Berfrois

Philippe Theophanidis on Jean-Luc Godard

Philippe Theophanidis on Jean-Luc Godard

by Philippe Theophanidis Goodbye to Language (Adieu au Langage), Jean-Luc Godard, 2014, 70 mins. Nous comme la brèche elle-même, tracé hasardeux d’une rupture. —Jean-Luc Nancy At one point near the end of his unfinished novel Jean Santeuil, Marcel Proust describes a painting by Claude Monet from 1897, titled “Bras de Seine près de Giverny”. It…

Read More

Meaghan Emery on The Artist

Meaghan Emery on The Artist

Every once in a while a film comes out that breaks through conventional wisdom. The idea that a black and white silent film in 2011 could be such a resounding critical and commercial success, in addition to its prominence in international film festivals, six Césars, and now five Academy...

Read More

‘Pop songs are deeply monological’

‘Pop songs are deeply monological’

The Human League by Enrique Lima Although this seems self-evident it’s worth explaining. As Bakhtin long ago observed, novels are heteroglossic. That is, although one consciousness or voice may dominate narration, the novel is compelled by its own philosophical-formal orientation to include other voices. I’ll mention just a couple...

Read More

Horror films have never been all that friendly to women…

Horror films have never been all that friendly to women…

A Nightmare on Elm Street, New Line Cinema, 1984 From The Believer: Horror franchises’ relationship to violence doesn’t always outwardly have something to teach us. Throw gender into the works—specifically, the female gender—and the results seem less than thought-provoking. Indeed, you might begin to question why you watch these...

Read More

Nicholas Rombes: Punk

Nicholas Rombes: Punk

Mark Perry, the founder of one of the earliest punk fanzines Sniffin' Glue, has said, “Although was entirely connected to the hippy politics, it was entirely the natural progression of hippies' 'anti-establishmentism,' I think. You couldn't wear bells and flowers to freak the powers out anymore and there...

Read More

Sexless in Skyrim

Sexless in Skyrim

From The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Bethesda Softworks, 2011 From The New Inquiry: You can die in Skyrim in the same way that you can die in all videogames, as a fleeting inconvenience for having lost a sword fight, a small technicality. Once dead you reset to the last...

Read More

Tax Bracket Exposure

Tax Bracket Exposure

Uebermalte Fotografien, Gerhard Richter, 2005 From N+1: It was obvious from my very first day that Sotheby’s would be exactly as I had come to imagine it. As the elevator reached each floor, archetypes spilled forth. Tweedy men got off at Rare Books, preppies at Impressionism, former sorority pledges...

Read More

Eli Evans plays chicken

Eli Evans plays chicken

There is a moment in Jean-Luc Godard’s 1966 Masculin Feminin in which the character played by a young and brilliant Jean-Pierre Léaud claims that one day at home while eating mashed potatoes his father discovered why the earth goes round the sun.

Read More

From the Militant

From the Militant

Rosetta, ARP Sélection, 1999 by R.D. Crano Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, by Joseph Mai, Urbana: University of Illinois Press. 156 pp. Since the Dardenne brothers first broke onto the international cinema scene with La promesse (1996) a decade and a half ago, their work has enjoyed immense critical acclaim...

Read More

PacT

PacT

From “Anthology of Interest III”, Futurama, Season 3, The Curiosity Company From The Millions: The medial bulk of the book is accounted for by the actual “addict’s guide to battle tactics” promised by its ungainly subtitle, and this is where it really flourishes as a bizarro-world extracanonical oddity. It’s...

Read More

Free Content

Free Content

by Gregory Jusdanis “Imagine a world without art.” This could easily have been the message greeting visitors to the Wikipedia site on January 18, 2012, when it went silent in protest against legislation proposed in Congress (Stop Online Privacy Act, or SOPA). For Wikipedia and Google the issue is...

Read More

Stuart Elden on Coriolanus

Stuart Elden on Coriolanus

Menenius comes out of this film as a largely sympathetic figure, more so than he does from the play. His somewhat ambivalent attitude to the people is largely removed here. In the film’s greatest liberty with the play’s script, but largely in keeping with its own vision, he is...

Read More

The Mummy Returns

The Mummy Returns

Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, 20th Century Fox, 2011 From The New York Review of Books: In the spring of 2001, at the Conservative Party Conference in Plymouth, Margaret Thatcher made a joke. She was then seventy-five, and had been out of office for more...

