Friday, 30 July 2021

Capital Celluloid 2021 — Day 88: Thu Aug 12

Of Human Bondage (Cromwell, 1934): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 6pm

This (now digital) presentation, also being screened on August 1st, is part of the Bette Davis season at BFI Southbank.

Chicago Reader review:
John Cromwell's 1934 version of Maugham's boring, lumpy novel is still by far the best one. Today, it's chiefly memorable as the movie that made Bette Davis a star—and that's enough for any film. With the great Leslie Howard.
Don Druker

Here (and above) is an extract.

Thursday, 29 July 2021

Capital Celluloid 2021 — Day 87: Wed Aug 11

Old Acquaintance (Sherman, 1943): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 5.40pm


This 35mm presentation, part of the Bette Davis season at BFI Southbank, is also being screened on August 22nd. Full details here.

BFI southbank introduction:
A successful writer (Bette Davis) and her childhood friend (Miriam Hopkins) find themselves at odds when the latter becomes a writer herself and creates an unhealthy rivalry between them that extends to their families and relationships. The real-life feud between Hollywood heavyweights Davis and Hopkins underpins the one on screen, and makes for compelling viewing.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2021 — Day 86: Tue Aug 10

Sapphire (Dearden, 1959): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 8.20pm

This groundbreaking police procedural story exploring the cause of the murder of a young woman in 1950s London is part of the Earl Cameron season at BFI Southbank. A panel discussion follows this screening, when historians and writers will attempt to unpick both the context of the story, issues such as ‘passing’ and the film’s problematic portrayal of race. There's another screening on August 28th. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Basil Dearden's neglected 1959 British thriller is about an attractive young music student who's found dead and who, it's discovered by police inspectors Nigel Patrick and Michael Craig, had been passing for white. A detective story that reveals something of London's black community in the late 50s.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is an extract.

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Capital Celluloid 2021 — Day 85: Mon Aug 9

The Little Foxes (Wyler, 1941): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6pm

This 35mm presentation, also being screened on August 16th and 19th, is part of the BFI Southbank's Bette Davis season. Full details here.

Time Out review:
Lillian Hellman's play about the malevolence of human greed, as displayed in the internecine machinations of a wealthy Southern family, now creaks audibly. But you are unlikely ever to see a better version than this, caressed by Gregg Toland's deep focus camerawork, embalmed by Wyler's direction and Goldwyn's sumptuous production values, galvanised by some superlative performances. The sulphurous Davis, her face a livid mask as she dispenses icy venom behind feline purrs, outdoes herself to provide the proceedings with a regally vicious centre.
Tom Milne

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2021 — Day 84: Sun Aug 8

The Letter (Wyler, 1940): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 3.45pm


This 35mm presentation, part of the BFI Bette Davis season, is also being screened on August 17th. Full details here.

Time Out review:
A superbly crafted melodrama, even if it never manages to top the moody montage with which it opens - moon scudding behind clouds, rubber dripping from a tree, coolies dozing in the compound, a startled cockatoo - as a shot rings out, a man staggers out onto the verandah, and Bette Davis follows to empty her gun grimly into his body. The contrivance evident in Somerset Maugham's play during the investigation and trial that follow is kept firmly at bay by William Wyler's technical expertise and terrific performances (not just Davis, but James Stephenson as her conscience-ridden lawyer), although Maugham's cynical thesis about the hypocrisies of colonial justice is rather undercut by the addition of a pusillanimous finale in which Davis gets her comeuppance at private hands. A pity, too, that Tony Gaudio's camerawork, almost worthy of Von Sternberg in its evocation of sultry Singapore nights and cool gin slings, is not matched by natural sounds (on the soundtrack Max Steiner's score does a lot of busy underlining).
Tom Milne

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Capital Celluloid 2021 — Day 83: Sat Aug 7

White Dog (Fuller, 1982): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 8.50pm

