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Film Essays

This category contains 38 posts

The Sounds of Silence

“Silence is impossible.  That is why we desire it.” –Maurice Blanchot “The sound experience which I prefer to all others is the experience of silence.  And the silence almost everywhere in the world now is traffic…if you listen to traffic you see it’s always different.” –John Cage When I was a kid I went to … Continue reading

Sounding Off His Arm in 127 Hours

There are a lot of valid criticisms of 127 Hours. Some of the pieces don’t really work, for instance, and some of the cutting is a bit too quick. But when you get to the ending, with Sigur Rós playing over Franco’s withered body, it’s still hard not to just weep. Somewhere in this mash-up of … Continue reading

Me, Myself and Iron Man

I was sitting in the small Italian, brick-oven restaurant down the block, with the dirty floors and the amazing food, when I saw my soul reflected back at me. A little boy, no more than five, although he had the haircut of a sixty year-old, stood engrossed in front of a plain white wall. He … Continue reading

Giorgio Moroder Presents Metropolis, Only Trippier

Growing up in a dusty South Texas burg without a single revival theater was like living in cinema purgatory in the late 1970s, when my first really intense interest in the technical and artistic aspects of film began to blossom. Cable television “superstations” and premium movie channels like HBO – then known as Home Box … Continue reading

The Myth of Objectivity or: Why I Hate Fight Club

Many critics view objectivity as the highest value in film criticism, and until recently, I was among them. For most film theorists, enthusiasts, and critics, objectivity represented a standard of how to evaluate and assess film, meticulously trying to find a universal truth hidden within the celluloid that reveals whether the film is one of … Continue reading

Voice in Terrence Malick’s Cinema

With the advent of sound, the human voice became a vital component of film.  Dialogue was no longer relegated to cards on the screen and narrative devices could be birthed allowing for new glimpses into unknown worlds of construction.  As I’ve written previously, much of the greatness we attribute to early cinema filmmakers is in … Continue reading

Blue Velvet: Exploring the Underbelly of American Nostalgia

“Nostalgia (noun): a sentimental longing or wistful affection for a period in the past” –  Oxford English Dictionary This definition of nostalgia is still fairly new. Originally, nostalgia was a medical-psychological term to describe the feelings of soldiers far from their homelands. It was a crippling homesickness, and those diagnosed with nostalgia were given leave … Continue reading

The Mechanical Reproduction of a Dragon Tattoo

“We must expect great innovations to transform the entire technique of the arts, thereby affecting artistic invention itself and perhaps even bringing about an amazing change in our very notion of art.” –Paul Valéry (PIÈCES SUR L’ART, “La Conquète de l’ubiquité,” Paris.) “In principle a work of art has always been reproducible.” –Walter Benjamin (The … Continue reading

Damon Albarn & Michael Nyman Compose My Future on the Coattails of Ravenous

When I was a kid I found the film Ravenous on the shelf of my local video store.  Yes, I probably shouldn’t have been allowed to rent it at the time, but the video store clerks knew me well for my fandom and these moments are important when young.  Much of what we discover in … Continue reading

Eraserhead, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Nausea

Harry Spencer is a pitiful man. He lives in the boiler room of an abandoned industrial complex. He has a psychotic girlfriend. He is paralyzed by the foul fantasies of his lust and isolation. His anxiety has rendered him practically mute. The infant version of the monster he fathered, covered in flies, whines and sucks … Continue reading