Author Spotlight

Phillip Lopate

Phillip Lopate’s latest book is A Mother’s Tale. He has written extensively on the movies for Criterion, Film Comment, Cineaste, and the New York Times and is a professor at Columbia University.

18 Results

Insiang: Slum Goddess
Insiang: Slum Goddess

Lino Brocka brought an invigoratingly personal and socially conscious vision to Philippine cinema with this gritty portrait of Manila barrio life.

By Phillip Lopate

On Film / Essays
May 30, 2017
Speedy: The Comic Figure of the Average Man
Speedy: The Comic Figure of the Average Man

In Speedy, Harold Lloyd, a comic genius who thought of himself as a quintessentially average American man, places his optimistic everyman character within the context of a society in shift, to great comedic effect.


By Phillip Lopate

On Film / Essays
Dec 8, 2015
Il sorpasso: The Joys of Disillusionment
Il sorpasso: The Joys of Disillusionment

A leading light of commedia all’italiana, Dino Risi specialized in fleet, satirical takes on contemporary Italian culture, and this road-trip smash was his most trenchant.

By Phillip Lopate

On Film / Essays
Apr 28, 2014
The Great Beauty: Dancing in Place
The Great Beauty: Dancing in Place

Rome is as exquisite as it is suffocating in Paolo Sorrentino’s profound tale of contemporary entropy.

By Phillip Lopate

On Film / Essays
Mar 24, 2014
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie: The Raw and the Cooked

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie: The Raw and the Cooked

In John Cassavetes’s personal cinema, the director was always trying to break away from the formulas of Hollywood narrative, in order to uncover some fugitive truth about the way people behave. At the same time, he took seriously his responsibiliti…

By Phillip Lopate

On Film / Essays
Oct 24, 2013
Lonesome: Great City, Great Solitude
Lonesome: Great City, Great Solitude

A frenetic portrait of New York as well as a love story, Paul Fejos’s film captures the odd sensation of being alone in the big city, even when in a crowd.

By Phillip Lopate

On Film / Essays
Aug 28, 2012
Tiny Furniture: Out There
Tiny Furniture: Out There

Comedy evolves. We long ago bid adieu to the physical acrobatics of Buster Keaton, the wisecracks of Bob Hope, the witty repartee of Cary Grant and Irene Dunne. The now-reigning comedy of embarrassment, seen in the films of Judd Apatow and the Farrel…

By Phillip Lopate

On Film / Essays
Feb 15, 2012
Solaris: Inner Space

Solaris: Inner Space

Andrei Tarkovsky belongs to that handful of filmmakers (Dreyer, Bresson, Vigo, Tati) who, with a small, concentrated body of work, created a universe. Though he made only seven features, thwarted by Soviet censors and then by cancer, each honored his…

By Phillip Lopate

On Film / Essays
May 24, 2011
L’enfance nue:
The Fly in the Ointment

In his defiantly maverick directing career, which yielded only ten features in thirty-five years, Maurice Pialat (1925–2003) was a stimulant and irritant, agitating the cozy pool of French cinema. His first effort, the lyrically bitter short ess…

By Phillip Lopate


Aug 17, 2010
A Christmas Tale:
The Inescapable Family

In the eight films he’s made since 1991, Arnaud Desplechin has been developing a visionary world, a personal style that goes against the grain of standard cinematic practice today. He’s a master of ensemble mise-en-scène and a brilliant director…

By Phillip Lopate


Dec 1, 2009
Mafioso: Meet the Badalamentis!

The 1960s were a heady time for Italian cinema. On the one hand, you had the postwar art-house powerhouses—Rossellini, De Sica, Visconti, Fellini, and Antonioni—all operating in full gear, with a younger crop (Pasolini, Zurlini, and Scola) bringi…

By Phillip Lopate


Mar 18, 2008
When a Woman Ascends the Stairs:
They Endure

The posthumous international triumph of Mikio Naruse is one of the most unique corrections in film history. During his lifetime (1905–69), Naruse toiled away at his craft largely unsung, though respected by his peers, making more than eighty pictur…

By Phillip Lopate


Feb 20, 2007
La collectionneuse: Marking Time

La collectionneuse is a strong, sensuously lush, deceptively slight film, a riviera fruit with a bitter, uncompromising aftertaste. In retrospect, it is both classically Rohmer-esque and atypical, as befits a film in which the director was still find…

By Phillip Lopate


Aug 15, 2006
Ugetsu: From the Other Shore

Often appearing on lists of the ten greatest films of all time, called one of the most beautiful films ever made, or the most masterful work of Japanese cinema, Ugetsu comes to us awash in superlatives. No less acclaimed has been its maker, Kenji Miz…

By Phillip Lopate


Nov 8, 2005
Scenes from a Marriage

When Scenes from a Marriage (1974) was first released theatrically in the U.S., it held the voyeuristic thrill of watching a live couple flailing themselves before our eyes. The nearly three-hour film seemed to do for the institution of marriage w

By Phillip Lopate


Mar 15, 2004
Night and Fog

François Truffaut once called Night and Fog “the greatest film ever made.” If you don’t believe me, here is the exact quote: “The effective war film is often the one in which the action begins after the war, when there is nothing but ruins a…

By Phillip Lopate


Jun 24, 2003
Contempt: The Story of a Marriage

Contempt, one of Jean-Luc Godard’s greatest masterpieces, has a stately air that breaks with the filmmaker’s earlier, throwaway, hit-and-run manner, as though he were this time allowing himself to aim for cinematic sublimity. It is both his riche…

By Phillip Lopate


Dec 9, 2002
Gertrud

There is no other movie like Gertrud. It exists in its own bright, one-entry category, idiosyncratic, serenely stubborn, and sublime. When it opened in 1964, Carl Theodor Dreyer’s last film, one of his greatest, generated a scandal from which it h…

By Phillip Lopate


Aug 21, 2001