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Short Films in Focus: The Oscar-Nominated Short Films of 2020

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Like the main character in one of this year’s nominees, I feel like I’m experiencing a “Groundhog Day”-like loop when I cover the Oscar Shorts nominees every year. We have a Kid-In-Peril storyline for the Live Action category, confounding animated shorts that ... More »

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Nasim Pedrad Boldly Parodies Adolescence in TBS’ Chad

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Nasim Pedrad pulls off a bold, bizarre comedic feat in “Chad,” the new single-camera comedy from TBS. She fully immerses herself into her portrayal of a 14-year-old boy, without the story ever winking that the character is being played by a talented comedian (... More »

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No Malice Film Contest Extends its Deadline to May 31st

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The inaugural No Malice Film Contest for Illinois youth and young adults has extended its deadline to Monday, May 31st. The content is presented by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation and the... More »

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Babel

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“England and America are two countries separated by a common language.” — George Bernard Shaw Even more separated are cultures that do not share languages, values, frames of reference, or physical realities. “Babel” weaves stories from Morocco, America, Mexico... More »

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The Tree of Life

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Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” is a film of vast ambition and deep humility, attempting no less than to encompass all of existence and view it through the prism of a few infinitesimal lives. The only other film I’ve seen with this boldness of vision is K... More »

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The River (Le Fleuve)

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Jean Renoir‘s “The River” (1951) begins with a circle being drawn in rice paste on the floor of a courtyard, and the circular patterns continue. In an opening scene, the children of a British family in India peer through porch railings at a newcomer arriving n... More »

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Cloud Atlas

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Even as I was watching “Cloud Atlas” the first time, I knew I would need to see it again. Now that I’ve seen it the second time, I know I’d like to see it a third time — but I no longer believe repeated viewings will solve anything. To borrow Churchill’s descr... More »

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Persona

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Shakespeare used six words to pose the essential human choice: “To be, or not to be?” Elizabeth, a character in Ingmar Bergman’s “Persona,” uses two to answer it: “No, don’t!” She is an actress who one night stopped speaking in the middle of the performance, a... More »

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Le Havre

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Here is the sunniest film I’ve seen by Aki Kaurismaki, and he reveals a lot of sunshine inside for a director whose world is usually filled with deadpan losers. His dour films are comedies, too, and baffle some viewers while others grow unreasonably fond of th... More »

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In Memory of Roger Ebert: Films About Connection

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Every year, on April 4th, the day that Roger Ebert died in 2013, we give the site back to the man who made it. This year, in honor of the incredible time in which the world finds itself, we thought we’d focus on times that Roger wrote about connection and rebi... More »

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