Berfrois

Lamenting the Obsolescence of the DVD and Its Distinctive Viewing Practices

Lamenting the Obsolescence of the DVD and Its Distinctive Viewing Practices

After the local video-game arcade and the local comic-book store, the finest establishment on earth was the local video-rental outlet, a paradise of garish rectangular boxes leaning precariously on wooden shelves divided roughly by genre...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

Whatever Fitz

Whatever Fitz

Baz Luhrmann adapts Fitzgerald and the result is pretty much as you might expect. There are no surprises here. You have a continual sense that you have seen this film before. That is largely because you have – if, that is, you happened to chance upon any of Luhrmann’s...

Read More

Russell Bennetts: Jarredhead

Russell Bennetts: Jarredhead

Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal at the 85th Academy Awards; screengrabs by X by Russell Bennetts 1. John Barrowman. 2. All-too pertinent news clips are shown in the background of two discussion scenes. 3. Music I listen to for pleasure being used for pain. (I know this happened IRL,...

Read More

Flicks

Flicks

A friend of mine in his mid-twenties is a Film Studies graduate, and like a typical old person – both somewhat right and very annoying – I’m always mentioning old movies to him, being surprised he hasn’t seen them, and pointing out earlier connections to films he has seen,...

Read More

Masha Tupitsyn: Time Onscreen

Masha Tupitsyn: Time Onscreen

Andrew McCarthy and Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink, Paramount Pictures, 1986 by Masha Tupitsyn Youth, for her, was not a transitional age — for this modern one, youth was the only time befitting a human being. Her youth had no need of ideals, it was in and of...

Read More

Das Ding, the Face

Das Ding, the Face

Harpo Marx by Paul Elliott There is an intriguing but seemingly insignificant aside in Jacques Lacan’s Seminar VII: The Ethics of Psychoanalysis concerning the face of one of American cinema’s iconic figures: It is enough to evoke a face which is familiar to every one of you, that terrible dumb brother...

Read More

Wissenschaft

Wissenschaft

I've appreciated Aleksandr Sokurov since the 1990s, but it was, I think, with his 2003 Father and Son that he first began to seem genuinely puzzling to me. This film, not at all Turgenevian, portrayed two men apparently of the same age, posing in various intimate positions with one...

Read More

Masha Tupitsyn: Somewhere, Over

Masha Tupitsyn: Somewhere, Over

In a deleted take from The Wizard of Oz posted on YouTube, Judy/Dorothy breaks down during her iconic song. She doesn't sing "Somewhere Over The Rainbow," she weeps it. Did they want her to cry like this? Did they push her too hard, for too long, for too many...

Read More

Of Crows and Pink Elephants

Of Crows and Pink Elephants

by Bill Benzon I’ve just been watching Dumbo. I suppose it’s been over thirty years since I last saw it, or some part of it, so my expectations were most strongly influenced by what I’ve read in the last year or two. I was primed for the “Baby Mine”...

Read More

It’s a Royale Hunger Battle Game

It’s a Royale Hunger Battle Game

Battle Royale and The Hunger Games are young adult novels in which governments force teenagers to kill each other. Comparing these books to classic works by William Golding and Robert Sheckley suggests that, while becoming more skeptical about governments, we've become more trusting about our own nature.

Read More

Daniel Roberts: Bright Boys

Daniel Roberts: Bright Boys

By now, the 1946 noir classic The Killers, available on Criterion Collection DVD (currently our best indication that a movie is held in high regard), is likely better known than the 1927 Hemingway short story of the same name that inspired it. That being said, both pieces of art...

Read More

We Hear the Sound of Splashing

We Hear the Sound of Splashing

From Trainspotting, Miramax, 1996 by Julian Hanich In this essay I try to categorize the range of artistic options that filmmakers currently have at hand to evoke bodily disgust. Or, to reframe this approach in a slightly different manner: If we examine the variety of disgusting scenes...

Read More

What has happened to bring about the sad demise of the Western?

What has happened to bring about the sad demise of the Western?

The only recent Westerns that have managed to arouse my enthusiasm have been those made for TV: Walter Hill’s Broken Trail, and Deadwood, whose third and final season no one has even bothered to bring out on DVD in Spain, which gives you some idea of how unsuccessful the...

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

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