Category: 2020 Film Essays


We’re All Mad Here: Chris Marker’s ‘A Grin Without a Cat’

“For a film about anger — both that of the social movements animated in protest and that belonging to the state which will brook no challenge to its authority — ‘A Grin Without a Cat’ is surprisingly without its own anger.”

The Bride Wore Black Movie Essay - 1968 François Truffaut Film

Avenging the Destruction of True Love: François Truffaut’s ‘The Bride Wore Black’

“In ‘The Bride Wore Black,’ cruel fate rips true love away from the innocent, suggesting that Truffaut believed pure happiness is only found in fairy tales.”

Safari 7 Cinema

Local Heroes: Farewell, Safari

“Like any cinema, the Safari brought people together to dream in the dark.”

Six in Paris Movie Essay - Paris vu par

The Crashing of the Wave: ‘Six in Paris’

“Despite being an uneven grouping hardly representative of the best these filmmakers had to offer, ‘Six in Paris’ is an interesting capsule of moments in time and space.”

Chungking Express Movie Essay - 1994 Wong Kar-Wai Film

Celebrating Small Moments in ‘Chungking Express’

“The small character gestures in ‘Chungking Express’ give the film its soul, but the spark comes from the act of being seen at all.”

Krzysztof Komeda

From Underground Jazz Clubs to Breaching Hollywood: Krzysztof Komeda and the Polish Sound

“Krzysztof Komeda made sure that the films he scored would be unlikely to exist, with any real significance, without his response to the images he was provided.”

Mank Movie Review - 2020 David Fincher Film

David Fincher Pays Tribute to His Father and Old Hollywood in ‘Mank’

“‘Mank’ probably spends more time than necessary defining the protagonist’s own crisis of conscience within a corrupt and decaying dream factory.”

Bandit Queen Movie Film

‘Bandit Queen’: The Callous World of Caste, Identity and Blood

“Despite being mired in controversy, ‘Bandit Queen’ is one of the finest films made in India that pushes the envelope of cinematic excellence.”

The Black Dahlia Movie Film

Man with the Camera: Brian De Palma’s ‘The Black Dahlia’

“‘The Black Dahlia’ shows De Palma in a reflective mood, considering the impact cinema, especially his own, has had on the lives and suffering of women on screen.”

Double Indemnity Movie Film

Exploring ‘Double Indemnity’ and the Problematic Feminism of Film Noir

“The representation of women in Film Noir is murky territory — in some ways progressive, in other ways deeply misogynistic — certainly when assessing Phyllis in ‘Double Indemnity.'”

Sátántangó Movie Film

The Tension of Space and Time: Béla Tarr’s ‘Sátántangó’

“‘Sátántangó’ becomes an almost transcendental experience, illustrating fissures in a civilization constructed by an inimitable, sublime design.”

Rebecca Movie Film

Ben Wheatley’s ‘Rebecca’: There’s Nothing Behind the Wallpaper

“‘Rebecca’ feels sanded out, erased of all imperfection, identity and mystery.”

Poltergeist Movie Film

The Erosion of Family in the ‘Poltergeist’ Films

“The ‘Poltergeist’ films will remain eternally relevant as long as America and other countries keep making the same tragic mistakes over and over again, building their own haunted houses for spirits to eventually consume from within.”

On Dangerous Ground Movie Film

Beat Cops: Police Brutality and Film Noir

“Otto Preminger’s ‘Where the Sidewalk Ends’ and Nicholas Ray’s ‘On Dangerous Ground’ gesture towards the difficult conditions under which police labor while turning a critical eye on the brutally violent detectives who abuse their power.”

Blood on the Moon Movie Film

Have None, Will Travel: The Villainy of Economics in ‘Blood on the Moon’

“There’s a dark warning at the heart of ‘Blood on the Moon’ that still rings true today.”

The Bad Sleep Well Movie Film

The Modern Netherworld of Akira Kurosawa’s ‘The Bad Sleep Well’

“Kurosawa was rarely more bitter and dejected than he is here, crafting a sprawling noir tragedy from Shakespeare’s text, grappling desperately with identity in the nightmare of faceless modernity.”

David Byrne in American Utopia

Spike Lee Visits David Byrne’s ‘American Utopia’

“The 68-year-old Byrne of today is less livewire, exposed-nerve, performance-art provocateur and more professorial elder statesman…”

The Phantom of the Opera - 2004

Romantic Horror in ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ Movie Adaptations

“The six major theatrical adaptations of Phantom’s story cover a wide realm of romantic horror, fully exploiting the themes and concepts within the character.”

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre Movie Film

Tobe Hooper’s ‘The Texas Chain Saw Massacre’ Offers a Close-Up Look at Cosmic Pessimism

“Under its brutal dissembling of anthropocentrism and customary moral divides, ‘The Texas Chain Saw Massacre’ points to the terror of a harsh and uncaring universe.”

Santa Sangre Movie Film

‘Santa Sangre’: A Graveyard for Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Memories

“Santa Sangre’s themes of empathy and hope are uniquely personal for Jodorowsky, and they help bring the film’s horrors and bloodshed into perspective…”