Festival Reports

NYFF 2014 Festival Report »

Goodbye to Language

By Gary M. Kramer.  The 52nd New York Film Festival (September 25-October 12) showcased 30 features, 15 documentary spotlights, and two shorts programs along with revivals, avant-garde films, and other special events. Here…

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The 71st Annual Venice Film Festival »

Белые ночи почтальона Алексея Тряпицына (The Postman's White Nights)

By Zhuo-Ning Su. The Venice Film Festival, the worldwide oldest festival celebrating cinema, ended its 71st run earlier this month (August 27- September 6). Traditionally ranked alongside Cannes and Berlin as one of…

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Film4 FrightFest 2014 »

Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead

By Cleaver Patterson.  FrightFest, the London based film festival which takes place each year at the end of August, prides itself in showcasing the best of horror, both international and homegrown. This year’s…

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Wherever in the Landscape: ArtFilm 2014 »

Shirley: Visions of Reality

By Robert Buckeye. Cannes may be a place, but it is not place as we understand it, except as it exists as cinephilia on a screen. Berlin is a place, its past always…

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AFI Docs Film Festival 2014 »

An Honest Liar

By Michael Miller.  AFI Docs, now in its second year, unspooled June 18-22 at multiple venues in the District of Columbia and all three screens at the AFI Silver Theater in Silver Spring,…

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Interview

Still Powerful in the Political: Lucy Lawless on The Code »

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By Paul Risker. Lucy Lawless is no stranger to television. She has traversed time itself from swords and sandals…

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Behind the Lens of Señoritas: An Interview with Lina Rodriguez »

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By Tom Ue. Lina Rodriguez studied Film and Video Production at York University (Toronto, Canada). She has written, directed and…

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Baseball on Acid: Jeffrey Radice on No No: A Dockumentary »

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By John Duncan Talbird. Jeffrey Radice’s No No: A Dockumentary about the life and career of African American baseball great…

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Joseph Lawson, Genre Filmmaker: An Interview »

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By Wheeler Winston Dixon. Joseph Lawson is an American filmmaker who is an unabashed special effects fan, action movie…

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Sensing the Rhythms of Youth: Daniel Patrick Carbone on Hide Your Smiling Faces »

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By Paul Risker. Arguably the icon of onscreen childhood angst is Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Léaud) in François Truffaut’s The 400…

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A Personal First Feature: Hong Khaou on Lilting »

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By Tom Ue. Hong Khaou spent seven years at an independent film distribution company, managing their Home Entertainment department and…

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A Thriller in Brief: on Point Mugu »

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By Paul Risker. Inevitably there must be a point of origin, and whilst it would be an exaggeration to…

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Truth in Character: An Interview with Virginia Madsen »

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By Paul Risker. What is in a number? Well in answer to a self-posed question, something of significance, as…

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MOST RECENT

  1. “Turn It Off!” – Sound and Silence in 1960s British Gothic Cinema
  2. The Representation of Men in the Films of Abdol Reza Kahani, Houman Seyedi and Bahram Tavakoli
  3. Jafar Panahi’s The Mirror: On Political Film in Post-Revolutionary Iranian Cinema
  4. Still Powerful in the Political: Lucy Lawless on The Code
  5. Introduction: Contemporary Independent Iranian Cinema
  6. Whiplash (2014)
  7. The Malick Illusion: Perceptual segmentation in The Thin Red Line
  8. Eraserhead: David Lynch’s ‘Subconscious Experience’ Released on Criterion
  9. Toward the Limit: Michael Bay’s Transformers: Age of Extinction
  10. Adam Saunders on Launching Footprint Features
  11. Ida: The Woman’s Path?
  12. Benny Loves Killing (2012)
  13. Remembering Mani Kaul: A Commemorative DVD Collection
  14. Kill the Messenger: Necessary Politics
  15. The Tribe: Filmmaking in a Vacuum
  16. Van Gogh (1991)
  17. Making Reality Work: Before I Go to Sleep
  18. NYFF 2014 Festival Report
  19. Land of Hope (2012)
  20. BFI London Film Festival 2014: Festival Programme Launch
  21. Behind the Lens of Señoritas: An Interview with Lina Rodriguez
  22. Night Moves: Pessimism Running Deep
  1. Wheeler Winston Dixon: Great stuff, Ian — the “Zombie walk” sequence in I Walked With A Zombie is...
  2. Ian Olney: Terrific piece, Wheeler. The Earth Dies Screaming and The Skull, in particular, are vastly underrated...
  3. Paul Risker: Thanks as always for the kind words Wheeler. It is an astute observation you make and carries a great...
  4. Christopher Sharrett: Hello Mike, I do remember you! A long time ago for sure. I’m glad you keep up with film....
  5. Christopher Sharrett: To Wheeler and Gwendolyn, I wouldn’t say to stay away from this film. It’s a film...

