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PAST EUPHORIA POST EUROPA  Fabio Sgroi  (Versione Italiana)

Film, Video, Photo and Documentary    Editors' Picks

Interviews, Films, Trailers, Docs and Shorts 


"The world reveals itself to those who travel on foot." 


                                             — Werner Herzog


"My eternal plan is alwys to make a film that a Chinese lady from the countryside can understand without subtitles." 


                                                   — Aki Kaurismäki

“I'm lucky enough to be able to make films and so I don't need a psychiatrist. I can sort out my fears and all those things with my work. That's an enormous privilege. That's the privilege of all artists, to be able to sort out their unhappiness and their neuroses in order to create something.” 

                                                                        ― Michael Haneke

"Film as dream, Film as Music. No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls." 


                                                 — Ingmar Bergman

"Hollywood cinema remains profoundly conservative, profoundly stupid, and often painful. About one out of every ten films is okay, meaning a little bit better than the average.” 


                                                               — Agnes Varda

"I've lost all my money on these films. They are not commercial. But I'm glad to lose it this way. To have for a souvenir of my life pictures like 'Umberto D.' and 'The Bicycle Thief.'"                                                                                                                

                                                          — Vittorio De Sica

Natela Grigalashvili  Georgian ABC book 

All photographs ©2017 by Natela Grigalashvili   All rights reserved


Long ago, I had trouble with Zizek the man and some of the things he said in his public lectures—for example, in order to arrive at true atheism, one must first pass through a necessary interaction with Christian symbolism;  also, although he's an avowed Marxist, he frequently and boldly praises aspects of and objects produced by capitalism—which I originally took to be gimmicks. I was wrong. Not only is he profoundly interesting, but charming, modestly self-deprecating, and certainly funny, not least of all as a unique person let alone a philosophical thinker. In these times that are barren of original thought, and chock full of paralyzing political correctness, his famous "twitchy-ness" serves as a provocative countervailing embellishment.   

James B. Williamson ©2017

Passage   Fabio Sgroi                          

Žižek!   Astra Taylor  (Complete)

"Not since the work of Josef Koudelka has this part of the world been rendered so intuitively and mysteriously. As the decisions and ramifications of realpolitik come bearing down on the lives of everyday people in Eastern Europe, the poetic reality of life is ignored; however, it flourishes for those like Fabio Sgroi who are brave enough to look into its shadows."


                          —  James Williamson (from 'Passage')

"A remarkable film, not only because it creates a world made up of omens and myths, rituals and allegories, as well as perceptions that are beyond surreal (mainly because they are rooted so deeply in the reality of astonishing land- and seascapes and are firmly in sync with these remote people's experiences), but also because unlike any other film I can think of, it creates a world unto itself, one that is dreamlike, mesmerizing, and which did not require me to suspend disbelief. One of the enjoyable aspects of the film was not quite knowing what era or location—beyond it being somewhere in Iran—the film was set in. Small physical clues suggested that it was set in the present, but almost everything else that swirled within the overall arc of the story and visuals seemed ancient, distant, otherworldly, although somehow you knew that wasn't the case. The allegories are supposed to have a political dimension which I'll have to read about because, for me, the film and its various stories within stories stood on their own, self-contained, whole within their own internal logic, and are as real and unforgettable as the tangible weight of certain dreams one carries throughout one's life."

James B. Williamson ©2018

The White Meadows    Mohammad Rasoulof   (Complete)

Luis Buñuel   On 'Un Chien Andalou'   

John Walter's documentary, from 2008, on the making of 'Mother Courage and Her Children,' starring Kevin Kline and Meryl Streep (which was performed at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park in 2006), gives US audiences a rare look into the depths of their own unexplored "shadow" (in Jungian terms) by way of Brechtian theater; Brecht's multilayered characters, his acknowledgement of "fatal virtue" in an era when nice, safe forms of part-time rebellion on the streets of US cities seek to "fight" (whatever that means) the demagogic identities within the arenas of the "identity politics" they crave, resulting in a meaningless reduction of their real concerns into "boutique issues." John Pilger, in a recent Counterpunch article, titled: 'The Issue Is Not Trump, It's Us,' wrote: "In 2016 alone Obama dropped 26,171 bombs. That is 72 bombs every day.  He bombed the poorest people on earth, in Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan." Something to consider whenever we convince ourselves that fascism only arrived in 2017. ©2017 by James Barron Williamson 


See the entire doc on Vimeo at:

Theater of War   John Walter

Patricio Guzmán fearlessly knocks down the blinders that are set up by intellect, reason, and religion in order to forge a path into Chile's distant—and recent—past, one that allows for a poetic and intuitive vision to hold sway. By way of the elements, land, water, and the universe, he draws us into his own contemplation of the existential, political, and personal in order to re-evaluate history in a part of the world that has witnessed more than its fair share of human cruelty.  ©2017 by James B. Williamson

The Pearl Button   Patricio Guzmán​   

From the film:


Berger: "We who draw do so, not only to make something observed visible to others, but also to accompany something invisible to its incalculable destination." 


