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Prison Films and the Idea of Two Worlds

On the southwest corner of Washington Square Park, the logic of the carceral state plays out over a game of chess. Nahshon Thomas, an aging black man with thick, plastic-rimmed glasses, invites passers-by to come to the chess table, and a young, white teenager takes up the challenge. The older man sits with steady posture—a testament to his confidence and calm focus. He takes a drag from his cigarette as he makes his next move.

The New Le Cinéma Club

Claire Denis's Keep It for Yourself (1991) doesn’t immediately resemble a Claire Denis film. This isn’t surprising, considering that her films tend to be wonderfully unclassifiable, but her ode to New York City goes a step further and seems to actively present itself as a film by a different filmmaker: a lost artifact of the scrappy DIY filmmaking of 1990s NYC.

Can't Spare a Dime: Play-Doc XV

I am at Play-Doc, a four-day documentary festival in Tui, Spain. Across the river, which doubles as the border with Portugal, the fortress town of Valença do Minho sits atop a hill, its buildings and inhabitants shielded from view by the 800-year-old walls that encircle them. To walk there from the festival center in Tui takes less than 30 minutes and spans a time zone.


The Brooklyn Rail

JUNE 2019

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