2018 in Review: April

2018 in Review: April

Posted in 2018 Updates by - May 01, 2018
2018 in Review: April

The Newly Expanded Wende Museum Offers a Nuanced Perspective on the Cold War

“We are currently witnessing a period in which basic assumptions about political values and even basic truths are being challenged. The museum, by pointing to historical parallels and differences and engaging in creative ways to interpret past and present, can offer a broader perspective. … [The Berlin Wall], this powerful symbol of the Cold War division and its ultimate collapse, can be the perfect starting point of so many much-needed conversations today.”

Remembering Studio Ghibli Co-Founder Isao Takahata, Who Imbued Animation with Emotion

“He was never bound to a single aesthetic sensibility, genre, or story structure. He could continually reinvent himself as a filmmaker, and did so multiple times over nearly 60 years in his field. He never attained the international stature of Miyazaki, though he is revered (and now mourned) in animation circles. Takahata was less inclined toward adventure stories, big action sequences, or overt visual flourishes, though he could and did pull off all of them at various points in his career. His genius lay in his effortless ability to portray the mundane — something not often associated with the motion-focused energy of animation. He brought this grounding even to the most fantastical settings and characters, and the result was a deep-seated humanity running through his entire oeuvre.”

Stream Frederick Wiseman’s Documentaries for Free Via Libraries and Colleges Around the US

“Each documentary is a collage of vignettes, concerned primarily with the total experience of these institutions. If you see how it is built, what it is like to make it work from the lowest rung to the top of the ladder, and how these elements do or don’t come together to let it run properly, then you can gain a greater understanding of a school, jail, mental institution, library, theater, or anything else. Wiseman is doing in cinema something similar to what Studs Terkel did with his oral histories, though in an observational rather than testimonial mode, and based around locations rather than time periods or broad social topics. He will approach his subject without much preparation, shoot over 100 hours of footage over several weeks, and then find his film in the editing room, culling the most interesting and illuminating moments he’s captured and linking them together in a way that makes sense.”

Film Review: Disobedience Misses Greater Potential

“…these details feel surface-level, coming more as a transference from the novel than a true understanding of the religion. We meet only a handful of characters in this world with names, and fewer with distinct personalities. If the audience cannot understand this community, then how can they truly empathize with the cultural mores that weigh on Dovid, suffocate Esti, and which Ronit fled? The film thankfully never approaches anything like a dismissal of these issues as matters inherent to religion, but it does make the setting come across more like cultural window dressing that provides an easy excuse for pressure on its LGBT characters than an organic exploration of a specific milieu. Disobedience misses its greater potential in this shallow examination.”

This post was written by
Dan Schindel is a writer and editor. He lives and works in New York.
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