J. Hoberman’s books include Film After Film (Or, What Became of 21st Century Cinema?) and An Army of Phantoms: American Movies and the Making of the Cold War.

A Tribute to Chantal Akerman

In tribute to Chantal Akerman, Cinefamily is screening a 35mm print of her precocious masterpiece—a monumental study of a woman’s household routine, as well as a remarkable synthesis of New York underground and European art cinema.

Crackpot Gothic

Jim Shaw: <em>The Jefferson Memorial</em>, 2013
The Los Angeles artist Jim Shaw is an esoteric populist who doesn’t only make art but, since he began exhibiting found “thrift store paintings” in 1991, has created his own tradition, an American vernacular surrealism that might be termed “crackpot gothic.”

The Truth in Midair

Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Philippe Petit in Robert Zemeckis's <em>The Walk</em>, 2015
Like many post-9/11 films, The Walk is, in part, experiential, partaking in the simulated “new real-ness” which with cinema, as an institution, has responded to the loss of authenticity brought about by relentless digitalization. Petit’s actual walk was approximately three times as long as the filmed sequence but the difference is that, through the magic of digital cinema, Zemeckis is able to place the audience with Petit, on “an island floating in mid-air on the edge of the void.”

‘People’s Park’

At once a bravura performance and a fascinating view of the Chinese masses at play, J.P. Sniadecki and Libbie Cohn’s 2012 documentary is a single seventy-five-minute take, exploring an urban park in Chengdu, Sichuan.


Rarely screened and newly restored in 35mm, Pier Paolo Pasolini’s 1969 version of Euripides is an ambitiously deconstructed and provocatively Third Worldist.

‘The Marquise of O’

The first of Eric Rohmer’s charming period films, a prizewinner at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival, adapts Heinrich von Kleist’s chastely sensational account of a mysterious pregnancy with classical precision and dry wit.

The Boys in the Cage

One of the Angulo brothers in a home-made Batman costume, in Crystal Moselle's <em>The Wolfpack</em>, 2015
In their way, The Wolfpack and The Tribe represent the classic Lumière/Méliès dichotomy—do motion pictures reflect or construct reality? The opposition has existed since the medium was invented. But here there is a twist. The Wolfpack is a documentary that delights the viewer with proliferating fictions. The Tribe, more brutal, is an invented story founded on a discomfiting bedrock of documentary truth.

‘The Tribe’

Ukrainian filmmaker Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy’s powerful, unsettling first feature is set in a high school for the deaf and concerns a new student (or inmate) who falls in with the school’s ruling criminal clique.

Gabriel Figueroa at Film Forum

Film Forum is giving Figueroa a two-week, nineteen-film retrospective that includes eight of the features he made with the most Mexican of Mexican directors, Emilio Fernández, and two each directed by Luis Buñuel and John Huston.

‘Rebels of the Neon God’

Rebels established Tsai Ming-liang as the most perversely minimal of young Taiwanese directors and made him an instant festival star, although it’s taken over twenty years for the movie get a commercial release in the US.

3-D Summer at MoMA

MoMA reaffirms its faith in stereoscopic motion pictures as a medium with extended runs for two restored Hollywood movies from the first 3-D craze: Hondo (1954) and the MGM musical version of Cole Porter’s Kiss Me Kate (1953).