Monthly Archives: January 2015

“Incandescent and Incendiary”: The Poetry of Amiri Baraka

I’m very pleased that one of my portraits of the important American poet, Amiri Baraka (1934-2014), is part of the elegant and forceful cover design of the newly published career-spanning volume (from Grove Press). Click here for today’s New York Times review and here … Continue reading

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Using Love and Beauty to Defy Extremism

“Timbuktu,” director and co-writer Abderrahmane Sissako’s exquisite new feature, is an angry and mournful account of the people of the Malian city and its surrounding dessert resisting the 2012 occupation of heavily armed, foreign jihadist buffoons, with defiance and disdain. There are also moments … Continue reading

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A “Girls” Girl and Other “Girls”

Outrageousness arrives early in “Appropriate Behavior,” writer/director Desiree Akhavan’s funny first feature. Shirin (Akhavan), is packing up her things, reluctantly moving out of the one-bedroom Brooklyn apartment she shares with her adored girlfriend Maxine (Rebecca Henderson).  Her soon-to-be ex demands that she remove a box that contains … Continue reading

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“Lots of Films Are Serious and Funny”

Swedish director Ruben Östlund’s often simultaneous serious and satirical probing of behavior (mostly bad) examines individuals and groups, using long takes, static (but riveting) frames, frequently obscured faces and a preoccupation with public transportation (perhaps for its close quarters and democratic space)–the quote … Continue reading

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A Comedy From Bruno Dumont. Really.

In “Li’l Quinquin,” director and writer Bruno Dumont’s spectacular four-part mini-series made for French TV, his usual style and concerns remain constant. But it’s as if he simply switched between the famous theatrical masks and revealed the absurdist humor–verbal and visual–that had been lurking … Continue reading

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Happy, healthy new year.  And peace and justice.

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