Review

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Whiplash (2014) »

By Sam Littman. Is Whiplash the most controversial film of the year? In January, the film was anointed the American indie to keep an eye on through its festival run…

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Eraserhead: David Lynch’s ‘Subconscious Experience’ Released on Criterion »

By Jeremy Carr.  David Lynch, via the Criterion Collection’s newly released Blu-ray of Eraserhead (1977), includes a television calibration option as a supplemental feature. With this, Lynch emphasizes that what…

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Ida: The Woman’s Path? »

By Christopher Sharrett. The films of Pawel Pawlikowski have only intermittently interested me. I found his Woman in the Fifth (2011) utterly empty. My Summer of Love (2004) had much…

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Benny Loves Killing (2012) »

By Jude Warne. Benny Loves Killing is director Ben Woodiwiss’ debut feature British film, and has multiple festival awards to its name, including the award for best horror film at…

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Remembering Mani Kaul: A Commemorative DVD Collection »

By Elroy Pinto. On the first anniversary of his death, the Films Division of India released a DVD set that features all of Mani Kaul’s documentaries. However, it is important…

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Kill the Messenger: Necessary Politics »

By Christopher Sharrett. Michael Cuesta’s Kill the Messenger strikes me as a necessary film at a time when the US political cinema is at a low ebb – excluding the…

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The Tribe: Filmmaking in a Vacuum »

By Zhuo-Ning Su. The Ukranian dramatic thriller The Tribe marks the arrival of a major directorial talent in Miroslav Slaboshpitsky, who delivers a feature debut here that’s artistically challenging, topically…

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Van Gogh (1991) »

By Christopher Neilan.  Pialat is not celebrated in the US like Truffaut, nor adored in critical circles like Godard and Melville.  He’s a palme d’or winner who emerged in the…

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Before I Go To Sleep Movie 2014

Making Reality Work: Before I Go to Sleep »

By Jakub Wojnarowski. (Warning: Spoilers ahead.) Every human writes her own story. But how could one make this narrative coherent, if every chapter is being erased as soon as it…

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Land of Hope (2012) »

By Eija Niskanen.  Sion Sono, Japanese cinema’s enfant terrible, has delved into the topic of the 2011 Northern Japan 3/11 triple disaster of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant accident in…

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Night Moves: Pessimism Running Deep »

By Christopher Sharrett. Kelly Reichardt’s Night Moves was one of the few films of the last season that deserved real recognition and got only a little; it was swamped, as…

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Phoenix (2014) »

By Zhuo-Ning Su.  Marking the sixth collaboration of what’s shaping up to be the most compelling and fruitful auteur-actor duo in modern German cinema, writer/director Christian Petzold’s Phoenix starring Nina…

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Project Cancer: Ulay’s Journal from November to November »

By Noah Charney. For performance artists, their bodies are the canvas on which to paint, the marble from which to sculpt. Some have pierced their bodies with pins, others with…

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Breaking the Western Trail: Hawks’ Red River on Criterion »

By Matthew Sorrento. In 2008, the Criterion Collection issued Anthony Mann’s The Furies (1950) with the restored film sleeved alongside the 1948 source novel by Niven Busch. The film will…

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The Passion of Life: Federico Fellini’s Il Bidone »

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By Robert Kenneth Dator.  As with any truly influential director, Federico Fellini—simply, Fellini—has been talked to death. However, with so much talk…

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Starred Up (2014) »

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By Sam Littman.  Within the first fifteen minutes of David Mackenzie’s prison drama Starred Up, it becomes clear that the titular felon,…

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The Boxtrolls (2014) »

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By Cleaver Patterson.  American-made animated films appear to have a fascination with middle European cities and architecture. Take The Boxtrolls for instance: the latest…

