Michael Atkin­son is a film review­er for In These Times. He has writ­ten or edit­ed many books, includ­ing Exile Cin­e­ma: Film­mak­ers at Work Beyond Hol­ly­wood (2008) and the mys­tery nov­els Hem­ing­way Dead­lights (2009) and Hem­ing­way Cut­throat (2010). He blogs at Zero For Con­duct.
Culture
Top 10 Strangest (and Most Beautiful) Films of 2018
The best films of the year explore the hollowness of contemporary Korean culture, faith in an era of climate change, the last frantic day in the life of a Hollywood director and more.
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China’s Digitized Abyss: YY and the Void of Online Fame
Hao Wu’s documentary People’s Republic of Desire explores the dystopia of livestream fandom.
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Araby: A Road Movie Driven By Economic Necessity, Not Wanderlust
A new film follows a working-class everyman through the margins of Brazilian capitalism.
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The 10 Best Off-the-Beaten-Path Films of 2017
Film is dead. Long live these films.
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The Specter Haunting Infowars
The new documentary A Gray State, executive produced by Werner Herzog, explores a murder-suicide that has become a far-right obsession.
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How a Small-Town Theater Project Became a Study in Post-Industrial Life
The new documentary Spettacolo captures a Tuscan village’s annual play.
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The Frustrating Yet Beautiful Drama of “A Ghost Story”
Filmmaker David Lowery's latest is slow, but contains a few genuine spiritual ideas.
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Okja: The Veggie-Prop Children’s Film You Really Need to See
The director of Snowpiercer is back with a kiddie film that meets vegetarian propaganda, with surprising success.
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The Return of Nunsploitation
Jeff Baena’s The Little Hours is a clever update on Boccaccio's The Decameron.
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The Elusive Emily Dickinson
A new film explores the poet's restless mind and lonely life.
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Girl, You’ll Be a Cannibal Soon
A new French horror film explores identity, coming of age and the various temptations of the flesh.
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Asghar Farhadi Is One of the Most Important Directors Working Today—And Trump Has Banned Him
The Iranian filmmaker's masterful, Oscar-nominated The Salesman shows the futility of progressives trying to tolerantly endure repressive regimes.
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We Hunted Down the 10 Best Films of 2016
From the Iranian mystery Fireworks Wednesday to the German black comedy Toni Erdmann, this year's stand-out films were far off the beaten path.
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This Christmas, Go See a German Comedy About Consulting. No, Really.
Filmmaker Maren Ade's Toni Erdmann takes a wise and whimsical look at the struggles women face in the corporate world.
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Dissident-Poet on the Lam: A New Film Captures Pablo Neruda’s Year as a Fugitive
Pablo Larrain's Neruda follows the love-poet-cum-Communist-dissident in a cat-and-mouse chase with the Chilean government.
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In Ixcanul, Guatemala’s First-Ever Oscar Entry, Feminism Erupts in a Small Mayan Community
Filmed entirely in Kaqchikel, Jayro Bustamante’s new movie explores a clash between reproductive rights and tradition.
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Werner Herzog Wants To Know: “Does the Internet Dream?”
In Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World, the septuagenarian filmmaker explores online gaming, self-driving cars and soccer-playing robots.
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These Newly Restored Indie Films from Cinema’s Early Days Show Black Life From a Black Perspective
A five-disc DVD set offers a glimpse into pre-civil rights era black culture.
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A French Take on John Wayne
When a French family tries to hold on to the past, it doesn't end well.
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Requiem for an American Dream
Between fiction and reality in rural Louisiana.
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In Jacques Audiard’s Dheepan, A Refugees-Eye View of a France We Rarely See
Three Sri Lankan strangers must pretend to be a family in a strange land
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Two Upcoming Fims Not Coming to a Theater Near You
'Francofonia' and 'Cemetery of Splendour' are worth tracking down
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‘London Has Fallen’ and the 9/11-ization of Entertainment
The sequel to 'Olympus Has Fallen' shows our ever-more-extravagant taste for destruction
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You Probably Haven’t Seen the Ten Best Films of 2015
They're obscure, they're poorly distributed—but you can track them down. It will be worth it.
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Austerity Is Stranger Than Fiction
Filmed in Portugal in 2013 and 2014, Miguel Gomes' new documentary Arabian Nights tries to make sense of life under IMF rules.
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Love in the Time of 3D Boners
Do the genitalia in Gaspar Noé’s Love herald the rise or the fall of 3D cinema?
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The Neverending Presidency: An Unfettered Look at How Democracy Lost to Mugabe
Camilla Nielsson’s new documentary, Democrats, is a study in how a dictatorship can weather a 'democratic transition'
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‘Welcome to Leith’ Charts A White Supremacist Attempt to Take Over a Tiny North Dakota Town
A new documentary by Michael Nichols and Christopher Walker explores a firefight between American individualism and the public good
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Why the Youngest Country on Earth Can’t Escape the Yoke of Colonialism
'We Come as Friends' captures the Western exploitation of South Sudan from the moment of its conception
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A Quiet Return to the Killing Fields of Indonesia
Joshua Oppenheimer's The Act of Killing focused on the perpetrators of genocide; in the sequel, the stage is shared by traumatized survivors.
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The Tribe Is a Silent Lord of the Flies
Though entirely in Ukrainian Sign, without subtitles, Slaboshpytskiy's remarkable film will speak to a hearing audience.
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Pigeons Under Late Capitalism
An existentialist Swedish movie occupies a completely original universe.
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Asghar Farhadi’s Early Masterpiece
Through a seaside mystery, About Elly explores the irrational rules placed on women in Iran.
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In Jauja, Cinema Takes on Colonialism, Slowly
Viggo Mortensen and Lisandro Alonso tour Argentina's dark, imperialist past in a new film.
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Despite a Rosy Lens, Timbuktu Has Something to Teach Us About Resistance to Oppression
Abderrahmane Sissako’s Oscar-nominated film may be improbably beautiful and relatively apolitical, but it's worth seeing.
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American Sniper: Guns, God and Gallons of Testo’
Clint Eastwood treats Iraq like Iwo Jima. Will Americans really go for this horseshit?
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From Ukraine’s Maidan to Edward Snowden in Hong Kong, Our Top 10 Films of 2014
Despite the ever-growing obsession with crappy remakes and computerized images of blowing shit up, the year featured some challenging, meaningful films.
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Brother, Can You Spare a Euro?
By posing the choice between a coworker's job and 1,000 Euros, Two Days, One Night explores the state of worker solidarity.
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Vampire Princess of Persia
Not your kid sister's vampire flick.
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The Filmmaker Any Cinema-Literate Progressive Must Know
Finally, more of Chris Marker's work is becoming available in the U.S. Here's where to start.
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Portrait of a Husband, Father and Genocidal Butcher
Heading the SS didn't excuse Heinrich Himmler from his fatherly duties.
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Agitpopcorn
Propaganda tells the truth.
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Jan Palach: Prague’s Human Torch
A new film takes a rare look behind the Iron Curtain.
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Use Your Words, Wolverine
The bad lessons of superhero movies.
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The Summer Movie Road Not Taken
1977's Sorceror was the antithesis of Star Wars, and we could learn from it
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Nymphomaniac: Lars Von Trier’s Masturbatory Fantasy
The two-part film feels like the work of teenage boy.
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For Cambodian Documentarians, a Conundrum
How do you show the past when the Khmer Rouge torched all traces?
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Let the Witness Speak
In Claude Lanzmann's new Holocaust documentary The Last of the Unjust, the line between right and wrong blurs.
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