Audrey Kupferberg

Audrey Kupferberg: Hefty Roles For Mature Women!

Jun 22, 2018

Women and their societal problems are getting lots of attention these days.  One aspect of women growing older in the United States is the invisibility factor.  In general, when a young woman walks into a store, the clerks see her as a consumer and pay attention.  When an older woman walks into the store, she is ignored.  In so many venues, she is invisible.

Audrey Kupferberg: The Ancient Law

Jun 15, 2018

In the mid 1980s, an archivist at the Deutsche Kinemathek worked on the restoration of a 1923 silent film by the esteemed director E.A. Dupont.  The film is titled DAS ALTE GESETZ which is translated as THE ANCIENT LAW.  It tells the dramatic story of Baruch, a young shtetl Jew, the son of a Rabbi, who leaves his family and community, seeking a secular career as a stage actor. 

Audrey Kupferberg: Finding Your Feet

May 18, 2018

If I want to partake of unending violence, deception, and general mean-spiritedness, I’ll watch cable news. When I want to enjoy a good old-fashioned story about life – its trials, its happiness, and the love and friendship that make it worthwhile -- then I watch a feel-good movie. 

How many times have you heard a friend or relative say, “I don’t want to see that old movie.  It’s in black-and-white.”  So many associate classic films with black-and-white that they disregard all those that actually were released in color.  Two extraordinary examples of early color films recently have been made available on DVD and Blu-ray.

Audrey Kupferberg: NANA, A Holocaust Remembrance Documentary

Apr 11, 2018

NANA is a feature-length documentary about Polish-Jewish Holocaust survivor Maryla Michalowski-Dyamant. Dyamant, a promising young opera singer, was twenty years old when the Nazis invaded her town of Bedzin, Poland in 1939, the start of World War II. Soon after that, she began her nightmarish sojourn of imprisonment in a ghetto and hellish incarceration for years in the death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, and also Ravensbruck and Malchow.

Audrey Kupferberg: Outstanding Film Performances Of 2017

Mar 16, 2018

Frances McDormand is astounding audiences as the rage-filled, maniacal mother of a young rape and murder victim in THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI, and Gary Oldman is thrilling viewers of DARKEST HOUR with his multi-dimensional portrayal of Winston Churchill.  They are rightful winners of this year’s Oscars for actors in leading roles.

Flickr

The 90th Academy Awards ceremony is scheduled for March 4. Here to discuss 2017's top movies and film performances are WAMC's commentators Rob Edelman and Audrey Kupferberg. WAMC's Ray Graf hosts.

Audrey Kupferberg: Overlooked And Forgotten Films Of 2017

Feb 16, 2018

With all the Oscar buzz this month, one might think that fewer than twenty feature films were made during 2017. THREE BILLBOARDS, THE SHAPE OF WATER, THE PHANTOM THREAD, LADY BIRD, GET OUT, DARKEST HOUR…

Character development is essential to the success of a narrative film, particularly when the characters are depictions of real people. Audiences should enter the mind and witness the growth of the character using all the cinematic devices a movie crew can muster. Yet I wonder: Has character development become a secondary aspect of filmmaking in a world that emphasizes action flicks? I, TONYA and ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD are two basically well-made films that are letdowns in the category of character development.

Audrey Kupferberg: Three Bilboards And Lady Bird

Dec 15, 2017

For the first six or seven decades of the 20th Century, in Hollywood films, it often was the woman who was the dependent one, the character most likely to lay a head upon the shoulder of the male lead. The strength and goodness of so many traditional movie heroines have been measured by their sweetness, innate goodness, loyalty to romantic interests or husbands and children, and outstandingly good looks.

Audrey Kupferberg: Films That Play With Time

Nov 17, 2017


For centuries poets and philosophers have warned about the cruelty of time.  We may not consider the influence of time on our lives very often, but once in a while a movie can remind us of the sheer power that time wields over our lives.  Two films bring this concept to mind, one from 1948 and the other from this year.  They are PORTRAIT OF JENNIE, a classic love story from producer David O. Selznick and director William Dieterle, based on a book by Robert Nathan— and MARJORIE PRIME, a recent release written and directed by Michael Almereyda from the play by Jordan Harrison.

