Tag Archives: Art in Film

Art in Film: The Innocents – 83%

The InnocentsOn July 19, 2016, our Art in Film group reviewed The Innocents.  Warsaw, December 1945: the second World War is finally over and Mathilde is treating the last of the French survivors of the German camps. When a panicked Benedictine nun appears at the clinic one night begging Mathilde to follow her back to the convent, what she finds there is shocking: a holy sister about to give birth and several more in advanced stages of pregnancy.

A non-believer, Mathilde enters the sisters’ fiercely private world, dictated by the rituals of their order and the strict Rev. Mother (Agata Kulesza). Fearing the shame of exposure, the hostility of the new anti-Catholic Communist government, and facing an unprecedented crisis of faith, the nuns increasingly turn to Mathilde as their belief and traditions clash with harsh realities.

Released July 1, 2016.  Directed by Anne Fontaine.  Subtitled.  Cast includes Lou de Laâge (as Mathilde Beaulieu), Agata Buzek (as Nun Maria), Agata Kulesza (as Mother Superior) and Joanna Kulig (as Nun Irena).


Gerrie Beck (85%); Elana Ben-Kerem (90%); Eileen Jacobson (85%); Glenn Lippman (95%, Discussion/Review Leader); Judy Moskowitz (95%); Bebe Nagel (45%); Elinor Steffensen (85%); Caryn Wachsler (85%); and Miriam Weiss (85%).

Movie Review Comments:

  • Memorable Scenes:  (a) Leaving newborn at the cross; (b) Mathilde crying in the car back to hospital; (c) Near rape scene; (d) Nun suicide; (e) Nun Sofie looking for her baby.
  • Notable quotation:  “Faith is 24 hours of doubt and 1 minute of hope.”
  • Subtitles offered:  (a) Babyland; (b) War is hell; (c) In the name of God.
  • What was learned:  (a) how zeal can lead to evil; (b) syphilis and lead to poor judgement and murder; (c) how a convent can be a loving place for orphans.
  • Cinematography:  Snow and cold scenes parallel theme’s hopelessness.  Black and white movie with color introduced towards the end of the movie as the orphanage changes direction of the film.  All-in-all, cinematography was excellently done.
  • Audience:  Mature, intelligent, and adult.

Movie was viewed at Living Room Theaters at Florida Atlantic University.

Art in Film: A Hologram for the King – 85%

A Hologram for the KingOn April 26, 2016, our Art in Film group reviewed A Hologram for the King.  Cultures collide when an American businessman (Tom Hanks) is sent to Saudi Arabia to close what he hopes will be the deal of a lifetime. Baffled by local customs and stymied by an opaque bureaucracy, he eventually finds his footing with the help of a wise-cracking taxi driver (Alexander Black) and a beautiful Saudi doctor (Sarita Choudhury).

Released April 22, 2016.  English.  Written & Directed by Tom Tykwer.  Cast includes Tom Hanks (as Alan Clay); Alexander Black (as Yousef); and Sarita Choudhury (as Zahra).


Jonathan Kahn (85%); Glenn Lippman (90%, Discussion/Review Leader); Judy Moskowitz (75%); Bebe Nagel (95%); Elinor Steffensen (90%) and Rose (75%).

Movie Review Comments:

  • Interesting film.  Had a way of taking the audience on a vacation sort of trip, allowing one to escape into a part of the world so very different from life in the United States.
  • Tom Hanks starred in this film.  In one sense it seemed unusual a part for him.  He is not known for an emotional and sexy role.  However we think it was a good role for Hanks in that the culture in Saudi Arabia seems a bit distant and stoic; and Hanks seemed to depict that way about him very well.
  • Length of film was 90 minutes.  For some of our reviewers, the length was just right.  For others, the film dragged on building Hanks/Choudhury relationship then the film abruptly ended without providing more on movie’s original objective.
  • Parts that could have been eliminated or embellished.   (a) reduction in overslept scenes; (b) removed surgery details; (c) eliminated mountain visit with Yousef; (d) added more about the new job.
  • Metaphors.  Untouched seemed to explain Hanks’ part as it reflected general emotional response of Saudi Arabia.  Endless time as it related to continuous delays, etc.  Swimming scene represents a new beginning.