Swinton (reading Berger): "It is this element in drawing that dovetails with the storyteller and thus with the historian, this attention and quest toward incalculable destination."





The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger                                      

“Werner Herzog’s vision is breathtaking, though not exactly beautiful, except in the most abstract rendering of this distant, though all too present, dystopian landscape. It’s an apocalyptic vision that every one of us sooner or later confronts in our darkest nightmares. However, this is not just a horrible dream that foreshadows Armageddon. This is mankind’s very real arrogance ignited like a Molotov cocktail hurled across an unspanable moonscape.” ©2017 by James Barron Williamson 

Lessons In Darkness   Werner Herzog  

An Act of Faith: Saving The Apu Trilogy  

The Confessions of Steve McQueen    Nowness     

"The wonderful thing about this feminist anti-war ghost story (and I’m not a lover of the horror genre usually) is how human anxiety and loss manifest themselves from both sides of the script, from within the plot’s interior and beyond, to a point where the characters’ accustomed interactions with their “normal” experience create a nether-region of psychological instability. Do we invoke turmoil by necessity?"  —James B. Williamson ©2017

Under The Shadow   Babak Anvari

Cinema in its purest form, not so much the result of technique as much as a fusion of narrative with an exhumation of life by way of McQueen’s directorial vision. Of course, it feels empty and drained of all meaning; it’s so teeming with unadulterated truth (and compulsion) that the boundary between the voids within us and the flattened depiction of inescapable addiction around us cuts out a painful experience that is likely to never heal—like the removal of a once vital organ.  —James B. Williamson ©2017

Shame   Steve McQueen        

MUBI Synopsis: Alicia feels lost. The memory of war clings to her mind in a terrifying rumble. Thrown off her land by armed conflict, she tries to build a new life at ‘La Sirga’, a rundown boarding house on the shore of a large lagoon high up in the Andes mountain range.

"A well-made and thoughtful film about vulnerability, mystery, loss... it has a seductive and understated quality in which small details and gestures add up to a lot towards the creation of possible meanings. But this film refuses to preach or manipulate, and instead allows the viewer to have a deeply personal interaction with the facts, as well as the looming mysteries and emotions it hints at beyond what is perceived."

©2017 by James B. Williamson

The Towrope (La sirga)   William Vega  2009   


"Field Niggas" Preview   Khalik Allah

"The most political decision you can make is where you direct people's eyes. In other words, what you show people, day in and day out, is political... and the most politically indoctrinating thing you can do to a human being is to show him, every day, that there can be no change."    


                                                    — Wim Wenders

Gabriel Figueroa   Excerpts

Ménilmontant    1926 Avant garde French Silent Film Classic

Roma: Open City   A review by A.O. Scott

"Now why should the cinema follow the forms of theater and painting rather than the methodology of language...?"


                                                   — Sergei Eisenstein

Graciela Iturbide    Photographing Mexico — Art21 Exclusive

Embrace of the Serpent   Trailer

“‘Embrace of the Serpent’ is one of the best films of the new millennium. It is also right on time for the winding-down of globalization. Not simply a story about 19th- and early 20th-century colonialism, it’s the kind of film that delves into the unexpected and deeply personal—but not from the worn-out  “white man’s burden” point-of-view. As the more accessible protagonist, Karamakate, an Amazonian shaman, enters into murky and distressing psychological territory, the story transmogrifies into parable—one that is perfectly timed for personal revelation.”  James B. Williamson ©2017 

Robert Frank   au Jeu de Paume

MUBI Synopsis: An epic tragicomedy from director Lina Wertmüller (Seven Beauties), Love and Anarchy plumbs the depths of fascist Italy from the perspective of a simple farm boy who’s sent to kill Mussolini, but finds comrades in a group of prostitutes.

"One of the most perfect films I've ever seen. Uncategorizable—which is the hallmark of every true work of art. And no less in cinema. Heartbreaking, tragicomic, uplifting... with bawdy humor, compassion and, most of all, love. It's always in the the most unlikely situations that humanity refinds, and redefines, itself.    

© 2017 by James B. Williamson

Love and Anarchy   Lina Wertmüller  1973

MUBI Synopsis: Ignacio Carrillo travelled all his life throughout the villages and regions of northern Colombia, playing music on his accordion. As he became older, he got married and settled with his wife in a small town. When she suddenly dies, he decides to make one last journey.

"A great film. Perhaps a bit too restrained, but it's restraint conjures much of its potency. The main characters remain just out of reach, which is where we want them, to just the right degree. Needless to point out, the gorgeous landscapes and cinematography lay the groundwork for so much of the film's character, which unravels more as myth than narrative."   

©2017 by James B. Williamson

The Wind Journeys   Los Viajes Del Viento   Ciro Guerra   2009

Le Quattro Volte    Michelangelo Frammartino

Cristina García Rodero    Transtempo 

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