Read More

Patti Smith was aiming at once higher and lower than Paul Simon or Jim Morrison…

Patti Smith was aiming at once higher and lower than Paul Simon or Jim Morrison…

Patti Smith at Jim Morrison’s grave, Paris, 1976 From The New York Review of Books: I first heard of Patti Smith in 1971, when I was seventeen. The occasion was an unsigned half-column item in the New York Flyer, a short-lived local supplement to Rolling Stone, marking the single...

Read More

Frog Loves Moon

Frog Loves Moon

Figure 1: All art unless otherwise indicated by Rex Veeder by Rex Veeder Introduction Marshall McLuhan deserves to be re-evaluated as a rhetorician because he has described and demonstrated a perspective on rhetoric that remains significant. That perspective involves aesthetic, social, and cultural elements that gravitate around a mythos...

Read More

Mugging the Story

Mugging the Story

The moment you really begin to understand what it means to be watching a silent film in 2012 occurs very near the beginning of Michael Hazanavicius's The Artist.

Read More

Gaming in the Stream

Gaming in the Stream

Super Mario 3D Land, Nintendo, 2011 From Kill Screen: While Pirate Kart is easily dismissed as fringe—a group of “no-name” hobbyists plotting raids on normal people from an uncharted island of the internet—even Mario, gaming’s most well-recognized mascot, has been influenced by the structure of the ‘net. Where once...

Read More

Medium Talk

Medium Talk

Larry David and Jeff Garlin in Curb Your Enthusiasm, HBO From Frieze: Borrowing a line from his Frankfurt School colleague Leo Löwenthal, Theodor Adorno once derided the mindlessness of the idiot box as ‘psychoanalysis in reverse’, a backwards medium enforcing conformity, distraction and the programmed life. Yet with today’s...

Read More
Logan K. Young on The Replacements

I, myself, was barely six months old when Twin/Tone put out The Mats’ Let It Be. The day, they say, was Orwellian: Tuesday, October...

Read More
Tyranny Is a Growth Industry by Vladimir Savich and Zachary Bos

Tyranny is a growth industry. Each day brings exciting new developments. These events imprint themselves upon the world in the form of newspapers, magazines,...

Read More
Tjoa Shze Hui: 1920s

Of the many witticisms that make up The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, one voiced by Picasso really gets under the skin. He says...

Read More
Elias Tezapsidis on Lorentzen, Batuman, Lerner, Smallwood and Stein

Contemporary narrators feel entitled to their own realities now more than ever. The internet has created this fascinating binary, one in which individuals can...

Read More
Henry Giardina on Bob Hope

All mythical creatures need an origin story. The Bob Hope character springs into being, Athena-like, from out of the head of Preston Sturges in...

Read More
Mattilda B. Sycamore: Yearning From Spurning

One problem with gentrification is that it always gets worse. But then I go into a Hooters, and it’s a vintage clothing store. A...

Read More
Alexander McGregor
Alexander McGregor: Trauma

Following World War II, the German philosopher Theodor Adorno wrote, “Nach Auschwitz ein Gedicht zu schreiben, ist barbarisch”: to write poetry after Auschwitz is...

Read More
John Crutchfield: Chords

But music, even bad music, is a symptom of hope, is it not? Naturally one would prefer the music to be good, but any...

Read More
Menachem Feuer on Robin Williams

Regardless of whether you are from Europe, the United States, Asia, or Africa, we can all agree that there is something special about the...

Read More
Reality Principles: Berfrois Interviews Frank Smecker

I don't know if I ever wanted to become a theorist. I struggle with this position. For me, it's a hystericized — and therefore...

Read More
Albert Rolls: Which (Side) Are You On, Man?

James Parker begins his review of Inherent Vice with the quip, “If Thomas Pynchon were a stand-up comedian, and Inherent Vice his newest routine,...

Read More
Keith Doubt
Keith Doubt on Serbia

The intellectual integrity of cultural anthropology is based largely on its commitment to cultural relativism as a principled notion. Cultural relativism is the principle...

Read More
A Gosse in Woolf’s Clothing by Andre Gerard

On May 31, two weeks after his death, and the day before Orlando was sent to the printer, Woolf noted his death as follows:...

Read More
Andrew Gallix: Let’s Go!

Retro-futurism, as we now call it, came out of the closet in the late '70s due to the widespread feeling that there was indeed...

Read More