Author Archives

Stefen Strysky

Film Noir Technology and Anxiety - The Big Clock

Technology and Anxiety in Film Noir

“Channeled through science and machines, good ol’ American ‘know-how’ had helped win the war, save democracy and crush tyranny. It’s understandable that a similar story would percolate through to the small-scale conflicts of cops and criminals.”

Destroyer Movie Essay - 2018 Karyn Kusama Film

Karyn Kusama’s ‘Destroyer’: The Question of Identity

“Kusama skillfully reinterprets the stylistics of classic film noir to explore the genre’s timeless and heady themes: obsession, loneliness, guilt and (most of all) identity…”

The Loneliness of the Contract Killer: Music in ‘Murder by Contract’

“It’s telling that all of the human interactions in ‘Murder by Contract’ involve either money or business. The illusions of the profit motive and market forces have alienated Claude from his own emotions and left him broken and alone.”

Film Noir and Apocalyptic Anxiety

“Where is our own cinema of madness?”

Film Noir Without the Femme Fatale: André De Toth’s ‘Pitfall’ and ‘Crime Wave’

“In ‘Pitfall’ and ‘Crime Wave,’ two seminal films bookending the classic noir cycle, director André De Toth develops a more nuanced view of marriage and the married couple.”

Vague Visages Is FilmStruck: Stefen Styrsky on Takeshi Kitano’s ‘Boiling Point’

“Kitano possesses an eye for color and mise-en-scène. Passages often become works of visual art in themselves.”

Vague Visages Is FilmStruck: Stefen Styrsky on Elia Kazan’s ‘Splendor in the Grass’

“The movie isn’t just about the way it was, the prudish hypocrisy of an earlier time, or outdated sexual mores. For all its provincialism, ‘Splendor in the Grass’ is a story for the ages.”

An Indictment of the Responsible Adult: Ruben Östlund’s ‘The Square’

“This isn’t simple hypocrisy. It’s a reversal of expected roles. Children in ‘The Square’ are equated with a moral courage that has been stripped from the film’s adults.”

Vague Visages Is FilmStruck: Stefen Styrsky on John Huston’s ‘Reflections in a Golden Eye’

“Lending the story a rarefied patina is the cinematography.”

Loneliness and the Romance of Death: On Alain Guiraudie’s ‘Stranger by the Lake’

“In us all lurks a potential Franck — desperate for intimacy, willing to risk oblivion for a moment’s embrace.”

Portraits of Women in Film Noir

“Film noir is all about questioning assumptions, and several of such films that feature portraits of women do nothing less.”