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Ad Astra

This is rare, nuanced storytelling, anchored by one of Brad Pitt’s career-best performances and remarkable technical elements on every level. It’s a special film.

Where's My Roy Cohn?

"Homosexuals have AIDS. I have liver cancer." That corrosive line from Tony Kusher's acclaimed play "Angels in America" is delivered by the character of Roy Cohn,…

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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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Serpico, the cop who wouldn't take money

May contain spoilers

In contemporary Hollywood, when a young actor becomes successful, he immediately tries to convert fame into power and money, investing his time in formulaic projects that guarantee great results at the box office and, thus, his ascension in the industry. It was not always like this - and we just need to observe Al Pacino's career to confirm that: after he became a hit with The Godfather, dozens of screenplays fell onto his lap, but he still focused on challenging and complex works in which he struggled against Hollywood's attempts to turn him into a heartthrob - projects such as A Dog Day Afternoon (in which he robbed a bank to pay for the sex reassignment surgery of his boyfriend, played by Chris Sarandon) and, of course, Serpico.

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Opening Shots: 'Yojimbo'

In the spirit of "Rashomon," two views of the opening shot of another Akira Kurosawa picture:

From Or Shkolnik, Israel:

We see a beautiful mountain landscape, a dramatic music starts playing while the name of the movie appears in big letters:


Suddenly a stiff samurai enters the frame, wind blows in his wild grown hair, and than a hand pops out from within his kimono neck collar in a charming way that looks as if his hands are still in their sleeves at the sides of his body. He scratches his head in a very un-samuraish way, and than the hand goes back from where it came from and disappears as if only to visually express what's going in this man's head: He has no direction. Then the credits start to roll and the camera follows the man (in a single shot) while he is walking, but we can't see where because the angle is very low and frames only the back of the man's head over a grey empty sky. Like the samurai, we can see no direction. After the credits end, a caption appears that unfolds the historic background of how in 1860 the Tokugawa dynasty lost all power and many samurai found themselves without a master to serve, including this samurai who was left with "no devices other than his wit and sword."

We then see the samurai walk to a crossroad, stop, look around, pick up a stick and throw it in the air. The Camera frame the stick when it falls, and we see the samurai's feet walk to it and than changes their direction to where the stick points, the camera tilts up and the sequence ends with the samurai walking away from the camera.

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