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Farewell, FilmStruck: A Bittersweet Guide to the Movies to Catch Before It’s Gone



On Friday, classic movie lovers and art house buffs received some devastating news: FilmStruck, the streaming service partnership between Turner Classic Movies and the Criterion Collection library, is shutting down for good on Nov. 30.

Since its debut two years ago, FilmStruck has offered its subscribers a wealth of cinephile delights: carefully curated retrospectives and themed collections; bonus features, including movie introductions from TCM hosts; and guest programming from the likes of Barry Jenkins and Rebecca Miller. To say that it will be missed by its “loyal” but “niche” fan base — as Turner and Warner Bros. Digital described subscribers when announcing their decision — is an understatement.

[Filmstruck might be leaving us, but you can find recommendations for hundreds of movies to stream, on Watching.]

If, like us, you are in mourning, the best way to cope is by taking full advantage now of those films you’ve had sitting in your queue, waiting to be discovered (or re-discovered). Want recommendations? We reached out to a bunch of our reporters, editors and regular contributors to find out which films they would miss most. Below, they bid farewell and pick their favorites — all of which are currently on FilmStruck but not on other major services. Don’t stress yourself out too much as you binge these next few weeks. (Where relevant, dates reflect the year of a film’s foreign release.) — AISHA HARRIS

FilmStruck has never been simply a repository of classics from the Criterion Collection and the TCM archive, and it hasn’t relied on a janky algorithm to anticipate what viewers want. The service is thoughtfully curated, making it possible to create and screen your own personal film festivals at home and put the work of certain directors, actors and movements in context.

If you saw the new Bradley Cooper-directed “A Star Is Born,” for example, you could not only compare the three previous versions on FilmStruck, you could also look at their precursor, “What Price Hollywood?,” which is more or less a dry run for the same story. Directed by George Cukor, who went on to make the definitive “A Star is Born” with Judy Garland 22 years later, the film is about a Brown Derby waitress (Constance Bennett) with the moxie to persuade a hard-drinking director (Lowell Sherman) to give her a shot as an actress. She rockets to stardom as he sinks into addiction. Future versions put more meat on the bone, but Bennett’s zesty performance is notable for being more confident and assertive than that of others in the role. She needs the door opened only a crack. — SCOTT TOBIAS

When I was a misfit movie-mad kid from Jersey, my wonderful aunt Peggy would invite me to “the city” and take me to museums and cinemas. With her, at the MoMA bookshop in 1972, when I was 12, I bought my first hardcover movie book: a biography of the French renegade filmmaker Jean Vigo. His pictures, only four in all, anarchic and tender, subversive and romantic, had not yet been seen by me. They were rarely shown in my neck of the woods. So I just read about them, obsessively.

Then a library a few towns away announced a screening of “Zero For Conduct,” and I begged my dad to take me. We got there and learned the print was too damaged to run; another film was substituted. I burst into tears. Jeez, my poor dad.

Today, on FilmStruck’s Criterion Channel, you can watch all of Vigo’s filmography, beautifully restored, at the touch of a button. How spoiled my 12-year-old self would have felt! And he would’ve been even angrier than I am now that some bean counter has deemed FilmStruck an expendable corporate asset. — GLENN KENNY

Forget what’s streaming elsewhere — when FilmStruck goes, so will movies that are tough to find on physical video, including Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s “Querelle” and Ernst Lubitsch’s “Cluny Brown.” Credit to the indispensable classic-movie maven Farran Smith Nehme for noting that the films of the great Japanese director Mikio Naruse will be one of the biggest voids. Catch his work now, or you may wait years.

Naruse’s “Floating Clouds,” never released on DVD in the United States, is an ideal introduction to his unusually pure brand of despair. It begins in 1946, when Yukiko (Hideko Takamine), repatriated to Japan, returns to Tomioka (Masayuki Mori), with whom she had an affair in Indochina during the war. She continues to love him, despite his refusal to divorce his wife, his drunkenness, his negligible work prospects and his willingness to cheat on and exploit her. And perhaps in their shared hopelessness, they are well matched. Immaculately lit and performed, the movie captures the anguish of the postwar milieu so piercingly that you can almost feel it in your bones. — BEN KENIGSBERG

I’ve been aiming to be an Orson Welles completist. Wish me luck: So much went unfinished in the director’s career, and so many of his films were cut and cut again in wildly different ways, that much of his art was left in “Is this what he wanted?” fragments.

[A new Orson Welles movie is coming to Netflix. Read about his films streaming right now.]

