10. ‘All the Beauty and the Bloodshed’ (Laura Poitras)
Poitras’s down-to-earth, formally graceful portrayal of photographer Nan Goldin, her art, and her activism, begins with Goldin huddled with some like-minded compatriots outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Soon Goldin et al. will host a die-in at the institution, one of many such protests they and others have staged 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 show, Goldin’s protest is just the latest chapter for an artist who extracts beauty from bloodshed. (In theatres.)
And be sure to watch: “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”; “Babysitter”; “Playground”; “Pleasure”; “Return to Seoul”; “Riotsville, USA”; “Three Minutes: An Overtime”; “The Tsugua Diaries” ; “Until”; “The Lady King”; and “The Worst Person in the World.”
A. O. Scott
The best questions raised by movies
When I scroll through my memories of 2022, I find many interesting films and many fearful, conflicting opinions about The State of Cinema. Most of it had to do with one question: Would people venture back into the cinema after the pandemic, or was the future in streaming? The boffo success of May’s “Top Gun: Maverick” and November’s “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” didn’t quite settle the matter.
Nor the proliferation of films that evoke the wonder and glory of the cinematic past. Cine nostalgia has become a genre in itself. Last year’s tender dirges on celluloid, ‘Belfast’ and ‘The Hand of God’, were followed this year by ‘The Fabelmans’, Steven Spielberg’s reflection on his own film-crazy childhood; ‘Empire of Light’ by Sam Mendes, set in a derelict movie palace by the sea in early 1980s Britain; and “Babylon”, a fever dream of old Hollywood by Damien Chazelle.
Sentimentality and self-awareness can be signs of decadence. Set out to commemorate the glory of a controversial art form, and you might even contribute to the obituary. Not that I think the movies are dying out, any more than they have been dying out for the past 90 years, as they have been mortally threatened by sound, television, corporate greed, and the narrow-mindedness of the public. The films always change into something else, even though they drag their history with them. Old styles persist alongside new possibilities, and originality finds a way to assert itself amid the thunderous conformity of the franchises and the howling wilds of the algorithms.