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:

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 »

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 »