By the time Buster Keaton made The General (co-directed by Clyde Bruckman) in 1926, Civil War melodramas were already old-fashioned. In the early silent era, the Civil War and the Antebellum South provided fodder for countless narrative films by U.S. studios, so that by the time Keaton made his film, this was well-worn territory. The… Read more »
Entries by Laura Ivins
Much has been made of the fleshiness of Claire Denis’ 2001 horror film, Trouble Every Day. With its cannibalistic and erotic themes, the film almost demands a tactile analysis. But in my most recent viewing of Trouble Every Day, I was struck by its uncanny sound design. The sound does not call attention to itself… Read more »
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Céline Sciamma, 2019) revolves around a refusal of a woman to be looked at. Héloïse (Adèle Haenel) will not sit for her own portrait, because she knows that portrait is the means to take her into an unwanted marriage with an unknown man. It’s the 18th century, though, and… Read more »
Radium Girls (Lydia Dean Pilcher and Ginny Mohler, 2018) takes its inspiration from the infuriating history of watch-dial painters of the 1910s-1930s who were poisoned and then abandoned by the radium industry. Discovered in 1898 by the Curies, radium was all the rage in the early decades of the 20th century. Thought to be a… Read more »
We find it fascinating when a star transforms themselves for a role. Rebecca Romijn enduring hours of prosthetics for her role as Mystique… Jared Leto losing 30 lbs for Dallas Buyer’s Club… Christian Bale losing an even more extreme 60 lbs for The Machinist… Charlize Theron gaining 30 lbs and donning latex make-up to add… Read more »
The Brothers Quay’s first narrative feature builds upon many of the themes found in their animated shorts. Within Institute Benjamenta, or this dream people call human life (1995), the Quays explore expressive spaces, play with sonic and visual textures, and search for the poetic within banal movement.