THEME AND VARIATIONS
The Royal Road, Phoenix, and The Dragon is the Frame

Film

D.A. Miller begins his 2008 Film Quarterly essay on Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958) by confessing that his initial experience of the film was not a happy one.

DIRTY PRETTY THINGS
David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars

Film

Elegiac passages from Paul Éluard’s Liberté haunt David Cronenberg’s nutty Maps to the Stars, as if the Surrealist writer’s transformative prose was another of the film’s many ghostly manifestations. In a film that deftly normalizes the toxic repetition of pop culture references and celebrity name-dropping, Éluard’s dreamy influence feels alien, like an extraterrestrial marking imprinted upon an earthly idol.

WEBEXCLUSIVE

SERIOUS GAMES: Film and video at play in Experimenta at the 2014 BFI London Film Festival

Film

This October, the 2014 BFI London Film Festival Experimenta showcased roughly 70 film and video works broadly defined as “experimental cinema and artists’ film and video.” The Experimenta programming offered works both magnificent and maddening, and the nearly parallel festival provided much to consider on its own.

SURVEILLANCE AESTHETICS On Laura Poitras’s 9/11 Trilogy

Film

Following the attacks of 9/11, documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras, like many of her contemporaries, trained her lens on the government’s response at home and abroad.

PLENTY OF CAUSES FOR CONCERN
BAM’s Migrating Forms

Film

This line marks the final moments of William Greaves’s deeply affecting 1968 television documentary, Still a Brother: Inside the Negro Middle Class.The film, a portrait of black political and economic aspiration during some of the most dramatic moments of the civil rights movement, screened as part of a Greaves retrospective at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Migrating Forms festival in December.

ON REFLECTION
When Evening Falls on Bucharest or Metabolism

Film

In the final scene, which is also the final shot, of Corneliu Porumboiu’s When Evening Falls on Bucharest or Metabolism (2013) a doctor examines video footage of an endoscopy in order to determine whether or not Paul, a film director, requires additional insurance coverage for a condition he did not previously admit having.

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