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  • Chung Kuo: China

    Chung Kuo: China


    Antonioni changed the way he shot, edited, above all CONCEIVED a film with this 1972 documentary (which, I recall, was not shown until 1975). Approached by the Chinese government to be THE GUY chosen from the entirety of world cinema to do a filmic homage to Mao's transformation of the Chinese people, Antonioni accepted the job, but, clearly frustrated by the very official tour the party took him on, made a film guaranteed to irk his hosts and backers. Where…

  • Eight Hours Don't Make a Day

    Eight Hours Don't Make a Day


    The curious pleasure of Fassbinder's blue-collar soap opera is in how sweet and optimistic it is. Under the watchful eyes of TV bureaucrats who clearly wanted to make something "uplifting, but SMART" for the worker bees of West Germany, Fassbinder is forced to make the most unambiguously tender and gentle work of his career. This was early on, and Fassbinder clearly didn't have the ass to steer a project like this. It's touching to see RWF try to push a…

Popular reviews

  • Irma la Douce

    Irma la Douce


    I doubt you can find a good review for Billy Wilder's hit follow-up to his Best Picture-winning THE APARTMENT, but IRMA is proof that--in the sixties anyway--Billy's comedies were more haunting than other people's dramas. Jack Lemmon's honest cop, courting Shirley MacLaine's honest whore, discovers that an honest man must play a whoremaster, a gentleman must play a murderer, and many other ruses by which true love is permitted to exist in Wilder's truly unlovely world. Long damned by auteur…

  • The Master

    The Master


    Sinister, cryptic, sidelong, dislikable. The second in a series of PTA films that are like adaptations of imaginary classic American novels. (PTA's There Will Be Blood, while credited as adapted from Upton Sinclair's Oil!, really bears almost no relationship to that novel.) Here, PTA follows up the mythic rise of heroic/antiheroic capitalist Daniel Plainview--a maven of physical goods, a bleeder of the earth--with what PTA pegs as the defining category killer of the modern, meaning postwar, world: one who sells…