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Love and Magic:
Anna Biller’s The Love Witch

“All witchcraft comes from carnal lust, which in women is insatiable.” So reads the 1486 treatise Malleus Maleficarum (The Witch Hammer), also known as the witch-hunt manual that perpetuated the image of the witch as a phallus-stealing, sexually perverse puppet of Satan.

Bluebeard Revisited:
Gastón Solnicki’s Kékszakállú

Béla Balázs, the pioneering Hungarian film theorist, met the arrival of synchronized sound with a fair amount of skepticism. Heard dialogue, he argued, would halt the artistic progress of the image. He perhaps didn’t see the irony in the fact he was also a librettist, having collaborated with Béla Bartók on Bluebeard’s Castle.

In Conversation


Alison S. M. Kobayashi’s new multimedia performance piece, Say Something Bunny!, first shown in Toronto at Gallery TPW this past winter, combines found and invented documents, theatrical staging, costumes, props, and multiple screens. Kobayashi and Allen’s striking re-imagination of the life and times of a Jewish family is based on a fragment of whose story was captured on a wire recorder in the 1940s.

Rough Seeing:
Gianfranco Rosi’s Fire At Sea

Gianfranco Rosi has a zeal for peripheral figures. In El Sicario, Room 164 (2010), he approached the topic of violence in Mexican cartels by sitting down with one of their veteran hit men. His much-acclaimed 2013 film Sacro GRA literalized the trend with a perambulating examination of Rome’s Great Ring Junction. Rosi’s newest film, Fire at Sea, takes us around another border realm, this time at the edge of the European migrant crisis.

History in Fragments:
Samir Jamal Aldin’s Iraqi Odyssey

Those sacred memories of the Tigris and Euphrates: the fish grilled over open fires, children learning to swim—are an anthem of the Baghdadi diaspora. Recalled and recreated in the opening scenes of the 2015 documentary film Iraqi Odyssey, they ease the audience into what is to be a personal voyage down Iraq’s memory lane.


The Brooklyn Rail

NOV 2016

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