…  Read more


Toy Story 4: Woody and Buzz Embrace the Gig Economy

Forky (Tony Hale) and Sheriff Woody (Tom Hanks) in Toy Story 4

A few weeks ago, Apple dropped a staggering ill-advised promoted tweet into my timeline: “With the longest battery life in an iPhone ever, you’ll lose power before your iPhone XR will.” I enjoy thinking about death even less than the average person, so my first reaction was that I’m not particularly cheered by a poorly worded suggestion that I’ll probably exit before my technology. My next thought was that Apple had inadvertently provided a solid metaphor for the eternal franchise era: assuming all goes as planned, it is not inconceivable that there will be Star Wars movies coming out after my death, certainly not an expectation I grew up with. In live action, returning to a property that’s grown more respectable…  Read more


“I Just Saw People Falling Out of the Sky”: Andrew Hevia on Leave the Bus Through the Broken Window

Leave the Bus Through the Broken Window

A stranger in a foreign land, with a camera and a penchant for cheap beer: Andrew Hevia’s hyperdigital documentary Leave the Bus Through the Broken Window follows the Miami-bred filmmaker as he visits Hong Kong for the Chinese edition of Art Basel. At first determined to make a traditional documentary accessible for public television audiences, Hevia’s plans are quickly thwarted once he discovers the elusive intricacies of the region. He’s a Cuban-American who can’t understand the language of his new surroundings. Rather than view that as a hindrance, he takes to meeting artists and art collectors, attending art shows, wooing potential lovers, decompressing on ferry rides and learning about Hong Kong’s history. Like the region he finds himself in, Hevia’s…  Read more


“A Movie Where Nobody Wears Clothes and It’s PG-Rated”: Jessie Jeffrey Dunn Rovinelli on So Pretty

So Pretty

Before Jessie Jeffrey Dunn Rovinelli began the bulk of production on her second feature So Pretty, she wrote an essay for this site outlining some of the goals and background behind the production: The film is an adaptation of a 1980s German gay novel [Ronald M. Schernikau’s So Schön] that I am transposing and translating to a cast of feminine people of many genders in 2018, New York City. […] Given the explicit gender-trouble and queer elements of So Pretty, as well as the fact that it takes seriously the novella’s paraphrased subtitle “a utopian film,” my film must create an image of a queer and transgender community, and an associated leftist politics, as well as creating an image of a kind…  Read more


Back to One, Episode 62: Michael Kelly

Through six seasons on House of Cards and multiple Emmy nominations, Michael Kelly has brilliantly embodied the character of Doug Stamper, navigating him through the highs and lows of loyalty, devotion, and dark-heartedness, culminating with a new layer of antagonism in the final season. It was a tour de force performance. In this episode he sits down to talk about the nuts and bolts of his craft, his meticulous and elaborate script breakdown process, how David Fincher knocked him off his game, and why he will never stop worrying about the next job no matter what awaits him post-Stamper. Back To One can be found wherever you get your podcasts, including


Ecological Destruction and Aesthetic Nightmares: Venice Art Biennale 2019


Although it starts just days before Cannes, the Venice Arts Biennale is routinely ignored by film journalists. Perhaps it’s because of the (incorrect) presumption that the yearly film festival sweeps up the important material, or perhaps it’s the weird art/film world divide. But key film figures routinely make their presence known at the Biennale: when I first attended in 2007, José Luis Guerín represented Spain with an installation-based riff on In The City of Sylvia, while Tsai Ming-Liang screened It’s A Dream for Taiwan. Meanwhile, a figure then best-known in the art world, Steve McQueen, shared two filmed works in the festival pavilion that caught my eye, though not in a way that suggested a decade hence he’d be helming…  Read more


Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese: Tangled Up in Tanner

Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese

On a scale of one to ten, I’m probably about a 6.5 when it comes to Bob Dylan. Define one as “Dylan is the single most visible/still living manifestation of hyper-steroidal Boomer nostalgia and must be destroyed,” ten as the level of obsessiveness practiced by the singer-songwriter’s personal scourge A.J. Weberman, who literally coined the term “Dylanology” and famously dug through Robert Zimmerman’s trash for clues. Dylan wasn’t having it; in Weberman’s indelible telling: I’d agreed not to hassle Dylan anymore, but I was a publicity-hungry motherfucker… I went to MacDougal Street, and Dylan’s wife comes out and starts screaming about me going through the garbage. Dylan said if I ever fucked with his wife, he’d beat the shit out…  Read more



Image courtesy of Carolyn Funk

The 24 Films (More or Less) Shot on 35mm Released in 2018

For five years, I’ve been rounding up the previous year’s US theatrical releases of films shot, in whole or significant part, on 35mm—yes, this year’s tally is lower than any of my previous totals. The total number is unlikely to soar above 40 anytime in…  Read more

Apr 24, 2019


Back to One, Episode 61: Christopher Abbott

In this first Back To One live podcast event from the Made In NY Media Center in Brooklyn, Christopher Abbott tells us some hilarious stories about his naive beginnings as a pavement-pounding young actor in New York, then he takes us into the nuts and…  Read more

on Jun 4, 2019

Festivals & Events


Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite Wins Cannes Palme d’Or; Mati Diop’s Atlantics Picks Up Grand Prix

South Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s dark social satire/thriller Parasite won the Cannes Film Festival’s top prize, the Palme d’Or. It’s the first time a Korean director has won the award, and jury president Alejandro González Iñárritu said the jury was unanimous. First-time French-Senegalese feature filmmaker…  Read more

on May 25, 2019



  • RT @JFrankensteiner: When you're a movie reviewer who has seen exactly two Jim Jarmusch movies: https://t.co/eD0KjVT33L
  • @CoreyAtad Redirecting your question somewhat, in junior high school my church group took us to see "Tommy."
  • On change, perseverance and... volcanoes -- here's the text of Amy Dotson's goodbye to NY/embracing new frontiers s… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
  • Sorry I can’t be at the retreat this year (I was a panelist this round) but it’s great to read these little capsule… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
  • RT @TribecaFilmIns: Calling all #documentary filmmakers: @ITVSIndies Open Call is now open for submissions. Learn more about the program he…
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