The Eyes of Morton Are Upon You: Morvern Callar and the Art of Expression
|Natalie Marlin| A flashing light fades in, and the first thing we see is her face, staring out past the camera. It’s impossible to know what she’s thinking. It’s impossible to know where her focus lies, or if her eyes are merely glazing over in a kind of catatonia.
|Matthew Lambert| Ratcatcher, the debut film from acclaimed director Lynne Ramsay, depicts severe poverty for a community in 1970s Scotland in a way that doesn’t glamorize nor attempt any sort of comfort for the viewer. The film follows James, a teenager living in a housing...
Mean Men & Wasted Women: The Audacious Excess of Hitchcock’s Notorious
|Chris Polley| “Every man that looks at you is a menace,” says runaway Nazi Alexander Sebastian (played by Claude Rains), the third wheel to and ultimate mark of the American power couple (played by Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman) at the center of Alfred Hitchcock’s...
Time and Tide: That Day, on the Beach
|Nick Kouhi| François Truffaut once claimed that every director’s film is a remake, more or less, of their first feature. Such an assertion suggests that to truly understand any auteur’s intentions, one must return to the crucible from which their art was forged.
There’s Something Unnatural About This Place: Martin Rosen’s Watership Down and The Plague Dogs
|Chris Ryba-Tures| I was about five the summer the last of my grandparents died. All four died over two years, alternating sides of the family. In our house death wasn’t just a teary conversation to have with the kids after the family parakeet dies. It was a force that rendered my...
The Rabbits of Tomorrow: Watership Down and the Evolution of Animation
|Daniel McCabe| Watership Down. The name conjures contrasting images of adorable rabbits and their violent, authoritarian society. Reams of ink and pixels have been expended discussing the film’s timeless plot and emotionally gripping images. It also holds a unique place in the history...
Yi Yi (A one and a two…)
|Azra Thakur| Wendy Ide, a film critic for The Guardian, was recently critical of films running over three hours, as she argued that films in the pandemic-times we continue to live in should be limited in their running length: "No film needs to be longer than three hours."
Smooth Vanilla Twist with Crunchy Lead Filling: The Brutal Stakes of Assault on Precinct 13
|Lucas Hardwick| If you were to drive by L.A.'s Anderson Police Precinct 13 in a modern day alternate reality, you’d find a district simply known as The Precinct, vibrating with hipsters in an entirely gentrified neighborhood surrounded by condos housing Instagram influencers and artsy...
Distorted Perception: Juraj Herz’s The Cremator
|Jeremy Noble| One of my favorite novels is Despair by Vladimir Nabokov. It draws me in every time I read it. Regardless of knowing the plot, I’m mesmerized by the narrative, which is told from the perspective of a deeply misguided protagonist. The novel follows Hermann, a man who...
Like Ships Sailing – How Mikhail Kalatozov Earned His Place in Cinema History
|Dan Howard| With every generation, a film comes around that provides a fresh new take on a genre. Most war films aren't of interest to me, but when we leave the trenches (or spend little time in them) and the battlefield, we see different sides of war that we wouldn’t expect.
What Doesn’t Kill You Makes Us All Stronger: Letter Never Sent, Individualism, and the Survival Genre
|Cole Seidl| Letter Never Sent is many things: a visual tour-de-force, a technological marvel, an allegory of Soviet resilience, a grueling survival thriller. It is also, notably, the rare great film that openly rejects an individualist perspective in its storytelling.
Chan is Missing: Reflecting on an Unsolved Mystery
|Andrea Buiser| Wayne Wang’s Chan is Missing is best described as a puzzle without a solution. By the end of the film’s 1 hour and 21 minutes, it suggests that the more you search for something, the harder it is to find. The movie tells the story of two taxi drivers in...