Favorite films

  • Deep End
  • The White Bus
  • Woman in the Dunes
  • The Bed Sitting Room

Recent activity

All
  • The Housemaid

    ★★★★½

  • The Story of Film: A New Generation

    ★★★★

  • Limite

    ★★★½

  • Chess of the Wind

    ★★★½

Recent reviews

More
  • Paris Blues

    Paris Blues

    ★★

    Paul Newman and Sydney Poitier are marooned in Paris waiting for the Nouvelle Vague. It fails to arrive.

    This is so flat it makes Paris look like it was shot on a Hollywood set that somone had forgotten about in the hinterlands of a moribund UA studio lot. The black and white doesn't snap. They smeer into the low contrast fog I associate with contemporary stage set TV dramas. It's the exact opposite of chiaroscuro. There's one shot at the…

  • House of Tolerance

    House of Tolerance

    ★★★★

    A beautiful, ugly, silent scream of a film.

    A non-linear descent into the fin de siecle, hellish reality for the women of the Apollonide. As the title suggests, it is assembled as a series of souvenirs. Vignettes ordered neatly not according to chronology but by distress.

    Despite the sharply focused and precisely controlled lens that is sometimes too close to the action, this feels like it's being viewed in a langorous haze of opium smoke. The effects gradually wear off…

Popular reviews

More
  • Buffalo Dance

    Buffalo Dance

    A group of Native Americans demonstrate a dance for an entirely white audience for entertainment purposes. The power dynamic mediated through the camera. More usually performed at Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show, this is the sad end of the Manifest Destiny in under 30 seconds; now performing to fill kinetoscope parlours and line Edison’s pockets. The curiosity of white audiences with the culture of those they’ve beaten into submission only heightens the inequality. Less of an entertainment, more of a humiliation.

  • The Pickaninny Dance from the “Passing Show”

    The Pickaninny Dance from the “Passing Show”

    Just when you think title’s too racist, you get the description “A scene representing Southern plantation life before the war. A jig and a breakdown by three colored boys.” Slavery-era black culture filtered through a Broadway revue show and then the Edison/Dickson studio in New Jersey (filmed on the same day as a minstrel act) for distribution in kinetoscope parlours for the delight of a white audience. Nevertheless, Joe Rastus, Denny Tolliver and Walter Wilkins are the first African-Americans on film. Is that a milestone or a millstone?