One of the highlights of every annual Program Guide is Professor Matthew Bernstein’s* must-see films list. He painstakingly reviews a slew of films in each year's lineup, and 2016 has him as enthusiastic as ever.
We'll be featuring his picks, one-by-one, leading up to the festival's Opening Night on January 26. Of course, if you can't wait to see his entire write-up, make sure to grab your copy of the official Program Guide.
This is a gift to any film lover or budding filmmaker. Growing up in the Yiddish theater, and acting in 1930s Hollywood films, Sidney Lumet by the 1970s was one of the most revered Jewish American film directors, famous for his work with the finest actors of his time such as Henry Fonda and Al Pacino, and for his hard-hitting crime dramas (Dog Day Afternoon, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead), adaptations (The Pawnbroker, Long Day’s Journey into Night, Fail Safe, Murder on the Orient Express, Daniel) and social satires (Bye, Bye Braverman, Network). Here, he frankly and in detail discusses his poor Jewish upbringing, liberal left politics, career, and working methods and greatest challenges, in remarks that are illustrated by generous clips from his best work. Though he denies it, his abiding subjects include family relationships, individuals rebelling against corrupt systems, and the often elusive nature of justice—Jewish themes (though not exclusively so) to their core.
*Dr. Matthew Bernstein is the Goodrich C. White Professor of Film and Media Studies and department chair at Emory University.