“When Fortuna spins you downward, go out to a movie and get more out of life.”
-- John Kennedy Toole, from A Confederacy of Dunces
Watching one of Lubitsch Continental drawing room Pre-code masterpieces, like Trouble in Paradise (1932) or Design for Living (1933), feels now like witnessing a lost art. Witty, louche comedic gems where crime pays and creates sexual frisson. Theft goes unpunished unpunished and polyamory unjudged. Was the world ever this sophisticated and subtle? How did Hollywood forget how to do this?
I feel like someone in the thousand or so years between the sacking of Rome and Donatello -- one who’s…
I knew I’d be interested in the film’s exploration of the choice between life and art. Though based based on a Balzac story, Rivette’s film feels much more like Henry James (a big admirer of the story, btw) with is slow accretions of tension and meaning.
I knew I’d be captivated by Emmanuelle Béart, freckled and gorgeous, vulnerable and defiant, not to mention naked. What I cannot believe is I cannot believe how much I was riveted by Rivette’s real-time…
About 40 minutes into Psycho, Norman removes a print hanging on his wall of “Susannah and the Elders,” a story from the Book of Daniel of two men spying on a naked bathing woman. Norman then spies through a peephole at Marion undressing to bathe. There’s an extreme close-up of his eye in the darkness lit by a beam of light from the peephole. Here we have the ultimate metaphor for moviegoing, the audience-as-voyeur, sitting in the dark spying on…
“When you can assume that your audience holds the same beliefs you do, you can relax and use more normal means of talking to it; when you have to assume that it does not, then you have to make your vision apparent by shock -- to the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost-blind you draw large and startling figures.”
― Flannery O'Connor
Spike Lee’s fine genre pictures (25th Hour, Inside Man) are masterclasses in finesse and unsurpassed…