We're talking personal top ten territory here, with a rare screening of the brilliant director Sam Fuller's late masterpiece. This film, in the Ennio Morricone season at BFI Southbank, also screens on August 20th and 27th. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
Samuel Fuller's 1982 masterpiece about American racism—his last work shot in this country—focuses on the efforts of a black animal trainer (Paul Winfield) to deprogram a dog that has been trained to attack blacks. Very loosely adapted by Fuller and Curtis Hanson from a memoir by Romain Gary, and set in southern California on the fringes of the film industry, this heartbreakingly pessimistic yet tender story largely concentrates on tragic human fallibility from the vantage point of an animal; in this respect it's like Robert Bresson's Au Hasard Balthazar, and Fuller's brilliantly eclectic direction gives it a nearly comparable intensity. Through a series of grotesque misunderstandings, this unambiguously antiracist movie was yanked from U.S. distribution partly because of charges of racism made by individuals and organizations who had never seen it. But it's one of the key American films of the 80s. With Kristy McNichol, Burl Ives, Jameson Parker, and, in cameo roles, Dick Miller, Paul Bartel, Christa Lang, and Fuller himself.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the original trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2021 — Day 82: Fri Aug 6

Now, Voyager (Rapper, 1942): BFI Southbank, 2.30, 5.50 & 8.40pm


This Hollywood classic, in the Bette Davis season, is on an extended run at BFI Southbank. The Radio Three programme, Free Thinking, discussed the star and you can hear it here.

Time Out review:
Bette Davis, impeccable as usual, turns the sow's ear of Hollywood's notion of a repressed spinster (remove the glasses and lo! a beauty) into something like a silk purse. Great stuff as a worldly-wise psychiatrist (Claude Rains at his smoothest) recommends a cruise, and bitter-sweet shipboard romance soars with an unhappily married architect (Paul Henreid, suavely performing the archetypal two-cigarette trick). The women's weepie angle gets to be a bit of a slog later on, but it is all wrapped up as a mesmerically glittering package by Rapper's direction, Sol Polito's camerawork, and Max Steiner
's lushly romantic score. (From a novel by Olive Prouty).
Tom Milne

Here (and above) is the new BFI trailer.

Monday, 19 July 2021

Capital Celluloid 2021 — Day 81: Thu Aug 5

Crash (Cronenberg, 1996): Prince Charles Cinema, 8.40pm


Chicago Reader review:
David Cronenberg wrote and directed this 1996 film, a masterful minimalist adaptation of J.G. Ballard's 1973 neo-futurist novel about sex and car crashes, and like the book it's audacious and intense—though ultimately somewhat monotonous in spite of its singularity. James Spader meets Holly Hunter via a car collision, and they and Spader's wife (Deborah Kara Unger) become acquainted with a kind of car-crash guru (Elias Koteas) and his own set of friends (including Rosanna Arquette). Sex and driving are all that this movie and its characters are interested in, but the lyrical, poetic, and melancholic undertones are potent, the performances adept and sexy, the sounds and images indelible. If you want something that's both different and accomplished, even if you can't be sure what it is, don't miss this.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2021 — Day 80: Wed Aug 4

Kings of the Road (Wenders, 1976): Prince Charles Cinema, 8pm


This 35mm presentation is part of the Wim Wenders season at the Prince Charles Cinema this summer. You can find the full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
The first masterpiece of the New German Cinema. Wim Wenders's existentialized road movie (1975) follows two drifters—an itinerant movie-projector repairman and a child psychologist who has followed his patients by dropping out—in a three-hour ramble through a deflated Germany, touching on their private pasts and their hopes for the future. It's full of references to Hawks, Ford, and Lang, and one scene has been lovingly lifted in its entirety from Nicholas Ray's 
The Lusty Men. As the hommages indicate, one of the subjects is the death of cinema, but this isn't an insider's movie. Wenders examines a played-out culture looking for one last move. An engrossing, enveloping film, made with great craft and photographed in highly textured black-and-white by Robby Müller.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Sunday, 18 July 2021

Capital Celluloid 2021 — Day 79: Tue Aug 3

Modern Romance (Brooks, 1981): Prince Charles Cinema, 6.15pm


This is a 35mm presentation.

