PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
There's so much tragedy present, so many skullduggeries afoot, and so many cruel and vindictive characters in attendance that a sad and heartbreaking ending seems to be an obvious given in Paul Leni's silent film, The Man Who Laughs.
Buster Keaton was aware that the camera can be a catalyst of violence, especially stereotypical violence, for audience consumption -- and that it could also evoke the shared joy of cathartic laughter.
Kenneth Goldsmith's Duchamp Is My Lawyer, a tale of the creation and upkeep of the anti-internet internet, UbuWeb, is highly engaging and avoids the risk of ploughing down theoretical wormholes of limited interest.
So much of Abbas Kiarostami's Taste of Cherry feels relevant to the 2020 experience, in which small distances have never felt greater.
Kunzru excels in capturing the geist in alt-right circles in his latest work, Red Pill, from the callous philosophy down to the very language.
Mike Davis' COVID-era update about emerging flu pandemics, The Monster Enters, is concise, disturbing, and valuable.
The insights Joe Sacco shares in his comics journalism offer important lessons in understanding and compassion to readers around the world. No less so with his latest work, the excellent Paying the Land.
Preston Sturges' The Lady Eve is layered with texture and substance draped in the gleeful prurience of a master of slapstick and romance who could write foolish millionaires with the same deft ear as cultured hooligans.
The late manga artist Kuniko Tsurita's works virtually demand repeat readings: initially cryptic, always compelling, inviting the reader to try again, and offering new suggestions and meanings with each read.
Zadie Smith's Intimations is an essay collection of gleaming, wry, and crisp prose that wears its erudition lightly but takes flight on both everyday and lofty matters.
Erik Nelson's gorgeously restored Pacific War color footage in Apocalypse '45 makes a dramatic backdrop for his revealing interviews with veterans who survived the brutality of "a war without mercy".
John Lewis and C.T. Vivian were titans of the Civil Rights struggle, but they are far from alone in fighting for change. Eric Etheridge's masterful then-and-now project, Breach of Peace, tells the stories of many of the Freedom Riders.
By comparing the American race-based class system to that of India and Nazi Germany, Isabel Wilkerson makes us see a familiar evil in a different light with her latest work, Caste.
Éric Rohmer isn't interested in a pure critique of misogyny; his moral tales are mere observations on how we use other people to serve our interests and how we invent narratives from our relationships through which we define ourselves.
As dizzying as Víctor Del Árbol's philosophy of crime may appear, the layering of motifs in Breathing Through the Wound is vertiginous.
Whether one chooses to read Square Haunting for the sketches of the five fascinating women, or to understand how misogyny and patriarchy constricted intellectual and public life in the period, Francesca Wade's book is a superb achievement.
A common thread unites Ivy Mix's engaging Spirits of Latin America; "the chaotic intermixture between indigenous and European traditions" is still an inextricable facet of life for everyone who inhabits the "New World".
Portrait of a Lady on Fire yearns to burn tyrannical gendered tradition to ash and remake it into something collaborative and egalitarian.
Hugh Fleetwood's difficult though absorbing A Young Fair God offers readers a look into the age-old world views that have established and perpetuated cultural rank and the social attitudes that continue to divide us wherever we may reside in the world.
Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green's The River Speaks of Thirst is at once a political statement, cultural commentary, and an aesthetic milestone, a skillful commingling of galvanic activism and evocative poetry.
"Try this at home": With her latest work, Our Time Is Now, Plotter-in-Chief Stacey Abrams offers a timely playbook for how to ensure free and fair elections in America.
Woven into Utopia Avenue David Mitchell stitches a subtle critique of the impacts of the pot-heavy, lysergic-immersed, and heady music's ambitions on pop culture, moral choices, and even tripping itself.
How do we write about repression and toxic masculinity without valorizing it? Philippe Besson's Lie With Me is equal parts poignant tribute and glaring warning.
The superbly researched Journalism and the Russo-Japanese War tells readers how Japan pioneered modern techniques of propaganda and censorship in the Russo-Japanese War.
Claude McKay's Romance in Marseille -- only recently published -- pushes boundaries on sexuality, disability, identity -- all in gorgeous poetic prose.
Andy Warner's style of narrative in Spring Rain is evocative of those visual puzzles that require the viewer to look beyond the image in front of them, letting their eyes relax into an indirect gaze, in order for the hidden picture to reveal itself.
The sense of artifice in Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel helped him create an alluring reverie of both color and meaning.
While all films project a world that might be, certain films and certain filmmakers, like Karel Zeman, come closer than others in bringing to the surface the underlying phantasmagoric essence of cinema.