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Author: Kenji Fujishima

Berlinale Cinematic Highlights at Last!

Perhaps I was lucky when I first attended the Berlin International Film Festival two years ago. 2015 was the year of Jafar Panahi’s Taxi, Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups, Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years, and Pablo Larraín’s The Club, among others. Unfortunately, this year, of the 25 films I saw, I could count the memorable ones on the fingers of one hand. Instead, much of what I saw was either bland or disastrous (in the latter category, I include Agnieszka Holland’s Spoor). Still, there were some diamonds in the rough, even if not all films I mention are masterpieces. Below...

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STARLESS DREAMS: THE PASSIONATE HUMANISM OF MEHRAD OSKOUEI

In a rare foray into first-run theatrical exhibition, the Museum of the Moving Image in New York presents the U.S. premiere of Starless Dreams, a documentary by Iranian filmmaker Mehrdad Oskouei, about young girls in a juvenile detention center on the outskirts of Tehran. Oskouei is well regarded in his home country, but his previous films have all been shorts, making them difficult to program outside of the international film-festival circuit. Now that he’s made his first feature-length film, with Cinema Guild as distributor, he may be on the verge of broader renown, poised to join the likes of...

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LOSING GROUND by Kathleen Collins – A Film That Reaches Beyond

Kathleen Collins’s 1982 film Losing Ground—the latest selection in Kinoscope’s screening series at the New School, and the last of this season—has historical interest to burn, as one of the first features to be directed by an African-American woman. Emblematic of the difficulties that women in the independent-film industry faced at the time, the film was barely released and languished in relative obscurity until last year, when Milestone Films, working from a negative rescued by the director’s daughter, Nina, brought it to theaters in a new digital restoration. To see Losing Ground as simply a time capsule, though, is...

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Kinoscope Challenging Short Film Experimentation at Warsaw’s Cinemaforum

Unless you’re the Walt Disney Company, or are lucky enough to get an Oscar nomination, the chances of screening your short film outside of the festival circuit, in a theater for an extended theatrical run, are next to nil. Even being a highly established filmmaker won’t guarantee wide theatrical exhibition of a short, as world-class auteurs like Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Jia Zhangke can attest. Still, there’s a lot to be said about short films from an artistic standpoint, offering enterprising filmmakers a relatively pressure-free playground to sketch out ideas and experiment with form in ways that may not always...

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