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Review: The Childhood of a Leader


In “The Childhood of a Leader,” writer/director Brady Corbet (co-written with Mona Fastvold) has created a unique and powerful film that is stripped to bare bones but ripples with undercurrents. The superficial story is that of a troubled child, his parents and those close to them. Some have used the words “disturbed” or even “psychopathic” to describe the son (played to the hilt by 9-year-old Tom Sweet). The son has no name nor even a well-defined gender. He is doomed, or gifted, depending on perspective, to know and to act out the events and political climate during the signing the treaty of Versailles.

To his parents, the son is intractable. But this is not a film about child-parent relations. It is more akin to a story of possession, except the child is seeing truth and the adults are possessed. (CONTINUED)

Review: The Crossing

— by BEV QUESTAD — George Kurian, a documentary filmmaker and photojournalist based in Istanbul, was covering the war in Syria when he decided to document a group of Syrians on their risky defection to the west. The clandestine sea voyage from Syria to Egypt is illegal because Syria won’t update passports and destination countries […][...]

Review: Starless Dreams

— by BEV QUESTAD — After seven years of trying, award-winning director Mehrdad Oskouei was given access to an incarceration facility for girls 18 and under in Iran. Gently asking them why they were there and what their hopes for the future were, he discovered a societal crime greater than the girls’ convictions. I had […][...]

Review: Chapter and Verse

— by BEV QUESTAD — Sir Lancelot Ingram is a magnificently strong, handsome, quiet ex-con. He served eight years. Now, he is out, living in a half-way house back in the same Harlem hood that brought him to trouble. But this time, the bad guys are younger, operating the streets without rules or regulations, and […][...]

Review: Maggie’s Plan

— by RON WILKINSON — When will Greta Gerwig move out of New York City? No doubt this quirky and totally Greta movie received a lot of support from the Big Apple for showcasing several city tourist attractions, but it did not do the story any good. Despite the overwhelming exposure for the location, the […][...]

Review: Almost Sunrise

— by BEV QUESTAD — We’ve heard that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in incurable. This documentary, featured at this year’s Human Rights Watch Film Festival, puts this assumption and the very description of PTSD into question. This outstanding doc follows two US veterans from the Iraq War. They seek to create awareness and perhaps a […][...]

Review: The Wailing

— by RON WILKINSON — “The Wailing,” South Korean writer/director Hong-jin Na’s labyrinthine tale of possession, follows on the heels of his well-received “The Chaser” and “The Yellow Sea.” Incorporating elements of a number of western films, including the well-meaning police officer who will have a very bad day, the perky daughter who will play […][...]

Review: The Witness

— by RON WILKINSON — There is something beautiful abut a documentary that takes on a life of its own. In 1999, filmmaker James Solomon began researching a scripted film for HBO based on a story that defined the mean streets of New York City. The story is that of the 1964 murder of Kitty […][...]

Review: Weiner

— by RON WILKINSON — If you think you have seen all of the most amazing documentaries in the world, you have another think coming. This much everybody knows: Former U.S. representative Anthony Weiner was a rising star. He won seven terms to the US House of Representatives but resigned after a sexting scandal. He […][...]

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