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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Jesse Miksic: Fear and Pity and Horror

Jesse Miksic: Fear and Pity and Horror

Don’t Look Now, Casey Productions, 1973 by Jesse Miksic Look at me, my native citizens, as I go on my final journey, as I gaze upon the sunlight one last time, which I’ll never see again—for Hades, who brings all people to their final sleep, leads me on, while...

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A young girl’s strange, erotic journey…

A young girl’s strange, erotic journey…

Young and Beautiful (its English title is far more ungainly than the original) treats in a similar way nascent sexuality and literary awakening, which, once again, go hand in hand. 16-year-old Isabelle (Marine Vacth), takes to prostitution soon after losing her virginity through a holiday fling, but the film...

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How the Avant-Garde Still Lives in China by Rossella Ferrari

How the Avant-Garde Still Lives in China by Rossella Ferrari

Obituaries for the avant-garde proliferate. Critics, academics and cultural observers in the so-called Western world have told us for decades that the avant-garde has declined, fallen, imploded, capitulated and blunt its edge; that it has become creatively exhausted, ideologically reified, historically irrelevant. The avant-garde is past, gone, dead. But...

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David Joselit: Art and Plastic Info

David Joselit: Art and Plastic Info

We live in a world of Wikileaks and cyber-terrorism where information is wielded as both a weapon and a currency. Most recently, Edward Snowden, a former contractor for the American National Security Agency, leaked documents revealing that the United States tracks its citizens’ phone calls by compiling metadata records...

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Everybody (Bosch’s Back)

Everybody (Bosch’s Back)

“By a factor of three or four, over any remotely cost-similar approaches. The workers are so many, and they are tireless, and there is no portion of the structure they cannot reach. Plus their mandibles are so sharp and so precise, that there is almost no risk of damage...

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Joshua Oppenheimer’s Movie

Joshua Oppenheimer’s Movie

by Oliver Farry The Act of Killing, dir. Joshua Oppenheimer, Denmark/Norway/UK, 115 minutes Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing has made ripples in the West not so much because it’s a good film (though there is much about it that is very good) but because the impunity it portrays...

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Jenny Diski’s Flame War

Jenny Diski’s Flame War

Mad Men, AMC by Jenny Diski In 1959, by pure accident, Roger O. Thornhill was mistaken for another man. Actually, he was taken for a man who did not and had never existed. Thornhill’s initials spell ROT, which is printed on his monogrammed matchbooks, and when asked what the...

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Imperial Fantasy VII

Imperial Fantasy VII

From FINAL FANTASY VII, Square, 1997 by Simon Ferrari and Ian Bogost Games of Empire: Global Capitalism and Video Games, by Nick Dyer-Witheford and Greig de Peuter, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 320pp. In Games of Empire, Nick Dyer-Witheford and Greig de Peuter expand an earlier study of “the...

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Grrrls, Grrrls, Grrrls

Grrrls, Grrrls, Grrrls

Juliana Hatfield. Photograph by Christian Kock From The New Inquiry: In the fall of 1991, a 24-year-old Juliana Hatfield had just broken up her college band, Blake Babies, a mainstay of Boston’s fertile indie rock scene, and finished recording her solo debut, Hey Babe, now many years out of...

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Bobbi Lurie: Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Men

Bobbi Lurie: Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Men

by Bobbi Lurie Dear Russell Bennetts, editor of Berfrois. After seeing the god-awful Season Six finale of Mad Men, I have decided to throw away my television set. Here is a tweet I posted immediately after watching it: Bobbi Lurie ‏@BobbiLurie n-n-n-nnooooooooo …. not the “redemption” thing ~ ~...

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W for Welles

W for Welles

Poster for F is For Fake, Specialty Films, 1975 From The New Yorker: When Welles came to Hollywood, in 1939, at the age of twenty-four, he was already famous for his radio work—not least for the great “War of the Worlds” hoax—and heralded as the next big thing without...

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Philippe Theophanidis on Jean-Luc Godard

At one point near the end of his unfinished novel Jean Santeuil, Marcel Proust describes a painting by Claude Monet from 1897, titled “Bras...

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An Enigma Wrapped Inside an Enigma by Michael Munro

There is perhaps nothing more enigmatic in the history of philosophy than that which in the tradition is known as the active intellect (nous...

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Jeremy Fernando
Jeremy Fernando on Tan Chui Mui

For, it is not as if films speak; nor are their filmmakers there—at the site where this alleged speaking to, speech, takes place —...

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Jason S. Polley: Prawns

The suburbs, aka first-world neighborhoods, are present via their conspicuous near visual absence in 2009’s District 9, a film focusing on an increasingly disorderly...

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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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Jesse Miksic on Dark Souls II

Is Dark Souls II the crowning rebirth of Gothic Romance for the digital age? I'm being dramatic, I realize. The spirit of Gothic has...

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Michael Munro
A Quotation and Provocation by Michael Munro

The teleology of the Universe is directed to the production of Beauty. That is the opening line of the text, its first thesis. It’s...

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Menachem Feuer
Menachem Feuer: Schlemiels

As human beings we have to “court” failure. This term suggests two things: on the one hand, it suggests dating and becoming intimate with...

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Bobbi Lurie
Bobbi Lurie with James Franco

Every day after that, I stood outside The Italian Restaurant on Fourteenth Street until it closed. I didn’t even smoke. The guy from The...

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Henry Giardina
Henry Giardina: Furrows and Hollows

There’s an oft-quoted line out of Candide that goes, “I have wanted to kill myself a hundred times, but somehow I have never fallen...

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Ashley James
Ashley James: Personhood

It seemed that by the close of January this year, the entire country could recognize the face of Sergeant Cory Remsburg: Near the tail-end...

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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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