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About Andrew

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    And a good day to you, sir!

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  1. Hearkening back to our earlier discussion of transgender women directors, I can't recommend the French documentary Little Girl highly enough. It's the best and most empathic consideration of gender dysphoria that I've seen on film, period. Here's my full review: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2020/10/diy-virtual-film-fest-part-7-little-girl/
  2. Yes to all of the above...Swafford goes into the most detail by far on the Eroica. (Thus far, anyway: I suspect the 7th and 9th will get similar treatment.) On a peripheral note, I'm loving all of the Harnoncourt recordings I've listened to so far...except for the Violin Concerto. What were Harnoncourt and Kremer thinking, in adding a piano part to the cadenzas (cadenzi?)? They took me wholly out of the piece - I wondered if it was a glitch in the CD at first - and feel unfaithful to its spirit.
  3. Heh, I felt that way at the only Bruckner symphony I've heard live... But to your actual question, it is interesting to read about first audiences' and critics' reactions to works that we now consider canonical. Having just finished the section in Swafford's book on Beethoven's 3rd, turnaround was actually surprisingly quick, only about 5-7 years from bewilderment to recognition of its path-forging greatness. I haven't gotten to this section yet, but IIRC, his 5th and 6th Symphonies and 4th Piano Concerto all premiered at the same concert - if I had a music time machine, that evening wo
  4. Has anyone else seen this? It's a worthy successor to Stop Making Sense (in our Top 100), with David Byrne back on stage and captured by an expert director (Spike Lee this time). The choreography again is expert, the music making superb, by his 11-person backup band (7 percussionists!). The two negative reviews at RT (including dear old Armond White at the National Review) critique it for political preachiness. I thought it succeeded in blending the timely with the timeless, and in the Q&A for the NYFF (on YouTube), Byrne speaks persuasively to the artist's duty to comment on the m
  5. So, this conversation inspired me: I sprang for the complete collection of Harnoncourt's orchestral recordings, and I'm 350 pages into Swafford's bio of LvB - listening to his orchestral pieces sequentially as they come up in the biography. This has been a fun way to (almost) make his pieces new, to read Swafford's commentary on LvB's excessive use of tutti in Symphony 1, hear the Mozartian elements of Symphony 2, and pick out where Beethoven stole from his earlier Creatures of Prometheus ballet for the finale of the Eroica. Fun stuff! And if I ever knew it, I'd forgotten that the infamous
  6. Andrew

    Night of the Kings

    So, wow. This film from the Ivory Coast (co-produced there, Senegal, France, and Canada) is astonishing. It's the 5th feature by director Philippe Lacote, but the first to cross my radar. And it won the "Amplify Voices Award" at TIFF this year, whatever that means. But, please, more people from A&F need to watch this, so we can talk about it. Easily one of my favorites from 2020, only an ending that feels anemic compared to everything else that came before keeps me from giving this 5 out of 5 stars. But it's transporting in a way that the best cinema from far-flung parts of the w
  7. Thanks for the info and the link - I'll keep an eye out for their program.
  8. Andrew

    Selma (2014)

    Those wanting a longer look at MLK's life story will dig Sam Pollard's latest documentary, MLK/FBI. Though mine would be a dissenting voice in these environs, I think it's a stronger film than Selma. Here's my full review: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2020/09/diy-virtual-film-fest-part-2-mlk-fbi/
  9. Happy to report my DIY film fest started strongly, with a barnyard drama that brought Dreyer to mind: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/2020/09/diy-virtual-film-fest-part-1-the-human-voice-and-gunda/
  10. I really wish I shared your optimism. But my trip last weekend to a blue state with fairly reasonable mask policies in place still showed a lot of folks not wearing masks when, how, and where they're supposed to, nor practicing social distancing. Happily, it seems that most festivals in the second half of 2020 are showing 90% of the same films, so between a few NYFF rentals and a membership/pass to Chicago, I'll be able to watch nearly everything I would've seen in Toronto. And both are reasonably priced: Chicago cost me less per film than two tickets for a pre-pandemic movie outing.
  11. Andrew


    As I recall, Wilkinson felt a couple of the scenes went too far in their sexualized dance moves. She may be right, though Jessica and I didn't think so. But the dishonesty of the social media backlash has been appalling - I haven't watched any of the clips Wilkinson and Romano mentioned, but I understand one of the most-viewed ones makes a scene where two of the girls eat gummi bears seem sexual, which it definitely is not within the film.
  12. Andrew


    Nicely done. I think you're right - film viewers do not like to be uncomfortable or deal with nuance, on the whole. Hopefully it won't happen to you, but probably best to brace yourself for a backlash; my write-up on Patheos is the first time I received a death threat for a review.
  13. Thanks - I'm probably more cautious than most, but I don't take much comfort in outdoor and drive-in venues. Both will no doubt have bottlenecks (entrances, restrooms, concessions) where the potential for COVID spread persists. Add this to the high prevalence of mask wearers who wear them down around their neck, below their nose, etc., and it's not as risky as a Trump rally, but it's still a risk I'm not ok taking.
  14. Alas, Festival 919 is going to be in-person this year. I understand that this is probably better for the bottom line, but my grave reservations about in-person festivals (even with outdoor and drive-in screenings) in the US remain mostly unchanged. So I've bought a handful of individual tix for NYFF already and will probably buy the virtual pass for Middleburg. Jessica and I are renting an airbnb for the 13th-19th of October, so Middleburg's timing is perfect for that.
  15. Andrew


    It's sad that the discussion of this film has centered around the social media outrage machine. There, that's out of the way. This is a very good film overall, especially considering it's a debut feature for both the director and lead actor. Between this film and Ladj Ly's Les Miserables, I hope these are signs we'll be hearing from more non-white voices in French cinema. This film explores so many boundary zones - between cultures, between religion and secularism, between girlhood and womanhood - and does so intelligently. Here's my full review: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/sec
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