Jerry L. Holsopple Archive
Four Screenings at the Avalon Theater, Washington, D.C.
Nelly (Nina Hoss), a German nightclub singer, but also a Jew and a death camp survivor, enters occupied Berlin at the beginning of Phoenix to have her face reconstructed after the disfiguring caused by a bullet wound. She emerges with a new face, one at least different enough that her husband, Johnny (Ronald Zehrfeld), doesn’t recognize her. She discovers that she now has a claim to considerable wealth because all of her family has been killed in the camps. Johnny, believing she is dead, wants to get some of this money. Nelly, instead of claiming to be herself, enters into […]
A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story
Like its protagonist, the documentary A Brave Heart remains upbeat and positive throughout. Both could have justifiably wallowed in the pain, which would create empathy in many viewers, but would not win our respect. In an age obsessed with appearances, Lizzie lives fully in the body she has been given. From birth, Lizzie Velasquez has suffered with a rare syndrome, actually undiagnosed until she was an adult, which gives her unusual facial features and makes it almost impossible for her to gain weight. When Lizzie was in high school, she discovered a YouTube video titled “The World’s Ugliest Woman,” which […]
The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
I slipped into the seat early—like normal—and watched the stream of trailers. Almost every trailer noted its film was based on a true story, or was “the” true story, or that it revealed the hidden true story. Watch, have some laughs, enjoy the ending, and forget it by tomorrow. I watched three minutes of climbers trying to survive a trip down Everest, 33 miners trapped for 69 days in Chile, and the secret soldiers of Benghazi, who apparently rescued the Americans at the embassy. Being based on a true story seemingly validates the expenditure of making a movie and should […]
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Take some witty dialogue from the 2007 movie Juno, mix with the movie-making madness of The Science of Sleep (2006), add teenage coming-of-age drama plus a diagnosis of cancer, and you have Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. A typical coming-of-age romance between an awkward adolescent boy and a cute young girl, but then we see the effects of chemo, and we quickly come back to reality. Greg Gaines, the Me of the title, describes the narrative early in the film as “this is a story of my senior year in high school and how it destroyed my life.” […]
PQ Sirens doesn’t dwell in the sadness, but instead in the empowering nature of relationships and the healing that can come from making music. The Weepies, a duo of Deb Talan and Steve Tannen, recently released Sirens after a very challenging year. Deb and Steve, the parents of three young children, together faced Deb’s diagnosis of breast cancer and subsequent months of treatment. Sirens doesn’t dwell in the sadness, but instead in the empowering nature of relationships and the healing that can come from making music. When they cover the Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne tune “Learning to Fly,” there […]
Mandolin Orange, the duo of Emily Frantz and Andrew Marlin, offers a gem with the release of their latest album. They have been touring regularly over the last few years, but this album whispers of the desire to be home. The last cut, “Of Which There Is No Like,” ends with: The fiddle, guitar, and mandolin blend with the voices surrounding you like a comfy blanket in the chill so you can settle back into your rocking chair or porch swing and enjoy life as the sun sets over the horizon. Hold me tight tonight my darling Out of the […]
Lost and Found: Buena Vista Social Club Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes Two recent musical releases dig into hidden gems and leftovers to create new albums. Lost and Found, from the Buena Vista Social Club, and Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes. On Lost and Found you will experience a wonderful mix, from Manuel Guajiro Mirabel’s trumpet solos of “Habenero,” taken from the vaults when it didn’t make it onto a planned solo album in 2004, to the infectious live tune that starts the album, featuring Ibrahim Ferrer and more than a dozen other musicians. […]
Lost and Found: Buena Vista Social Club Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes Two recent musical releases dig into hidden gems and leftovers to create new albums—Lost and Found, from the Buena Vista Social Club, and Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes. While these musicians are old by any standard and the music they play is thick with tradition, the sounds always make my body feel like moving. On Lost and Found you will experience a wonderful mix, from Manuel Guajiro Mirabel’s trumpet solos of “Habenero,” taken from the vaults when it didn’t make it onto […]
What Has Photoshop Wrought?
I have been experimenting with a new photography printing project in which I transfer layer after layer of photographic inks printed on plastic to the same piece of wood, building a transparent depth that I hope the viewer will gaze into and discover new things along the way. I describe this method to my students as doing Photoshop without a computer. That of course is not fully true. I still shoot with a digital camera, use Photoshop or Lightroom to process the image, use a computer to run the printer that puts thousands of droplets of inks onto plastic—but I no longer […]