Sixty years later, George Stevens’s intimate epic Giant still seems like a wondrous anomaly: sweeping saga of American prosperity that reveals its racist underbelly; glorious star vehicle that upends rigid gender roles; modern Western that questions the validity of frontier land ownership.
Casablanca is a sharply political movie, displaying overt admiration for anti-fascist activists and sympathy for refugees while subtly probing the corrosiveness of appeasement. Against the current rise of nationalism and xenophobia, the political climate that generations have taken as a backdrop for the romance of Ilsa Lund and Rick Blaine crashes to the forefront.
Katie Holmes’ directorial debut, All We Had, could be called It’s Going to Be Okay, the mantra of its downtrodden but resilient characters. Screenwriters Jill Killington and Josh Boone extract a hopeful, we’re-all-in-this-together storyline from Annie Weatherwax’s first novel.
For his sanguine version of The Big Chill, writer/director Joe McClean acknowledges voice-of-a-generation expectations with conversations about privileged childhoods and the economic hardships of adulthood.
The Watermelon Woman is a vital example of New Queer Cinema, but it’s more than a time capsule. Funny and smart, full of biting humor and astute observations about identity and history, Cheryl Dunye’s audacious, joyous debut feature captures the process of falling hopelessly in love with the movies.