Navalny: An Ongoing Thriller

By C.J. Hirschfield

(January 17, 2023)

Two years ago, an extraordinary documentary on Russian opposition party leader Alexei Navalny was recorded. The film has just been released; he has not. Having been charged with everything from fraud to having created an extremist group “with the purpose of inciting hatred toward officials and oligarchs,” he currently is imprisoned in solitary confinement, facing up to 20 years in a Russian penal colony. Navalny is on the Oscar shortlist for best documentary feature, and I attended a  screening followed by a panel that included the film’s director, Daniel Roher, producer Shane Boris and Christo Grozev , the lead Russia investigative journalist for Bellingcat, whose remarkable work utilizing open source digital tools tracked down the Kremlin’s team that poisoned and nearly killed Navalny. (Watch the conversation below) Continue reading

Fire of Love: Bring On The Heat and Light

By C.J. Hirschfield

July 8, 2022

National Geographic and Neon hope that you’ll come for the volcanoes and stay for the love story. And you most definitely should.  “In this world lived a fire; and in this fire, two lovers found a home.” Jeesh.
What are the odds of two scientists, obsessed with volcanoes, falling in love and then traveling the world for decades in an attempt to get as close as possible to the most dangerous, active eruptions? Continue reading

TURN EVERY PAGE: The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb

A Civil War over Semicolons

By C.J. Hirschfield

(January 24, 2023)

“He does the work. I do the cleanup. And then we fight.”

This dynamic is the core of a dazzling new documentary about the 50-year working relationship between Pulitzer Prize- winning author Robert Caro (The Power Broker, The Years of Lyndon Johnson) and master editor Robert Gottlieb (Beloved, Catch-22, True Grit, The Chosen, etc. etc.).

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By Ben Terrall

(Updated January 25,2023) 

If you’re looking for a double dose, or more, of big screen escape from the exhausting ills of our modern world, you could do a lot worse than a film festival exemplified by this bit of turgid narration: “If I’d known where it would end, I’d never let anything start, if I’d been in my right mind, that is. But once I’d seen her, once I’d seen her, I was not in my right mind for quite some time…me, with plenty of time and nothing to do but get myself in trouble.”

Torrid stuff, and that’s just a taste, courtesy of Orson Welles’s double and triple-cross laden feast for the eyes and ears, Lady From Shanghai.

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BAR NOIR- Cocktails from Eddie Muller

  (January 19,2023)  We asked if we could offer our readers an exclusive sneak preview of Eddie Muller’s newest book, Bar Noir. Eddie—host of TCM’s Noir Alley is cocktail connoisseur and in this stylish book packed with equal parts great cocktail recipes and noir lore he takes film buffs and drinks enthusiasts alike on a spirited tour through the “dark city” of film noir. Continue reading