Decade: 2000s

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.

Dec 14, 2008
Category: Essays, Film

RR (2007)

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Railroad (with apologies to Wallace Stevens)

Sep 9, 2008
Category: Festivals, Film, Film Responses

Los Muertos (2004)

What fascinates me about Los Muertos is that it explores the connection between form and content by taking all of the tropes of “transcendental cinema” and staining them, by narrative means, with dread and violence. It reminds me of Brian Eno’s answer (apocryphal, perhaps) when he was asked if he was the father of New Age music: “No, my music has evil in it.”

Jun 29, 2008
Category: Film, Film Responses

Platform (2000)

With so many directors now throwing in their cameras with the “single-shot scenes from a fixed position” school of filmmaking, there’s a growing problem for those of us who believe that a fundamental job of critics is to accurately describe what we see. Films built almost entirely from images that would have been described traditionally as “establishing shots” beg the question: How does one describe and evaluate this kind of montage (if that’s even the right word)?

Mar 25, 2008
Category: Film, Film Responses

There Will Be Blood (2007)

Like nearly everyone else, apparently, I was overwhelmed by the sheer force of will in Anderson’s filmmaking but am still unsure of what to make of it, exactly.

Jan 23, 2008
Category: Film, Film Responses

2007 TIFF Day 8

Gus Van Sant’s Paranoid Park, Lee Kang-sheng’s Help Me Eros, Nanouk Leopold’s Wolfsbergen, and Alessandro Capone’s L’Amour Cache.

Sep 22, 2007
Category: Festivals, Film, Film Responses

2007 TIFF Day 7

Catherine Breillat’s Une vieille maitresse, Brian De Palma’s Redacted, and Jose Luis Guerin’s Dans la ville de Sylvie.

Sep 20, 2007
Category: Festivals, Film, Film Responses

2007 TIFF Day 6

Carlos Reygadas’s Silent Light, Bernard Emond’s Contre Toute Esperance, and Celine Sciamma’s Naissance des pieuvres.

Sep 18, 2007
Category: Festivals, Film, Film Responses

A Few Words About Zodiac

David Fincher’s Zodiac is absolutely haunted by the specter of technology and by the present-day confidence we have in its objectivity.

Aug 22, 2007
Category: Film, Film Responses

Colossal Youth (2006)

Nearly all of the press coverage of Colossal Youth has been accompanied by the same low-angle shot of Ventura, the film’s protagonist. He’s an elderly man, tall and thin. In this particular image, we see little of his face — just one eye peering over his right shoulder. The photo is dominated, instead, by the stark lines and sharp angles of a newly-constructed, State-funded tenement high-rise that blots out the sky behind him.

May 17, 2007
Category: Film, Film Responses