USA

Frank Borzage & George B. Seitz – Big City (1937)

Plot:
Celebrate the short career (10 Hollywood films and two Oscars®*) and long life (100 years young in 2010 and an honored participant in the TCM Classic Film Festival) of one of the screen’s nonpareil stars with this threesome of the fourth, fifth and sixth films Luise Rainer made in Tinseltown. The Viennese beauty portrays a Czarist Russian spy alongside William Powell in the ornate The Emperor’s Candlesticks. Cabbie Spencer Tracy and his immigrant wife Rainer struggle to make a life for themselves in the Big City while coping with a bitter labor dispute between organized and freelance cab drivers. And Rainer is a reckless Southern belle who marries the man her sister loves but flees to the arms of a wastrel playboy in The Toy Wife. From Warner Brothers! Read More »

Crystal Moselle – The Wolfpack (2015)

Quote:
Locked away in an apartment in the Lower East Side of Manhattan for fourteen years, the Angulo family’s seven children—six brothers named Mukunda, Narayana, Govinda, Bhagavan, Krisna (Glenn), and Jagadesh (Eddie), and their sister Visnu—learned about the world through watching films. They also re-enact scenes from their favorite movies. They were homeschooled by their mother and confined to their sixteenth story four-bedroom apartment in the Seward Park Extension housing project. Their father, Oscar, had the only door key and prohibited the kids and their mother Susanne from leaving the apartment except for a few strictly-monitored trips on the “nefarious” streets. Read More »

Marlon Fuentes & Bridget Yearian – Bontoc Eulogy (1995)

Quote:
Marlon E. Fuentes’ Bontoc Eulogy is a haunting, personal exploration into the filmmaker’s complex relationship with his Filipino heritage as explored through the almost unbelievable story of the 1,100 Filipino tribal natives brought to the U.S. to be a “living exhibit” at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. For those who associate the famous fair with Judy Garland, clanging trolleys, and creampuff victoriana, Bontoc Eulogy offers a disturbing look at the cultural arrogance that went hand-in-hand with the Fair’s glorification of progress. The Fair was the site of the world’s largest ever “ethnological display rack,” in which hundreds of so-called primitive and savage men and women from all over the globe were exhibited in contrast to the achievements of Western civilization. Read More »

Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre – The Mustang AKA Nevada (2019)

Roman is a man serving a prison sentence of 12 years for committing a violent crime. His rehabilitation options include working at a facility that breaks and trains wild mustang horses. Within a short time, Roman’s work with the horses propels him into an introspective period. He learns about the true origins of his own anger when he befriends a particularly troubled mustang. As his relationship with the mustang grows, Roman begins to deeply consider his actions in relationship to society and his own family. It is still true that some property owners in the southwestern United States consider wild mustangs to be outlaws in the animal kingdom. They can be destructive, yet they can be trained to be magnificent additions to a ranch. Such is the parallel drawn between mustangs and convicted criminals in this movie. With the proper care, all beings can be transformed. Read More »

Franklin Adreon – No Man’s Woman (1955)

Quote:
Carolyn Ellenson double-crosses five people who cross her path and is murdered by one of them. After marrying Harlow Grant for his money, she leaves him but carries on her infidelities so cleverly he can not divorce her. When Grant falls in love with Louise Nelson, art-studio employee, Carolyn demands a prohibitive cash settlement and large alimony payments. Then tiring of her art-critic lover, Wayne Vincent, who has jeopardized his own career touting her art-studio business, Carolyn leaves him to pursue Dick Sawyer and break-up his engagement to Betty Allen. All of these five people have motives for murdering Carolyn and the police choose Grant as the logical suspect. But another person comes forward to confess to the killing for personal reasons, but he didn’t do it. The real killer feels secure but must remove the murder-weapon from the studio before the police discover it. Read More »

Charles Burnett – To Sleep with Anger (1990)

Quote:
A slow-burning masterwork of the early 1990s, this third feature by Charles Burnett is a singular piece of American mythmaking. In a towering performance, Danny Glover plays the enigmatic southern drifter Harry, a devilish charmer who turns up out of the blue on the South Central Los Angeles doorstep of his old friends. In short order, Harry’s presence seems to cast a chaotic spell on what appeared to be a peaceful household, exposing smoldering tensions between parents and children, tradition and change, virtue and temptation. Interweaving evocative strains of gospel and blues with rich, poetic-realist images, To Sleep with Anger is a sublimely stirring film from an autonomous artistic sensibility, a portrait of family resilience steeped in the traditions of African American mysticism and folklore. Read More »

Fritz Lang – The Woman in the Window (1944)

Quote:
Fritz Lang’s The Woman in the Window (1944) is a riveting melodrama that’s only improved with age. Edward G. Robinson delivers a memorable performance as an everyday Joe who suddenly finds himself entangled in a murder, but Lang’s sense of adventure is the real draw. One shot in particular – a single-take transitional moment near the end of the film – simply has to be seen to be believed. Look for Robinson leaning forward in a leather chair during what appears to be the picture’s tragic climax, then watch what happens next….and good luck determining how Lang did it. Read More »