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Film

Outsiders Inside the State in Rosi's 'Christ Stopped at Eboli'

Francesco Rosi's tale of peasant life in a remote part of fascist Italy challenges the notion of the State and the individual's role in and duty to its preservation.

Film

The Threat of Violence in George Marshall's Western Comedy, 'Destry Rides Again'

George Marshall's western spoof, Destry Rides Again, has a serious central premise; can society function without the threat of violence?

Television

Jules Dassin Versus Mark Hellinger and 'The Naked City'

Producer Mark Hellinger may have committed the biggest crime in the filming of Jules Dassin's classic film-noir, 'The Naked City'.

Film

Investing in Surfaces in Renoir's 'Toni'

Discovery of what lies beyond the surface—or better, the profound meaning invested in surfaces—is the central motif of Renoir's Toni.

Film

Honest Deception in Preston Sturges' 'The Lady Eve'

Preston Sturges' The Lady Eve demonstrates that somewhere within the convolution of deception (self-deception included) lies a truth that persists all the same.

Film

Choosing Experience in Abbas Kiarostami's 'Taste of Cherry'

Critic Roger Ebert was frustrated with Abbas Kiarostami's Taste of Cherry because the film subverts our desire to understand another -- the very core of cinema's intent.

Film

"Just Don't Believe Truth" in John Cassavetes' 'Husbands'

The pugnacious characters in Cassavetes' Husbands couch their inauthenticity in bullying. For them, anger is more authentic than placidity, rage more authentic than sadness, cruelty more authentic than kindness.

Film

Buridan's Ass and the Problem of Free Will in John Sturges' 'The Great Escape'

Escape in John Sturge's The Great Escape is a tactical mission, a way to remain in the war despite having been taken out of it. Free Will is complicated.

Film

The Erotic Disruption of the Self in Paul Schrader's 'The Comfort of Strangers'

Paul Schrader's The Comfort of Strangers presents the discomfiting encounter with another —someone like you—and yet entirely unlike you, mysterious to you, unknown and unknowable.

Film

Performing Race in James Whale's 'Show Boat'

There's a song performed in James Whale's musical, Show Boat, wherein race is revealed as a set of variegated and contradictory performances, signals to others, a manner of being seen and a manner of remaining hidden, and it isn't "Old Man River".

Film

Breaching Closure in Pasolini's 'Teorema'

Pier Paolo Pasolini's classic drama, Teorema, grapples with the parable -- the manner of knowing that which always remains just beyond our grasp.

Film

What Does Water See? On Fighting as Perception in Bruce Lee's Kung Fu Films

Bruce Lee's fight scenes evoke Gestalt theory: actual perception is a response to a provocation. Consider this philosophy while watching the films in Bruce Lee: His Greatest Hits and you too can become the water.

Film

On Infinity in Miranda July's 'Me and You and Everyone We Know'

In a strange kind of way, Miranda July's Me and You and Everyone We Know is about two competing notions of "forever" in relation to love.

Film

We Must Not Mean What We Say: On Godard's 'Le Petit Soldat'

While philosopher Stanley Cavell endeavors to show that we must mean what we say in a very important sense, Godard's Bruno Forestier of Le Petit Soldat suggests that we simply cannot and must not mean what we say.


Film

Stepping into the Phantasmagoric Otherwise with Karel Zeman

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.

Film

"I'll See You Later": Repetition and Time in Almodóvar's 'All About My Mother'

There are mythical moments in Almodóvar's All About My Mother. We are meant to register repetition in the story as something wonderfully strange, a connection across the chasm of impossibility.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Love at a Socially-Isolating Distance

In one sense, life in the time of Coronavirus clarifies an essential element of love: love always occurs at an ontological distance.

Film

Resounding Silence and Profound Superfluity: The Actorly Camera in Jean-Pierre Melville's 'Un flic'

The movements of the camera in Melville's Un flic attempt to overcome one of the most inscrutable divides in existence.

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No Sanctuary in the Light: The Story of Temple Drake

The Story of Temple Drake grapples with the unbidden, unsettling force of emergent sexuality.

Film

When Real Life Begins: On Fellini's 'The White Sheik'

Fellini is the master of blurring the lines between the real and the surreal, demonstrating the overriding imbrication of the familiar and the fantastic. In The White Sheik, currently playing at NYC's Film Forum, he inspires wonder and bemusement.

Books

Music History, the Conspiracy Theory: On Ted Gioia's Music: A Subversive History

Although enjoyable in that sweeping big picture kind of way, there is nothing subversive to be found in Ted Gioia's Music: A Subversive History.

Books

William E. Connolly on the Indifference of the World to Human Endeavor

In Climate Machines, Fascist Drives, and Truth, political theorist William E. Connolly explores how our assumption that the world is made for us has led us into a dangerous complacency.

Film

Revelations of Stillness in Yasujirô Ozu's 'Tokyo Twilight'

The Film Forum in New York City is showing Yasujirô Ozu's Tokyo Twilight for a limited time from Friday, 8 November to Thursday, 14 November. This is a film that one needs to savor and contemplate, a film that captures the tribulations of this world and the evanescent truth that lies beneath them.


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