A Hologram for the King (2016)

  • Memorable Scenes.  (a) expression of tenderness in love scene; (b) Schwinn & Chinese parallel;(  (c) CIA joke; (d) Wolf scene; and (e) Father/Son trip’s message.
  • Learn Anything.  (a) Danish people like to party; (b) position of women in Saudi Arabia; (c) Saudi Arabia’s dislike for USA in the number of delays; and (d) Mecca.
  • Audience.  Mature, intelligent and adult.

Our reviewers found it odd that this film’s timing and emotionless theme comes so close in time to pending release of the controversy of 9/11 report and Saudi Arabia’s secret 28 pages.  Was the timing of this film deliberate?  Or just a coincidence?

Art in Film: Closed Season – 86%

Closed SeasonOn January 26, 2016; our Art in Film group reviewed Closed SeasonIn 1942 Fritz and Emma hide a Jewish refugee at their remote farm in the Black Forest. As the couple has unhappily remained childless, Fritz suggests an unorthodox deal and asks Albert to conceive a child with Emma on his behalf. The consequences are dramatic: Emma discovers her sexuality, Fritz cannot control his jealousy and Albert feels trapped between the two of them. Against the background of war, an unpredictable drama unfolds that turns offenders into victims and vice versa.

Film released January 15, 2016.  Directed by Franziska Schotterer.  Cast included Brigitte Hobmeier as Emma; Christian Friedel as Albert; and Hans-Jochen Wagner as Fritz.

This film proved to be a very complex story with many interpretations.  Our review was a diverse viewpoint discussion on the many elements to the story.

Bebe Nagel, Bud Davis, Caryn W., Deanna, Elinor Steffensen, Gerrie Beck, Glenn Lippman (Discussion/Review Leader), and Kim Hough.

Suggested Movie Headlines included:  Emerging Betrayals; A woman Scorned; Necessity; and Betrayal and Awakening.

Most Memorable Scenes:  Emma giving a book to Albert; Fritz witnessing sex differently; Albert giving necklace to Fritz; Emma discovering that jewelry was made by Albert; Emma’s discovery of love and sex.

Closed Season

Which scenes were missing, in other words, the following scenes would have helped reveal the story:  A moment of Albert’s past; Emma’s conflict more deeply exposed; Albert’s kibbutz life; More time to develop Albert’s relationship with his son.

Which scenes to shorten or remove:  Remove Germans joking about Jews; Too many times when Fritz waited outside the door; and Reduce the number of scenes with Walter.

The film summary stated that passion, betrayal and jealousy were underlying emotions portrayed.  Our reviewers expanded list of emotions to include:  anxiety; fear; desperation; anguish; sadness; and loneliness.

We learned that roebuck is a male deer; alcohol’s effect on a good person; and shooting birds at night.

Our reviewers also agreed that the photography was perfect … lots of gray tones and muted colors to illustrate contrasts; captured the time frame of the 40’s in a German countryside.

Audience should be adult to understand the complexities of the relationships formed.

Summary.  Our detailed film review brought out more depth in the film than when first observed.  Closed Season left our reviewers with more questions than answers.  For example, (a) did Albert choose Kibbutz life as a way to continue to punish himself for the guilt he felt for shunning Emma, falling in love with her and accepting Fritz’s request?  (b) did Closed Season intend to describe Emma or Fritz?  (c) did Albert invite his son back because it became clear to Albert that his son was growing up just like him?  (d) did Fritz kill himself?  etc.  Great film, well written, never a dull moment, kept us engaged, and well directed.

Our reviewers rating for this film ranged from a low of 70% to a high of 100%.  Average was 86%.

