Summer 2016


Locking Gaze: Kirsten Johnson on the Images of Her Thrilling Documentary, Cameraperson

Both memoir and essay film, Kirsten Johnson’s Cameraperson is an astonishing work of cinematic analysis and alchemy. Comprised of material shot by Johnson for 24 different documentaries over a span of 25 years, it’s a movie made up of fragments, globetrotting scenes that tumble one after the other, announced by title cards listing the location and year of the footage but not the director. Included, too, in the footage is personal material, some for film projects of Johnson’s that have yet to be realized and some home movies shot of her mother in the months before she died of Alzheimer’s. […]

  • In Dark Trees: David Lowery on Pete’s Dragon

    David Lowery has directed love stories about siblings, spouses, parents and children, so it follows logically that his next film would be a love story between an orphan and his dragon. Pete’s Dragon, Lowery’s nominal remake of the 1977 Disney film, lives in a tender, magical world that exists outside of time, in the wilderness of childhood imagination. The wonder, lack of cynicism and strong imagery of the natural world evoke cinema of the late ’70s and early ’80s; The Black Stallion and E.T. come to mind. Lowery seems fascinated by the stories we tell ourselves, the tall tales, the […]

  • Landlord Blues: Ira Sachs on Little Men

    There are little men, and then there are big forces — economic tides, societal shifts, structural change. The beautiful strength of Ira Sachs’s recent work — his mid-career surge after the five-year gap that followed his larger-budget, mini-major film, Married Life — is that Sachs’s characters are such complicated, soulful men and women clearly impacted (but not defined) by the larger issues swirling around them. In his lightly autobiographical 2012 film Keep the Lights On, Sachs essayed the romantic life of a documentary filmmaker in a relationship with a drug-addicted lawyer, set against the backdrop of turn-of-the-millennium New York gay […]

  • Time for Outrage: James Schamus on Indignation

    Whether he is pitching a movie, essaying the work of Carl Theodor Dreyer or teaching his Columbia Film Program students Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, writer, producer and now director James Schamus understands the power of discourse. In fact, if you’re a longtime Filmmaker reader, you’ll have read his arguments in these pages over the years, from his “Long Live Indie Film” debate with Ted Hope back in the ’90s of their production company, Good Machine, to his more recent — and mortal — “23 Fragments on the Future of Cinema” just a few issues ago. Now, Schamus continues one […]


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