Chicago Reader review:
Albert Brooks and Kathryn Harrold as two young Los Angeles professionals caught in a roller-coaster relationship. Though this 1981 film was only Brooks's second, it displays a distinctive, original, and highly effective mise-en-scene: Brooks is a superrealist who uses long takes to hold his characters in a tight compression of time and space, while his even, laconic direction of dialogue short-circuits conventional comic rhythms, going beyond easy payoffs into an almost cosmic apprehension of life's inescapable absurdity. The first part of the film is farcical and very funny; from there it shades into a pointed naturalism and ends on a note of near-tragedy. With Bob Einstein and George Kennedy.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer. 

Capital Celluloid 2021 — Day 78: Mon Aug 2

Dangerous (Green, 1935): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 6.15pm


This 35mm presentation (also being screened on August 13th and 18th) is part of the Bette Davis season. You can find the full details of the season here.

BFI Southbank introduction:
Joyce Heath, a once-successful actress now down on her luck, is taken in by an engaged architect who was inspired by her work and wants to help her. Her warnings that she’s jinxed are not without reason, and it soon becomes clear that she has plenty to hide. Davis won her first Oscar® for the role of Joyce but always felt that it was a consolation prize for not having been nominated for Of Human Bondage. Either way, she truly shines in the role.

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Saturday, 17 July 2021

Capital Celluloid 2021 — Day 77: Sun Aug 1

Brazil (Gilliam, 1984): Castle Cinema, 1.45pm

This film, which is being screened by Cine-Real, who specialise in 16mm screenings, is also being shown at the Castle Cinema on July 22nd and 25th. Full details here.

Terry Gilliam’s movie has a fascinating history. Universal Studios were horrified on seeing the original cut Gilliam wanted to put out and after a lengthy delay while studio executives dithered the director was forced to take a full-page ad out in trade magazine Variety demanding to know why his film had not been released.

The version of Brazil released outside the United States was very different from the one seen by Americans, which was drastically re-edited and given a happy ending. The Brazil Gilliam wanted the public to see and the one which will be screened here is a bold and superbly imaginative movie with an ending which haunted me for some time when I saw it on its initial release.

Gilliam himself said he wanted Brazil to be "the Nineteen Eighty-Four for 1984". In many ways he  succeeded, creating a nightmarish Orwellian world in which freedom is limited while fashioning a film which leaves its audience dumbfounded and despairing. No wonder Universal could not face unleashing it on an unsuspecting American public.

Chicago Reader review:
Terry Gilliam's ferociously creative black comedy (1985) is filled with wild tonal contrasts, swarming details, and unfettered visual invention—every shot carries a charge of surprise and delight. Jonathan Pryce is Sam Lowry (the name suggests Stan Laurel, and Pryce wears Laurel's expression of perpetually astonished innocence), a minor functionary in a totalitarian government of the near future; his only escape from the parodistically bleak urban environment (resourcefully rendered by Gilliam through a combination of sets, models, and locations) is in his dreams, where he becomes a winged, heroic figure rescuing a ravishing blond. Of course, it isn't long before the blond (Kim Greist) walks into his waking life. Robert De Niro contributes a gruffly funny cameo as the one knight of honor in the ashen land: a guerrilla heating-duct repairman. With Michael Palin, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, Peter Vaughan, and Bob Hoskins.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Friday, 16 July 2021

Capital Celluloid 2021 — Day 76: Sat Jul 31

The Company (Altman, 2003): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 11.50am


This film is part of the Robert Altman season at BFI Southbank.

Time Out review:
Even more than in impressionist gems such as California Split and Nashville, story is not what this latest [2003] Altman masterpiece is about. Refusing to follow narrative demands, the director rids himself of clichés and constraints. While we hang out, for a season or so, with a dance troupe - the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, in fact - fairly early on choreographer Robert Desrosiers pitches his fantasy 'The Blue Snake' to company boss Antonelli (Malcolm McDowell). But if the movie more or less closes on that piece's first public performance, Altman doesn't make it a climax, any more than he's interested in dramatising a love life for Ry (Neve Campbell), a dancer who's already dumped someone before the film started, who meets sous chef Josh (James Franco) some way into it, and who's still uneventfully seeing him at its end. Life goes on. Not, however, on and on. In showing the discussions, rehearsals, preparations and performances (process and product, technique and joy, work and art) Altman has made one of the very best films, certainly the most beautiful of his adventurous career. The dance scenes - most notably a pas de deux to 'My Funny Valentine' (which recurs on the track, à la The Long Goodbye, as theme and variations) - are quite magical. Working in 'Scope with Gosford Park director of photography Andrew Dunn, Altman creates a world of movement, rhythm, poise and colour as lovely, muscular and delicate as a Degas painting. The film's funny and touching too, of course, but most impressive is the sheer, light grace of it all; whether in the acting (Campbell is merely the best in a cast mainly comprised of dancers) or Van Dyke Parks' score, this magnificent movie soars like a bird.
Geoff Andrew

