One of the most insistent and silly tropes in coming-of-age films is the Preternaturally Articulate Child, the little tyke who functions in the narrative as, essentially, a grown-up trapped in a small body. Sometimes — particularly in that heady period of the late ’80s that gave us Like Father, Like Son, Vice Versa, and Big, among others — we compensate for this awareness with literal body-switch stories, but more often we just put alarmingly adult phrases and observations in the mouths of kids.More
When bulldozers accidentally hit upon a cache of film reels in the cold ground of Dawson City, deep in the Yukon Territory, it was compared to the discovery of King Tut’s tomb.
Hyperbolic? Maybe. But the find — 533 films “dating from the 1910s and 20s [and mostly] previously unknown to film scholars or thought to be totally lost” — really was something of a miracle.More
Boots Riley‘s sense of humor has always tended to the pointedly outlandish, indignant outrage paired with a much goofier sensibility. Case in point: the class-conscious dance track “Five Million Ways To Kill A CEO” from his legendary Oakland hip-hop ensemble The Coup, in which Riley, voice swaggering over the groove, lays out the case against a ruling class who “own sweats shops, pet cops and fields of cola / Murder babies with they molars on the areola,” before suggesting a number of ways to rectify the situation.More
Increasingly, our mainstream cinema seems consumed with the act of storytelling itself. We can add American Animals to a list that already includes recent films as different as I, Tonya and Bisbee ‘17. This inward turn is nothing new for the avant-garde and the art-house, long characterized, from Bergman to Godard to Kiarostami, by the foregrounding of artifice.More
Calling it “the season’s most huggable film” shortchanges the charm of Hearts Beat Loud, but it’s not entirely wrong.
There are undercurrents of deep melancholy beneath all the indie-rock, Red Hook whimsy that ground it in something real, relatable, and honest.More
Miniatures are inherently unsettling. Like all copies of the world, they carry a whiff of the uncanny, and a possibility that they will escape the control of their creators; in horror movies, we are particularly trained to expect them, infused with some breath of terrible life, to rise up and wreak havoc.More
“Tungsten,” you think, occasionally, watching Gilda. “This film that made Rita Hayworth an international sensation, this film that features the most iconic character-introducing shot in all of cinema. It’s about … tungsten.”
Discussions of Gilda (1946) rarely turn on the out-sized role that tungsten — W on the periodic table; atomic number 74; melting point 3422 °C (6192 °F, 3695 K); boiling point 5930 °C (10706 °F, 6203 K), the highest known; density 19.3 times that of water, comparable to that of uranium and gold, and much higher (about 1.7 times) than that of lead — plays.More
Given that seemingly every day brings with it a new and horrifying perspective on America’s descent into Trumpian doublethink, it can be hard to keep track. It’s not just the outrage cycle, either – we really are living through uniquely dismal times; if the moral affronts aren’t necessarily new, the attitudes towards them, ranging from casual disregard to gleeful celebration, sure seem to be.More
The events of May 1968 exist in memory, of course, but whose memory, and how? The overlapping texts of Philippe Garrel‘s Regular Lovers, Bernardo Bertolucci‘s The Dreamers, and Olivier Assayas’ Après mai offer clues.
Amid all the recollections of ’68 in the past few weeks — whether extolling the energy of a revolutionary moment or gleefully trumpeting its failure, or something in between — I’ve been surprised how many people in my generation, in the U.S., are at a loss for context.More