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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.

Film

Embracing Nothing: Nihilism in Bellocchio's 'Fists in the Pocket'

Bellocchio's best work, Fists in the Pocket (I pugni in tasca) is key to understanding the stark shift Italian cinema experienced in moving from the post-realism phase of the 1950s into the experimentalism, social commentary, and surrealism of the 1960s.

Film

The Corrosive Veneer of John Waters' Polyester

Unlike his earlier provocations, John Waters' Polyester suggests that moral depravity may be liberating for the person willing to embrace it, but it always gives rise to pain elsewhere.

Film

Body of Work: On Burt Lancaster's Physicality in Film

The key to understanding Burt Lancaster's contribution to film lies in the physicality of his portrayals. Film Forum, New York, showcases many of his films starting today.

Film

Abortion and Difference Feminism in Agnès Varda's 'One Sings, the Other Doesn't'

It is the impossible demand placed on the woman that drives the engine of Agnès Varda's One Sings, the Other Doesn't.

Film

The Terrifying Reciprocity of the Aesthetic Gaze in Visconti's 'Death in Venice'

Luchino Visconti's oft-misunderstood Death in Venice (Morte a Venezia) tenderly explores how beauty stares back at us and demands that we accept and acknowledge its terrible contradictions.

Film

War's Degradation of the Human in Bergman's 'Shame'

Ingmar Bergman's Shame is one of his few films so blatantly concerned with the impositions of the external world,as opposed to the internal, subjective aspects of life.

Film

On Despair and the Philosophy of  'Berlin Alexanderplatz'

Franz of Berlin Alexanderplatz doesn't occupy a privileged space of sovereignty over the world. He's not the avatar for divine individuality that we so often take ourselves to be.

Film

The Past You Can't Escape: Strained Camaraderie in Elaine May's 'Mikey and Nicky'

Childhood friends are tricky. They're the friends you leave behind but can never completely escape. Elaine May conveys this with disruptive technique in Mikey and Nicky.

Books

The Enigma of Russian Dada

If art is about the fostering and maintenance of traditions, then the Russians were proposing a kind of anti-art. An exploration of the exhibition catalog, Russian Dada 1914-1924.

Film

The Unhappiest Two: The Impossible Demand in Ingmar Bergman's 'Scenes from a Marriage'

Kierkegaard's existential rumination on our impossible relation to an incommensurable and unknowable God informs much of Bergman's work, and most certainly Scenes from a Marriage.

Film

Engaging Flow: On Ruttmann's 'Berlin, Symphony of a Great City'

One way to understand the form of Walther Ruttmann's Berlin, Symphony of a Great City, is to see it as producing states of flow that reinforce a flat ontology among humans, animals, machines, buildings, bodies of water, etc.

Film

Beneath Buñuel: On 'A Woman without Love'

Where, in A Woman without Love is the imagination, wit, and brilliance one expects of Buñuel?

Books

Chronicling the Non-Event: Anton Chekhov and the Short Story

Chekhov is engaging with an underlying, rumbling, non-event that pervades life and yet is nearly always blithely ignored. His stories move us in their ability to excavate this subterranean, haunting static that informs all experience.

Film

The Improbability of Communication in 'The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez'

The inability to communicate truthfully and accurately runs like a red thread through the course of Robert M. Young's western, The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez.

Film

Slouching Toward Redemption: Ernst Lubitsch's 'Heaven Can Wait'

There's a rotten core at the center of Lubitsch's Heaven Can Wait. No matter how engaging I find Haskell and Sariss's enchantment with the film, I cannot accede to their critical adulation of it and of Henry.

Film

At the Crossroads of Pity and Revolt: Intensity and Time in Lino Brocka's 'Manila in the Claws of Light'

Lino Brocka's Manila in the Claws of Light seethes with rage against colonial oppression without ever becoming overt agitprop.

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