Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

ReelPolitik

The Reactionary Politics of Comic-Book Movies: NY Times Critics Unleash Ideological Attack on Our Beloved Superheroes

  • By Anthony Kaufman
  • |
  • June 28, 2012 1:56 PM
  • |
  • 2 Comments
The New York Times headline reads "Super-Dreams of An Alternate World Order: The Amazing Spider-Man and the Modern Comic Book Movies." But it could just as easily have read "The Reactionary Jingoism of Comic-Book Movies." If ever there was a time that Times critics A.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis showed off their lefty credentials, it's in this back-and-forth about the aspirational American global order of these films and the corporate Hollywood machine that produces it--a view that I've been espousing for some time on this blog.

Why Indie Film Isn't Like the Porn Industry: The Top 5 Fallacies

  • By Anthony Kaufman
  • |
  • June 28, 2012 9:53 AM
  • |
  • 2 Comments
Parallels between the porn industry and indie film are widespread on the Internet; the story makes for easy link-bait, and there are several points of contact that appear obvious. Recently, on the Raindance website, for instance, an article called "Porn: 6 Lessons from Filmmakers" has drawn plenty of readers and discussion. But the common misconception isn't that porn can be instructive for legit filmmakers; it's that porn is so like indies in the first place.

No "Tarnation" Effect: Why Did Jonathan Caouette's Watershed Film Not Create a Cinematic Revolution?

  • By Anthony Kaufman
  • |
  • June 27, 2012 12:24 PM
  • |
  • 1 Comment
In 2004, Jonathan Caouette's "Tarnation" shook up the independent film world—thanks not just to its iMovie-made ingenuity, but also for its groundbreaking psychotronic storytelling style. As J. Hoberman wrote in his Village Voice review at the time, "Jonathan Caouette's precocious memoir-cum-psychodrama … is so raw that it bleeds." If the personal documentary form had for years been associated with the wry essays of anxiety-ridden self-analysts Ross McElwee and Alan Berliner, Caouette had blown the whole thing up in an explosive purge. Why didn't other filmmakers follow? In my latest SundanceNow column, I look at Caouette's follow-up "Walk Away Renee" and offer a possible answer to the above question.

The Post-Katrina Politics of "Beasts of the Southern Wild"

  • By Anthony Kaufman
  • |
  • June 27, 2012 11:13 AM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
Now that "Beasts of the Southern Wild" is far from the protective, progressive bubble of Sundance and venturing out into the wide, wide world of mainstream movie theaters this week, the fantastical movie is encountering increasing questions about what it says and shows about post-Katrina Louisiana. Though set in a fantastical bayou island called the Bathtub, director Benh Zeitlin has had to defend the film's underpinnings, about race, class and the displacement of the poor.

Will "The Invisible War" Force Change in Military's Rape Policy?

  • By Anthony Kaufman
  • |
  • June 22, 2012 8:25 AM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
"The Invisible War" -- Kirby Dick's devastating survey of sexual assault in the U.S. Armed Forces -- opens in theaters today. Judging from the reviews, I'd say it's Dick's most celebrated documentary since 1997's "Sick: The Life & Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist." Taking the outrage and injustice of his MPAA expose "This Film Is Not Yet Rated" into terrain that is far heavier and arguably, more necessary, "The Invisible War" seems to be galvanizing viewers in a way that I haven't seen in a long time. Maybe the movie, which is screening within military communities and D.C., will actually force some substantive changes in the military.

Josh Fox Keeps up Anti-Fracking Fight with "The Sky is Pink"; Asks for Calls to New York Senate Today

  • By Anthony Kaufman
  • |
  • June 21, 2012 10:40 AM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
While preparing to finish "Gasland 2," Josh Fox has unleashed an 18-minute short video doc that's keeping up the heat on the dangers of fracking. "The Sky is Pink," available here on Vimeo, is already generating major online buzz and ratcheting up views. The short film specifically attacks New York Governor Andrew Cuomo as he debates lifting the ban on fracking in New York State. At the end of the short film, he asks: "Governor Cuomo, what color will the sky be over New York?"

Congress Calls for Slashing of Arts Funding (again)

  • By Anthony Kaufman
  • |
  • June 19, 2012 8:06 PM
  • |
  • 23 Comments
Get ready for more belt-tightening. Today, the U.S. House of Representatives' Appropriations Committee proposed a $132 million allocation to the National Endowment for the Arts in the upcoming fiscal year -- $14 million below the current funding level, and $22 million less than the amount contained in President Obama's budget. 

Urban Elegies: Do America's Post-City Docs Recall Italy's Post-War Neorealism?

  • By Anthony Kaufman
  • |
  • June 14, 2012 8:35 AM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
“It’s a slow motion Katrina.” By coincidence, this exact statement is spoken in two different recent documentaries, Chad Freidrichs’s The Pruitt-Igoe Myth (2011) and British director Julien Temple’s Requiem for Detroit? (2010), both playing at the nonfiction series “Sometimes Cites” at New York’s Anthology Film Archives from June 14-17. I've written about the films, as well as the recent wave of docs about urban decay, for my SundanceNow column, Docutopia, in a piece titled "The End of the American City on Film."

"Special Flight" Takes Off with Powerful Tale about Detention

  • By Anthony Kaufman
  • |
  • June 13, 2012 8:25 AM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
One of the best films playing at this year's Human Rights Watch International Film Festival, and a recent award-winner at Full Frame, is Swiss filmmaker Fernand Melgar's profoundly affecting "Special Flight," which follows a group of close-knit illegal immigrants awaiting deportation in a Swiss detention center. The movie presents a deeply humanistic portrait of the men, hailing from Kosovo to Kinshasa, as well as their kind Swiss caretakers. But the genteel surroundings and tender treatment belie the painful hypocrisies of their situation. The Swiss system might have a pretense of civility, but as the increasingly disgruntled detainees eventually discover, they're screwed from the start. One inmate says it best: "We get overfed, but we're deprived of our freedom."

Is the Whole World Watching? Documenting the Arab Spring

  • By Anthony Kaufman
  • |
  • June 7, 2012 11:58 AM
  • |
  • 0 Comments
Millions of people took part in last year's so-called "Arab Spring," arguably the most fundamental global political transformation since the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003. Beginning in Tunisia, and spreading to as many as seventeen Arab countries, the revolution reached a critical point with the collapse of Hosni Mubarak's Egypt, the region's largest nation. Since then, Libya's dictatorship came to an end, and Syria continues to be in the thralls of horribly violent civil unrest. Several documentaries are now being released about the uprising, many focusing on ground zero for the protests, Cairo's Tahrir Square, which I examine in my latest Docutopia column, "Tahrir Square on Film." But I wonder, aside from a few North American critics, who will be watching them in the West?

Follow ReelPolitik

Latest Tweets

Follow us

Most "Liked"

  • Back to Afghanistan: "The Kill Team" ...
  • Eight Years Later, "Iraq in Fragments" ...
  • Dinesh D'Souza's "America" Set to Spark, ...

Recent Comments