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La Sirga (2013) »

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By James Teitelbaum. The armed conflict in Columbia has now been claiming lives for fifty years. The Columbian government has been battling…

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A House of Nightmares: Douglas Sirk’s Sleep, My Love »

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By Jeremy Carr. Sleep, My Love begins with a nightmarish state of panic as Alison Courtland (Claudette Colbert) wakes to find herself…

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Sleepwalker (1984) »

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By Janine Gericke. Saxon Logan’s 1984 film Sleepwalker was once thought to be lost. Distributors weren’t sure how to market and sell…

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Love is Strange (2014) »

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By Mark James. Love is strange, and so is the real estate market these days, especially in New York. Love’s form can…

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Consumed: David Cronenberg’s Foray into Body Horror Prose »

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A Book Review by Shane Joaquin Jimenez.  The Nest (2014), the latest film by David Cronenberg, is comprised of a single unbroken…

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The Varieties of Experience: Michel Gondry’s Mood Indigo »

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By Paul Risker. In my review of Alive Inside for Film International, the idea arose that the act of explaining one’s love…

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A Most Wanted Man: The Zen of Spydom »

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By Jacob Mertens.  At some point in watching modern spy films—be they centered around James Bond, Jason Bourne, Jack Ryan, et al.—viewers…

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I am Cuba at 50 »

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By James Knight. “My sugar was carried away on ships, but my tears were left behind.” This year marks the fiftieth birthday…

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Making Personas: Transnational Film Stardom in Modern Japan (2013) »

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A Book Review by Carmen Siu. Earlier this year, Avril Lavigne garnered considerable negative attention for her ‘Hello Kitty’ music video. Filmed in…

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Alive Inside: Reconnecting the Self, with Sound »

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By Paul Risker. Earth: a world of sound within a vacuum, despite the best efforts of science fiction to convince us otherwise. Then…

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Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) »

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By James Teitelbaum. The coolest thing about Joss Whedon’s film The Avengers (2012) is that it exists. The notion that four major…

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The Films of Joanna Hogg »

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By Gary M. Kramer. With the release of Joanna Hogg’s three features, Unrelated (2007), Archipelago (2010), and Exhibition (2013), it is imperative…

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What’s at Stake in the Work of Art: John Cassavetes’ The Killing of a Chinese Bookie »

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By Brandon Konecny. Apart from Faces (1968) and A Woman Under the Influence (1974), none of Cassavetes’ films were successful, both commercially…

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The Time of His Life: Richard Linklater’s Boyhood »

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By Matthew Sorrento. I honestly hope the “sublime” trend ends soon, with the recent output of Terrence Malick, his bombastic, excessive Tree…

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Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) »

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By Jeremy Carr.  Even if we weren’t told at the start that Picnic at Hanging Rock was about a group of girls…

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Hide Your Smiling Faces (2013) »

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By Jude Warne. In his 1854 book Walden, Henry David Thoreau sets forth a crucial instruction: “Resign yourself to the influence of…

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Forsaken Son: Richie Mehta’s Siddharth »

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By Paul Risker. If film is a visual medium, then Richie Mehta’s Siddharth (2013) places as much emphasis on what is seen…

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Borgman (2013) »

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By James Teitelbaum. The pivotal moment in Alex van Warmerdam’s Borgman comes at the end of the first act, when the titular…

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The Epic of Everest: Closing the Gap Between Man and the Impossibly Distant »

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By Axel Andersson.  An epic of Everest? The heroics of nature? John Noel’s remarkable 1924 documentary, expertly restored by the BFI with…

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The Past As It Is: Agnieszka Holland’s Burning Bush »

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By Paul Risker. Agnieszka Holland’s three part mini-series Burning Bush (2013) opens with a pictorial and musical energy that swings like a…

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The Cold Lands, Cold Indeed »

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By Robert Kenneth Dator. In The Cold Lands prepare for inspired photography by Wyatt Garfield within which images old-growth forests appear like…

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The Art of the Steal: Joyous, Clever, and Fun »

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By Noah Charney. The first compliment I will pay to the new art heist movie, The Art of the Steal (2013), written…

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Cutting Room Cleanup: Junger’s Korengal »

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By Paul Risker. The war on terror has received ample coverage on news and media outlets. But in an age when we are…

