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:

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 »

A man and woman on a fire escapte staring out at morning in New York City.

20th Annual Tribeca Festival June 9-20

In the spring of 2002, Jane Rosenthal, Craig Hatkoff and Robert De Niro launched the first Tribeca Film Festival to help revitalize a hurting New York City and an economically devastated downtown neighborhood. They knew it wouldn’t be easy selling the concept of taking in a movie and dropping some money in the restaurants and… Read more »

Questlove debuts Harlem’s Summer of Soul

Summer of Soul: Ahmir Khalib Thompson: USA:  2021: 116 minutes You won’t find a contemporary musician who doesn’t have an opinion on the impact of the original Woodstock festival in a farmer’s pasture in Bethel, New York, over a long weekend in August, 1969. (Your critic was there on business, delivering urgent album cover art… Read more »

Father an son waiting

New Directors/New Films, April 28 – May 8

The conventional wisdom on a conventional 50th anniversary festival would be to first applaud the curators who brought world class filmmakers like Kelly Reichardt and Pedro Almodovar, Spike Lee and Michael Haneke, Wong Kar-wai and Guillermo del Toro, Hou Hsiao-hsien and Agnieszka Holland to audiences far and wide, starting way back in 1972. No one… Read more »

Man and Baby sitting outside

Rendez-Vous with French Cinema, March 4-14

Spring is busting out all over New York City, with cinemas scheduled to open March 5 (25% capacity, 50-seat maximum). Online, Film at Lincoln Center and UniFrance are showcasing 18 new vital and vibrant examples of contemporary French filmmaking. The 26th annual edition includes new work from returning filmmakers plus six debut dramas. All 18… Read more »

Photos of Black slaves in America and Jews in Nazi Germany

The New York Jewish Film Festival Jan. 13-26, 2021

Sure, it was sorely disappointing not to view the 24 narrative dramas, documentaries and shorts up on the big screens at Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater. That’s where NYJFF, co-sponsored by The Jewish Museum and Film at Lincoln Center, shows its annual festivals. But the real loss for this viewer—an irreplaceable loss—came in not being… Read more »

Teacher with student

New Directors/New Films 2020 (Dec. 9-20)

Do you remember the last movie you saw in a real theater, up on a big screen? Our memories grow more remote by the day. For this viewer it was a screening of the sumptuous 150-minute Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains. Directed by Gu Xiaogang, Dwelling is a multi-generational family saga that slowly unscrolls as… Read more »

Black policewoman in car

DOC NYC Film Festival Nov. 11-19 – Critic’s Choices

Consider for a moment what’s been recently showing in two very different movie-going Americas. On Oct. 30 The New York Times reported that the Park Plaza Cinema in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, had just opened Liam Neeson in Honest Thief to 72 patrons. “It was the largest single-day attendance the independently owned five-screen theater… Read more »

Two shots of Fox Rich from the movie Time

New York Film Festival – Critic’s Choices

How about a nice round of applause for filmmaker/artist and ‘Pope of Trash’ John Waters, pictured here with the poster (silkscreen printed on Cougar 130lb natural paper) he and Globe Poster designed for the 58th New York Film Festival. “I always knew I’d get my ass in there somehow…in 2020 we have to reinvent movie-going… Read more »