There's Baseball in Florida and the Spring Arts Preview in Jewish Week

Must mean spring is here, a good sign. (At any rate, this is my 400th entry on this blog, and that is probably a good thing.)

It also means that your humble servant is busy, busy, busy. For starters, here are the two components of my spring film preview, short pieces on two events/movies well worth your time, and a list of upcoming films and events that you should mark on your calendar. In addition, if you are in town this evening, you should consider dropping into Anthology Film Archives for the monthly New Filmmakers showcase, which I've written about here .

I was at the Cinema Club branch in Madison, CT, this weekend, where they showed Lore. A few things of interest. First, the film holds up on a third viewing quite admirably. In my review for Jewish Week, I had remarked on the fairy-tale quality, but this time I noticed another visual/thematic motif, the presence in the first five minutes of each of the classical 'elements," water, air, earth and fire. For a film that is about stripping people down to their most elemental components, it's a significant choice. Second, the Madison Art Cinema, which hosts the club, has gone over to DCP and, to my surprise and delight, the digital projection had excellent visual quality.

A quick and sad acknowledgement of the passing of Donald Richie. I suspect I'm not the only film critic or fan whose first exposure to Japanese film came courtesy of his quiet intelligence.

Finally, on the Iranian repressed-filmmakers front, check out this item from MUBI's daily notebook:

Jafar Panahi had a new film at the Berlinale this year, Closed Curtain, co-directed by Kambuzia Partovi, and which Adam Cook wrote about during the festival. Like his previous film, this new one was not only not allowed to be made but also not allowed out of the country; Iran, understandably, has responded angrily. The Tehran Times reports, quoting Iran Cinema Organization Director Javad Shamaqdari, "There are some people who make films illegally and submit the unauthorized productions to foreign festivals, but all the cineastes know that producing a film in Iran and screening it in the foreign events must be authorized beforehand."

Needless to say, my heart bleeds for the Iran Cinema Organization. What a shame that those darned filmmakers can't keep their mouths shut and their minds blank.