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Sorcerer (1977) »

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By William Repass.  “You think they pay you to drive? They pay you to be terrified. That’s your division of labor.” -The Wages…

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Finding Fault with The Fault In Our Stars »

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By Jacob Mertens. A month or so back, Slate posted an article in anticipation of Josh Boone’s film The Fault In Our…

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Life As He Saw It »

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By Paul Risker. There is the frequently re-iterated question of what is the value of a life. The cinematic equivalent is the time…

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Seeing Your Doppelganger Can Only Spell Trouble: Enemy (2013) »

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By Janine Gericke. Denis Villeneuve’s Enemy opens with a quote from José Saramago’s novel The Double, which Enemy is loosely based on,…

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The Good Neighbour (2013) »

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By Sam Littman. Not one element of Astrid Schau-Larsen’s documentary The Good Neighbour is superfluous. For this and many tangential reasons alone it is…

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Cinema that Goes to Eleven: Mike “McBeardo” McPadden’s Heavy Metal Movies (2014) »

Heavy Metal

A Book Review by Brandon Konecny. Let all metalheads throw up their devilhorns in celebration—Mike “McBeardo” McPadden’s blood-soaked, guitar-churning anthology Heavy Metal…

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Weekend: Goodbye to Language 2D »

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By James Knight. Joint recipient of the Jury Prize at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival was Jean-Luc Godard’s Goodbye to Language 3D.…

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Uwantme2killhim? (2013) »

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By Robert Kenneth Dator. The upshot of what some teens would call a relationship in a world of cyberslaves sees rachel_angel83 (Jaime…

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Birth of the Living Dead (2013) »

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By Cleaver Patterson.  Film documentaries are the cinematic equivalent of a written biography. As a result, it follows that those which include…

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Living Stars (2014) »

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By Gary M. Kramer. One of the highlights of Awesomefest’s summer line up is the free July 3 screening of the irresistible documentary,…

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Features

Female Sexual Pleasure Unpunished in Bright Days Ahead »

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By Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. Finally, a film about an older woman who has an affair, and doesn’t get punished by the narrative.…

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Out of the Furnace: The Question of Adversarial Cinema »

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By Christopher Sharrett. I did not see Scott Cooper’s Out of the Furnace during its initial run some months ago, in part…

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Bruno Dumont and the Revival of the Human, Part 3 »

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By Christopher Sharrett. To Part 2. Hadewijch Hadewijch is the first of two films (the second is Hors Satan) directly focused on…

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Bruno Dumont and the Revival of the Human, Part 2 »

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By Christopher Sharrett. To Part 1. L’Humanité Bruno Dumont’s second film has been termed by certain commentators a “remake” of La Vie…

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Bruno Dumont and the Revival of the Human, Part 1 »

La Vie de Jésus

By Christopher Sharrett. Bruno Dumont is among our most important filmmakers, a fact that has gone mostly unnoticed outside Europe. His particular…

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Surviving the Monster Mom: Child’s Pose »

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By Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. “I hope it’s like a mirror.” (Călin Peter Netzer on Child’s Pose) “They fuck you up, your mum…

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The Narcissistic Sociopathology of Gender: Craig’s Wife and The Hitch-Hiker, Part 2 »

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By Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. To Part 1. While Dorothy Arzner’s Craig’s Wife (1936) revolves around a pathological female who is undone by…

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Hollywood Nomad: Andrew Dominik’s Aussiewood »

Killing Them Softly

By Stephen Gaunson. “I live here now and I don’t like going home.” (Andrew Dominik qtd. in Sperling 2012) “I wouldn’t mind…

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Missing in Action: The Lost Version of Vanishing Point »

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By Wheeler Winston Dixon. Much has been deservedly written on Richard C. Sarafian’s existential road movie Vanishing Point (1971), a shambling, glorious…

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The Narcissistic Sociopathology of Gender: Craig’s Wife and The Hitch-Hiker, Part 1 »

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By Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. It’s instructive to study the work of Dorothy Arzner and Ida Lupino in context with one another. Though…

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Preliminary Notes on the Monochrome Universe »

Alice in Wonderland (1966)

By Wheeler Winston Dixon. Lately I’ve been thinking about black and white movies, and how they’ve almost completely disappeared from the current…

