Favorite films

Recent activity


Recent reviews

  • His Trust

    His Trust

    All the rascism (and smoke) of The Birth of Nation concentrated and condensed into a single reel.

    Just think about the title. What it actually means. How Griffith expresses this...

    There is not a single frame of this that isn't offensive in some way, and all to service the fantasies of an audience that fetishises white purity and innocence.

  • Coney Island at Night

    Coney Island at Night

    Thompson and Dundy burn thousands of Edison's watts in thousands of Edison's bulbs after letting Edison kill Topsy, the elephant who helped build it, with more of Edison's volts.

    No wonder Edison graciously consented to filming some promotional footage.

    1905 seems to have been the year of filming the rise of New York in the dark. Along with this, there's the footage of the brand new (electric) New York Subway; film which seems the bigger technical accomplishment.

    Look at my works, ye Mighty, and despair!

Popular reviews

  • 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?