Author: Kurt Brokaw

Kurt Brokaw
Kurt Brokaw joined The Independent in 2010 as Senior Film Critic,
covering New York’s six major film festivals and reviewing individual
features and shorts of merit.  He was Associate Teaching Professor
at The New School for 33 years, and has taught courses on film noir,
early lesbian fiction and Jewish-themed cinema at The 92nd Street Y
for 15 years. His memoir, The Paperback Guy, was published in 2020.

Articles Written by Kurt Brokaw:

CHILDREN READING TABLOID

New York Jewish Film Festival, January 12–23

The cautionary alerts are everywhere throughout Manhattan. At the Center for Jewish History on West 16th just off Fifth Avenue, president Gavriel Rosenfeld writes that to understand “growing antisemitic threats facing American Jews, examining the past is indispensable for understanding the present.” At Bloomberg Philanthropies, former NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg introduced showings of Arthur Miller’s… Read more »

A person walking through the destruction from a volcano.

DOC NYC Nov. 9-27

No, your reviewer didn’t actually haul a sleeping bag into the IFC Center, Cinepolis Chelsea or the SVA Theatre (16 screens in total). And even if the most fanatic cinephiles had elected all-day, all-night viewing—cinema-crawling from lower 6th Avenue up to West 23rd Street and back, then home-viewing til dawn—they’d have missed some of the… Read more »

60th New York Film Festival, September 30 to October 16, 2022

New York Film Festival, Sept.30-Oct.16

Above is Nan Goldin’s photo that’s become the poster for this 60th NYFF.  Talk about a picture being worth a thousand words. It celebrates movies as they once were in the 1960s (and long before), when Irving Shulman’s 1947 The Amboy Dukes was the coming-of-age novel for NYC bonehead teens and wayward young adults. Youths… Read more »

Leonard Cohen Doffing his hat

Tribeca Festival June 8-20

‘The city that never sleeps’ has awakened to two renamed institutions since the onset of Covid: The 92nd Street Y is now known as 92NY, signaling a momentous decision to begin streaming much of its top-drawer cultural programming to the world. And the former Tribeca Film Festival’s 22nd season of multiple events on a myriad… Read more »

New Directors/New Films April 20–May 1

A major international hotel chain some years ago positioned its appeal to travelers as “the best surprise is no surprise.” The premise was that most vacationers want the predictability of home wherever they go. That line didn’t play well in Manhattan, where surprise is the order of every day. Most of us moved here to… Read more »

Juliette Binoche and Vincent Lindon in the ocean.

Rendez-Vous with French Cinema March 3-13

Signs of spring are budding through New York City. Cartier just debuted the season’s most welcome ad campaign, with scores of residents in all five boroughs weighing in on why they wouldn’t live anywhere else. The citywide infection rate has plummeted from a perilous 22% in January to a far safer 1.3% (Feb. 25). And… Read more »

A scene from the courtroom at Nurenberg

The New York Jewish Film Festival Jan. 12-25

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the movies—maybe it’s not. Especially if, like this viewer, you’ve been isolated with days and nights of fever and chills this month—what’s turned out to be a “light” Covid breakthrough. While major national film festivals like Sundance and Palm Springs have gone virtual or… Read more »

Poster for Film the living record of our memory, a documentary about the importance of moving images

DOC NYC Nov 10-18 – Critic’s Choice

It was once possible to view everything in any of New York’s six major film festivals, sometimes even before they opened. Curators limited their selections to 25-30 features and a handful of shorts. Your critic gladly sat through most everything with other press/industry, usually in advance theatrical showings a week or two (or more) before… Read more »

Woman on car.

New York Film Festival Sept. 20-Oct. 8, 2021

In 1954, social protocols in a big single-screen theater were a lot simpler. At the Ritz in Indianapolis, a neighborhood showplace where this author worked part-time in high school, the main job of the ushers was making sure all patrons—especially dating teens—kept both feet on the floor at all times. This kid’s duties beside changing… Read more »

Three men leaning on a police car

Dale Bell’s “Woodstock”

Dale Bell’s Woodstock (Rare Bird Books, 2019) is a day-by-day, event-by-event diary by Bell, the associate producer, and 22 other professional volunteers who put together the Oscar-winning Best Documentary of 1970. As Martin Scorsese writes in a brief forward, “the second half of the 1960s is the only time I’ve ever heard people talk about… Read more »