Steven Erickson

Sketchy Comedy

Steven Erickson on The Red Chapel

December 2010

THE RED CHAPEL (2009) gives one the impression that director Mads Brügger doesn’t care if he makes himself look like a jerk, so long as it’s in the pursuit of some greater truth. Alternately entertaining and unsettling, the documentary… READ ON

FILM

Ladies Who Lunch

Steven Erickson on Mid-August Lunch

March 2010

MID-AUGUST LUNCH (2008) is an easy film to underrate. Its considerable charm lies on its surface; less immediately apparent, but underpinning the whole of the film, is the terror of grappling with the loneliness of aging. Italian … READ ON

FILM

Rebel Rebel

Steven Erickson on “Film Comment Selects”

February 2010

“FILM COMMENT SELECTS,” now in its tenth year, seems conscious of its status as the New York Film Festival’s rebellious younger brother. This year, it opens with Jonathan Kaplan’s teens-gone-wild classic Over the Edge (1979) and … READ ON

FILM

Style and Substance

Steven Erickson on Hans-Jürgen Syberberg DVDs

December 2009

THE NEW GERMAN CINEMA that blossomed in the 1970s is often reduced to three directors—Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders, and Rainer Werner Fassbinder—for US consumption. The distribution company Facets has slowly been working to counteract this… READ ON

FILM

Loan Star

Steven Erickson on My Dear Enemy

November 2009

SOUTH KOREAN DIRECTOR Hong Sang-soo’s films haven’t yet attained steady American distribution, but they have had an impact on younger Korean filmmakers. Lee Yoon-ki’s My Dear Enemy (2008) is perhaps the first prominent Hong-influenced… READ ON

FILM

Decent Exposure

Steven Erickson on the New York Asian Film Festival

June 2009

ALTHOUGH THE NEW YORK ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL’S program notes are adamantly populist, the festival, now in its eighth year, has become most valuable as a showcase for maverick work like Jang Sun-woo’s Resurrection of the Little Match Girl (… READ ON

FILM

Animal Attraction

Steven Erickson on Jean Painlevé

April 2009

THE WORK OF FRENCH SCIENTIST-DIRECTOR Jean Painlevé defies pigeonholing, which may explain why he’s relatively obscure in the United States. Are his shorts documentaries, educational films, or avant-garde experiments? Most of the time … READ ON

FILM

Choice Cuts

Steven Erickson on “Film Comment Selects”

February 2009

SINCE ITS INCEPTION TEN YEARS AGO, “Film Comment Selects” has been an essential supplement to the New York Film Festival, the kind of program equally open to French splatterfests and the poetic musings of Philippe Garrel. This year’s … READ ON

FILM

To Be Real

Steven Erickson on Lars von Trier's Europa

December 2008

FLASHY AND DELIBERATELY UNREAL, Europa exemplifies a stylistic path quickly abandoned by its director, Lars von Trier. Four years after the film’s 1991 release, he coauthored the Dogme manifesto. Although von Trier wouldn’t make an official… READ ON

FILM

House Calls

Steven Erickson on the films of Amos Gitai

October 2008

IN THE US, Israeli director Amos Gitai is best known for the narrative films he has made over the past decade, particularly Kadosh (1999) and Kippur (2000). However, he began his career as a documentarian and director of experimental shorts,… READ ON

FILM