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La bataille d’Alger (The Battle of Algiers, Gillo Pontecorvo), has turned fifty. In itself, this fact is trivial; after all, a great many films are reaching their half-century mark these days. The difference is that The Battle of Algiers seems to reach far beyond cinema itself to attain an “endlessly renewed contemporary resonance.”

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from Film Quarterly Fall 2016, Volume 70, Number 1 Barbara McBane Everything changed in 1984. I sang so loud I exploded. Since then I explode from time to time.1 1. Desynchronization How is it that Chantal Akerman’s films feel so close to raw experience? Akerman has said, “I want the spectator to feel…the time used […]

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To judge by the critical enthusiasm with which the second season of Amazon Prime’s Transparent (2014–) series has been embraced, Jill Soloway not only has a big trans-affirmative hit on her hands but has succeeded in stimulating a lively conversation about queerness, trans politics, and television representation within the broader society.

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Eduardo Coutinho, the greatest documentary filmmaker in the last half-century of Brazilian cinema, is woefully underrecognized in the United States and has not been adequately incorporated into the global history of documentary cinema

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Swedish writer-director Roy Andersson explores human behavior and its consequences. His Living Trilogy of films, begun in 2000, takes stock of what it means to be a human being. What is human existence?

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The Centre Pompidou in Paris recently celebrated the centenary of Marguerite Duras’s birth with minimal means and quiet panache: an exhibit, “Duras Song,” occupied a corner of the Centre’s public library while a complete retrospective of all her films was shown in the Centre’s movie theatres.

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Jane Campion and Jenji Kohan each premiered television series in 2013 that used genre to facilitate pointed interventions in postfeminist representational paradigms.

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Escapism is the mode as well as the subject of Moonrise Kingdom. This is another Anderson movie with a seemingly cheery ending in which, on closer scrutiny, there is not all that much to look forward to.

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With Pan’s Labyrinth, however, writer-director Guillermo del Toro has built on his proven skills in fantasy (Hellboy in 2004) and Spanish history (The Devil’s Backbone from 2001) to produce a work that is at once a logical development of his artistic trajectory and a wholly unexpected masterpiece from a director identified with such low-status genres as horror

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Passio

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The first image we see is of a dead body, probably from a film of a concentration camp but, like every other archival image in this film, it does not fit into familiar paradigms. A skeletal, naked corpse of a man lies face up on the ground, arms and legs splayed out—the whole cadaver fills the screen. Where can we possibly go from here?

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From time to time Film Quarterly has published special features on Hollywood films that have had a major influence on public opinion. In 1979 the film was The Deer Hunter, in 1991 Thelma & Louise. If any such recent film has merited similar treatment, it is surely Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain.

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Although conflict in the Balkans has been out of the headlines for several years, Danis Tanović’s No Man’s Land (2001) stands out among other recent war movies for its strong indictment of the intertwined nature of war, global power, and media.

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Cache

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The first image in Austrian director Michael Haneke’s latest masterpiece, Caché (Hidden), is a long shot of a narrow urban street, leading to a fairly nondescript house. Filmed with a static camera, uninterrupted by editing, and lingering longer than most viewers are accustomed to, this mysteriously ominous glimpse of French street life immediately sets the mood that is the hallmark of Haneke’s work.

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Motion pictures play a significant role in determining how people around the world perceive their own and other societies. Governments have therefore been sensitive to cinematic portrayals of their countries and are quick to complain when they feel that a movie treats their citizens poorly. An example of this occurred in 2002, when Canadian-Armenian writer-director Atom Egoyan released Ararat

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The conservative animus toward Michael Moore’s success is to be expected. But what is the liberal-left’s problem with the filmmaker? Throughout his career, Moore’s work has garnered a host of moral judgments and criticisms from left-leaning journalists and scholars who are sympathetic to either the message or the objectives of his films, but see his tactics as, at best, counterproductive

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Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation (2003) is littered with familiar signifiers for an unfamiliar Japan: streets ablaze with neon pictographs, bowing concierges bustling after guests in a high-tech hotel, pop-star hipsters with multicolored hair sporting synthetic fashions. Marketed as a comedy, the film prompts snickers of amusement from its Western audience.

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Hero

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When Zhang Yimou’s Hero was first released in China in 2002, even though the dazzling beauty of its martial-arts scenes did create a sensation, many viewers were angered by what they believed to be the film’s political stand—a justification of despotism in the history of China.

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