RUSSIAN DOLL – Review by Martha P. Nochimson

Stories about journeys made by men in which women play supporting roles as inspirations, antagonists, and helpers have been the foundation of Western Civilization. The old Bards stuck to narratives in which the old heroes explained the patriarchal cosmos through their exploits as they came home from war, or established great cities, perhaps met God, and, almost always, as they conquered death in one way or another. Options are now more various.

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ROMA – An Appreciation by Martha P. Nochimson

The very ephemeral nature of moments in which life and death come to a head unweaves the old neo-realist assurances of the powerful weightiness of the least of us. Rather, Cuaron distances us from any pretensions to human importance as he opens the door to his vision of how fleeting, brief, and weightless human life is. This is a realism that is harsh medicine to the individualist American and to all cultures that are Americanized.

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Defining Feminist Film Criticism – Martha P. Nochimson comments

The answer to that question is a work in progress, certainly for me and, I believe, for our culture. I prefer to answer the question with many questions rather than with definitive answers. Maybe feminist film criticism is simply good film criticism because what used to pass for respectable film criticism is now clearly visible as too narrow. Similarly, feminist film criticism that focuses only on women’s issues might also be built on tunnel vision and bad criticism.

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ESCAPE AT DANNEMORA – Commentary by Martha P. Nochimson

Ultimately, this show about brief, ambiguous escapes is reminiscent of the fatalism of the early 20th century American naturalist novels in which the plight of trapped characters becomes a microcosm of the American macrocosm, a culture depicted gloomily as the habitation of beings with no real place either in nature or culture, no core identity, no coherence outside of the deadening rules and conventions society has invented. This is a vision that is too bleak for my taste, but I respect it because it goes well beyond being the same old familiar jailbreak story. It has a perspective.

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BLACKkKLANSMAN – Review by Martha P. Nochimson

In Blackkklansman, a movie with a title that makes it sound like it’s a Mel Brooks high concept farce from the 1970’s, Spike Lee Has dipped back into historical events that began in 1978 to hold the mirror up to the dangerous racial chaos of America in 2018. And it’s no farce. At the same time, both Lee’s film and the book of the same name on which it is based, a memoir by a black undercover police detective, Ron Stallworth, working in Colorado Springs, do create cognitive dissonance. A black man in the Klan? How?

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BEING JULIA – Review by Martha Nochimson

Being Julia ( 2004) is a dazzling, fourteen year old romantic comedy whose time has come for a closer look. Based on a Somerset Maugham novella, Theatre, and set in 1938 London, at first glance it seems to be the essence of what has become offensive to progressive people. Successful British actress, Julia Lambert lives in a bubble of class privilege and audience adulation, to the exclusion of all else in society. But, don’t turn away. Being Julia offers an opportunity for feminists to mine unexpected gold and to examine our own prejudices and myopia.

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THE DEATH OF STALIN – Review by Martha P. Nochimson

You can’t get a better deflector for these dark days in the United States than a serio-comic farce set in the now defunct Soviet Union in 1953, as the mammoth country was given an opportunity to emerge from the rigid structure of Stalin’s tyranny. The Death of Stalin (2017) directed by political satirist Armando Ianucci is such film, a comic tour de force about the anarchy hidden within despotism.

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NYFF18 Review: THE FAVOURITE — Martha P. Nochimson

Have you ever wondered what sexual politics would be like in a matriarchy? In their rompin’ stompin’ film, The Favourite, shown as the opening night feature for this year’s New York Film Festival, director Yorgos Lanthimos and writers Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara, give you space to imaginatively explore that possibility.

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