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:

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 »

John Bronco (Walton Goggins) sitting in his jeep.

Tribeca 2020 Short Films: Critic’s Choice

Since spring of 2002, when downtown Manhattan was in the fragile beginnings of recovery from the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Tribeca Film Festival’s short subjects have been among the most anticipated films in the festival’s annual offerings. Tribeca was the first New York film festival to seriously highlight shorts. Sharon Badal, VP… Read more »

Jean-Louis Trintignant laughing with Anouk Aimee in background

Rendez-Vous with French Cinema – March 5-15

You’ll forgive your 81-year-old Manhattan moviegoer if his first three reviews below putter about, pausing to stare at the pleasure of spending a few more evenings in the dark with two of France’s leading ladies. Simply put, these women were two of this viewer’s youthful heartthrobs. They were so, so French! Anouk Aimee, now 87,… Read more »

The New York Jewish Film Festival Jan. 15-28

The nice curators at The Jewish Museum and Film at Lincoln Center have made their own special mitzvah to the city’s residents in January. Out of 30 narrative dramas, documentaries and shorts that comprise the 29th NYJFF, not one, not two, but three separate feature films having their New York premieres are intelligent father/daughter dramas…. Read more »

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 »