Art in Film: Heart of a Dog – 68%

On DecemHeart of a Dogber 29, 2015; our Art in Film group reviewed Heart of a DogAn impressionistic and musical meditation on a pets death with prelude by the artist Laurie Anderson, who enjoyed a very deep relationship with her dog, with following soundtrack.The film centers on her remembrances of her late beloved piano-playing and finger-painting dog Lolabelle. Scenes range from realistic footage from the animal’s life to imagined scenes of Lolabelle’s passage through the bardo (according to Tibetan tradition, refers to the state of existence intermediate between two lives on earth). It also includes other reflections on life and death including Anderson’s experiences in life in downtown New York after 9/11.

Bebe Nagel, Carol Weissman, Caryn W., Gerrie Beck, Glenn Lippman (Discussion/Review Leader), Jonathan Kahn, Josh W., Judy Moskowitz and Rose.

Suggested Movie Headlines included:  Laurie Anderson Free Association of Death; Picture of Life; Love, Death, Surveillance, and RatTerriers; Love & Death; Psychedelic Philosophy.

Most Memorable Scenes:  Snowing in Chicago; Ice Skater; Dog as Prey; Loss of Freedom; Impermanence of all living things; Dog Playing the Piano.

Lolabelle and Anderson connection:  Soulmate, Symbiotic

We learned about mixed media, Tibetan traditions, Sudden Infant Death.  Several profound quotes:  “Purpose of death was release of love.”  And in defining night, “we fall through time, and Day is the space between Nights.”

Photography was excellent and more specifically scenes photographed well included:  Hiking and Dog Walk; Unfocused scenes; windowshield photo shots; mountain scenes, rolling backwards to illustrate bardo; and various dream states.

Summary.  Movie included several dark undertones in a very artistic illustration on connection between mother daughter; a love connection with her dog and family memories.  A shared view by all of our reviewers was that this film scores high for originality, photography and uniqueness.

Our reviewers reviewed this film with a broad range of scores from a low of 20% to a high of 93% and an average of 68%.

Review reported by Glenn Lippman.


“Varied opinions, and a terrific discussion.  Personally, I like the movie!”  Caryn W.

“Kudos to Glenn for leading a very good discussion about a movie that was controversial.  We didn’t hold back and had lots of laughs too!”  Gerrie Beck

Art in Film: Mr. Holmes – 86%

mrholmesOn July 21, 2015; our Art in Film group reviewed Mr. Holmes. Mr. Holmes is a new twist on the world’s most famous detective. Movie takes place in the year 1947. Holmes faces the end of his days tending to his bees, with only the company of his housekeeper and her young son, Roger. Grappling with the diminishing powers of his mind, Holmes comes to rely upon the boy as he revisits the circumstances of the unsolved case that forced him into retirement, and searches for answers to the mysteries of life and love – before it’s too late.

Our movie reviewers included: Andrea Loran, Elinor Steffensen, Glenn Lippman, Jonathan Kahn, Judy Moskowitz, Larry Minsky, Ronni Mann, Sharon Helman, Susan Robbins.

Suggested Movie Headlines included: The Human Condition; Sensitive & Introspective; Profound; The Real Holmes; A Metaphor of Life

Favorite Scenes:
• Holmes with Anne as Holmes realizes how alone he is despite his intellectualism.
• Country and interior design is exquisite.
• White hills of Dover representing peace and death.
• Bee scenes with Holmes and Roger as they explore a generational bond.

Acting: Hands down, Holmes played by Ian McKellen was played out in award fashion. Ian’s ability to convince us of his failing memory and aging was significantly profound. Roger’s eyes and cupid’s bow upper lip. Cute kid. And Liney’s part was played incredibly well considering this time piece.

We learned that life needs to be in balance and that there is a significant difference between bees and wasps. We also believe that this movie is best suited for adults and an older audience.

Our reviewers reviewed this film as 86%. We very much liked it.

Review summarized by Glenn Lippman on July 21, 2015.


“Loved it – beautiful scenery, great acting, rich themes about life and love.”  Ronni Mann

“Wonderful film, great venue, interesting conversations.  All around a great evening.”  Susan Robbins