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Sarah Kessler

Sarah Kessler is currently completing her Master's in English at the University of Wisconsin. She will migrate to sunny Los Angeles after her defense.

DVD Culture

Swords, Sandals and Sex

Caligula is the stuff, or rather the spunk, of legend. The 1979 epic T&A-fest is based on real-life legend: the rapid ascendancy and downfall of Roman Emperor Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (“Little Boots” for short).

Depilatory as Metaphor

Those of us dying for a decent woman’s film may now—at least temporarily—curtail our pining. Lebanese director Nadine Labaki’s Caramel unlaces the proverbial corset, breathing new life into what has become a disturbingly constricted genre.

An Imperfect Cinema

Patricio Guzmán’s epic documentary rigorously chronicles the “before” of the historic coup d’etat

DVD Culture

Vintage Van Sant

Completed in 1985, Mala Noche (“Bad Night”) prefigured Gus Van Sant’s entry into the American indie directors’ canon. Van Sant’s adaptation marries the Beat of Curtis’ writing to rich, rough-and-tumble, black-and-white imagery. The graininess of his celluloid—catnip for the cinephiles in the audience—echoes the grit of the rainy city. Van Sant’s signature shot—clouds churning above a flat landscape—was first scrawled here.


The Brooklyn Rail

NOV 2023

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