By Helen Halyard and Fred Mazelis, 25 February 2021
The December 4, 1969, assassination was one of the most brazen crimes ever carried out by the US ruling class.
By Frank Anderson, 24 February 2021
The restored 1951 film version of Wright’s Native Son paints a lacerating picture of social life in America’s second city.
By David Walsh, 20 February 2021
Frances McDormand plays Fern, a 60-year-old woman at economic and personal loose ends. She lived for decades in Empire, Nevada, a company town owned lock, stock and barrel by the United States Gypsum Corporation.
By Joanne Laurier, 19 February 2021
Miss Marx concerns itself with the latter part of the life of socialist fighter Eleanor Marx—from the death of her famous father, Karl Marx, in 1883 to her own suicide in 1898. Its feminist slant is conspicuous.
By Ed Hightower, 13 February 2021
The Netflix series Easy explores relationships among a group of Chicago residents through a series of loosely interwoven vignettes.
By Joanne Laurier, 11 February 2021
Black Legion is a 1937 political crime drama, featuring Humphrey Bogart, which deals with a fascist movement active in the 1930s in the industrial Midwest. It has considerable pertinence today.
By Clara Weiss, 9 February 2021
Konchalovsky’s film offers a view of the crisis of Stalinism in the Soviet Union, but he does so from the standpoint of the Stalinist bureaucracy itself.
By Joanne Laurier, 4 February 2021
Set in New Jersey, Radium Girls is a historical docudrama dealing with female workers who suffered multiple life-threatening or lethal illnesses from hand-painting watch faces with radium.
Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time from Hungary: Love blurs the line between fantasy and reality
By Erik Schreiber, 2 February 2021
A chance encounter leads a woman to give up her prestigious job abroad and return home to chase what might be a chimera.
By David Walsh, 1 February 2021
John Huston (1906-1987) was a major American filmmaker. His body of work from the early 1940s to the early 1950s is especially notable.
Mayor: The dilemmas, contradictions and sheer impossibility of “running a city” under Israeli occupation
By Jean Shaoul, 28 January 2021
Shunning voice-overs, archival footage, commentary, and an explicit focus on the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Mayor is an engrossing and understated film with moments of black comedy .
10th annual GuadaLAjara Film Festival
By Erik Schreiber, 25 January 2021
Filmmaking brothers favor the personal and shun the political in a Western set in Texas and Mexico.
By Jean Shaoul, 23 January 2021
Among those supporting Bakri are British film directors Ken Loach and Asif Kapadia, Finnish screenwriter and director Aki Kaurismaki, Palestinian filmmakers Michel Khleifi and Annemarie Jacir and Israeli director Eyal Sivan.
By David Walsh, 21 January 2021
In the 1970s, a suburban housewife in the Pittsburgh area leading a largely conventional life experiences a series of increasingly rude and dangerous shocks.
By David Walsh, 20 January 2021
The Times is unceasing in its campaign to racialize every important aspect of life in the US and globally, encouraging divisions in the population along ethnic lines and facilitating the growth of the far right.
By Clara Weiss, 18 January 2021
The movie introduces many important themes of the revolutionary epoch that shaped Beethoven as a composer and thinker, but barely develops them.
By Matthew MacEgan, 16 January 2021
A total of 140 Japanese animated television series numbering more than 1,865 episodes debuted in 2020. Our critic comments on a selection of the more popular titles.
By Erik Schreiber, 15 January 2021
The most recent edition of the festival sought to convey the experience of people who have lived on both sides of the border between the United States and Mexico.
By Carlos Delgado, 14 January 2021
Strong performances and thrilling music power this engaging adaptation of August Wilson’s 1984 play.
By Joanne Laurier, 13 January 2021
The Midnight Sky, a post-apocalyptic science fiction film directed by George Clooney, is done with some care and sensitivity, but ends up primarily as an exercise in resignation.
Based on a Jack London short story
By David Walsh, 9 January 2021
In the drama’s favor, one must say, first of all, that it is unmistakably of our day: riots in the streets, political and financial secrets concealed from the population, endless, antidemocratic machinations at the top of society.
By Joanne Laurier, 6 January 2021
The movie follows a Native American teenager through various trials and tribulations. Set in western Michigan in the 1970s, Once Upon a River recounts the adolescent’s supposed emotional education.
By Bernd Reinhardt, 5 January 2021
Can love between siblings survive when a brother falls ill and needs care, while his sister enjoys life as one of society’s affluent? This is the question posed by the Swiss film My Little Sister.
By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 31 December 2020
It is not possible to discuss any aspect of artistic life, or life in general, in 2020 without central reference to the COVID-19 pandemic, which the various ruling elites have permitted to ravage the world’s population.
By Ed Hightower, 29 December 2020
“I want to tell this story to show that, in essence, we’re all part of the same tribe.”—Director Nino Aldi.