A blind spot for me until recently was his 1955 film “Mr. Arkadin,” which seemed the ultimate example of a feature that was in constant flux and remix. It concerns a wealthy amnesiac (Welles, hidden behind makeup and a fancy beard) who hires a smuggler (Robert Arden) to investigate his past. As the FilmStruck countdown clock was ticking, I finally caught up with it. It’s a gorgeously shot and invigorating journey down a Cold War rabbit hole. If you truly want to dive off the deep end, FilmStruck is the only place offering Criterion’s assemblage of three cuts of the movie, including the “Comprehensive Version” I watched, for which film scholars and archivists tried to assemble it to Welles’s wishes, based on later statements he made about it, among other factors. — MEKADO MURPHY

In my teens and twenties, I was the kind of film buff who haunted repertory theaters, worked at a video store and obsessively watched Turner Classic Movies. But even I didn’t hear about Vera Chytilova’s social satire “Daisies” until 2012, when the Criterion Collection put it on DVD as part of its “Pearls of the Czech New Wave” box set.

A breezy 76 minutes of mostly plotless yet breathtakingly imaginative avant-garde comedy, “Daisies” follows two women, both named Marie (played by Jitka Cerhova and Ivana Karbanova) as they spend their days giggling together, changing clothes, spreading mischief and baffling men. Chytilova doesn’t indulge in free-form quirkiness for its own sake. The movie is a puckish poke at authoritarianism of all stripes, from the patriarchy to the Iron Curtain bureaucracy. It is also a salute to sisterhood, celebrating the bond between two best friends who can withstand any oppression so long as they’re side by side. It’s the kind of little-known world cinema classic FilmStruck was created to spotlight — not only making it available, but putting it into context. — NOEL MURRAY

I came to Robert Bresson in my mid-30s, late (for now) in my cinematic education. But maybe it was better that way. How wonderful to discover as an adult, and on one’s own, such a singular and mature vision! The experience changed my understanding of cinema, which I hadn’t thought possible. And knowing Bresson’s work felt like knowing a sacred name that only the initiates of some secret order are permitted to pronounce: To meet a fellow admirer was to meet someone who understood something essential, and not only about film.

Jean-Luc Godard wrote that “Robert Bresson is French cinema, as Dostoyevsky is the Russian novel and Mozart is German music.” He wasn’t wrong. But Bresson would no doubt reject Godard’s comparisons — and definitely my own analogies — because he was interested in presenting things only as they are, stripped to their barest, most essential forms. “Mouchette” is Bresson at the height of his powers, released the year after his “Au Hasard Balthazar” practically reinvented cinema. Like “Balthazar,” it is a cleareyed tragedy about the suffering of women among cruel and small-minded provincials. And speaking of tragedy, it is streaming only on FilmStruck. — AUSTIN CONSIDINE

I was 11 years old the first time I saw François Truffaut’s “Day For Night.” It was airing late one night on A&E, which once stood for “Arts & Entertainment,” and was programmed accordingly (not that “Storage Wars” isn’t art). I recognized the title from Roger Ebert’s “Movie Home Companion”; he had given it four stars and called it “not only the best movie ever made about the movies” but “also a great entertainment.”

That was about all I needed to hear, and although I had never watched a foreign film before, I programmed the VCR (I’m aware of how much that phrase dates me) and gave it a look after school the next day. There was something so warm and welcoming about Truffaut’s chronicle of the making of a movie that the subtitles didn’t even matter; it spoke a language I understood, which was the love of cinema. And in that way, it’s the quintessential FilmStruck movie — foreign but approachable, decades old but fresh and alive, pulsing with affection for the art of movies and all of their possibilities. — JASON BAILEY

I’m going to miss how easy it was to discover on FilmStruck the movies I had previously only read about. Alongside the most recognizable names in international and independent cinema were lesser-known gems from around the world and from our own backyard, as is the case with Robert M. Young’s “Alambrista!”

A low-budget film, “Alambrista” follows Roberto (Domingo Ambriz), a young Mexican man who crosses the border to find work in the United States to support his new family. He faces the Sisyphean task of scraping together money and evading law enforcement officers looking to deport undocumented laborers. Roberto’s journey is often heartbreaking, only occasionally rewarding. “Alambrista!” won the Caméra d’Or at the 1978 Cannes Film Festival for its hand-held camerawork, and it opened the door for other Chicano movies like Gregory Nava’s “El Norte” and Luis Valdez’s “Zoot Suit.” I’m sorry to lose a source for rarities like “Alambrista!” — MONICA CASTILLO

Like many before me, I first discovered the 1987 dark comedy “Withnail and I” back in the VHS days, after hearing countless people mimicking Richard E. Grant’s gloriously slurred belligerence. (“We want the finest wines available to humanity! We want them here and we want them now!”) The role of Withnail — a flamboyant alcoholic and failing actor — launched Grant’s career, and it’s still a knockout.