Audrey Kupferberg: Dawson City - Frozen Time

Oct 20, 2017

Up until now, filmmaker Bill Morrison has been known for his art film DECASIA, which imdb.com rightly describes as “a meditation on the human quest to transcend physicality, constructed from decaying archival footage and set to an original symphonic score.”

Audrey Kupferberg: Menashe

Sep 29, 2017

The film MENASHE, which is playing in theaters now, is a most unusual movie.  It’s unusual because its actors primarily speak Yiddish.  There are English subtitles, of course.  It’s unusual because it gives viewers an intimate look inside an ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn—the sort of Hasidic community whose members seldom or never go to the movies.  It’s unusual because it’s a significant feature film that boasts first-time film actors and a director, Joshua Z. Weinstein, who never before helmed a feature film project.

Audrey Kupferberg: The Lost World

Sep 22, 2017

THE LOST WORLD.  It’s a Hollywood silent movie that first startled audiences in 1925 and has since proven to be a cult favorite for those who savor fantasy and science fiction genres.  In THE LOST WORLD, pterodactylus fly, and brontosaurus and stegosaurus roam.  The story, which stems from a novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, was written in 1912.  It is evidence that Conan Doyle’s appeal was not limited to Sherlock Holmes.  This story features two of Conan Doyle’s lesser-known but repeated characters, hot-tempered explorer Professor George Edward Challenger and his friend, adventurer and big-game hunter Sir John Roxton. 

Audrey Kupferberg: Alone In Berlin And The Exception

Sep 7, 2017

If the topic of a film is unpleasant but presented in an exaggerated or outlandish manner, audiences flock to see the movie.  In superhero blockbusters, characters borne in comics fight to the death to save whole populations from misery and the world from mass destruction.  Audiences can’t get enough of this type of entertainment, and profits of hundreds of millions of dollars result.  

Audrey Kupferberg: London Theatre

Jul 28, 2017

A few years ago, the college-aged daughter of friends of mine informed me that she goes to the theater for fun. Nothing more.  I disagreed.  Theater can be fun, but a person should attend theater to become educated, to illuminate aspects of life and clarify our emotional responses to the various worlds in which we live.  In the past month, I have been on a theater spree in London and New York City, seeking out plays and musical shows which range from lovely bits of fluff to full-blown political and humanist statements.  The musical shows offered the kind of fun my young friend craved, but also managed to touch upon more weighty themes. 

Audrey Kupferberg: The Beguiled

Jul 21, 2017

Ever wish that you could remake one of those offensive anti-women macho dramas of the early screen career of Clint Eastwood?  Instead of yelling down the sexist male aggression in scene after scene, you could start from zero, rewrite the screenplay, and present the story from a more gender-balanced or even from a female point of view. PLAY MISTY FOR ME is a classic example -- and so is THE BEGUILED.

Audrey Kupferberg: Early Women Directors

Jun 29, 2017

A few weeks ago, headlines for the opening of WONDER WOMAN read: Patty Jenkins is the first woman to direct a superhero film with a female protagonist. WONDER WOMAN is the first female-directed live-action film to have a $100 million+ budget. WONDER WOMAN opened at $103 million box office, which is the highest US opening for a female director.

Audrey Kupferberg: Zaza

Jun 16, 2017

Looking over the current crop of films available in theaters or on home screens, it is worth noting that a number of screen veterans are back in the spotlight, adding a strong late act to their respective careers.   Richard Gere is receiving very positive reviews as the complex and quirky title character in NORMAN.  Shirley MacLaine has scored points in WILD OATS and THE LAST WORD. Susan Sarandon,  Jessica Lange, and Christopher Plummer are among the veteran actors who also continue to have active careers. 

HOME FIRES is an ITV series about British villagers who fight World War II in Cheshire—with an emphasis on the woman’s role in fighting war on the home front.  Season two recently completed airing on American PBS stations.  The episodes of seasons one and two reportedly drew good ratings here and abroad.  And why not?  The scripts favor strong characters—particularly strong female characters—and there is plenty of action and emotional turmoil which escalates from episode to episode. 

