movie reviews

One of the lancet windows designed by LeCompte and built by LeCompte and Higgins for the National Cathedral.

Crafting Light – Movie review of Let There Be Light, now on DVD

—>Dashiell sees the documentary film about stained glass artist Rowan LeCompte and the artisans who worked with him on a commission for the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., and says we will all come away with a new appreciation of the medium after watching the movie. –the artblog editors————> Peter Swanson, the director of the new documentary “Let There Be Light”, spent six years behind the camera to tell the story of Rowan LeCompte, a master stained-glass artist who has been honing his craft for the past 70 years, and his work on the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. The film ... More » »

An illustration from Ungerer's "The Three Robbers" (1962)

Film Review – Far Out Isn’t Far Enough – The Tomi Ungerer Story

—>Dashiell’s movie review of the new documentary about Tomi Ungerer makes us want to see the film soon!—the artblog editors—————-> Far Out Isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story” is a new documentary paying tribute to the eponymous illustrator – a visionary and highly controversial artist most renowned for his children’s books, but also famous for his anti-war posters, and his pornographic illustrations. Ungerer, now in his 80s, is the central figure of the film, narrating his own life story. The artist is wild, insightful, and often very funny, a thrilling persona to watch as he spouts aphorisms in a ... More » »

At the Venice Biennial

DVD Review — Fold Crumple Crush – The Art of El Anatsui

“Fold, Crumple, Crush” is a quiet, charming documentary directed by Susan Vogel examining the life and work of Ghanaian-Nigerian artist El Anatsui. The film begins at the 2007 Venice Biennial where Anatsui is overseeing the construction of an exhibit of his work. Vogel then follows Anatsui to his home in Nigeria, gaining insights into the artist and his art from his colleagues at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, his assistants in his workshop, and from the man himself. Over the course of the film, we learn of Anatsui’s evolution as an artist, from paintings, to sculptures made from clay and ... More » »

Within Mirrors

Within Mirrors – Successful collaboration of short films by Paul Clipson with Sound by Jefre Cantu-Ledesma

It is not uncommon for the current generation of experimental and noise musicians to incorporate film into their performances. Oftentimes, the moving images feel arbitrarily chosen, as if selected merely to give the audience something to look at during performances in which the artists remain static. In rare instances, however, the relationship of abstract music to the film images with which it is paired is a symbiotic one, each informing and complementing the other. Such is the case on “Within Mirrors,” a DVD collection of seven short films, originally released between 2005 and 2008, by Paul Clipson featuring music by Jefre Cantu-Ledesma. ... More » »

Sylvia Kristel

Manon de Boer’s film Trilogy at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, with live programs this weekend

What do a Dutch actress best known for her performance in a soft-core porn film that was distributed in mainstream venues, a French-educated, Brazilian psychoanalyst interested in trauma, and an American interpreter of avant garde percussion music have in common? Is that even a worthwhile question to ask about the women who are the subjects of Manon de Boer’s Resonating Surfaces – A Trilogy, on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art  (PMA), extended through May 5, with additional live programming this weekend. The Dutch actress, Sylvia Kristel, who gained a world-wide reputation for her role as Emmanuelle in the ... More » »

Lithographer Ann Chernow, working on her anti-war print in the movie

Movie review – Art is…The Permanent Revolution

I have never known a movie title with an ellipsis in it…and I don’t imagine that will become a trend. But that’s a small nit to pick in Art is…The Permanent Revolution, a documentary by Manfred Kirchheimer that focuses on three contemporary printmakers who make anti-war art. Along the way, the movie tells the stories (and shows the images) of some of the greatest protest art through the ages. It’s hard to say what’s better in the 82 minute documentary, the behind-the-scenes look at the studio practice of Sigmund Abeles, etcher, Ann Chernow, lithographer and Paul Marcus, woodcutter, or the parade of ... More » »

Photo of Ross McElwee at the lecture.

Photographic Memory, the latest film by Ross McElwee

“It is highly ironic that I complain about my son’s use of technology when I stick a camera in his face.” –Ross McElwee Lecture room 401 was packed Thursday, Nov. 8, for Ross McElwee’s screening and discussion of his latest film, Photographic Memory. Professors and film students filled most of the seats in Fisher-Bennet Hall at the University of Pennsylvania.  They were clearly admirers and scholars of his work. Respected for his voice in the cinéma vérité movement, McElwee is known for opening his personal world in his films, incorporating home videos and reflective voice-overs and reflecting these familial narratives ... More » »


Photo post sandwich – Two books and a movie reviewed

Photo Book – Reframing Photography Reframing Photography, the 560-page encyclopedic book on the subject includes everything about photography and then some. The book is for students, teachers and those in the self-taught orbit who want to do it themselves with a little help. Like those instruction manuals that come with your new camera, the book is a little overwhelming — although unlike those barely-English manuals, this book is written! There are fabulous essays written by the two authors, Rebekah Modrak and Bill Anthes, in each of the four subject parts, and they live up to the encyclopedia: dense, with history, ... More » »

Christian Marclay, Detail of The Clock, 2010, Single-channel video with sound, 24 hours,  © Christian Marclay. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

On time with Christian Marclay’s The Clock

Shared memories of Star Wars and Buster Keaton serve as a lingua franca that crosses international and personal borders. Unlike art, which in so many ways aims at an elite audience and serves to differentiate the into-art group from other people, the love of movies unites us all. When Christian Marclay created The Clock, his 24-hour video cycle that mashes up movies by the minute, who did he have in mind as his audience? Only visual art lovers? Or everyone? Was he hoping his bouquet to the movies and to time would earn him a new audience, a crowd of ... More » »

Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks, left) and Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) in THE HUNGER GAMES. Photo credit: Murray Close.  Note the entitled costume on the left and the real world dress on the heroine, Katniss

Youth Daze – Tiny Furniture, The Dangerous Book Four Boys and Hunger Games

I’m going to put three disparate items together  – bear with me. It’s not that the two movies and book are comparable, they’re not. But each in its own way deals with some of core characteristics of youth — experimentation, loneliness, identity, and obsession with love, sex and death — and they all came across my radar very recently, so I’m packaging them as they came to me.  James Franco’s Dangerous Book Four Boys and Lena Dunham’s Tiny Furniture are made by young artists. The Hunger Games is about youth, and of course, some other things as well. Tiny Furniture ... More » »