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Winter Sleep

The running time of his new picture Winter Sleep, three hours and change, suggests weight, but at it happens, this movie struck me as both…

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Mr. Turner

Filmmaker Mike Leigh's biography of the landscape painter J.M.W. Turner is what critics call "austere"—which means it's slow and grim and deliberately hard to love—yet…

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

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My Favorite Roger: Michael Mirasol

Roger's blog post "The blog of blogs"

Why did I choose this blog post?

So many of Roger's reviews and essays have meant so much to me as he was the first to give a voice to what I felt about many films but could not articulate. But when it comes to my favorite, one easily stands out.

When Roger wrote "The blogs of my blog," little did I know how much it would change my life. Roger had launched his blog as a new voice to replace the one he lost. It was his way of reaching out to his readers and heal. But not only was it a sounding board for him to project his thoughts; it would become a doorway, opening his eyes to how vast his audience really was, and a bridge to other like-minded souls eager to share great cinematic wealth.

Of course, I did not see it as that way back then when I first read it. I was intrigued by the bloggers he liked to read and was amazed at the details he gave about them. How many Pulitzer Prize winners do you know reach out this way and acknowledge their readership with such respect and generosity?

Then I reached the end of the piece, seeing my name, utterly gobsmacked in disbelief. What if Santa Claus wrote you back? Wrote about you? Thanked you and kept in touch? It felt exactly that way, at a point in my life where I was desperate. I had just moved to Saudi Arabia to make a living in the midst of a Global Financial Crisis, away from my family, from my 2-year-old daughter who was just getting to know me. His blog was his lifeline, and in that moment mine as well.

It was as Rick Blaine would say, the start of a beautiful friendship.

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