At Visions du Réel 2021, two films explore the intersection between images and war with great cogency and rigour
Directed by Massimo D'Anolfi and Martina Parenti, the Italian feature War and Peace and Bellum — The Daemon of War, made by David Herdies and Georg Götmark, illuminate the profound, multi-layered links between war, photography and cinema.
Prantik Basu on Bela, his meditative documentary that juxtaposes the Chhau art form with life in a Bengal village
Shot over two years, Bela is the third work born of Basu’s collaboration with the inhabitants of the eponymous village in West Bengal.
Workers Leaving the Factory: How Louis Lumière’s 1895 film bound labour and cinema together for eternity
Traditionally considered the first ever motion picture, its image of workers leaving the factory was a veritable birthmark for the medium.
Oscars 2021: Romanian documentary Collective studies the multifarious factors at play in shaping a democracy
Collective characterises democracy as a long and slow process of negotiation and compromise involving the incessant interplay of individual will, institutional inertia, and societal moods.
How 2021 Oscar nominee for Best Documentary, The Mole Agent, plays on ambiguity of fiction-documentary divide
The premise of The Mole Agent comes straight out of a spy thriller: a detective agency in Santiago wants to investigate possible elder abuse at an old age home in the city. The only way it could do this is by planting a “mole”, a senior citizen who will report happenings from within the institution.
The Dissident review: Bryan Fogel’s Jamal Khashoggi documentary is captivating, but often plays out like a spy thriller
Bryan Fogel's pressing documentary The Dissident tells us that Jamal Khashoggi was targeted for dissent, but hardly probes into the material of that dissent.
Quo Vadis, Aida? manages to open up the film from this narrow narrative perspective to larger political questions in a fairly organic manner.
Apples keeps it light and avoids being overwhelmed by its film-awareness.
At IFFR 2021, two Japanese films provide complementary perspectives into the intersection of class and gender
At first glance, the two films look quite different, and yet they succeed in drawing out what they see as certain fundamental features of the national temperament.
In the book, film critic and writer Srikanth Srinivasan examines how Dutta's work strives towards an authentic conception of modernism.
How Robert Wise's 1949 boxing film The Set-Up underscores the impossibility of the Great American Dream
The Set-Up (1949) centres on Stoker, a 35-year-old boxer riding on a string of failures, getting ready for what may be his last shot at success.
45 years later, how Indira Gandhi's 1975 Emergency appears through the lens of the Films Division of India
When the Emergency was declared on 25 June 1975, the Films Division's resources were marshalled to defend the clampdown and sing the praises of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and her Twenty Point Programme.
Adapted from Wessel Smitter’s novel F.O.B. Detroit, Reaching for the Sun follows Russ, a backwoods clam-digger who moves to Detroit to work in a car factory so he can afford an outboard motor for his boat.
In Heroes for Sale, William A Wellman presents discontentment with the old and hope for the new, steeped in govt propaganda
Heroes for Sale was made just after Roosevelt swore in as the 32nd president of the United States. As though symptomatic of this particular time, the film embodies both a discontentment with the preceding Hoover administration and a hope for the new one, the duality manifesting as an incongruity between plot and character.
How The Scarlet Empress deftly explores the duality of evil and innocence while mapping the rise of Catherine the Great
Nothing, not even Josef von Sternberg’s earlier films with Marlene Dietrich, anticipates the stylistic aggression of The Scarlet Empress, a box-office bomb.
Visions du Réel 2020: Works at the festival's online edition exhibited a yearning for the social, symbolic of present crisis
Numerous works at the 51st edition of Visions du Réel, traditionally held in April in Nyons, Switzerland, unfold in self-contained worlds with no exit to external reality.
How Hollywood classic Hellzapoppin' defied categorisation, rejoiced in playing with possibilities of the medium
It wouldn’t be a hyperbole to state that there’s nothing quite like Hellzapoppin' in classical Hollywood.
Cecil B DeMille’s This Day and Age portrayed the tensions of its era as well as the dynamics of Hollywood film production
This Day and Age capitalises on a certain hopefulness about the younger generation pervading the air.
Kiss Me Deadly: Robert Aldrich's crime movie classic is less detective story, more myth with a physical presence
The first to consider Robert Aldrich as a serious artist—and this film a masterpiece—were the young critics at the French film magazine Cahiers du Cinéma.
In Moonrise, Frank Borzage sheds his ethereal aesthetic to foreground man as a product of circumstances
In Moonrise, director Frank Borzage accentuates his protagonist Danny’s shadowed existence by holding him at a distance from the viewer.