Renoir is a Pissoir

April 16, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, Documentary, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Renoir – Reviled and Revered (Dir. Phil Grabsky) (2015) at Palace Nova There are so many suggestive connections in the impressionist and post-impressionist world.  In this well-made and balanced documentary film, several connections are made that help us follow a radical turn (arguably, in retrospect, a wrong turn) in the course of visual art and demonstrates the technical challenges of representation and meaning.  Beautifully photographed and tastefully edited, it actually enhances some of the work of Renoir, the major artist under review. I don’t think the unnerving novelty of impressionism was more concisely and clearly put than by E. H. Gombrich: “outraged people would…

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Rams (dir. Grímur Hákonarson)

April 11, 2016 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | Documentary, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

This is a review by our perceptive guest reviewer Melanie.  Thank you Melanie! Bleak but beautiful, amusing yet gut wrenching, this simple tale of running sheep on the harsh and barren rocky highlands of Iceland is a deeply moving experience.  Two brothers, both sheep farmers on the same land but with one brother in the family farm house and the other next door – haven’t spoken for 40 years.  But their competitiveness gives way to compassion when a disaster forces them together.  It’s slow and atmospheric but that just adds to the beauty of the piece. It’s hard to identify…

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Peggy Guggenheim

December 29, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, Biography, Documentary, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

The Life of an Art Addict (Anton Gill) (2002) Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict (Dir. Lisa Immordino Vreeland) She was the Art Groupie par excellence, with more passion and panache than learning or taste, but she brought work to the attention of her rich friends and thereby both sustained talent and helped corrupt the art market.  Gill’s work is like a non-fiction Apes of God: bitchy, knowing and a huge laugh. Ms Vreeland, in presenting an essentially linear, coherent, and interesting documentary, has unearthed some biographical material taped in the late 1970s (the subject died in 1979) and padded it nicely with film,…

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Grey Gardens

November 30, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Documentary, LIFE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

'Don't need men if you have cats.'

(Dir. David and Albert Maysles) (1976) Lifestyles of the squalid and shameless…Edith and Edie Beale live in their ramshackle mansion in the Hamptons, cats lolling about, voiding, and racoons climbing through great holes in the roof.  Daughter Edie swans about, recalling an interrupted career on Broadway; mother Edith (aunt to Jackie Onassis) sits in bed, watching, like a big spider.  Two years of footage has been distilled into doco-length, where not much occurs beyond regular ranting, but try to look away.  This eye-view seems like exploitation to us, but, nevertheless, of definite morbid interest.  For this reason, it has since been filmed…

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Florence and the Uffizi Gallery

November 23, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, Documentary, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(photo by Chris Wee)

(Dir. Luca Viotto) (2015) This documentary on the city that invented the Renaissance is a treat but it could have been better, says Director Pete: We don’t need an actor (albeit highly competent Simon Merrells) in a shiny suit and dubious red flannel to ‘play’ the ‘ghost’ of Lorenzo the Magnificent to talk about his ‘feelings’ and his cultured mates.  Medici was formidable, and deserved better. We wanted 3D.  We got 2D. We didn’t really appreciate the Director’s exegesis concerning various masterworks.  With all due respect to his obvious erudition, they struck us as squarely phallocentric.  No problem with that, but it…

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