Detroit on PBS

For a few months shy of a year, I called Detroit home in 1995. I loved the city and the people I met there. I loved its architecture and its sadness, its empty streets and surreal highways. It was an endless phantasmagoria, and I barely scratched the surface of its … Continue Reading Detroit on PBS

Visual Acoustics

The title, which I don’t much like, strikes me as one of those clever mixing of ideas and media that doesn’t yield anything meaningful. But the film Visual Acoustics is great fun for people who love architecture, especially those who already know the huge role that photographer Julius Shulman played … Continue Reading Visual Acoustics

Don’t miss…

On Sunday at 4:30 p.m., the best selection of the National Gallery’s Carl Theodor Dreyer festival is screened. I wrote about the series a few weeks ago. This is a reminder: For anyone who has equivocated about attending, Sunday is the day to commit. Ordet is a masterpiece and a deeply moving … Continue Reading Don’t miss…

Music in Film

Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Tokyo Sonata has a musical title and it builds—spoiler alert!!!—to a wonderful musical climax. I don’t think it’s a perfect film, and the more I watch Japanese film, the more I’m disturbed about the political direction of Japanese society. But for music lovers, an uncut performance of Debussy‘s Clair de lune, with … Continue Reading Music in Film

Hobo Matters

I may be very late  to this, but I’ll share anway. One little discovery during my preparation for the SILVERDOCS film criticism panel last week is this dead-on parody of the Ken Burns documentary style, by comic John Hodgman. Enjoy Hobo Matters, which proves  that with a guitar, one grainy black-and-white photograph … Continue Reading Hobo Matters

Japanese Weepies

It’s tempting, and dangerous, when reviewing a film to make grand claims about the state of the art when you should be focused on the task at hand, in this case, the merits of a flick called of Departures, which won the 2009 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film. For a … Continue Reading Japanese Weepies