DIANA KENNEDY: NOTHING FANCY—INDEED

By Patricia Unterman

To tell you the truth, my dear film buffs, I’m a reader, not a moviegoer, and I only read fiction.  If I watch a movie, it has to be in a movie house on a big screen and it has to promise a good story, ideally involving sex.   Documentaries, for me, are a bore.

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But despite all odds, I was mesmerized by a new documentary on the life of Diana Kennedy, the grouchy, 97-year-old writer of regional Mexican cookbooks, by first-time movie director Elizabeth Carroll.  The film felt novelistic to me—nuanced, revealing, true.  It picked me right up from a desk chair in front of my little computer screen and dropped me in the upland forests of Michoacán. Continue reading

Cranky– and Curious–about Cuisine

By C.J. Hirschfield

When a 97 -year-old cookbook writer is called “the Mick Jagger of Mexican cuisine,” and the “Indiana Jones of food,” you know there’s gotta be a story there. There is, and a fascinating one at that. Directed by Elizabeth Carroll and available for virtual screening now, the new documentary Diana Kennedy: Nothing Fancy shares the life and work of an impatient, antisocial, cranky, profane, opinionated woman—whose life has been driven by her enthusiasm and curiosity about authentic Mexican regional cooking. She is an absolutely marvelous force of nature.

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THE AMERICAN NURSE

by C.J. Hirschfield

Television icon Mr. Rogers famously quoted his mother’s advice on how to deal with scary situations. “Look for the helpers,” she said, adding that there are always helpers.

Today we’re talking a lot about the helpers as we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, with medical workers and others being shown heartfelt appreciation in different ways, and all around the world.

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ONCE WERE BROTHERS: ROBBIE ROBERTSON AND THE BAND- A Review

by C.J. Hirschfield

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The Band (left to right): Rick Danko, Levon Helm, Richard Manuel, Garth Hudson, and Robbie Robertson in ONCE WERE BROTHERS: ROBBIE ROBERTSON AND THE BAND, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo © by Elliott Landy.

A good documentary can take a subject we think we already know, and present it in a fuller and more complex context, leading us to a new level of understanding and appreciation. ONCE WERE BROTHERS; ROBBIE ROBERTSON AND THE BAND does just that, by telling the story of an iconic and pioneering Americana band of five that Robertson describes as “a beautiful thing—so beautiful it went up in flames.” The film, directed by Daniel Roher, also greatly benefits from interviews with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Taj Mahal, George Harrison, and many others. Continue reading