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“Illusion and Reality” Films: Genre and Apotheosis »

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By Brian Russell Graham. A great many of the most popular films of recent decades are characterized by a character’s struggle to…

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From Gangster to Master: the Forgotten Edward G. Robinson »

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By Matthew Sorrento. I. The Look Robinson’s legion of fans grew after the actor delivered an intense desperation as Rico Bandello in…

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Rocky Balboa and the Politics of Urban Renewal »

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By Jon Kraszewski. Coming at the end of a film series that had degenerated into useless portraits of cartoonish characters and simplified…

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The Mother’s Role in Bergman’s Persona »

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By Terence Diggory. CONTENTS The Critical Audience Dramatis Personae Child’s Play Alma Mater Sons and Lovers Fear of Lying Fear of Dying…

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True Love, Pride, and Passion: Re-viewing Stephen Frears’s Dangerous Liaisons (1988) »

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By Lesley Brill. In Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’s Les Liaisons dangereuses (most of the plot of which Frears’s Dangerous Liaisons follows faithfully),…

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One-Location Films and How They Achieve Their Success »

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By Victoria Tickle. One-location (or one-room) films are films that do exactly what they say on their metaphorical tins: their narratives take…

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Our Children, or the Importance of Medea »

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By Christopher Sharrett. Joachim Lafosse’s Our Children (Á perdre la raison, a.k.a. Loving without Reason, a much more sensible title) put me…

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The Invisible Cinema of Marcel Hanoun »

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By Wheeler Winston Dixon. “With poor and derisory resources, with the help and goodwill of those who have worked with me, I…

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The Noir Vision of Max Ophüls, Romantic Fatalist »

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By Wheeler Winston Dixon. Max Ophüls, born Maximillian Oppenheimer on 6 May 1902, Saarbrücken, Germany, was a director known primarily for his…

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1970s Rape-Revenge Films and their Remakes: Changing Representations »

I Spit on Your Grave (1978)

By Victoria Tickle. Rape-revenge films are a controversial sub-genre of films that have been the subject of many critical debates surrounding feminism,…

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The Archaeology of Abjection in The Exorcist »

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By Will Dodson. Warner Home Video released a new Blu-ray set of William Friedkin’s The Exorcist on October 8, coinciding with the…

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Light From the Screen: Cinema, Painting and Spectatorship »

The Strange Case of Angelica

By Wheeler Winston Dixon. Noël Coward once observed that “television is for appearing on – not for looking at,” but as the…

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Yayoi Kusama: The Orgy of Self Obliteration »

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By Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. As an internationally acclaimed Japanese/American artist, Yayoi Kusama rejects any Orientalist assumptions about her work or her self.…

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Charles Burnett’s Inner City Portrait: Revisiting Killer of Sheep and the post-Watts crisis on film »

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By Jamie Isbell. Charles Burnett’s UCLA thesis feature Killer of Sheep (1977) has become something of a retrospective masterpiece. A cult artifact…

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Elvira Notari: A Woman in Search of Desire »

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  By Rossella Scalia. My first encounter with the director Elvira Notari occurred randomly, as almost always happens with important meetings. I…

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Reconsidering The Landscape of the Homoerotic Body in Claire Denis’s Beau Travail »

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By Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. I begin, as my title suggests, with a quote from Agnès Godard, the cinematographer of Beau Travail (1999):…

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“Rip It Up and Start Again:” Scream 4 and Post-? »

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By Will Dodson. Wes Craven’s Scream 4 is in many ways a fitting capstone to the 9/11 decade, thus the title of…

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Looking with Julia’s Eyes: Gender, Spectatorship, and Contemporary Spanish Horror Cinema »

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By Ian Olney. Over the past decade or so, the Spanish horror film has undergone a striking renaissance. During the final years…

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Alice Guy’s La Vie du Christ: A Feminist Vision of the Christ Tale »

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By Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. Alice Guy is a filmmaker whose body of work is still a site of contestation for modern critics;…

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Wong Kar-wai: a Cantonese Auteur »

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By Shashank Saurav. “Sometimes they think the way we work is very stylish and romantic, but actually it’s the way we can…

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Andy’s Gang, or Saturday Morning of the Living Dead »

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By Wheeler Winston Dixon. “There was a character that hung out in a clock called Froggy, the Magic Gremlin, and they used…

