Articles by Alan Gerstle

The Critical Movie Critics

Alan Gerstle is a fiction writer and essayist who also teaches film and creative writing. He lives on the East Coast of the United States.


Movie Review: The Light of Hope (2017)

The Light of Hope (La llum d’Elna), a Spanish-language film directed by Silvia Quer from a script by Margarita Melgar, begins in a celebratory mood, as Pat, a boy of nine or ten, runs through the grounds of an old estate in the French countryside, threading his way through a beehive of activity. What is…

Movie Review: Budapest Noir (2017)

News Vendor: “I’m leaving.” Gordon: “Why?” News Vendor: “I found out I’m Jewish.” Gordon: “But you fought in the war.” News Vendor: “Tell it to the person that threw a rock at my window.” Gordon: “This is Budapest.” Budapest Noir, directed by Éva Gárdos (“American Rhapsody”) transports us to the Budapest of 1936. Zsigmond Gordon…

Movie Review: The Last Suit (2017)

The Last Suit (El Último Traje), the second feature film by writer/director Pablo Solarz (“Intimate Stories”) is an Argentine/Spain production that follows the journey of Abraham Bursztein (Miguel Ángel Solá, “The Impatient Alchemist”) an 88-year-old holocaust survivor who found refuge in Argentina, where he created a life for himself, working as a tailor and raising…

Movie Review: Liyana (2017)

“The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.” — Muriel Rukeyser (Poet and physicist) Liyana, directed by the Swaziland-born husband and wife team of Aaron and Amanda Kopp, is a genre bending documentary that follows a small group of Swazi children — residents of Likhaya Lemphilo Lensha, a Swaziland orphanage — as they participate…

Movie Review: Baronesa (2017)

Baronesa is the ironic title of Brazilian director Juliana Antunes’ documentary or docu-drama, a film that presents life in the Brazilian favelas through a number of scenes that primarily focus on the daily lives of two of its residents, Andreia (Andreia Pereira de Sousa), a manicurist/beautician, and her friend, Leidiane (Leid Ferreira). The title’s irony…

Movie Review: The Swan (2017)

Ása Helga Hjörleifsdóttir, director and screenwriter of The Swan (“Svanurinn”), a low-key Icelandic film (adapted from the 1992 novel by Guðbergur Bergsson) was asked in an interview how she tackled the job of transforming a novel written with a preponderance of interiority into a movie. The question can be answered by examining its cinematography, which…

Movie Review: Are You Glad I’m Here (2018)

Are You Glad I’m Here is the first feature film directed by Noor Gharzeddine, a Lebanese-American director who appears equally at home in presenting Kirsten (Tess Harrison), a 24-year-old American who has found herself working as an English teacher in Beirut as she does in portraying the middle-class Lebanese family that lives next door. It…

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