By Carlos Delgado, 24 December 2020
The film, based on J.D. Vance’s 2016 memoir, is a bland and conformist work that ignores the sources of the social problems it portrays.
By David Walsh, 18 December 2020
Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne often dramatize situations and problems they locate, as in the case of Young Ahmed, in their native region of southern Belgium, one of the oldest and most decayed industrial areas in the world.
By Joanne Laurier, 12 December 2020
Amin is a subdued, thoughtful look at the condition of migrant workers who break their backs in the metropolitan countries to feed their families in their native lands.
By David Walsh, 10 December 2020
Mank is a biographical drama about screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz and his role, or purported role, in the creation of Citizen Kane, the first film directed by and featuring Orson Welles.
By David Walsh, 8 December 2020
The documentary was one of the best movies at this year’s Toronto film festival. It contained some of the most authentic and memorable drama. The documentary is now available on “virtual cinema” platforms in the US.
By Ed Hightower, 7 December 2020
Writer-performer Sacha Baron Cohen cannot resist mocking even the most undeserving targets, including a Holocaust survivor who tries to disabuse the title character of his (feigned) anti-Semitism.
By Joanne Laurier, 5 December 2020
Adu is a hard-hitting Spanish film about the global refugee crisis, dramatizing its vast dimensions through the travails of a young boy as he makes a life-threatening journey throughout Africa.
By David Walsh, 4 December 2020
There are not that many films in which a director captures accurately and artistically the “everyday” pressures of working class life.
By Lee Parsons, 28 November 2020
The film follows events from the time of the closure announcement in November, 2018 until the final day of production a year later.
By Joanne Laurier, 24 November 2020
Trial 4 is an eight-episode documentary television series, currently streaming on Netflix that examines the case of Sean Ellis, a black teenager wrongly convicted of the 1993 murder of police officer John Mulligan.
By David Walsh, 20 November 2020
The film fictionally treats an actual phenomenon, the dozens or more of left-wing opponents of Franco, known as “moles,” who concealed themselves in their own homes for 30 years following the defeat of the Republican forces in 1939.
By Fred Mazelis, 18 November 2020
The 86-year-old actress remains a magnetic presence in this worthwhile film.
By David Walsh, 14 November 2020
An early film by South Korean writer-director Bong Joon-ho (Parasite) has been released over the course of the past year in a number of countries—and now in the US. It is well worth seeing.
By Joanne Laurier, 13 November 2020
Belly of the Beast is a documentary on practices carried out at female penitentiaries in California.
By David Walsh, 9 November 2020
The Netflix film is an adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s 1938 novel of the same title, which was previously made into a film in 1940, directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
By Paul Bond, 7 November 2020
Strikingly attractive and hard-edged, Connery’s suave and imposing presence gave the character much of its authority.
By Joanne Laurier, 5 November 2020
Oppression of the Palestinians, child hunger and the COVID-19 pandemic are dealt with in two short films and an hour-long documentary.
By David Walsh, 31 October 2020
Two cousins intend to shave milliseconds off the time it takes to make stock market trades and thus earn themselves a fortune.
By Jason Quill, 27 October 2020
Jennifer Kent’s film follows Irish convict Clare Carroll through the Tasmanian wilderness in 1825, as she seeks revenge for a terrible act of violence committed against her family.
By Fred Mazelis, 26 October 2020
Like all basic democratic rights, the right to vote can only be defended through the independent political struggle of the working class.
By Joanne Laurier and David Walsh, 24 October 2020
The film deals with the court proceedings in 1969–70 in which organizers of protests at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago faced charges of conspiracy and crossing state lines with the intent to incite a riot.
By Joanne Laurier, 15 October 2020
Written and directed by Michael Almereyda, Tesla is a drama about the life of Serbian-American engineer and physicist Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), a remarkable figure. Ethan Hawke plays Tesla.
By Joanne Laurier, 12 October 2020
The Artist’s Wife looks at a successful painter’s life. The artistic personality continues to fascinate the public. But does the film shed much light on the phenomenon?
By Joanne Laurier, 5 October 2020
This important film from 2016 is now available again on Netflix. It is a rebuke to the racialist politics of the New York Times and the Democratic Party and to the 1619 Project in particular.
By Carlos Delgado, 3 October 2020
The show is a ridiculous, bloody spectacle of mayhem and murder, with a hefty dose of feminism for good measure.
Toronto International Film Festival 2020: Part 3
By David Walsh, 30 September 2020
Leon Trotsky pointed out in a 1939 article, unpublished during his lifetime, that “in a certain sense” art was “richer than life, for it can both overstate and understate.”
Toronto International Film Festival 2020: Part 2
Frances McDormand in Nomadland—the danger of making a virtue out of necessity—and David Byrne’s American Utopia (directed by Spike Lee)
By David Walsh, 25 September 2020
It is a serious mistake, a terrible irresponsibility, to treat life in this manner, to turn the social into the “natural” and inevitable.
