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To the Wonder

“Life’s a dream,” remarks one character in Terrence Malick’s hypnotic new film, which functions more as a sensory experience than a conventionally plotted tale of love found and lost. It is not standard multiplex fare, but you would expect nothing less from the filmmaker who last gave us the love-it-or-hate-it masterwork Tree of Life.

The Connection

Unavailable in any form since the 1980s (other than a poor quality VHS), Shirley Clarke’s 1961 debut feature has developed an unwarranted reputation as an oddity of value only for its jazz performances by a quartet featuring Freddie Redd and Jackie McLean. If you see this newly restored version (by the invaluable Milestone Films) for that reason, you won’t be disappointed—I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the film’s availability was what prompted Hallwalls to book the series of jazz-themed films of which this is a part.

Arthur Newman

To call this film about a man who hates his life and decides to abandon it for a new one more to his liking a cross between Seconds and Scarecrow may not say much to viewers unfamiliar with arcane movie references (the former John Frankenheimer’s 1966 science fiction drama starring Rock Hudson as a businessman who pays to have a new life created for him, the latter a 1973 road movie with Gene Hackman and Al Pacino as lost souls on the road). But it is a fast way of getting the attention of fans of the golden era of American independent filmmaking who will probably best appreciate Arthur Newman’s modest but distinct achievement.


Impressionism almost certainly has been the most popular of the painting styles that make up modernist art, the one the public has seemed to relate to most easily. So there’s a mild implicit aesthetic irony in Renoir, Gilles Bourdo’s visually beautiful film about the brief period in the late life of the great Impressionist Auguste Renoir (Michel Bouquet). The consumerist bourgeois who have coveted and purchased Impressionist work for over a century have also often misinterpreted the methods and intentions of Renoir, Monet, and others. These painters were attempting to depict perception of color and light and the psychological impression they make on a viewer. The art consumers, on the other hand, were taken with the frequently sunny, attractively colored and sometimes soft-edged imagery that resulted.

The Great Gatsby

In a rare instance of paraphrasing F. Scott Fitzgerald’s words, Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation opens with Nick Carraway recalling the advice of his father to “Always try to see the best in people…as a consequence, I’m inclined to reserve all judgment.”

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