This permanently snockered man-child is on the verge of 30, but he is hopelessly incapable of meeting life’s baseline requirements: paying his rent, feeding himself, even changing his underwear. Drinks, however, are always a possibility. (No one can match his unquenchable, suicidal thirst, although many tried in college drinking games, subbing vinegar for lighter fluid in one particular scene.) At the end of this hilarious lost weekend in the country, we realize, along with his former partner-in-crime Marwood (Paul McGann), that we must leave the Withnails of the world behind if we ever hope to grow up. First, though, one more rewatch. — JENNIFER VINEYARD

I don’t think I’ve seen “Naked” more than three times. And yet, “Naked” is one of my favorite films. How can both statements be true? Because like Johnny, the human vortex of misanthropy at the heart of this scathing, haunting film from Mike Leigh, “Naked” arrives unexpectedly and does enough psychic damage to mark you for life.

Played by David Thewlis in his breakout role, Johnny is a shuffling, shaggy-haired native of Manchester, now down-and-out in London after fleeing the consequences of the sexual assault that opens the film. (The merciless tone is established from the start.) With his cruel intelligence, dizzying monologues and trademark black trench coat, he upends the lives of old friends, acquaintances and total strangers alike.

The film’s devastating final shot casts Johnny as a sad-sack Satan wandering the world, unwilling to accept either punishment or forgiveness for his sins. When FilmStruck vanishes from the internet, it will take this unforgettable portrait of humanity as a failed state with it for now — but the film will remain lodged in my mind forever. — SEAN T. COLLINS

The first time I experienced “In the Mood for Love,” I was a graduate student in cinema studies several years ago. I believe it was in my class on film form and style, one of our required courses. At the time, I considered it stunning, if a bit slow for my tastes.

It’s one I always meant to revisit but just never did, though it’s been sitting in my FilmStruck queue for months. After learning that my beloved streaming service was leaving, however, I took the chance this past weekend to return to it. How glad I am that I did: Watching Wong Kar-wai’s gorgeous meditation on secrets, yearning and heartbreak between two lonely souls (played by Tony Leung Chiu-wai and Maggie Cheung) in 1960s Hong Kong is even better than I remembered, and hardly a drag. Perhaps it’s with more life experience that I can connect to it on a deeper level than I did in my early 20s. Whatever the reason, I fully understand why my professor considered it required viewing. — AISHA HARRIS

The 26-minute documentary “Forza Bastia 78” may not immediately catch your eye on FilmStruck, but it is a delightful U.F.O. in the career of Jacques Tati, the French filmmaker famous for such droll comedies as “Mon Oncle.”

In April 1978, Tati flew to Corsica to cover the first leg of the UEFA Cup Final, which pitted the scrappy Bastia team against the much larger, much more powerful Dutch club PSV Eindhoven. I was a kid living in Corsica an hour from Bastia back then, and I distinctly remember our soccer fever.

Tati’s commentary-free doc shows maybe two minutes of the game itself. In its place, we mostly see fans of all ages decorate shops and the local church with the team colors, wave flags, honk car horns. We hear chants and firecrackers, and the thunderstorm that wrecked the field. Cue the surreal images of employees mopping up the puddles. For whatever reason, Tati’s Corsican footage was shelved until his daughter, Sophie Tatischeff, unearthed it decades later and put it all together. I can’t watch it without tearing up. And I still have my team scarf. — ELISABETH VINCENTELLI

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Woman passenger from UK tests Covid positive at Hyderabad airport



Hyderabad: A 35-year-old international passenger who reached the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport here on Wednesday has tested positive for Covid-19 after undergoing an RT-PCR test at the airport itself. The woman passenger had traveled from the United Kingdom, which has been categorised as an ‘At Risk Country’. 

The passenger has been admitted to the Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences (TIMS) and samples were collected and sent for genetic sequencing. Officials said she did not have any symptoms and that her health condition was being monitored closely. 

According to officials, the woman hails from Rangareddy district and was on a visit to UK from Hyderabad. Though her close relatives tested negative, their health condition is also being monitored. 

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Revealed: how Sidney Powell could be disbarred for lying in court for Trump | US elections 2020



Sidney Powell, the former lawyer for Donald Trump who filed lawsuits across America for the former president, hoping to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, has on several occasions represented to federal courts that people were co-counsel or plaintiffs in her cases without seeking their permission to do so, the Guardian has learned.

