Moira Sullivan

Moira Sullivan is an international film critic, scholar, lecturer, promoter and experimental filmmaker based in San Francisco. She is a member of FIPRESCI (Federation of International Film Critics) and has a PhD in cinema studies. Sullivan is one of the world's experts on the work of the legendary filmmaker Maya Deren (1917-1961). A native of San Francisco, Sullivan wrote her doctoral thesis and subsequent publication on Maya Deren's avantgarde and ethnographic filmmaking. Sullivan has been invited to special universities and art schools honoring Maya Deren in Italy, France, Germany, Sweden and the USA. Since 1995 Sullivan has been a staff writer for Movie Magazine International, San Francisco and does weekly radio reports on film reviews, film events and festivals. She also writes from named for Agnès Varda.


Articles by Moira Sullivan


Cannes Film Festival 2018: The Fight for Inclusion Continues — Moira Sullivan reports

cannes festival 2018 logoOfficially, this was the year for women at Cannes. It is a year that is only meaningful if the number of films made by women selected to the festival increases. The realization that Cannes is a hunting ground for sexual predators can never be erased thanks to Asia Argento’s face to face in the closing ceremony. Festival de Cannes may not continue under the same exclusive terms of the past, but this is the year where acknowledging the achievements of women was dynamically profiled. Inclusion is yet to come. Continue reading…

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Créteil Films de Femmes 2018: The 40th Anniversary — Moira Sullivan reports

creiteul festival logoThe “Créteil Films de Femmes” International Women’s Film Festival is an ongoing showcase of films made by women since 1978. This year the 40th anniversary event was held from March 9-18. Through the years guests such as Agnès Varda, Delphine Seyrig, Maria Schneider, Rachel Perkins, Bernadette LaFont, Chantal Akerman, Irene Papas, and Jeanne Moreau have met the public, showed their films and discussed their work. Although attendance has shrunk considerably since its inception, it is an important cultural event sponsored by the French government and municipality of Créteil. There is no struggle for inclusion as in Cannes: women’s films are selected to be honored 100%. Credit is due to Jackie Buet and her “equipe” (team), a phenomenal artistic director whose dynamic testimony is read up on opening night and summarized at the closure of the festival. Buet is an astute cultural critic and outstanding feminist whose work through 40 years of festivals is exceptional. The Créteil Festival celebrates inclusion whereas Cannes Film Festival is known for institutional exclusion. Continue reading…

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CLAIRE’S CAMERA — Review by Moira Sullivan

Claire’s Camera was featured at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. French actress Isabelle Huppert meets South Korean actress Kim Min-hee, known for her role in Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden (2016 Vulcan award at Cannes). It is enough of a cinematic happening to drive South Korean director Hong Sangsoo to shoot Claire’s Camera in the environs of this festival, the most esteemed gathering for cinema achievements in the world. It took the protests at the May 1968 festival and the demands of festival critics like Jean-Luc Godard, Eric Rohmer and François Truffaut to not only close down the festival that year but create a parallel section of films – the directors’ fortnight (Quinzaine des Réalisateurs) where the reputation for auteur film was established. Rohmer’s Claire’s Knee (1970) comes to mind when viewing this contemplative impromptu film. Cannes inspires travelers, tourists and filmmakers alike to create films that capture its aura. This is Hong Sangsoo’s homage. Continue reading…

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Godard and Sound: Acoustic Innovation in the Late Films of Jean-Luc Godard — Book Review by Moira Sullivan

Albertine Fox’s Godard and Sound (2017) is an impressive and elaborate study of the use of sound in Jean Luc Godard’s later films beginning in 1979 including his multimedia work. The study builds on the foundation of her doctoral thesis, which investigated the aural properties of film and the field of “audio spectatorship” in film criticism and scholarship. Fox’s interest in the subject developed through an appreciation of minimal music with an ‘acoustic’ echo. Repetitive identical musical patterns played in unison result in an echo, such as the music of Phillip Glass, Brian Eno and Meredith Monk. These echoes are likened to “after images” in paintings with overlapping patterns. There is also a parallel in film. Fox experienced two repetitive loops – the “soundtrack” and “the image” track “moving in parallel motion” in Jean-Luc Godard’s Vivre Sa Vie (1962), which became the genesis of Godard and Sound. Continue reading…

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DOUBLE LOVER — Review by Moira Sullivan

Double Lover is framed with slick art direction in a film about beautiful people who need perversion and assault to make their flawless physiques believable. Neither Cronenberg or Ozon seem to think well about women where double lovers are only double trouble for them. Continue reading…

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THE PARTY — Review by Moira Sullivan

THE PARTY POSTERSally Potter’s eighth feature The Party occupies a sitting room, kitchen, garden and bathroom populated by veteran actors Kristin Scott Thomas, Cherry Jones Cillian Murphy, Emily Mortimer, Timothy Spall and Patricia Clarkson. The skill of the dialogue in this sitting room drama written by the UK independent filmmaker moves the film forward but equally important are ten carefully selected songs that punctuate the gathering. These have significance for each of the scenes and are inseparable from the images. With the exception of a British anthem, the selections are recorded by international artists – arias, ballads, jazz and rhythm and blues, ska, and tango. Continue reading…

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A FANTASTIC WOMAN — Review by Moira Sullivan

A Fantastic Woman (“Una Mujer Fantastica”, Chile 2017)) opens on the expanse of the majestic and torrential flow of the Iguazú Falls located on the borders of Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil. Its visually moving beauty is photographed by Benjamín Echazarreta and eloquently accompanied in a flute and harp composition by Matthew Herbert who scores the film. The cascade of water plummets from several sides of the mountain ridge, creating a massive vortex called “Garganta del Diablo” – the “Devil’s Throat”. Mist emanates in slow motion from this voluptuous wonder as it hits the rocks below. It is surprising that this marvel is named for a malevolent force, but this is also the paradox of the dramatic development in this well-crafted and poignant film. Continue reading…

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THAT’S NOT ME — Review by Moira Sullivan

There is nothing more painful than watching aspiring actresses pursue the road to Hollywood when they haven’t got a portfolio, an agent or acting credits. This is the premise of That’s Not Me, starring Australian filmmaker Alice Foulcher who co-wrote and served as co-executive producer in this indie directed and co-written by her husband Greg Erdstein. The film premiered at the 2017 Melbourne International Film Festival. Foulcher is a director, producer and writer of several successful short films, and we are looking forward to her feature length directorial debut. Continue reading…

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