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2021 — Day 75: Fri Jul 30

Lilting (Khaou, 2014): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.40pm


This film, also screening on July 24th, is part of the Tape Collective's 'But Where Are You Really From'season. Full details here.

Time Out review:
This is a quiet, thoughtful London-set study of love, grief and cultural differences from Cambodian-born, British-based filmmaker Hong Khaou. Ben Whishaw plays Richard, a fragile young man mourning the recent death of his partner, Kai (Andrew Leung), who forges an uneasy bond with Kai’s mother, Junn (Pei-pei Cheng), an elderly woman in a home who speaks no English and may not have known her son was gay. Khaou’s sombre, softly-softly drama is full of tender observations, and some of the film’s most artful, alluring moments are when we’re unsure whether we’re watching flashbacks or figments of an imagination. ‘Lilting’ offers some of the same themes as last year’s ‘Philomena’, but this is a more modest affair (and a product of the low-budget Microwave scheme). There are times when it feels underpowered or unfocused (a subplot about Junn’s romantic life is half-formed), but this is an intelligent, sensitive debut.

Here (and above) is thew trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2021 — Day 74: Thu Jul 29

Chunking Express (Wong Kar Wai, 1994): BFI Southbank, NFT1, 2.30pm


This film, on an extended run at BFI Southbank, is part of the Womg Kar-wai season.

Chicago Reader review:
An immensely charming and energetic comedy (1994, 97 min.) by Wong Kar-wai, one of the most exciting and original contemporary Hong Kong filmmakers. Though less ambitious than 
Days of Being Wild (1990) or Ashes of Time (1994) and less hyperbolic than Fallen Angel (1995), this provides an ideal introduction to his work. Both of its two stories are set in present-day Hong Kong and deal poignantly with young policemen striving to get over unsuccessful romantic relationships and having unconventional encounters with women (a mob assassin and an infatuated fast-food waitress respectively). Wong's singular frenetic visual style and his special feeling for lonely romantics may remind you of certain French New Wave directors, but this movie isn't a trip down memory lane; it's a vibrant commentary on young love today, packed with punch and personality.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Thursday, 15 July 2021

Capital Celluloid 2021 — Day 73: Wed Jul 28

Diary for My Children (Meszaros, 1984): BFI Southbank, NFT3. 5.50pm

This film is part of the Marta Meszaros season at BFI Southbank.

Chicago Reader review:
An autobiographical film by Hungarian director Marta Meszaros (Nine Months). At the close of World War II a young, orphaned girl—her mother had died in the war; her father had been arrested and vanished—returns home to communist Hungary from Moscow. She's assigned to the care of a stern aunt—a former resistance fighter, and now a high-ranking member of the Stalinist bureaucracy. Meszaros brings some provocative variations to the state/family metaphor: it is now the evil mother who embodies the repressive force of the totalitarian society, while the fathers—the girl's real parent and the substitute she finds in the gentle father of a friend (both are played by the same actor)—are its passive, impotent victims. The girl's coming of age is a discovery of both sexual and political power. But though the ideas are intriguing, I have always been allergic to Meszaros's painfully exaggerated realism: the drab settings, the understated acting, the bleak cinematography (by Meszaros's son, Miklos Jancso Jr.) radiate authenticity but lack the pleasurable spark of true artistic re-creation.
Dave Kehr

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2021 — Day 72: Tue Jul 27

Head-On (Akin, 2004): BFI Southbank, NFT1. 8.40pm


This film is part of the Tape Collective 'But Where Are They Really From' season.

