Defiance. The forests of Belarus during World War Two help the near-miraculous rescue of 1200 Jews from the Germans. The basic story is true--how two thuggish Polish-Jewish brothers shepherded their flock to safety. The action sequences around this story are sometimes strained, still the film is thrilling. (Reviewed 2/18/09)
Katyn. The celebrated Polish director Andrzej Wajda caps his 60-year career with a tremendous film about the massacre of 20,000 Polish officers by Stalin’s orders in 1940. (Wajda’s father was one of them.) The film focuses on victims’ relatives and friends before and after the murders. Monumental. (3/18/09)
Our City Dreams. Chiara Clemente’s documentary looks at four women artists in New York--a wide range of ages--and what New York did to their states of mind and their work. Lively, winning, smartly made. (3/4/09)
Tokyo! Three short films made by in Tokyo with Japanese actors, none directed by a native. All three deal in different approaches with a person’s refusal to accept social norms, insistence on living as one chooses. Brisk, touching. (3/18/09)
Stanley Kauffmann is a film critic at The New Republic.
By Stanley Kauffmann