When film reviewers wrote about The Descent (Neil Marshall, 2005) during its U.S. theatrical release in August 2006, many displayed an interesting contradiction. They often praised the film for departing from hypersexualized depictions of its women protagonists, but then used sexualized language in their reviews to describe the actors. In some instances, reviewers interpreted the… Read more »
In 1996’s Scream (Wes Craven), we learned the rules of the slasher genre. Depraved male killers stalk teenagers who get out of line. Only the virginal woman — the Final Girl — survives. All other sins will be punished, especially and particularly women who show their breasts and have sex. The term “Final Girl” originates… Read more »
One of the more memorable moments in F for Fake (Orson Welles, 1973) has seemingly little to do with the main plot about Elmyr de Hory and art forgeries. Toward the beginning of the film, Oja Kodar walks along the street in a mini-dress, and a slew of men ogle her as she passes. “Girl… Read more »
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 »
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.