"The idea was to record and respond to the political and culture climate as instantaneously as possible — and, one assumes, intervene as well and possibly even influence it.... It registers as few other films have the difficulty – actually, impossibility – of coming to terms with very recent history." Evan Kindley on the omnibus film Germany in Autumn (1978, with segments directed by Volker Schlöndorff, Alexander Kluge, Edgar Reitz, Alf Brustellin, Bernhard Sinkel, and Rainer Werner Fassbinder, among others) at Not Coming to a Theater Near You, which is co-presenting tonight's screening and discussion at 92YTribeca with Red Channels and Goethe-Institut New York.
"Enraged calls to action over injustice have always defined the Human Rights Watch Film Festival," writes Nick Schager in the Voice, "and this year's 21st edition is no less vocal, laying bare, in more than 30 features from 25 countries, a world still striving to secure equality and justice for all. From the rocky battlefields of Afghanistan (Restrepo) to the small-town communities of Pennsylvania (Out in the Silence) to the farmlands and financial centers of India (Nero's Guests), the long-running fest's 2010 edition seethes, laments, and inspires, capturing through a variety of fictional and documentary works the efforts — sometimes noble, sometimes fruitless, rarely painless — of the marginalized and oppressed to reclaim their sovereign voices." More from Christopher Campbell at Cinematical. Today through June 24.
Pierre Clémenti, "ethereal libertine, was a pillar of the post–New Wave, post-'68 European cinema that exiled itself into the wilderness of difficult art." Nick Pinkerton in the Voice: "His dark eyes shone from a damp and luminous wastrel's face. His spare, angular frame suggested a diet of opiates and kisses. A consummate full-body actor, directors — Clémenti included — often stripped him bare, to martyr-like vulnerability." The Films of Pierre Clémenti runs tomorrow through Thursday at Anthology Film Archives. Update, 6/11: More from Rob Humanick at the House Next Door.
"Nightfall, directed in 1956 by the estimable Jacques Tourneur from a Stirling Silliphant–sanitized David Goodis novel, and showing for a week in an impeccable print, is not only a nifty late noir but a model of economical filmmaking — well-sketched atmosphere, deft characterizations, and a 78-minute running time." J Hoberman in the Voice. Here in The Daily Notebook yesterday, Daniel Kasman wrote, "It seems like all you have to do is get two people together in Nightfall and out will come a repressed sense of disgust and the pitiable meagreness of living simply to keep living." Michael Atkinson for the L Magazine: "Sans the Orphic torque of Tourneur's Out of the Past, the movie still radiates a fight-or-flight inquietude that itself could serve as a mid-century axiom, a kind of feel-bad story America couldn't stop telling itself." For Simon Abrams, writing in Slant, it "will always just be a promising B picture," while for Time Out New York's David Fear, Nightfall "just makes Tourneur’s real gems shine brighter by comparison." At Film Forum through Thursday. Update, 6/12: More from Nicolas Rapold for Artforum.
Yesterday saw the opening of BAMcinemaFEST; for more overviewing from various angles, see Mark Asch (L), Steve Dollar (Wall Street Journal), Amy Taubin (Artforum) and Michael Tully (Hammer to Nail).
OUTSIDE NEW YORK
Tales from the Golden Age: Recent Romanian Cinema opens tomorrow at Pacific Film Archives in Berkeley and runs through June 27. The series naturally features a few of the usual suspects — Cristi Puiu's The Death of Mr Lazarescu, Corneliu Porumboiu's Police, Adjective and Cristian Mungiu's 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days — but as Max Goldberg notes, "Harun Farocki and Andrei Ujica's found footage essay-film, Videograms of a Revolution (1992), is the outlier of the series both in terms of age and form, but in its methodical analysis of the Romanian Revolution of 1989 as a paradigmatic modern event, the film draws very close to the social relevance of the recent Romanian films — much closer than the nostalgia-tinged episodes of [omnibus film] Tales from the Golden Age."
Also in the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Dennis Harvey on The Full Picture, opening tomorrow at the Roxie: "Jon Bowden's first feature is based on his original play, and this screen incarnation doesn't entirely leave the whiff of stagecraft behind. It's smart, fluid, funny, and biting, as well as a nice addition to the roster of movies that really do convey something about living here."
Bass Ackwards opens at Seattle's Northwest Film Forum tomorrow. Christopher Frizzelle: "How [Linas] Phillips manages to make a movie about himself starring himself not annoying is worth trying to figure out. I want to say it's because he never once flatters himself — ill-advised facial hair, V-necked shirts that result in him getting V-shaped sunburns on his flabby bare chest, scene after scene of him basically coming across as an inarticulate loser.... But it's not only that. The cinematography in Phillips's films is out-and-out gorgeous (this one's shot by Sean Porter), and the people Phillips surrounds himself with in his movies are, brilliantly, always more fascinating than he is."
Also in the Stranger, Charles Mudede argues that Ugandan director Caroline Kamya's Imani "is the most important film to come out of Africa since Tsotsi." It's "about the near-non-narrability of postneoliberal space. The three stories in the film are not fixed but float and dissipate like gases. And is this not the condition of Gilles Deleuze's control society?" At Harvard Exit tomorrow afternoon.
"The coming week offers a pair of film festivals taking place at Bay State resorts," notes Peter Keough in the Boston Phoenix. "The Provincetown International Film Festival, now in its 12th year, runs from June 16–20, and the Nantucket Film Festival, celebrating its 15th anniversary, runs from June 17–20."