In Fiona Tan’s glorious ode to a Japanese volcano, Mount Fuji is both geological marvel and malleable symbol, its solidity and grandeur inspiring conquest and contemplation. Fuji stands as one of the world’s great backdrops, appearing in countless snapshots from the introduction of photography.
In their cozy remake, director Gillies Mackinnon and screenwriter Peter McDougall take a less screwball approach to the source material: Compton Mackenzie’s 1947 novel and the real wartime wreck that inspired it.
Fred Kudjo Kuwornu wavers between the academic and the personal in his earnest documentary, Blaxploitalian: 100 Years of Blackness in Italian Cinema. His project involves not only film history but also Italian politics and cultural shifts.
Danae Elon did go home again, to a Jerusalem she knew deeply and barely recognized. Her thoughtful documentary about relocating to Israel offers an intimate look at a family’s adjustment as well as the deep-seated conflicts between Jewish and Palestinian inhabitants of this ancient city.
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.