Region: France

Friday Night (2002)

Joanna tells me — and she’s told me this many times over the years — that she fell in love the first time we held hands. I couldn’t imagine what she meant. Men, in my experience at least, seldom consider hands. Or, we consider them only when they’re noticeable — scarred, chewed, ornamented by loudly painted nails. Even then, though, we offer only a passing glance and a quick, rarely-conscious judgment. To really consider a hand demands a certain intimacy, I think. We’re allowed to stare at faces, encouraged even to maintain eye contact during public conversations, but to really look at a hand (or the place where a neck meets a shoulder or the back of a knee) is taboo outside of a bedroom (metaphorically speaking).

Nov 24, 2004
Category: Film, Film Responses

10e Chambre, instants d’audiences (2004)

During the screening of 10e Chambre, instants d’audiences, I was quite disappointed by the film, but even then I knew that my disappointment was with the audience rather than with the film itself.

Sep 12, 2004
Category: Festivals, Film, Film Responses

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

This essay was originally published at Senses of Cinema.

Jul 26, 2004
Category: Essays, Film

Late August, Early September (1998)

Like, one of Rohmer’s late comedies, the charm of Late August is found almost entirely in its characters (all of whom are likeable enough and three-dimensional enough) and in the smart things they say to one another. They twist themselves in existential knots, struggling to balance their idealized visions of integrity with the muddy necessity: compromise.

May 17, 2004
Category: Film, Film Responses

Beau Travail (2000)

Whereas post-colonial critics have, in turn, criticized/praised Melville for his appropriation of racist stereotypes (or his subversion of those stereotypes, depending on which side of the debate each critic stands), Denis situates Melville’s moral dilemma in an explicitly post-colonial situation, complicating further the relationships between European and African, Christian and Muslim, and calling into question the political value and motivations underlying those relationships.

Feb 25, 2003
Category: Film, Film Responses

Time Out (2001)

What separates Time Out (2001) from the recent spate of “disillusioned upper-middle-class white guy has a breakdown” movies is writer/director Laurent Cantet’s interest in the specific economic forces that lead — some would say inevitably — to such discontent.

Jan 25, 2003
Category: Film, Film Responses

Claire’s Knee (1970)

Last night I watched Claire’s Knee (1970), the fifth entry in Eric Rohmer’s series of “Six Moral Tales.” This one is built around Jerome, an unusually self-absorbed rake (even by Rohmer’s standards) who spends the weeks leading up to his marriage on holiday at Lake Annecy. While there he meets an old acquaintance, Aurora, an […]

Sep 10, 2002
Category: Film, Film Responses

Bruno Dumont’s Bodies

This essay was originally published at Senses of Cinema.

Mar 13, 2002
Category: Essays, Film

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

L’Humanite (1999)

Walt Whitman would be proud. It’s remarkable to hear echoes of Whitman in the voice of a contemporary filmmaker, but there he is, still singing the “body electric” and sounding his “barbaric yawp.”

Oct 10, 2001
Category: Film, Film Responses