10. ‘All of the Beauty and the Bloodshed’ (Laura Poitras)
Poitras’s tough-minded, formally graceful portrait of the photographer Nan Goldin, her art and her activism, opens with Goldin huddled with some like-minded compatriots outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Before long, Goldin et al., are staging a die-in contained in the institution, certainly one of many such protests that she and others mounted against institutions that had taken money from members of the Sackler family whose company, Purdue Pharma, developed the opioid painkiller OxyContin. As Poitras goes on to point out, Goldin’s protest is just the newest chapter for an artist who draws beauty from bloodshed. (In theaters.)
And ensure that to look at: “Armageddon Time”; “The Cathedral”; “Corsage; “Descendant”; “Dos Estaciones”; “Funny Pages”; “Futura”; “Great Freedom”; “Hold Your Fire”; “I Didn’t See You There”; “Intregalde”; “Lingui, The Sacred Bonds”; “Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues”; “Nanny”; “Playground”; “Pleasure”; “Return to Seoul”; “Riotsville, U.S.A.”; “Three Minutes: A Lengthening”; “The Tsugua Diaries”; “Till”; “The Woman King”; and “The Worst Person within the World.”
The Best Questions Raised by Movies
Scrolling through my memories of 2022, I find a number of interesting movies and a number of anxious, contradictory opinionizing about The State of Cinema. Most of it needed to do with one query: Would people enterprise back into theaters post-pandemic, or did the longer term belong to streaming? The boffo success of “Top Gun: Maverick” in May and “Black Panther: Wakanda Without end” in November didn’t quite settle the difficulty.
Neither does the proliferation of flicks that evoke the wonder and glory of the movie past. Cine-nostalgia has turn out to be a genre in its own right. Last 12 months’s tender elegies to celluloid, “Belfast” and “The Hand of God,” were followed this 12 months by “The Fabelmans,” Steven Spielberg’s reflection on his own film-besotted youth; Sam Mendes’s “Empire of Light,” set in a fading seaside movie palace in early Eighties Britain; and “Babylon,” a fever dream of old Hollywood from Damien Chazelle.
Sentimentality and self-consciousness could be signs of decadence. Got down to memorialize the glories of an embattled art form, and it’s possible you’ll find yourself contributing to its obituary. Not that I feel the flicks are dying, any greater than they’ve been dying for the past 90 years or so, as they were fatally menaced by sound, television, corporate greed and audience philistinism. The flicks are at all times turning into something else, whilst they drag their history together with them. Old styles persist alongside latest possibilities, and originality finds a solution to assert itself amid the thunderous conformity of the franchises and the howling wilderness of the algorithms.