Phillip Lopate’s most recent book is A Mother’s Tale. He is a Professor in the MFA nonfiction writing program at Columbia.
 (January 2019)


Found Families

Sakura Ando, Miyu Sasaki, and Lily Franky as Nobuyo, Yuri, and Osamu in Shoplifters, 2018


a film directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda
Last year’s Cannes Film Festival jury, chaired by Cate Blanchett, awarded its top prize, the Palme d’Or, to Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Shoplifters. It was an uncontroversial choice, since Kore-eda’s features have been appearing on the international festival circuit since the mid-1990s, and his latest film was applauded by critics as tightly …

Berlin, Paramount

Ernst Lubitsch, Gary Cooper, Miriam Hopkins, and Fredric March on the set of Design for Living, 1933

How Did Lubitsch Do It?

by Joseph McBride
Jean Renoir said of Ernst Lubitsch, “He invented the modern Hollywood.” Orson Welles thought him “a giant…. Lubitsch’s talent and originality are stupefying.” John Ford remarked: “None of us thought we were making anything but entertainment for the moment. Only Ernst Lubitsch knew we were making art.” François Truffaut had …

The Discreet Charm of Hong Sang-soo

Hong Sang-soo and Kim Min-hee, Locarno, Switzerland, August 2015

On the Beach at Night Alone

a film directed by Hong Sang-soo

The Day After

a film directed by Hong Sang-soo
The 2017 New York Film Festival featured two new films by the South Korean director Hong Sang-soo, On the Beach at Night Alone and The Day After. Such a double honor has been reserved in the past for only the most important directors, such as Jean-Luc Godard and Rainer Werner …

Rocking, Twirling, Happy, Silent…

Donna Williams: The Outsider, 2009; from the first edition of Drawing Autism, a collection of work by artists with autism. It is edited by Jill Mullin and includes an introduction by Temple Grandin. A new edition was published in 2014.

Best Boy

by Eli Gottlieb

The Boy Who Went Away

by Eli Gottlieb
We live in an age of autism awareness. Whether the rise in the number of cases of children on the autism spectrum is evidence of what has been called the largest pandemic of childhood illness in history, or is merely the result of better diagnostic procedures; whether environmental or dietary …

The Umpire of the Quality Lit Game

The Novel: A Survival Skill

by Tim Parks

Where I’m Reading From: The Changing World of Books

by Tim Parks
Author of fifteen novels, nine books of nonfiction, and countless articles and translations, the prodigious Tim Parks is what used to be called a man of letters. He coolly sums up his multivalent reputation: I am known in England mainly for light, though hopefully thoughtful nonfiction; in Italy for polemical …

The Kids Against Mum

Drawing by Edward Gorey

They May Not Mean To, But They Do

by Cathleen Schine
Over the past thirty-three years, Cathleen Schine has been one of our most realistically imaginative, dependably readable novelists. Starting with Alice in Bed (1983), her ten books comprise a sly, illuminating corpus that seems more related to the English comic novel than to most contemporary American fiction. Her work is …

Innocents Abroad

Mischa Berlinski, 2012


by Mischa Berlinski
The idealistic impulse of Americans who go abroad to study other cultures or improve the lot of others more desperate than themselves makes a ripe subject for ironic fiction. Today’s expatriates who work for charitable organizations are the descendants of Henry James’s Continental travelers who sought to acquire the Old …


The Heroic Age of New York Movie Theaters

Empire cinema, New York City, 1983

A new study by Ben Davis, Repertory Movie Theaters of New York City: Havens for Revivals, Indies and the Avant-Garde 1960–1994, with copious photographs, has just been published. I confess I approached it with trepidation, fearing it would get wrong somehow the passion to which I had given so much time and energy, rather like going to a mass political demonstration and coming home to see it distorted in the nightly news. As it turns out, Davis has done a superb job (I was almost disappointed not to be disappointed) of capturing the phenomenon of New York repertory movie theaters and placing it in historical context. His prose is clear, intelligent, engaging; his anecdotal examples colorful and often humorous; his research impeccably extensive.