Time Out review:
It’s easy to think we’ve seen all this before: the Turkish community in Hamburg, a clash of cultures, stern Islamic parents and rebellious youngsters… The same old deal. However, dismiss this movie at your peril since such cultural displacement isn’t its be-all and end-all, merely the starting point for a narcotically vivid love story shaped by wilful volatility as much as the pain of exile.

Leather-clad late-thirtysomething loner Cahit (Birol Ünel, who looks like someone left a Turkish Iggy Pop in a skip) is stuck in a nowhere job at a Hamburg rock club, so it’s hardly a surprise he ‘accidentally’ drives his car straight into a brick wall. Recovering in a psychiatric hospital brings another fateful collision with the beautiful but obviously troubled Sibel (Sibel Kekilli), who bears the scars of conflict with her conservative family. She’ll do anything so she can take drugs and fuck who she wants, and marrying fellow Turk Cahit is one way out. If he’ll agree to tie the knot for show, the deal is that she’ll deliver wifely domesticity without consummating the union.

It sounds terribly rational, but she’s a little bit mental, he’s a little bit rock ’n’ roll, and pretty soon there are tears, blood and rage before bedtime, romantic redemption by no means prevailing against bitter experiences of self-destructive uncertainty. Cannily, the film sets its authentic scuzzball ‘cool’ in ironic context by inter-cutting traditional Turkish ballads filmed before a postcard Bosphorous, suggesting that these two have travelled so far their only safe haven may be with each other. Both the lead actors absolutely live these roles, as Akin’s punchy yet astute direction whirls us in their substance-fuelled passions while somehow allowing us the distance to ponder the explosive interaction of socio-cultural circumstances and personal fallibilities. It’ll put a lump in your throat and a knot in your stomach. This is max-strength film-making you can’t afford to miss.
Trevor Johnston

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Capital Celluloid 2021 — Day 71: Mon Jul 26

Mandabi (Sembene, 1968): BFI Southbank, Studio, 9pm

This film is on an extended run at BFI Southbank from July 23. Full details here.

Chicago Reader review:
The second feature by esteemed Senegalese writer and filmmaker Ousmane Sembène (Black Girl), this 1968 film is based on one of Sembène’s own novellas, The Money-Order. Ibrahima Dieng is a devout, unemployed Muslim in Dakar who receives a money order from his nephew in Paris; his struggle to cash it is what propels this Kafka-esque, postcolonialist pasquinade. Ibrahima becomes fodder for speculation after his neighbors learn he’s in receipt of a large sum of money. (He and the rest of the cast are portrayed by non-professional actors, eliciting comparisons to Italian neorealist cinema; the plot is often likened to that of Vittorio De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves.) Soon come the solicitations, which Ibrahima, shown as being likewise vainglorious and obliging, is unable to resist; his two wives, however, mindful of their several children, are more discerning. To redeem the order, Ibrahima discovers he needs an identification card, and this, in turn, requires he obtain his birth certificate and get photos taken for his ID. Each step of the process comes with its own struggles, largely by way of corrupt bureaucrats who demand exorbitant bribes to accomplish the tasks at hand—Ibrahima’s share of the money order basically gets spent before he’s even able to cash it. What initially seems like a fateful windfall devolves into a kind-of Brechtian vaudeville: the capitalistic aggressors here are the local bourgeoisie who take advantage of the as-yet-unenlightened, wielding their comparative knowledge and power against those who haven’t yet caught up. This wryly mordant film achieved many firsts for the illustrious father of African cinema: it was his first film in color, the first feature film from Africa to be exhibited in the U.S., and the first film ever made in Sembène’s native Wolof language.
Kathleen Sachs

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Capital Celluloid 2021 — Day 70: Sun Jul 25

A Prairie Home Companion (Altman, 2006): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 12pm


This 35mm presentation, part of the Robert Altman season, is also being screened on July 31st. You can find all the details here.

