directed by Paul Cronin
by Walter Chaw Documenting the rise and fall of New York International Film Festival director Amos Vogel, who got his start in the programming business as the mastermind behind the legendary "Cinema 16" film society, Film as a Subversive Art: Amos Vogel and Cinema 16 provides a traditional documentary treatment of an unconventional man. A refugee from Hitler's Germany, Vogel, a fierce antagonist of censorship, introduced the United States to folks as diverse and vital as Yasujiro Ozu and Stan Brakhage. The sort of thing dying in an America that embraces the mundane and the comfortable in its moviegoing choices, Vogel's Cinema 16 defined over and again the things that any film society worth its salt should embrace: the extraordinary, the controversial, and the uncomfortable. That NEW YORK TIMES critic Bosley Crowther never once lent his weight to Cinema 16, a slight cited by Vogel as perhaps the primary reason for its eventual collapse, is one of those ignorant omissions that's only gotten worse with the vast majority of this generation's "major daily" newspaper "movie writers." The picture is a reminder of what it means to love and respect the medium, and something of a call to arms to resurrect the corpses of movie clubs and societies in cities and universities across the country. Originally published: October 14, 2003.