Essays

Claire Denis

Originally published at tobecontd.com.

The Strange Little Cat (2013)

This article was originally published at 2013 AFI Fest.

To the Wonder (Malick, 2012)

This essay was originally published at Mubi.

Nostalgia, Chaos, and Moments of Ecstasy: The 36th Toronto International Film Festival

This essay was originally published at Senses of Cinema.

Les rendez-vous d’Anna (1978)

This essay was originally published at Mubi.

Tren de Sombras (1997)

This essay was originally published at Senses of Cinema.

New Directions: The 33rd Toronto International Film Festival

This essay was originally published at Senses of Cinema.

Pedro Costa’s “Vanda Trilogy” and the Limits of Narrative Cinema as a Contemplative Art

This essay was originally published in Faith and Spirituality in Masters of World Cinema (2008), edited by Kenneth Morefield for Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Abel Ferrara’s Battle with the Irrational

To watch the body of Abel Ferrara’s films, as I’ve tried my best to do over the last month and a half, is to see a man wrestling obsessively — sadomasochistically, even — with the Irrational. The stylized violence, the scenery-chewing performances, the gratuitous and exploitative female nudity — all are window dressing. What’s at stake here is nothing less than the very possibility of grace.

Diving Deep into Caveh Zahedi’s In the Bathtub of the World

This essay was presented at the 2005 conference of the South Atlantic Modern Language Association.

Fallen Creatures in a Fallen World: The Films of John Cassavetes

This essay was originally published at Sojourners.

Motion Pictures During World War I and II

Note: Writing an entry for an encyclopedia intended for high school and college libraries, as it turns out, is a lot like writing an undergraduate research paper: the concerns seem to be quantity rather than quality, breadth rather than depth. I found the process more than a bit maddening.

The New American Old West: Bruno Dumont’s Twentynine Palms

This essay was originally published at Senses of Cinema.

Talkin’ About Movies

Last night I delivered the following talk at the 2004 NEXUS Interdisciplinary Symposium: Reconstructing Theory and Value.

Great Directors: Hal Ashby

This essay was originally published at Senses of Cinema.

Great Directors: Tsai Ming-liang

This essay was orignally published at Senses of Cinema.

Holy Moments

Film, when rightly enjoyed, can offer holy moments such as this during which we are able to escape, even if only temporarily, from this “extraordinary egoism” into the freedom of God’s grace, experiencing anew the beautiful complexity of his creation and our selfless calling in it.

Bruno Dumont’s Bodies

This essay was originally published at Senses of Cinema.

Benito Cereno (1855)

As Mike Frank has recently asked, “What might narratology look like if we were to take cinema — particularly ‘classical Hollywood cinema’ — as the paradigmatic instance of storytelling?”

Attack! (1956)

The following was written for a graduate seminar on Cold War military history. It examines the confluence of social, political, and economic events that allowed the financing and production of such an ambivalent anti-war film in Eisenhower America.

Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

The following was written for a graduate seminar on James Joyce and W.B. Yeats. Please forgive the fumbling psycho-babble. I think it actually serves a very legitimate reading of this film.