Audrey Kupferberg: World War I On Film

Apr 25, 2017

It has been exactly 100 years since the United States entered World War I.  To commemorate the event, PBS recently debuted THE GREAT WAR, a 6-hour documentary as part of its ongoing American Experience series.  It was called The Great War back then, because nobody had the farsightedness to predict that there would be a Second World War.  In addition to this nonfiction interpretation of the war, two feature films offering very different accounts of the Great War have been made available.

Audrey Kupferberg: London Road And Happy Street

Mar 17, 2017

The film version of the hit British stage musical London Road, written by Alecky Blythe, recently was made available to home markets.  Both the play and its screen version are performed in an unusual and rather surprising form of musical entertainment called verbatim theatre.  This approach to musical theater, and as it extends to film musicals, presents interpretations of true events in a documentary style.  The lyrics are constructed from words spoken by the real-life participants.  The music reflects the inflections of the voices which originally spoke the words.   Most likely, viewers will not go to sleep humming the tunes of LONDON ROAD.

Audrey Kupferberg: Hidden Figures And 20th Century Women

Feb 17, 2017

In so many ways, we look at feature films as means of expressing our aspirations.  We want films to mirror the best in us.   People of various philosophies differ in which character traits they want defined in films.  As a woman with a feminist philosophy, I relish films that depict independent-thinking women who strive to lead full and meaningful lives.  

I fell in love with the movies many years ago.  Going to see a film – even a sad drama – somehow left me with a feeling of empathy or a shared moment of humanity.  But a number of the art-house films of late 2016 with their emphasis on sadness and disillusionment simply leave me emotionally wrung out.

Audrey Kupferberg: Children Of Divorce

Dec 16, 2016

Flicker Alley, in partnership with the Blackhawk Films Collection, has just released the Blu-ray/DVD world premiere of a 1927 Hollywood feature, CHILDREN OF DIVORCE.  Working with preservationists from the Library of Congress, which holds the original nitrate negative and protection material on this title, and having these materials scanned in 4K resolution, Flicker Alley has presented the film in its very best form.  Plus, there is a new musical score by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra.

Audrey Kupferberg: The Crown

Nov 25, 2016

Netflix has a new, fact-based series called The Crown. It’s about the British royals in the mid-20th Century, including their complicated family relationships as well as their interaction with the most influential leaders of British government. 

Audrey Kupferberg: 'Arrival' And 'Hacksaw Ridge'

Nov 18, 2016

Two new films are playing in local theaters this month.  One is an innovative sci-fi feature called ARRIVAL starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker.  Adams gets most of the screen time as Dr. Louise Banks, a brilliant university linguist, who is employed by the U.S. military to translate the language of aliens.  The story involves twelve alien spacecraft that land in a dozen locales across the earth.  The extraterrestrials, which are called Heptapods, are nothing like humans in their appearance, but they do seem to be capable of communication.  While they look absolutely primordial, they have powers that we on earth have not yet acquired.

Audrey Kupferberg: Denial

Nov 1, 2016

DENIAL, a newly-released film, relates a very important true story, one that actually drew headlines 16 years ago.  The focus of the plot is a lawsuit that worked its way through English courts from 1996 into the 21st century.  In this suit, self-proclaimed historian David Irving sued Penguin Books and Deborah Lipstadt, an eminent American scholar on Holocaust Studies, for libel for characterizing some of his writings and public statements as Holocaust denial.

Audrey Kupferberg: Death Fantasies In The Movies

Oct 21, 2016

Throughout the history of the movies, there have been realistic portrayals of death.  But there also have been many instances where death is handled as eerie fantasy.  As we move towards Halloween, stories featuring death and its supernatural elements are dominating home screens.

Audrey Kupferberg: Florence Foster Jenkins

Sep 16, 2016

Have you seen the advertising stills and posters for FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS, the late summer release from director Stephen Frears?   In just about every image, the three major characters smile in a carefree, bubbly fashion as though they just tasted the most delicious champagne.   There are Florence herself played by Meryl Streep, her husband St. Clair Bayfield played by Hugh Grant, and highly talented Simon Helberg from THE BIG BANG THEORY appearing as her piano accompanist. 

Pages