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:

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 »

New York Film Festival Sept. 28-Oct.15

Wonderstruck; Todd Haynes; USA 2017; 117 min. Leave it to Todd Haynes to pull off this festival’s most enchanting magic spell.  In less than two hours, Haynes transforms Brian Selznick’s 640-page young readers’ novel into a cinematic bliss out of loss, longing, discovery and fulfillment.  Take it from a father of four: Wonderstruck is the… Read more »

New York Film Festival Sept. 28-Oct. 15

Four festival curators have programmed 24 global shorts into four separate programs (Narrative, Genre Stories, New York Stories, Documentary), a clear signal that movies-in-miniature, while still earning only two pages in The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s 86-page 4-color program, are becoming a global force to be reckoned with. In this 55th NYFF, shorts share… Read more »

So You Want to be a Major Film Artist?

Water and Sugar: Carlo Di Palma, The Colors of Life; Fariborz Kamikari; 2016; Italy; 90 min. Anyone who could become a trusted collaborator with directors as startlingly different as Michelangelo Antonioni and Woody Allen deserves close scrutiny.  What could you learn from such a person? Which life lessons and work habits might you profit from, by… Read more »

Tribeca 2017: Critic’s Choices – Features

Chuck, Philippe Falardeau, 2016, USA, 99 min. “Who cared about me yesterday, when I was nobody?” reads the pre-title quote by Rocky Balboa. It sets exactly the right tone for Canadian director Philippe Falardeau’s modest and shrewdly engineered biopic of Chuck Wepner, the New Jersey heavyweight boxing champion who lasted nearly 15 rounds against Muhammed… Read more »