Some of these individuals say that they only found out that Powell had named them once the cases were already filed.

During this same period of time, Powell also named several other lawyers – with their permission in those instances – as co-counsel in her election-related cases, despite the fact that they played virtually no role whatsoever in bringing or litigating those cases.

Both Powell’s naming of other people as plaintiffs or co-counsel without their consent and representing that other attorneys were central to her cases when, in fact, their roles were nominal or nonexistent, constitute serious potential violations of the American Bar Association model rules for professional conduct, top legal ethicists told the Guardian.

Powell’s misrepresentations to the courts in those particular instances often aided fundraising for her nonprofit, Defending the Republic. Powell had told prospective donors that the attorneys were integral members of an “elite strike force” who had played outsized roles in her cases – when in fact they were barely involved if at all.

A couple poses for a photo in front of a Trump campaign bus at a rally in Alpharetta, Georgia, on 2 December 2020.
A couple poses for a photo in front of a Trump campaign bus at a rally in Alpharetta, Georgia, on 2 December 2020. Photograph: Nathan Posner/REX/Shutterstock

Powell did not respond to multiple requests for comment via phone, email, and over social media.

The State Bar of Texas is already investigating Powell for making other allegedly false and misleading statements to federal courts by propagating increasingly implausible conspiracy theories to federal courts that Joe Biden’s election as president of the United States was illegitimate.

The Texas bar held its first closed-door hearing regarding the allegations about Powell on 4 November. Investigations by state bar associations are ordinarily conducted behind closed doors and thus largely opaque to the public.

A federal grand jury has also been separately investigating Powell, Defending the Republic, as well as a political action committee that goes by the same name, for fundraising fraud, according to records reviewed by the Guardian.

Among those who have alleged that Powell falsely named them as co-counsel is attorney Linn Wood, who brought and litigated with Powell many of her lawsuits attempting to overturn the results of the election with her, including in the hotly contested state of Michigan.

The Michigan case was a futile attempt by Powell to erase Joe Biden’s victory in that state and name Trump as the winner. On 25 August, federal district court Judge Linda Parker, of Michigan, sanctioned Powell and nine other attorneys who worked with her for having engaged in “a historic and profound abuse of the judicial process” in bringing the case in the first place. Powell’s claims of election fraud, Parker asserted, had no basis in law and were solely based on “speculation, conjecture, and unwarranted suspicion”.

Parker further concluded that the conduct of Powell, Wood, and the eight other attorneys who they worked with, warranted a “referral for investigation and possible suspension or disbarment to the appropriate disciplinary authority for each state … in which each attorney is admitted”.

Wood told the court in the Michigan case that Powell had wrongly named him as one of her co-counsel in the Michigan case. During a hearing in the case to determine whether to sanction Wood, his defense largely rested on his claim that he had not been involved in the case at all. Powell, Wood told the court, had put his name on the lawsuit without her even telling him.

A man holds a sign reading "The dead cannot vote" at a rally in Alpharetta, Georgia.
Trump supporters attend a rally in Alpharetta, Georgia, where Sidney Powell spoke on efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Photograph: Nathan Posner/REX/Shutterstock

Wood said: “I do not specifically recall being asked about the Michigan complaint … In this case obviously my name was included. My experience or my skills apparently were never needed, so I didn’t have any involvement with it.”

Wood’s attorney, Paul Stablein, was also categorical in asserting that his client had nothing to do with the case, telling the Guardian in an interview: “He didn’t draft the complaint. He didn’t sign it. He did not authorize anyone to put his name on it.”

Powell has denied she would have ever named Wood as a co-counsel without Wood’s permission.

But other people have since come forward to say that Powell has said that they were named as plaintiffs or lawyers in her election-related cases without their permission.

In a Wisconsin voting case, a former Republican candidate for Congress, Derrick Van Orden, said he only learned after the fact that he had been named as a plaintiff in one of Powell’s cases.

“I learned through social media today that my name was included in a lawsuit without my permission,” Van Orden said in a statement he posted on Twitter, “To be clear, I am not involved in the lawsuit seeking to overturn the election in Wisconsin.”

Jason Shepherd, the Republican chairman of Georgia’s Cobb county, was similarly listed as a plaintiff in a Georgia election case without his approval.

