Decade: 1960s

Great Directors: Hal Ashby

This essay was originally published at Senses of Cinema.

Feb 12, 2004
Category: Essays, Film

Ivan’s Childhood (1962)

Kholin’s and Masha’s encounter is a desperate act of human contact, but it’s also vaguely degrading; it’s a moment of near transcendent delight, but it’s one that feels debased and compromised. I can’t make sense of it, really, though I feel compelled to, which is probably why Ivan’s Childhood is one of the few war films that I return to with any frequency.

May 1, 2003
Category: Film, Film Responses

A Few Words Upon Discovering Cassavetes

John Cassevetes is my latest obsession. On a whim, I recently picked up a used copy of Faces, the story of Dicky and Maria Forst’s disastrous attempts to find peace and companionship outside of their loveless marriage. Shot entirely in stark, high-contrast black-and-white, and featuring Cassevetes’s trademark dialogue, Faces feels at times like a documentary — voyeuristic, discomforting, and brutally real.

Jan 29, 2003
Category: Film, Film Responses

Through a Glass Darkly (1961)

What Bergman does get absolutely right in Through a Glass Darkly, though, is the very real horror of the existential crisis, the moment when Camus’s Sisyphus pauses, watching his stone roll once again down the mountain.

Jan 2, 2003
Category: Film, Film Responses

The Culture of the Cold War (1991)

The Culture of the Cold War is divided into chapter-long studies of the major voices of popular culture, each of which, according to Whitfield, reflected and contributed to the polarity that characterized so much of the 1950s.

Jun 12, 2002
Category: Book Reviews, Words

La Notte (1960)

Like Edward Hopper, Antonioni composes the frame with his heroine in the lower right corner, alienating her completely from her surroundings.

Jan 1, 2002
Category: Film, Film Responses

Breathless (1960)

Godard caused a sensation forty years ago with this, his first film, by not only tearing down cinematic and narrative conventions, but by doing so with a sly, mocking wink to his audience.

Dec 16, 2001
Category: Film, Film Responses

Another Country (1962)

Baldwin is so determined to explode the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality that he makes a fatal mistake: instead of being particularly insightful or even shocking, Another Country is preachy, sentimental, and, worst of all, boring.

Oct 18, 2001
Category: Book Reviews, Words

Winter Light (1963)

A crisis of faith, however, is a process, an on-going debate that can often seem frustratingly one-sided. Reducing such a debate to a simple question and an even simpler answer — as often happens both in the movies and the Church — only trivializes it.

Aug 18, 2001
Category: Film, Film Responses

My Night at Maud’s (1969)

Jean-Louis, a young engineer, spies his ideal woman at Sunday Mass. Francoise is young, attractive, blonde, and, most importantly, a practicing Catholic. Before they have even met, Jean-Louis determines that Francoise will be his wife.

Aug 15, 2001
Category: Film, Film Responses