Time Out review:
Like its predecessor, the virtually plot-free, therefore less audience-friendly ‘The Company’, this finds the late, great Robert Altman making the creation of a modest but marvellously subtle gem look near-effortless, such was his distinctive genius for turning a script with no particularly eventful story into a movie that’s consistently interesting, insightful, funny and touching. When I first caught it at a public screening in Berlin the morning after its premiere, the huge audience had a ball and gave it a deservedly lengthy ovation, no matter that it’s as deft, personal and downright unfashionable as anything he made during a notoriously idiosyncratic career.

This last time around, the author Garrison Keillor, as the film’s writer and one of its main characters (true to Altman tradition, there are around a dozen), imagines it’s the final night of his live radio variety show (whose title the film shares), with an engagingly motley assortment of performers entertaining both the listeners and the audience in a St Paul, Minnesota theatre one last time before an exploitative Texan (Tommy Lee Jones) – remember how Altman detested the ‘fool’ Bush – comes to close the place down, not to mention a seductively cornball populist culture long comfy therein. The narrative conceit of a mysterious, solicitous angel (Virginia Madsen) wandering the venue to listen in to people’s thoughts and feelings may be none too original – though she’s easily excused as a figment of the imagination of clumsy, self-aggrandising doorman Guy Noir (Kevin Kline) – but the film’s overall humanity and humour keep things moving along in an extremely pleasurable way.

Altman always said he put himself at the service of his cast, and here paid tribute – and gave fruitfully free rein to – Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin as Yolanda and Rhonda, remaining members of a Carter-style music clan, and Woody Harrelson and John C Reilly as hilariously rivalrous singin’ cowpokes. Cue much joyful duetting and some intrigue concerning, on the one hand, Yolanda’s moody teen daughter Lola (Lindsay Lohan) and, on the other, a spunky ol’ timer (LQ Jones) – though that’s not much if you want big stories.

Not that the film’s as slight as Altman’s light touch and Ed Lachman’s fabulous camerawork make it look; it offers a moving yet wholly unsentimental take on ageing, death and the determination to continue doing what’s fun until the not-so-bitter end. Moreover, there are moments here no one else would ever be able, or try, to carry off; see Keillor end a long, casual conversation just in time to turn as a curtain raises. The timing’s so perfect, it feels real, exhilarating and nigh-on invisible all at the same time. Just lovely, and a magnificently enjoyable coda to an extraordinary career. The sad thing about Altman’s death – we’ve no more surprises in store; the consolation – he left us so much.

Geoff Andrew

Here (and above) is the trailer.

Friday, 9 July 2021

Capital Celluloid 2021 — Day 69: Sat Jul 24

Girlfriends (Weill, 1978): BFI Southbank, 11.30am, 5.50pm & 8.30pm


This film is ona nextended run at BFI Southbank. Full details here.

New York Times review: 
One of Girlfriends' many gentle astonishments was brought to mind by a viewing of Alex Ross Perry’s recently released feature “The Color Wheel”—namely, that, for all the discussion of the directorial art of comic timing, the art of knowing just how near or far to place the camera to an actor, the art of comic distance, is equally important in calibrating the humor of performance. Weill is psychically close to her protagonist, the young photographer Susan Weinblatt (played by Melanie Mayron with an audacious vulnerability), but doesn’t stay so visually close as to short-circuit her humor—both the self-deprecating kind and the kind, achieved with a hint of critical detachment, that Weill sees in her. Even scenes of anguished, ambivalent commitment evoke Susan’s whimsical, dialectical jousting, her blend of studied reticence and irrepressible spontaneity. The movie catches a moment of new expectations for women, when professional assertiveness and romantic fulfillment were more openly in conflict, but it also catches the last days of an old New York, a time when office buildings were not guarded fortresses but open hives, and when—peculiarly similarly—the boundaries between professional activity and personal involvement were less scrupulously guarded, perhaps even undefined. One of the wonders of Weill’s movie is in its intimate crystallization of the inchoate; it propels Susan Weinblatt and a city of young women into the future, and it’s terribly sad that Weill’s—and, for that matter, Mayron’s—own careers didn’t leap ahead in the same way.
Richard Brody

Here is Brody's video discussion of the film.