Berfrois

Robyn Ferrell on Balthus

Robyn Ferrell on Balthus

The pitfalls of identification, hero-worship, envy and malice can beset the most patient writer in the throes of five hundred-plus pages of attention to genius.

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Nicholas Rombes: 70

Nicholas Rombes: 70

As we move deeper into the twenty-first century our world seems evermore bifurcated between the known and the hidden, and this visible divide characterizes our own psychotic state. On the one hand, as the Snowden documents show, we are all of us watched by groups whose names we don't...

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James Glickman: Whedon’s Shakespeare

James Glickman: Whedon’s Shakespeare

Joss Whedon’s recent Much Ado About Nothing embodies the question: can movies made from Shakespeare still find a wide audience? It has been a long trajectory since 1948 when Laurence Olivier's Hamlet got seven nominations and three Academy awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor, to the late ‘90s...

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Restoration Revamped

Restoration Revamped

In the Land of the Head Hunters, Edward S. Curtis, 1914 by Oliver Farry In the Land of the Head Hunters, dir. Edward S. Curtis, 65 minutes One of the best films of 2013 was released in 1914. Edward S. Curtis, well known for his documentary photographs of the...

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Downtown hipsters headed to the video dungeon below…

Downtown hipsters headed to the video dungeon below…

Narcissister is You, Narcissister, 2012. Photograph by Emily Colucci. Via From Lana Turner: A Journal of Poetry and Opinion: Saturday afternoon, I took the train from Astoria to Prince Street. Navigating East, through the brick wall to brick wall Soho throng, I crossed that little cement slab of park...

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Presenting Art by Patricia Emison

Presenting Art by Patricia Emison

I came to John Berger's Ways of Seeing through the back door. About a decade after the four-part series on the BBC (1972) had excited attention as a scrappy response to Kenneth Clark's staid Civilisation (1969), I read the book because the title was so often cited. I confess...

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“Property” (intended in a pejorative sense)

“Property” (intended in a pejorative sense)

12 Years a Slave, Fox Searchlight Pictures, 2013 From The New York Review of Books: The film is unflinching in its portrayal of brutality. Noosed, strung up, and choking with just his toes touching the dirt in punishment for attacking the overseer Tibeats, Northup seems to hang forever, as...

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For Neon

For Neon

by Eleanor Courtemanche The Bling Ring, dir. Sofia Coppola, U.S.A, 90 minutes It’s hard to watch Sofia Coppola’s 2013 The Bling Ring, which came out on DVD about a month ago, without feeling like you’re at the end of a chain (no, I didn’t say human chain) of recycled...

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Nicholas Rombes on Lou Reed

Nicholas Rombes on Lou Reed

This is not another obituary, another retrospective, another "Lou Reed's songs were the soundtrack to my life" essay. It is instead an attempt to find, in the small, quiet pockets of air in Lou Reed's 1975 album Metal Machine Music trace elements of the less obvious ingredients that made...

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Elias Tezapsidis on DMX

Elias Tezapsidis on DMX

The rapper DMX is famous for his infamy. Fame came to him through his trademark rapping style and emotionally staggering songwriting, letting him become the powerhouse that has had five consecutive No. 1 albums. Infamy came to him through his continuous trouble in abiding several legal frameworks and law-enforcing...

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Two Visual Tropes = Love by Masha Tupitsyn

Two Visual Tropes = Love by Masha Tupitsyn

Do we see (have) these kinds of moments of seeing in real life or do they happen only in camera space? In the fiction of movies. Is the face of the lover loving and seeing the lover restricted to mise-en-scène? Is the lover's face just another visual trope? Two...

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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...

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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,...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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,...

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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...

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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:...

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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...

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