Toronto International Film Festival 2020: Part one
Under the Open Sky from Japan, The Best Is Yet to Come from China
By David Walsh, 23 September 2020
This year’s event presented some 60 feature films, a sharp decline from the more than 330 screened in 2019, with the festival organizers forecasting a 50 percent decline in revenue throughout 2020.
By Joanne Laurier, 18 September 2020
In Kaufman’s latest film, a high school janitor, presumably in the moments before his final mental collapse and physical self-destruction, has his life—or, rather, for the most part, a fantasy version of his life—flash before his (and our) eyes.
By David Walsh, 16 September 2020
Fitzgerald has a history in movies extending back to the late 1970s. He first produced two films with John Huston, Wise Blood (1979) and Under the Volcano (1984).
By Nick Barrickman, 14 September 2020
The US singer-songwriter’s musical film and visual album seeks to focus its lens on the African continent and its diaspora, with decidedly limited effects.
By David Walsh, 11 September 2020
Directed by Italian filmmaker Pietro Marcello, the film is a valuable adaptation of London’s well-known 1909 novel, transposed to mid-20th century Italy.
By Alejandro Lopez and Kevin Martinez, 7 September 2020
Timely and moving, the Spanish documentary details the efforts of activists and torture survivors to prosecute Francoite officials for crimes against humanity.
By Carlos Delgado, 5 September 2020
Far from honoring his memory, the media’s over-the-top eulogizing demeans the actor’s work and serves reactionary political ends.
By Jean Shaoul, 3 September 2020
The film documents the part played by MI6 in the 1953 Anglo-American coup that ousted Iran’s nationalist Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh and ushered in 26 years of a murderous dictatorship under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
By David Walsh, 2 September 2020
Based on the 1980 novel by South Africa-born writer J.M. Coetzee, with also—importantly—a screenplay by Coetzee, the film is set on the remote outskirts of a fictional (or composite) “Empire” sometime apparently in the 19th century.
Immigration Nation reveals the suffering of migrants at the hands of the US detention and deportation machine
By Fred Mazelis, 1 September 2020
The Trump administration tried to stop or delay the release of this important documentary.
By Joanne Laurier, 31 August 2020
Marie Curie (1867-1934) was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize, and the first person and only woman to win it twice. Her life and work are the subject matter of Iranian-born French filmmaker Marjane Satrapi’s feature.
By James Brewer, 25 August 2020
Decisions made in the script distorted the film’s narrative before the highly capable cast ever got in front of the camera.
By David Walsh, 22 August 2020
A French actress in her 70s, Fabienne Dangeville, receives a visit at her elegant Paris home from her daughter Lumir, son-in-law Hank and grand-daughter Charlotte, who live in New York.
By David Walsh, 21 August 2020
Released in theaters or available to stream today, Desert One is a documentary film about the US military’s effort in April 1980 to free American embassy staff captured during the 1979 Iranian revolution.
By Joanne Laurier, 19 August 2020
US filmmaker Kelly Reichardt’s new film, First Cow, set in the 1820s in the Pacific Northwest, deals with the origins of North American business—and the value of and the need for solidarity.
By David Walsh, 17 August 2020
Essential conformism on important matters seems an apt summing up of Bill Condon’s film career to date. At any rate, The Good Liar will not do much to change one’s attitude.
Theater on your personal device
By Erik Schreiber, 7 August 2020
A powerful play based on interviews shows how New York City’s health care workers battled the pandemic as the health care system collapsed around them.
By Joanne Laurier, 3 August 2020
The Invisible Man feeds on the #MeToo mood, becoming the latest entry in what one critic calls “boom times for feminist revenge narratives.”
By David Walsh, 29 July 2020
Even those belonging to certain generations who do not know Jackson’s name will likely recall her disturbing 1948 short story, “The Lottery,” one of the most anthologized pieces of fiction in American history.
By Marc Wells, 8 July 2020
Ennio Morricone will undoubtedly be mourned by millions of people around the world. He composed scores for 70 award-winning films, and more than 70 million recordings of his music had been sold by 2016.
By Hiram Lee, 2 July 2020
Four African-American veterans of the Vietnam War return to present-day Vietnam to recover the remains of a fallen comrade. Buried with him is a cache of gold bars worth millions.
By Paul Bond, 27 June 2020
It is difficult not to see his subsequent representation of a character’s inner life as being drawn from his family background.
Antigone from Canada recounts the struggle of an immigrant youth to defend her brother against state violence
By Laurent Lafrance, 24 June 2020
Unlike insipid mainstream Canadian cinema, Antigone deals honestly with critical issues such as the oppression of immigrants, police violence, a mounting youth revolt and, to some extent, social inequality.
