Author: Siddhant Adlakha

  • Five Films to Watch at This Year’s Japan Cuts Festival

    The Japan Society in Manhattan, which now resides next to the United Nations building, celebrated its 111th birthday in May. Its annual film festival, Japan Cuts: Festival of New Japanese Film, begins its twelfth iteration this Thursday. The century prior to the screen festival’s founding was a tumultuous one for the institution, to say the […]

  • “Avengers: Infinity War” Debrief: How the Marvel Epic Challenged Its Heroes’ Commitment to Sacrifice

    Avengers: Infinity War, Marvel’s ten-year culmination, is a sad film. It’s fun, no doubt: It zips by despite its gargantuan runtime, and even finds slowed-down moments to remind us that we love these characters in part simply because they often crack wise. Yet those wisecracks exist not to break up action beats — as is the […]

  • A Closer Look at the New York Indian Film Festival, the City’s Underexposed Cultural Handshake

    Aroon Shivdasani immigrated to North America in 1970 with her husband, whom she met at St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai. She moved from Toronto to Virginia to New Rochelle before settling in New York City, where she founded, in 1998, the Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC), a small organization run out of her Upper East Side […]

  • “Jessica Jones” Season Two Boils Down the Superhero Formula to Personal Terms

    The second season of Marvel/Netflix’s Jessica Jones, which debuted on the streaming service last month, is at once a stark departure from the trappings of its genre and a work playing distinctly within the superhero sandbox. (A renewal for a third season was just announced as well.) The first scene places its protagonist within a […]

  • Another Look at “The Work,” One of 2017’s Essential Documentaries

    Dark Cloud is an incarcerated violent offender raised by a violent father, and one of several dozen attendees of Folsom State Prison’s group therapy program. He sports prison tattoos, a colored kerchief, and Native American beadwork, all elements of the imposing facade associated with his Native prison-gang affiliation. He’s a burly man on the road to […]

  • In “Black Panther,” American Dreams and American Nightmares Clash

    Marvel’s lavish, Africa-set superhero adventure opens on the streets of Oakland, California, in 1992. Black Bay Area youth shoot basketballs into makeshift scrap-hoops. Above them, N’Jobu (Sterling K. Brown) code-switches between American and African inflection as Wakandan royalty comes knocking to investigate potential crimes against the crown. The interaction finds the Black Panther, T’Chaka, an […]

  • “Padmaavat,” an Indian Masterpiece Held Hostage, Sees the Light of Day

    Watching a mainstream blockbuster movie isn’t an act one normally associates with reaffirming free speech and democracy, but it became exactly that all throughout India two weekends ago. As the country prepared to celebrate its Republic Day and the formation of its constitution on Friday, January 26, protests by cultural conservatives raged across several states. […]

  • The Ramifications of Saudi Cinemas Opening Their Doors

    On the coast of the Persian Gulf, less than a hundred meters from the shoreline, stands the Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Science & Technology Center. Located in Al-Khobar, a city in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, the complex houses, among other things, a 190-seat IMAX Dome that plays two shows daily: one of Wild Africa, […]

  • “Thor: Ragnarok”: Marvel From a Postcolonial Perspective

    For all its franchise-building, CGI-laden spectacle, and self-referential humor, Thor: Ragnarok is a tale of colonialism — a cosmic comedy that’s out to remind us of the centuries-long tendency to sweep colonial history under a gilded rug and refuse to learn from it. Don’t look so surprised: This may be a Disney–Marvel comic-book film — and, as […]