Exiled in Myself: “L’enfant Secret” (1979) & The Autobiographical Cinema of Philippe Garrel

In 1979, French filmmaker Philippe Garrel (b.: 1948) turned to a new form of autobiography. Following the political and cultural upheavals of the May ’68 protests, which he filmed in the recently discovered Actua 1 (1968), and a decade spent with legendary Velvet Underground collaborator and Warhol superstar, Nico, Garrel embarked on the new, more memoiristic mode… Learn More

“The Other Side of Hope” & Museum Films’ Best of 2017

Few films were more of their moment this year—in the very best sense as it engaged critically with a global human tragedy, and did not simply reflect the rancid spirit of our times—than was Aki Kaurismäki’s The Other Side of Hope (2017; screening December 15-17 at OKCMOA). The second of the Finnish director’s “port cities” series,… Learn More

Dispatches from the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival: Jeannette, the Childhood of Joan of Arc & The Killing of a Sacred Deer + Festival Recap

It’s the middle of summer, 1425, and on a sandy stretch of land beneath the Bleu de France sky, a young Joan of Arc wrestles with her vocation–and her country’s fate–amidst a never ending, off-screen war with the English. Written and directed by Bruno Dumont, mid-career maestro of Li’l Quinquin (2014) and Slack Bay (2016), which both successfully… Learn More

The Decorative and the Vulgar in Une chambre en ville (1982)

So as not to bury the lede, let me begin by acknowledging that Une chambre en ville (1982) is a very strange film: made at the end of what was, by most counts, a lost decade for its writer-director, Jacques Demy, Une chambre en ville is a dark and deeply romantic all-singing musical operetta (like 1964’s The… Learn More

Bachelors & Bombshells: Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957)

Made less than a half decade after the introduction of color television, and long before the new technology had supplanted its black-and-white ancestor, writer-director Frank Tashlin’s full-color, Cinemascope masterpiece Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957) assails its visual storytelling competition. The key moment comes more than half way through the filmmaker’s spastically funny Madison Avenue-satire, when the titular… Learn More

Enter the New Global Modernism: On Edward Yang’s Taipei Story (1985)

Around the mid-1980s, Asia began to emerge as a significant rival to Europe in the production of art cinema of the highest quality. In the Middle East, Iran witnessed the emergence of a new generation of post-Revolution filmmakers led by the comparatively experimental work of Abbas Kiarostami, who got his start before the Revolution, and by the younger,… Learn More

Slowly Slips Away: The Body and Time in The Death of Louis XIV (2016)

The preeminent feature of Catalan filmmaker Albert Serra’s (b.: 1975) cinema is the human body. Set among the mythic figures of Western civilization, both fictional and historical—from Sancho Panza and Count Dracula to Casanova, the three Magi, and now the “Sun King,” France’s Louis XIV—Serra’s films place special emphasis on the physical, bodily presence of… Learn More

Tragedy into Form, Form as Cultural Expression: On Kenji Mizoguchi’s The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum (1939)

By 1939, in the work of Japanese director Kenji Mizoguchi (1898-1956), the cinema achieved a measure of formal brilliance and complexity that it has very rarely matched, and still hasn’t surpassed, in the nearly eighty years since. With The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum (1939), which is often considered the pinnacle of the director’s prewar career, and… Learn More