Guest Clerks: Ryan Krivoshey of Cinema Guild Picks Three for You To See

We’re pleased to introduce a new series on Keyframe called Guest Clerks, in which film experts, celebrities and other special guests will make their own personal recommendations of films available on Fandor. This series is inspired by the good old days when folks counted on their neighborhood video rental store clerk to steer them to discover great films waiting on the shelves – the same kind of special expert insight into movies that Keyframe strives to provide here on Fandor.

Alexandra russian film films movie movies sokurov

We couldn’t ask for a more appropriate person to kick off the Guest Clerks series than Ryan Krivoshey of Cinema Guild, and not just because Ryan is a key figure in the arthouse distribution scene. One of his first jobs in the movies was working as a clerk at the legendary Kim’s Video in Manhattan, so he’s especially qualified to perform the task. (What’s more, in making his recommendations, he exercised gracious restraint in limiting himself to just one Cinema Guild title.) Without further ado, Ryan’s recommendations:

It’s not often that one comes across a film that seems to redefine the very idea of what a film can be. For me, that happened with Mother and Son, the 1997 film from Russian filmmaker Alexander Sokurov. I’ve since experienced that same sense of amazement with many of his other films, but especially with Alexandra(2007), which we were lucky enough to distribute. A seemingly simple story about an elderly woman visiting her grandson on a military base, it is one of the most beautiful and deeply rewarding movies you will ever see.


The Last Laugh
One of my favorite film books is Siegfried Kracauer’s From Caligari to Hitler, which argues that German expressionist films of the 1920’s foreshadowed the rise of Nazism in the 1930s. Whether you accept Kracauer’s argument or not, his insight into the films of this period is unmatched. One of these that always stood out for me was F.W. Murnau’s The Last Laugh (1924). It’s a brilliant work, both for its formal innovations (complete absence of intertitles; detached camera) but also for its acute and devastating depiction of life in Germany between the wars.


Harvard Beats Yale 29-29
Beginning with the classic Atomic Cafe in 1982, filmmaker Kevin Rafferty has directed some of the most intriguing and inventive – and perhaps underappreciated – documentaries of the last few decades. Blood in the Face from 1991 was an extremely perceptive look at right wing extremism in the United States. Feed (1992), in my opinion, is among the most important modern political docs and should be watched prior to every election season. His most recent film, Harvard Beats Yale 29-29 (2008), not only continues his amazing documentary work, but does so without the glitz and bombast that has come to consume so many documentaries these days. As a result, it is a unique viewing experience (ostensibly the story of a single football game), as well as an utterly gripping and exciting movie.


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