January 2021

Des Moines Film Society: The Top 10 Films of 2020

Let’s face it: 2020 was a crazy year. The coronavirus pandemic upended normal life as we knew it, while racial unrest shed an even brighter spotlight on the deepening political divisions that have defined the last few years.   Meanwhile, movies have rightfully taken a backseat, with the pandemic leading to the closure of thousands of theaters and numerous delays of studio blockbusters.   And yet, against all odds, 2020 has yielded a number of great films, many of...

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100 Years Later: “The Phantom Carriage” Is Still the Greatest New Year’s Movie

On New Year’s Day 1921, the world of cinema changed forever.   That was the day that “The Phantom Carriage,” one of the great masterworks of the silent era, was released. Now, exactly 100 years later, the film continues to transfix viewers through its sheer artistry and thought-provoking, life-affirming story.   The movie, directed by pioneering Swedish filmmaker Victor Sjöström, broke new ground on several cinematic fronts. In terms of visual effects, Sjöström made innovative use of double exposure,...

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