Author: Kurt Brokaw

Senior film critic Kurt Brokaw reviews New York’s six major film festivals plus individual features and shorts of merit. He’s taught courses in film noir, early lesbian fiction, and Jewish-themed cinema at The 92nd Street Y for 15 years.

Articles Written by Kurt Brokaw:

A Tribute to Jonas Mekas (1922-2019)

His death at age 96 on January 23 merited nearly a full page in The New York Times, along with multiple photographs, probably the fullest obit of any indie filmer in history.  (Mekas preferred being called a filmer, not a filmmaker.) As a legend of the cinema, Jonas Mekas now joins Iris Barry (1895-1969), who… Read more »

New York Jewish Film Festival—January 9-22

You’ll find a generous slice of Manhattan’s Upper West Side Jewish community—grandparents, teachers, deli dwellers, union workers, religious scholars, Red Diaper babies, plus NYJFF fans from all five boroughs—Q-ing up at New York’s premiere showplace, the Walter Reade theater, for this 28th annual festival. Co-sponsored as usual by The Jewish Museum and The Film Society… Read more »

DOC NYC  Film Festival Nov. 8-15

Every documentary filmmaker’s heart has to beat a little faster looking at the 300 films and panels  coming into the 9th annual DOC NYC. Two features taking victory laps, Won’t You Be My Neighbor? and RBG, have already earned domestic grosses of $22 and $14 million dollars. These are unprecedented earnings for a pair of… Read more »

New York Film Festival Sept. 28-Oct.14

Her Smell; Alex Ross Perry; USA, 2018; 134 min. Perry’s full-tilt booze and dope opus more than earns its main slate slot in The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s 56th annual festival, but the fest it deserves to open (cue the red carpet and all-night sober after party) is the Reel Recovery Film Festival and… Read more »

Best of 17th Annual Tribeca Film Festival

For the moment, put aside Tribeca’s round-the-clock menus of virtual reality, games, TV show previews, talks, storyscapes, virtual arcades, artists’ and festival and audience awards.  The recurring news that ran like a fever from April 18-29 through downtown Manhattan movie lines was this:  46% of Tribeca’s 99 feature film premieres were directed by women. Imagine. Nearly… Read more »

New Directors/New Films 2018

Makala; Emmanuel Gras; France 2017; 96min.  If you’ve been longing for the kind of edge-of-the-world documentary Werner Herzog used to provide in regular cliffhanger doses (Into the Inferno, Grizzly Man), as well as in indelible edge-of-your-seat narrative adventures (Fitzcaraldo, Aguirre The Wrath of God), ND/NF’s spring slate has just the ticket for you. Look at… Read more »

Rendez-vous With French Cinema – March 8-18

A Paris Education; Jean-Paul Clveyrac; France, 2018; 137 min.  Movie directors are rarely big-name academics.  And academics are almost never recognized movie directors.  But Clveyrac, is both: he co-led the Department of Film in La Femis (the French state film school) in Paris for a decade, and has taught film at Paris 8 University in… Read more »

New York Jewish Film Festival – January 10-23

West of the Jordan River; Amos Gital; Israel/France 2017; 87 min. Two years ago the 25th NYJFF screened Gital’s Rabin, The Last Day, a riveting critic’s choice that reenacted the Shambar Commission (Israel’s Supreme Court) spending four months examining the “functional failure” of security surrounding Prime Minister’s Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination in 1995. The commission was… Read more »

One difference between “Indie” and “Mainstream”: Money

We are deep into Paul Thomas Anderson’s lushly opulent tale of a ‘50s relationship in England that’s sputtering.  The young woman, who we first view as a clumsy waitress in a country inn, has fallen in love with a London fashion couturier.  He’s made her his muse, his top model, and eventually, his wife.  They’ve… Read more »

DOC NYC Film Festival Nov. 9-16

When Sharon Badal started gathering in the world’s best shorts as a vital component of the Tribeca film fests following 9/11, miniature narrative dramas and docs got a big boost in Manhattan movie theaters. Today they’re recognized in The New York Film Festival, The New York Jewish Film Festival, Rendez-vous with French Cinema, New Directors/New… Read more »