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Beyond the Hills, or The Woman’s Prison »

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By Christopher Sharrett. It amazes me that so few reviewers noted emphatically that Cristian Mungiu’s Beyond the Hills (2012), like his earlier…

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Touching the Wild Things: Haptic visuality in Where the Wild Things Are »

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By Kelly Burt. The film Where the Wild Things Are (2009), based on the 1963 children’s book of the same name by…

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Looking at the Landscape of Childhood in Ivan’s Childhood and Germany Year Zero »

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By Devapriya Sanyal. The two great wars of the twentieth century would change everything for humankind once and for all; both materially…

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Dracula, Prince of Darkness

“Turn It Off!” – Sound and Silence in 1960s British Gothic Cinema »

By Wheeler Winston Dixon. It’s Halloween once again, and as one might suspect, American cable networks are offering a cornucopia of horror films, past and present, though the Universal films…

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Here Without Me

The Representation of Men in the Films of Abdol Reza Kahani, Houman Seyedi and Bahram Tavakoli »

By Asal Bagheri. [Editor’s note: This essay is published here in conjunction with the publication of Film International 69, vol. 12, no. 3/2014, a special issue devoted to Contemporary Independent…

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Jafar Panahi’s The Mirror: On Political Film in Post-Revolutionary Iranian Cinema »

By Sara Saljoughi. [Editor’s note: This essay is published here in conjunction with the publication of Film International 69, vol. 12, no. 3/2014, a special issue devoted to Contemporary Independent…

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The Malick Illusion: Perceptual segmentation in The Thin Red Line »

By Luis Antunes Rocha. “The image, in terms of sound, always has the basic nature of a question. Fundamental to the cinema experience, therefore, is a process – which we…

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Trans Feat

Toward the Limit: Michael Bay’s Transformers: Age of Extinction »

By Carol Vernallis. Michael Bay poses a problem. He is the second-highest-grossing director, after Spielberg, so it’s not surprising that critics and connoisseurs love to take him down. But neither…

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Santo in the Museum of the Mexican Film Industry »

By John Burns. It seems that a number of historians and critics of Mexican film would be happier if the films starring lucha libre wrestler Santo had never been produced.…

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Lost City of the Jungle

A World of Constant Peril: Seriality, Narrative, and Closure »

By Wheeler Winston Dixon. What are we watching now at the movies, or on television or Netflix for that matter?[1] Serials – though now they’re called franchises, or mini-series, or…

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Nixon – Oliver Stone’s Rough Beast Slouching »

By Tony Williams. Like most of his films, Oliver Stone’s Nixon (1995) generated considerable critical debate usually emphasizing questions of historical accuracy and biographical depiction. However, unlike JFK (1991) and…

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Netflix headquarters in Los Gatos (California, USA)

Netflix and National Cinemas »

By Wheeler Winston Dixon. This article caught my attention about a week ago, and though I blogged on it then, it seems important enough to me to warrant further exploration.…

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Vindication of an Heiress: Surprise revelation, alienation effect, and screen persona in Beyond a Reasonable Doubt »

By Robert K. Lightning. Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (1956) was Fritz Lang’s final U.S. film.[1] In several obvious ways it can be read as a companion piece to the film…

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Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia: Peckinpah the Dramatist »

By Christopher Sharrett. The label “master of violence” was long ago affixed to director Sam Peckinpah. Books on Peckinpah with titles like “Bloody Sam,” and studies comparing the director’s films…

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Multicultural Middle-earth: Constructing “Home” and the Post-colonial Imaginary in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings »

By Laura Crossley. “The nation of course is not a desiring person but a fictive unity imposed on an aggregate of individuals, yet national histories are presented as if they…

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Juan Orol as Johnny Carmenta.

Juan Orol, Phantom of the Mexican Cinema »

By Wheeler Winston Dixon. It’s a commonplace thing to discuss the individual vision of filmmakers, on both a national and international level, and the names of Howard Hawks, John Ford,…

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Marnie

The Trouble With Hitchcock »

By Wheeler Winston Dixon. Mark Rutland: “What do you believe in?” Marnie Edgar: “Nothing.” (From Alfred Hitchcock’s Marnie) Alfred Hitchcock is routinely regarded as one of the most profound and…

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