"Rabbit à la Berlin" and "Wavy Gravy"; S&S, L and More Lists

Michael Atkinson in the Voice on Rabbit à la Berlin: "Rejiggering the history of postwar Germany into a Shel Silverstein-ish fairy tale about bunnies, Bartek Konopka's quasi-doc spins the unlikely yarn of the Berlin Wall rabbit community, as wild bunnies were inadvertently trapped in the 'Death Zone' between the two parallel halves upon construction and then happily thrived — and bred, into thousands — for almost 30 years, as East-West tension boiled around them. The little lapine scamps had found their Shangri-La right in the middle of the Cold War, and were lovingly photographed by entranced tourists on either side of the schism. If Werner Herzog remade Watership Down, this would be his template."

More from Jeannette Catsoulis (New York Times), Joshua Rothkopf (Time Out New York, 3 stars out of 5), Leslie Stonebraker (New York Press) and James van Maanen. At New York's Film Forum from today through December 21.

Writing in Slant, Joseph Jon Lanthier finds that the "irate confusion, which much of today's youth holds toward the hippie credo, is understandable; the drug-hazed impotence of modern stereotypes, developed in part to dissuade post-Summer of Love generations from recreational narcotics, mostly just mock the notion of groovily compassionate discourse. And exacerbating the matter is the hippie philosophy's pronounced apathy toward the hang-ups of others; its last few true practitioners seem uninterested in correcting these widespread misconceptions. The biographical documentary Saint Misbehavin': The Wavy Gravy Movie is a perfectly pitiful example of this generation gap-enforcing lethargy. The film's subject is aggressively likable, a self-ordained court jester of leftistism who's led several California-based communes and activist groups as both obstreperous social philosopher and humanitarian. But his life is rendered as a series of such shallowly described anecdotes that there's no reason anyone under 40 should buy into the mushy, bumper sticker slogan values; what could have been a powerful piece of hippie apologia seems designed to rally baby boomers into a brief moment of cheap nostalgia."

More from David Fear (TONY, 2 out of 5), Stephen Holden (NYT), Gregg Rickman (Voice) and James van Maanen. IndieWIRE interviews director Michelle Esrick. At the IFC Center for one week.

 

LISTS


You'll remember that we've already seen the results of Sight & Sound's year-end poll of 85 critics, programmers and the like. Now, though, we can explore the individual ballots, most of which were slipped in the box with comments not only on the films but also on the personal highlights of 2010. It's a deep browse; bookmark it for the weekend.

Mark Asch, Nicolas Rapold, Michael Joshua Rowin, Benjamin Strong, Henry Stewart and Jesse Hassenger have annotated their lists, too: "The L's Best Films of 2010." While you're there, might as well check out the L's "Top 25 Albums of 2010" as well.

"Deadpan," notes Anthony Lane, writing up his ten films, "had a decent year, exemplified by the Greek drama Dogtooth, in which familial horrors and pleasures alike were not just inflicted, but borne, with a bewildering lack of fuss. Allegorical readings of Giorgos Lanthimos's singular fable were at once irresistible and coolly rebuffed." Also new at the New Yorker is a list of reviewers' favorite books of 2010.

"Slate writers and editors share their favorite books of the year."

 

IN OTHER NEWS


The Berlinale has announced that Joel and Ethan Coen's True Grit will open the 61st edition of the festival on February 10, which'll then run through the 20th.

 



And, as you can see, the 40th edition of the International Film Festival Rotterdam (January 16 through February 6) now has a trailer.

Fritz Göttler (Süddeutsche Zeitung) and Christian Schröder (Der Tagesspiegel) are wishing Maximilian Schell a happy 80th.

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