Berfrois

Jason S. Polley: Prawns

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 assortment of itinerant “aliens” in an informal zone, aka a third-world slum.

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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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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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I Know I Have to Go by Rick Whitaker

W.G. Sebald’s father joined the Reichswehr in 1929 and remained in the Wehrmacht under the Nazis. He was captured by the French and remained...

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B. Alexandra Szerlip: Vertigo

Vertigo has been scrutinized under the rubric of scopophilia, fetishism, voyeurism, the sadistic male gaze, objectification of the female body, “a dream substrate of...

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Bobbi Lurie With Marcel Duchamp

Marcel Duchamp sat silent. He seemed far away, lost in reverie. Then, he spoke of the death of art, which he described as...

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Bobbi Lurie
Bobbi Lurie and Marcel Duchamp on Lena Dunham’s Girls

But I was perplexed. Marcel Duchamp didn’t order a thing to eat at the café. I assumed it was because he was dead, requiring nothing...

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Europe’s Fascists in Suits by John Gaffney

Earthquake metaphors have had strong currency, both political and journalistic, in the aftermath of May’s European Parliament (EP) elections. The most spectacular tremors were...

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Lauren Berlant’s Love Theory

Both Derrida and Ronell suggest that saying yes is “telephonic,” both in the sense that it resounds over a distance and therefore always is...

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B. Alexandra Szerlip: Dream Train

Unless they lived in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona or California – all former Mexican territories – most U.S. residents in the 1930s were unaware...

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70-Minute Mark by Nicholas Rombes et al.

The different tools used to capture the frame and the wild variety in terms of image quality, which is the way films are remembered...

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You may say Rauan Klassnik’s a dreamer…

“We’ve got a problem,” says Andrew Shuta of Spork as he and Drew Burk guide me into a fancy conference room. Ron’s sitting across from...

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David Palumbo-Liu on Chinua Achebe

Many years ago, in an interview he did with Bill Moyers, Chinua Achebe was asked, “What would you want the West to do?” Achebe...

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