Juliette Binoche and Guillaume Canet in “Non-Fiction.”

It isn’t provable whether adultery is more accepted in French bourgeois life than in that of other countries, but French films often suggest it’s nothing to get in a lather about. Olivier Assayas’s Non-Fiction, in which three of the four main fortysomething characters are having affairs, presents infidelity as rote behavior more calmly than would most British or American films, puritanism being not fully extinguished. Assayas doesn’t avoid raising the moral standard — he just doesn’t let it flap excessively.

The film isn’t focused on adultery, however, but on the issue of digitisation’s ramifications for the future of publishing and…


Robert De Niro as Frank Sheeran in “The Irishman.” Image courtesy of Netflix.

There is a sense of nostalgia and of letting go about The Irishman, the first and probably the last organised crime film made by Martin Scorsese to star not only his long-time colleagues Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel but also genre icon Al Pacino, whom Scorsese has never previously directed. (The old goodfellas’ faces, especially De Niro’s, were expensively de-aged by facial-recognition technology for the scenes in which their characters are younger.)

If this is a goodbye, then Scorsese has a little intertextual fun with it. As the eponymous Mob and Teamsters labour union hitman and courier…


Fred Schepisi’s The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978) was the Australian New Wave film that most rigorously confronted the cataclysmic effect of British and Irish colonisation on the country’s Aboriginal people. It helped pave the way for such 21st century racial dramas as indigenous director Warwick Thornton’s Samson and Delilah and Sweet Country and Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale.

Schepisi adapted it from Thomas Keneally’s 1972 novel, which looked beyond the Aboriginal genocide to the tragedy of attempted black assimilation in the whitefellas’ culture. Jimmie was based by Keneally on Jimmy Governor, a farm fencer born to an Aboriginal father and…


There’s never been a screen Scot as intimidating as Brian Cox’s Logan Roy, the ruthless media baron and patriarch in HBO’s Succession. Imagine Trainspotting ‘s Begbie coming up against Logan and you know that that atavistically violent Scottish “hard man” would quail in his presence. How can Logan’s ambitious kids — Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Siobhan (Sarah Snook) and Roman (Kieran Culkin) — possibly hope to dethrone him? Their elder brother Connor (Alan Ruck), long absent from the fray, knows it would be easier to become the next American president than fill Logan’s shoes at Waystar Royco.

Season Two of Jesse…


I talked to the director for Vanity Fair.

Martin Sheen in “Apocalypse Now: Final Cut”

“A cut of a film is a magical thing,” Francis Ford Coppola told me last week. “After all, a movie is an illusion, and what makes the illusion come alive could be a matter of maybe taking out six frames from one sequence — that might do the trick. I used to tell my kids that in getting a cigarette lighter to work, you might change the flint, put in more fluid, pull the wick out, and keep doing little things so finally it lights. It’s the same with a movie: you…


In the new season of Big Little Lies, Nicole Kidman’s widowed Celeste Wright goes tête-à-tête with her grieving mother-in-law, Mary Louise, an owlish woman insinuatingly played by Meryl Streep. Poor Celeste! So recently the victim of the sexual violence meted out to her by husband Perry (Alexander Skarsård), she now has to deal with the honed passive-aggressiveness of his doting mom, who pays little heed to Celeste’s accounts of Perry’s brutality.

Except for when Celeste was liberated by the opportunity to do some lawyering in Season One, she was for most of it a shadowy presence. Long in denial of…


Interrogating Al Pacino’s two Salomé films, finally released decades after the actor first staged the Oscar Wilde play.

Al Pacino in ‘Salomé’ | © Salome Productions

Salomé (2014) is Pacino’s adaptation of Wilde’s play, which wasn’t publicly performed in England until 1931 — 37 years after it was first published in English. Wilde Salomé (2011) documents Pacino’s fraught, simultaneous direction of the play as a stage reading at Brentwood’s Wadsworth Theater in 2006 and the movie, which he shot in less than a week.

The documentary incorporates Pacino’s roving investigation into Wilde’s career and tragic fall, as well as scenes from an incomplete Salomé film he shot in the Mohave Desert, and a scene depicting Wilde (played by Pacino in a wig) just before his arrest…


The tourist attraction of today bears no resemblance to how Times Square looked and felt in the 1970s.

Martin Scorsese’s 1976 masterpiece Taxi Driver depicted Times Square as a village of the damned. It doesn’t look that way anymore.

Walk around Times Square today and you feel relatively safe and unsullied, even at night, despite the dazzling video ads with their relentless hard sell. (You should still keep a grip on your bag or feel the pressure of your pocketbook.)

Back in the mid 1970s, and well into the late 1980s, a visitor to Times Square and the streets running east of it to Eighth Avenue, including 42nd — the godforsaken “Deuce’ — wasn’t safe at all. …


The makers of Babylon Berlin threw two stunning musical curveballs in Episode 10.

Bryan Ferry in ‘Babylon Berlin’ | © Netflix

Something weird and wonderful happens at the start of Episode 10 of Babylon Berlin. Helga Rath (Hannah Herzsprung) and Gereon Rath (Volker Bruch), their rooms flooded with morning sunlight, do an impromptu goofy dance to “Mir ist so nach dir” (translated in the subtitles as “I’m in the mood for you.”)

The song is not on the radio or on the gramophone but in Helga’s head and on the soundtrack — in fact, she dreams the whole routine, having woken in an ecstatic mood.


The painting that reignited the debate on censorship in art.

John William Waterhouse, ‘Hylas and the Nymphs’ (1896) | © Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group/REX/Shutterstock

Manchester Art Gallery’s temporary removal of John William Waterhouse’s Hylas and the Nymphs stoked an uproar about censorship and political correctness.

Waterhouse’s 1896 painting, an acknowledged late Pre-Raphaelite masterpiece, depicts the handsome young Argonaut Hylas encircled by seven naked naiads, or water nymphs, in a very English pool. The painting was inspired by a Greek legend told by Hellenistic Greek poets such as Theocritus, Apollonius of Rhodes, and Nicander, and the Augustan Latin poets Ovid and Propertius.

Though Hylas is the squire and lover of the Argonauts’ strong man Heracles, he is stricken and tempted by the nymphs’ beauty. The…

Graham Fuller

NYC-based arts editor and film critic. Contributor to Sight and Sound, Cineaste, Vanity Fair. New York Film Critics Circle member. Twitter: @graham_fuller.

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