By Louis Girard, 20 June 2020
Yielding to the anti-democratic #MeToo campaign, distributors in Quebec refused to buy the rights to Polanski’s remarkable film about the Dreyfus Affair.
By Joanne Laurier and David Walsh, 19 June 2020
Directed by John Frankenheimer and featuring Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster and Fredric March, the film envisions an attempt to overthrow constitutional rule in the US. Where do we stand 56 years later?
By Erik Schreiber, 18 June 2020
Ferrara’s latest semiautobiographical film focuses on certain of the director’s fixations with hardly any reference to the larger, convulsive world.
By Margot Miller, 17 June 2020
Vicious measures were introduced in the aftermath of the 2008 banking crash and subsequent bailout to try and divide the working class by scapegoating ethnic minorities and migrants for the austerity that followed.
By Jason Quill and Richard Phillips, 13 June 2020
Justin Kurzel’s film is the 16th about the late 19th century Australian bushranger and anti-establishment outlaw.
By David Walsh, 12 June 2020
The second season of Homecoming, the web television series about US corporate-military criminality, premiered on Amazon Prime Video on May 22.
By Joanne Laurier, 10 June 2020
Baghdad Central, a six-part series on Hulu, is a crime drama set in the wake of the 2003 US invasion and occupation of Iraq.
By Hiram Lee, 9 June 2020
Italian actress Lucia Bosè died March 23 from complications related to COVID-19. She was 89 and living in Segovia, Spain at the time of her death. Bosè got her start in the Italian neorealist movement, known for its dramatizations of the lives of the poor and working class.
By Kevin Martinez, 8 June 2020
Although no doubt well-intentioned and containing realistic elements, the film, unfortunately, follows a rather predictable path.
By Erik Schreiber, 6 June 2020
The latest film from the Safdie brothers has much momentum, but little insight into its grasping protagonist or his tawdry world.
By Fred Mazelis, 3 June 2020
Esty Shapiro, a 19-year-old unhappily married woman in Brooklyn, leaves her Jewish ultra-Orthodox Hasidic community, traveling to Berlin to find her mother and begin a new life.
By Erik Schreiber, 29 May 2020
An often-touching documentary recounts how Cash’s first wife coped with unwanted media attention, her husband’s increasing emotional distance and racist threats.
“Lost our connection after the war”
By James Brewer, 25 May 2020
Robbie Robertson: “The story of the Band is beautiful. It was so beautiful it went up in flames.”
By David Walsh, 16 May 2020
Disgracefully, A Rainy Day in New York has been suppressed in the US. The film was completed in 2018, but Amazon Studios refused to distribute it.
By Joanne Laurier, 11 May 2020
Bad Education on HBO concerns the largest embezzlement scandal in the public education system in US history, in Roslyn, Long Island, a crime that came to light in 2004.
By David Walsh, 9 May 2020
Tony Johnson (Gervais) is devastated by the death of his beloved wife Lisa (Kerry Godliman) from breast cancer. He finds it difficult to carry on with life and frequently contemplates suicide.
By Joanne Laurier, 1 May 2020
The crimes of the Nazis, the greatest ever committed against humanity, generated some of the noblest and most self-sacrificing actions in the struggle against their barbarism.
By Thomas Scripps, 29 April 2020
Using documents from within the NHS supply chain, the investigation rips apart ministers’ claims to have provided 1 billion items of personal protective equipment in the last two months.
By Joanne Laurier, 27 April 2020
The production of and interest in the nine-part documentary are part of the growing opposition in the US both to the death penalty and to mass incarceration.
By Lee Parsons, 18 April 2020
Set late in the 24th century, Star Trek: Picard concluded its 10-episode season in March to generally favourable reviews, if a mixed reception from the faithful.
By David Walsh, 17 April 2020
Michael Curtiz was one of the most prolific, talented directors in history, with some 180 films to his credit—a third of them made in his native Hungary and other European countries by the time he emigrated to the US in 1926.
By Nick Barrickman, 11 April 2020
The World Socialist Web Site spoke last week to the Chicago-based director and discussed issues related to his recent film.
By Joanne Laurier, 10 April 2020
Colewell follows Karen Allen as Nora, a postal clerk in a fictitious rural Pennsylvania town. The one-person post office is the center of her existence and has been for numerous decades.
By Nick Barrickman, 4 April 2020
Mark Harris’s television film tells the story of a middle-class black community “disrupted” when low-income people are forced to move in.
70th Berlin International Film Festival—Part 5
Strike or Die and several shorts: Filipiñana, Union County, Huntsville Station: A renewed interest in workers’ lives
By Verena Nees, 30 March 2020
This year’s Berlinale showed films featuring workers and their families as central characters who, despite oppressive living conditions, exhibit self-confidence, pride and a degree of rebellious spirit.