Ida by Pawel Pawlikowski

In Pawel Pawlikowski’s stunningly austere latest, Anna, a novitiate nun, finds out that she is actually Ida, a Jewish girl whose family were executed during World War II. The gruesome and tragic details unfold as her aunt Wanda, her only remaining relative, takes her on a road trip to visit the house where she was…

Berlin and Beyond: Zwei Leben (Two Lives)

I confess: I couldn’t help but think of Barbara, which I recently re-watched, when I saw the Berlin and Beyond Film Festival’s opening night screening of the excellent Zwei Leben (Two Lives). Foremost on my mind, of course, was the taut, unflinching and circuitous narratives about the legacy of the East German Stasi (secret police)…

Moments that Made the Movies by David Thomson

The film critic David Thomson was all over Northern California this past month (including the Mill Valley Film Festival), promoting his latest book, Moments That Made the Movies. Mr. Thomson is the film critic for The New Republic and has written several books, chiefly on American cinema (he himself is British) and the unique trajectories…