a film written and directed by Christian Petzold, adapted from the novel by Anna Seghers
Christian Petzold: The State We Are In
a film series at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, November 30–December 13, 2018
The protagonist of Anna Seghers’s novel Transit (1944)—the source for Christian Petzold’s new film of the same name—is a young German who, having escaped from a Nazi concentration camp and then a French work camp, makes his way to occupied Paris. There he is recruited by another former inmate to …
a film written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
“I find it comforting to think that the dead are watching over the living,” Daniel Day-Lewis happily confides to a new acquaintance several scenes into the writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread. It’s an odd thing to say to a young woman whom he seemingly plans to seduce, particularly since …
by Victor Serge, translated from the French and with an introduction by Richard Greeman
Singular and solitary, the novelist Victor Serge (1890–1947) appears as an orphan of history, a chance survivor improbably clinging to the coffin of the Bolshevik Revolution. The main characters of Unforgiving Years, Serge’s final novel, written in Mexico, the place of his own final exile, are his fictional brothers—disillusioned Soviet …
Bert Stern’s Jazz on a Summer’s Day, streaming from Film Forum, starting August 12, transports us to a simpler time. Bare-faced citizens assemble en masse to listen and dance to American music. One of the earliest music documentaries, Stern’s film records a number of performers from the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, periodically cutting away to the sailboat activities in the town harbor.
With this year’s Cannes Film Festival canceled, the Criterion Channel is revisiting the last edition that was also called off. Amid widespread demonstrations against the firing of Cinémathèque Française founder Henri Langlois for confounding the officious culture minister André Malraux, Cannes shut down midway through its 1968 festival. Criterion marks the occasion with a half-dozen movies that had been selected for the competition that year.
“Let the Jews find their Jerusalem in France,” so Napoleon said. It’s a proposition that Nadav Lapid’s quasi-autobiographical new film, Synonyms, takes literally, dropping an alienated Israeli expat down in France. Or at least inside a French movie. The last words of its protagonist, Yoav, delivered through a locked front door as an unanswered farewell to the friend he has estranged, are: “You have no idea how lucky you are to be French.” I see no irony here, only pathos. Forget the Israeli “sickness.” The unspoken corollary to Yoav’s complaint is the Yiddish saying, Shver tsu zayn a Yid: it’s hard to be a Jew.
The new year brings Bertrand Tavernier’s journey through French cinema, Kantemir Balagov’s second feature, “Beanpole,” and a rare screening of a 101-year-old film about a lost Jewish folk community, as well as celebrations of “2001: A Space Odyssey” and the art of film preservation.