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:

The Apollo theater and 125th Street in the documentary The Apollo

DOC NYC Film Festival Nov. 6-15 – Critic’s Choices

Three downtown theaters. 15 screens. 10 days. Three hundred movies and events. Holy moly. It’s the 10th anniversary of America’s largest documentary festival. Some of the best—The Apollo, Honeycomb and Midnight Family, plus shorts like In the Absence and Learning to Skateboard In A Warzone (If You’re A Girl)—have already been this viewer’s favorites in… Read more »

Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro leaning across a table to talk to each other in the movie The Irishman

New York Film Festival 2019 – Critic’s Choices

You’d need a breather, if not a medal for bravery, if you made it through all 15 law-and-disorder crime dramas that ricocheted through NYFF’s 57th annual festival. Imagine, fifteen features—that’s over a day of murders before your blinkered eyes. Bookending the mayhem were Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, the opening night epic of Jimmy Hoffa’s assassination… Read more »

A still of Toni Morrison smiling from the documentary Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am

New Documentary: “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am”

You’ll be conscious from its opening seconds that the preeminent novelist Toni Morrison—unlike all the other distinguished writers, poets, editors and academics gathered for this stirring literary biography—is staring directly at you when she speaks. Just as in the still above. And she speaks a lot—probably more than any other subject of a feature-length biopic… Read more »

Tribeca 2019 Short Films: Critic’s Choice

Carlito Leaves Forever; Quentin Lazzarotto; France/Peru; 2018; 8 min. If you don’t instantly recognize the ‘supervisor’ of this splendid short, here’s a few choice snippets from his current Masterclass video pitch for what he calls his Rogue Film School: “I’m talking to future filmmakers. I have come through all of this,  I have learned it… Read more »

Tribeca 2019 Features & Docs Films: Critic’s Choice

Gay Chorus Deep South; David Charles Rodriques; USA; 2019; 100 min.  “There is a storm, and we have to learn to dance with the storm.”  The storm here is not the tornado raging rampant through Southern states, but a resurgence of faith-based anti-LGBTQ laws.  That’s why the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus (SFGMC) did a… Read more »

New Directors/New Films 2019 (March 27-April 7)

If you like playing Ms. or Mr. First Nighter at the New York launch of filmmakers who’ll shape the future of cinema, ND/NF is your fest. Since 1972, first films and other early work by Pedro Almodovar, Sally Potter, Spike Lee, Kelly Reichardt, John Sayles, Chantal Akerman, Steven Spielberg, Marielle Heller, Todd Solondz, Charlotte Zwerin,… Read more »

Rendez-Vous With French Cinema — Feb.28-March 10

The early spring grace notes of living-at-the-movies in Manhattan are blooming. Just look at what’s free—yes, f-r-e-e—in this 24th annual edition of Rendez-vous, co presented by the Film Society of Lincoln Center and UniFrance: On Friday March 1 at 5:00pm, you can listen to veteran Writer/Director Paul Schrader in conversation with novelist/poet Russell Banks (The… Read more »

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 »