Author: Kurt Brokaw

Kurt Brokaw is an associate teaching professor at The New School. He also teaches film noir and early lesbian fiction at the 92nd Street Y.


Articles Written by Kurt Brokaw:

"Virunga" made its world premiere at Tribeca.

Tribeca 2014: Critic’s Choice

Senior film critic Kurt Brokaw digs into critic’s choices on 89 features and 60 shorts at the Tribeca Film Festival, which runs from April 16-24, 2014. Chef (Jon Favreau. 2014. USA. 115 min.) You can tell title character/writer/producer/director Jon Favreau likes Dustin Hoffman because Hoffman’s the only actor in this movie who’s allowed to hold… Read more »

One of a million stills in "Red Hollywood" a documentary of the too-little seen films that fell sway to the Red Scare.

Cinematic Lessons From a Cold War Era

Red Hollywood (Thom Andersen, Noël Burch. 1995. USA. 119 min.) With Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annexation of Crimea and deepening incursions into Ukraine, US relations with the Kremlin have taken on an ominous chill. Not that Congress is likely to fall into the anti-communist hysteria of the 1950s, when Senator Joseph McCarthy’s efforts succeeded in… Read more »

"Buzzard" is the third collaboration between actor Joshua Burge (pictured) and director Joel Potrykus.

New Directors/New Films 2014 – Critic’s Choice

Senior film critic Kurt Brokaw is viewing the 42nd annual New Directors/New Films (all 27 features plus 11 shorts) and presents his critic’s choices below. Quod Erat Demonstrandum (Andrei Gruzsniczki. 2013. Romania. 107 min.) This lead review is dedicated to the living memory of Quod Erat Demonstrandum, possibly the worst title in the history of… Read more »

Deneuve in the driver's seat in Emmanuelle Bercot's "On My Way."

Rendez-Vous With French Cinema 2014

Senior film critic Kurt Brokaw is viewing all 24 features in the 2014 Rendez-vous With French Cinema lineup. The series screens March 6-10 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Young & Beautiful (François Ozon. 2013. France. 95 min.) Steven Soderberg’s The Girlfriend Experience and Steve McQueen’s Shame have both explored the dark side of… Read more »

In "Ida," a Polish nun discovers that she's Jewish.

New York Jewish Film Festival 2014 – Critic's Choices

How inspiring that The Film Society of Lincoln Center has partnered with The Jewish Museum for more than two decades in presenting world, US, and New York premieres of films from around the globe. And how encouraging to read Sheerly Avni’s report in The Jewish Daily Forward that more than 80 similar Jewish fests are… Read more »

The Music Lesson. Johannes Vermeer, 1662. Oil on canvas.

Critic's Choice – 2013 Finale

Tim’s Vermeer (Teller. 2013. USA. 80 min.) As a premier magic act, Penn and Teller stand among the most accomplished performing illusionists. To be sure, their jazzy show-and-tell routines in which they perform jaw-dropping mysteries and then demonstrate step-by-step how they did it, have earned them the undying enmity of many working magicians. Penn Gillette… Read more »

Ballerina Tanaquil Le Clercq in Nancy Buirski's doc, "Afternoon of a Faun."

New York Film Festival 2013 – Critic's Choice

Last year’s 50th New York Film Festival (NYFF) gave a 21-gun salute sendoff to its departing director, Richard Pena. It far exceeded the breadth, width, and depth of a half-century of festivals. This year’s extravaganza, headed by Kent Jones, Film Comment’s scholar/essayist and now screenwriter (Jimmy P: Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian), goes even broader,… Read more »

The original "Catcher" cover by James Avati, before author J.D. Salinger switched publishers and neutralized it.

Documenting a Man who Refused Interpretation

Salinger (Shane Salerno. 2013. USA. 120 min.) “Salinger and I got alone together, and I said, ‘Look, what do you want, you want some sales? These guys are supposed to know how to sell books, so screw it, let’s do it.’ So we did it.”–James Avati, who painted the original 25-cent paperback cover (right) of… Read more »

Golshifteh Farahani (L) and Hamid Djavadan (R) in "The Patience Stone."

‘Tis the Summer of Women Falling Apart in Films

First let’s briefly summarize three films you may be aware of, all themed around women in various states of acute mental and emotional collapse. Stay with us as we trudge a path toward the single picture worth your wait. The Canyons. Director Paul Schrader said this about his new movie pairing Lindsay Lohan with porn… Read more »

If Kurt Brokaw could, he'd nominate "The Nightshift Belongs to the Stars" for an Oscar.

Tribeca 2013: Critic's Choice – Shorts

The Nightshift Belongs to the Stars (Edoardo Ponti. 2012. Italy. 23 min.) Think of it: More than 2,800 shorts were submitted to the 12th Tribeca Film Festival. Sixty made the cut. This one had more advance anticipation and comment than most TFF feature film selections. To no one’s surprise, it’s won the festival’s best narrative… Read more »