Summer 2021

Everybody Is a Star: Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson on Making His Music Documentary Debut, Summer of Soul

On June 29, 1969, Sly and the Family Stone delivered an electrifying performance at Mount Morris Park in Harlem, New York. Fusing the revolutionary fervor of the Black Freedom movement with the collectivist spirit of West Coast counterculture, the iconic band wowed the audience with rousing renditions of  “Everyday People,” “Sing a Simple Song” “You Can Make It If You Try,” “Dance to the Music” and  “I Want to Take You Higher.” If there existed any doubts about the Black community’s deep love for Sly and the Family Stone, the crowd’s thunderous applause, piercing shrieks and shouts of approval that day erased them all. Sly and […]



The Longhand Film

For the past six years, I sought out amateur travel films made by women in the first half of the 20th century, which I collected in an all-archival essay film, Terra Femme. In the process, I watched dozens of hours of footage of everything under the sun: biblical gardens, women doing laundry, ice fields, a tapir, mounds in a cemetery. Occasionally, there is a handwritten intertitle. “Crossing the Equator” reads one, and the filmmaker has added little serif marks to the letters in “Equator.” What follows is footage shot onboard a boat during a line-crossing ceremony, in which Poseidon and […]

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  • Across Time: Filmmakers Reflect on Andrei Tarkovsky’s Mirror

    The year after I graduated college, I’d go to Andrei Tarkovsky double bills a lot. In the New York of the mid-1980s, there would be a Tarkovsky retrospective every few months at Film Forum and now-shuttered spots like the Thalia and Metro Twin. The Russian director’s 1975 Mirror would always be the second film on the program—Andrei Rublev and Mirror, Stalker and Mirror, Solaris and Mirror—so, I wound up seeing Mirror many times. This was partly due to fatigue. My day job was writing grants for a nonprofit. I’d see these movies after work and would invariably drift off during […]

  • Dial-up Connections: All About Lily Chou-Chou at 20

    Twenty years after the release of All About Lily Chou-Chou, I can’t think of a film that better depicts what first drew people to the internet, and certainly none that matches its expressive use of content-type header errors. Director Shunji Iwai evokes the gaps and hesitancy in early internet communication through the depiction of character encoding across the screen. Posts on an online forum devoted to Lily Chou-Chou, a mysterious pop singer, first appear in a mojibake jumble of accented Latin characters. We can hear the clack of an old keyboard and another tap to refresh. The BBS code is […]


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