Collectively, the films present a compelling story of quiet tenacity, talent, and artistic determination. The films are all exquisite, featuring a distinctive blend of narration by Pearlman overlaying an Expressionist montage of documentary images, storytelling, and visual imagery to create seamless shifts between past and present, inner life and outer, and the creative process versus the finished film.
Category: Film Reviews
Friendship and Historical Materialism in Raoul Peck’s The Young Karl Marx
Raoul Peck’s film, begins with the young philosopher Karl Marx’s critique of the persecution of desperate peasants, who go into forests to gather dead wood, something considered theft, for which they were arrested or beaten or even killed. Marx, a passionate but poor writer married to a well-born woman, was censored for his examination of political power.
A review of The Blackcoat’s Daughter
Now, we are witnessing perhaps the most substantial change to the horror formula to date and the rise of a new sub-genre. These modern films focus far less on gratuitous violence and concern themselves more with a journey that leads us to tragic ends. This new crop of horror is more cerebral, less conventional—films which have been called “art house horror”—even “post-horror.”
Another Dodge in a System of Dodges: Evasion of Responsibility in What Maisie Knew, Book and Film
Henry James created characters able to embody his concern for elegance, intelligence, morality, and social ritual; and his work attains intellectual and spiritual dimension of a high degree—and his style, thoughtful, textured, teasing, can be complex to the point of profound obscurity, requiring attention, consideration, and deep understanding. The drama is increased for all that.
A review of Macbeth directed by Justin Kurzel
Faced with the prospect of a dreary peace, Macbeth the triumphant warrior goes for the main prize: King Duncan’s crown. It is an exhilarating adaptation of Shakespeare’s great tragedy but I feel that the emphasis is sometimes misplaced or even absent. For example, Lady Macduff’s ‘I have done no harm’ speech, usually the most moving in the whole play, is delivered while she’s on the run from murderers. They can’t hear her, we wonder why she’s starting a conversation. Run faster, woman.
A review of Pasolini
It’s an uncompromising film by Abel Ferrara, quite in keeping with Pasolini’s own oeuvre, and he has made it in his own distinct way. Some scenes are straight forward, understated even, while others have a visionary quality. However, you always feel that Ferrara is in control of his material
Freedom, Knowledge, Power: The State of the Nation and Its Arts, circa 2015
Where does one go if one wants to discuss the arts, philosophy, or political problems and solutions? Where does one go if one wants to discuss socialism or multiculturalism or feminism or bisexuality or androgyny? How does one reconcile the fact of genuine intellectual work with a society that values the shallow and sensational?
Shakespeare As the Father of Us All: On Romeo & Juliet, As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing, and At Any Price, Bamako, Cesar Chavez, The Darjeeling Limited, Prisoners, Thurgood, and The Wolf of Wall Street
Shakespeare writes about human emotion and impulse in a heightened realm, a realm of people with liberty and power, people of mind and passionate expression. Shakespeare gives us a language that is complex, eloquent, and true, a language to savor.
The Free Mind of a Man in Captivity: Twelve Years A Slave, Book and Film
The director Steve McQueen has turned the book Twelve Years A Slave into the film 12 Years a Slave, interpreting Solomon Northup’s story with accuracy, exquisite craft, and significant understanding. What makes 12 Years A Slave remarkable are the consciousness, skill, and experience of Solomon Northup, his being an embodiment not of potential but of actual value—value (valued formed by liberty, knowledge, accomplishment, and family relations) that was denied by those who captured him.
Notes on the television program “Roots,” Black Narratives, the new King monument in Washington, D.C., and Barack
I know that the original broadcast of the television program “Roots,” based on African-American writer Alex Haley’s imaginative reconstruction of his family’s history, was an important cultural and historical event, presenting at once to all of America a history—the history of the capture and enslavement of Africans—that had been referred to but rarely discussed at length or widely.