In a 26 November 2020 statement, Shepherd said he had been talking to an associate of Powell’s prior to the case’s filing about the “Cobb GOP being a plaintiff” but said he first “needed more information to at least make sure the executive officers were in agreeing to us being a party in the suit”. The Cobb County Republican party later agreed to remain plaintiffs in the case instead of withdrawing.

Leslie Levin, a professor at the University of Connecticut Law School, said in an interview: “Misrepresentations to the court are very serious because lawyers are officers of the court. Bringing a lawsuit in someone’s name when they haven’t consented to being a party is a very serious misrepresentation and one for which a lawyer should expect to face serious discipline.”

Nora Freeman Engstrom, a law professor at Stanford University, says that Powell’s actions appear to violate Rule 3.3 of the ABA’s model rules of professional misconduct which hold that “a lawyer shall not knowingly … make a false statement of fact of law to a tribunal”.

Since election day last year, federal and state courts have dismissed more than 60 lawsuits alleging electoral fraud and irregularities by Powell, and other Trump allies.

Shortly after the election, Trump named Powell as a senior member of an “elite strike force” who would prove that Joe Biden only won the 2020 presidential race because the election was stolen from him. But Trump refused to pay her for her services. To remedy this, Powell set up a new nonprofit called Defending the Republic; its stated purpose is to “protect the integrity of elections in the United States”.

As a nonprofit, the group is allowed to raise unlimited amounts of “dark money” and donors are legally protected from the ordinary requirements to disclose their identities to the public. Powell warned supporters that for her to succeed, “millions of dollars must be raised”.

Echoing Trump’s rhetoric, Powell told prospective donors that Defending the Republic had a vast team of experienced litigators.

Sidney Powell speaks at a press conference on election results in Alpharetta, Georgia.
Sidney Powell speaks at a press conference on election results in Alpharetta, Georgia. Photograph: Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters

Among the attorneys who Powell said made up this “taskforce” were Emily Newman, who had served Trump as the White House liaison to the Department of Health and Human Services and as a senior official with the Department of Homeland Security. Newman had been a founding board member of Defending the Republic.

But facing sanctions in the Michigan case, some of the attorneys attempted to distance themselves from having played much of a meaningful role in her litigation.

Newman’s attorney told Parker, the judge, that Newman had “not played a role in the drafting of the complaint … My client was a contract lawyer working from home who spent maybe five hours on this matter. She really wasn’t involved … Her role was de minimis.”

To have standing to file her Michigan case, Powell was initially unable to find a local attorney to be co-counsel on her case but eventually attorney Gregory Rohl agreed to help out.

But when Rohl was sanctioned by Parker and referred to the Michigan attorney disciplinary board for further investigation, his defense was that he, too, was barely involved in the case. He claimed that he only received a copy of “the already prepared” 830-page initial complaint at the last minute, reviewed it for “well over an hour”, while then “making no additions, decisions or corrections” to the original.

As with Newman, Parker, found that Rohl violated ethics rules by making little, if any, effort to verify the facts of the claims in Powell’s filings.

In sanctioning Rohl, the judge wrote that “the court finds it exceedingly difficult to believe that Rohl read an 830-page complaint in just ‘well over an hour’ on the day he filed it. So, Rohl’s argument in and of itself reveals sanctionable conduct.”

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Govt to introduce important Bill, Covid situation likely to be discussed



The government on Thursday will table ‘The National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (Amendment) Bill 2021’ in the Lok Sabha. A discussion on Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and its various related aspects is also likely to take place in the lower House.

Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya will move the ‘The National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (Amendment) Bill’ in the Lok Sabha to amend the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research Act, 1998.

Under rule 193, a discussion on Covid-19 pandemic and various aspects related to it will likely take place. According to sources, the members may also raise their concern and ask for the government’s preparedness for the new Omicron variant. Under Rule 193, members can seek details about the new Covid variant. “Short duration discussion is likely to be held in the Lok Sabha on the Covid and its various aspects, including new Omicron variant,” sources said.

Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Prahlad Singh Patel, General V.K. Singh, Krishan Pal, Bhanu Pratap Verma, Rameshwar Teli and Kaushal Kishore will lay papers on the table. Reports and action reports of different standing committees will also be laid in the day.

The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Amendment) Bill 2021 (ART) by voice vote as the amendments moved by the DMK MP N.K. Prem Chandran, Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy and Shiv Sena MP Vinayak Raut were negated. The ART Bill seeks to regulate fertility clinics. All such clinics will have to be registered under the National Registry of Banks and Clinics of India.

The opposition is likely to continue to raise its voices on price rise, unemployment and extended jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) in some states. The opposition parties are also demanding a law guaranteeing the minimum support price (MSP).

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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