Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Family. Show all posts

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sean Smithson: We Are What We Are, Tastefully Macabre

WE ARE WHAT WE ARE, Tastefully Macabre
by Sean Smithson

Let's get this out of the way right off the bat: We Are What We Are is not a remake. Differing greatly from the original Jorge Michel Grau Spanish-language version, the creative team of Jim Mickle (writer/director) and Nick Damici (writer/co-star) have taken the original concept of ritual cannibalism and inverted it, switching almost every trope in the initial version, and spinning it into something completely their own.

In this Americanized take, Iris and Rose Parker (Ambyr Childers and Julia Garner) are two young girls living in a rural community who have recently lost their mother, and are now left to tend to the needs of their little brother Rory, and ailing father Frank (Jack Gore and Bill Sage). Stand-offish and a mystery to the local citizens, the Parkers have kept to themselves, labelled strange, eccentric, and a bit fanatical by their neighbors and fellow townsfolk. As an on-going storm rages, causing flooding and immobility, slowly the long standing mystery of a number of disappearances in the area begins to unravel.

A local coroner, Doc Barrow (played by scene stealer extraordinaire Michael Parks), whose daughter had gone missing the season before, slowly begins to suspect the anti-social Parker family of being involved, and tells the local sheriff (Nick Damici) of his feelings. Young Deputy Anders (Wyatt Russell, son of Kurt) meanwhile has an infatuation with the beautiful Iris, who obviously wants to return his affections but keeps her suitor at a distance because of her duty to her family. When a human finger bone is discovered, evidence starts pointing to foul play in the small community, and the tourniquet on the Parkers slowly tightens, as dark secrets (and worse) are threatened to be revealed. Plot elements are deftly juggled by Mickle, as the storm worsens, the clues amass, and tensions mount.

The raging storm brings flood waters that threaten to literally dig up long-buried secrets. Caught in the spiral is caring neighbor Marge (Kelly McGillis) a bit of an old maid who has taken to watching over the girls and their little brother, and helping them through the trial of losing their mother. Let me say here, it's so great to see McGillis become a Mickle cast regular, this being her second film with him, and proves that real screen talent elevates material (which the genre sorely needs right now).

This is a horror movie, so it goes without saying, things don't end well for many of the characters in We Are What We Are. Thankfully, director Mickle never goes for the cheap shot or easy gore, instead methodically building a tale of a family in pain and turmoil, who happen to have some very strange practices and ideas of what worship is.

The most overt change is the family structure being shifted from young teenaged boys, a little sister, and a mother trying to keep things together (as in the original) to a literal "flip," where now we have a widowed father, his two young daughters on the verge of womanhood, and their little brother. It seems a bit literal on paper, but in the context of Mickle's vision it's actually a revelation. Changing the setting from a city to a small almost Norman Rockwell-esque Any Town, America strengthens the backstory and brings it all "home," so to speak.

To Read the Rest of the Review

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Code Unknown (France/Germany/Romania: Michael Haneke, 2000)

Code Unknown (France/Germany/Romania: Michael Haneke, 2000: 118 mins)

Brunette, Peter. Michael Haneke. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois, 2010.

---. "On the Films of Michael Haneke." The Marketplace of Ideas (April 15, 2010)

"Code Unknown: An Auto Dialogue." Girish [This is a blog-a-thon--links at the bottom will direct you to more essays on the film] (February 13, 2006)

Cozzalio, Dennis. "Code Unknown and Crash: Collisions, Connections and Catharsis." Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly (February 13, 2006)

Falcon, Richard. Code Unknown Sight and Sound (May 2001)

Frey, Mattias. "Great Directors: Michael Haneke." Senses of Cinema #57 (2010)

Grundman, Roy. A Companion to Michael Haneke. Malden, MA: Wiley Blackwell, 2010.

"Michael Haneke Studies: Videos, Podcasts and Article Links." Film Studies for Free (June 26, 2010)

Price, Brian and John David Rhodes, ed. On Michael Haneke. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University, 2010.

Sorfa, David. "Uneasy domesticity in the films of Michael Haneke." Studies in European Cinema 3.2 (2006)

Wheatley, Catherine. Michael Haneke's Cinema: The Ethic of the Image. NY: Bergahn Books, 2009. [BCTC Library PN 1998.3 H36 W44 2009]

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Carl Freedman -- The Supplement of Coppola: Primitive Accumulation and the Godfather Trilogy

The Supplement of Coppola: Primitive Accumulation and the Godfather Trilogy
by Carl Freedman
Originally published in Film International #49 (2011): 8-41.


The first words uttered in The Godfather are, “I believe in America.” It is an audacious opening scene in several respects. The initial line is spoken over a completely dark screen. Then the light comes up to reveal, in extreme close-up, the speaker: a homely, nondescript middle-aged man who (as we will soon learn) is the undertaker Bonasera (Salvatore Corsitto). As the camera gradually zooms out from close-up to middle distance, Bonasera continues to talk, though it remains unclear for a brief while to whom he is speaking. He tells the story of his beautiful daughter, who had acquired a boyfriend, one not, as Bonasera is careful to make clear, of Italian background. While out on a drive with the boyfriend and another male friend, she found that she was expected to provide sexual favors to both boys; and, when she refused, they beat her viciously, disfiguring her for life (“Now she will never be beautiful again,” sobs Bonasera). Her father, “like a good American,” duly reported the crime to the police, and the boys were arrested, indicted, tried, and convicted—but given a suspended sentence. “Suspended the sentence!” says the undertaker in incredulity and disgust that the judge could have punished such a vile crime so lightly. Now he has come to the local crime boss, Don Vito Corleone, for justice. After some preliminary conversation between Bonasera and Corleone during which the camera remains behind the Don’s right shoulder, the angle of the shot reverses, and reveals, in a sumptuously lit medium close-up, Marlon Brando in his greatest role. Don Corleone chides and humiliates Bonasera for never having sought his friendship before; but he does finally agree to see to it that the two boys will be made to suffer (though not killed, as he judges that too harsh a punishment, since the undertaker’s daughter is still alive). Throughout most of the scene, Brando has been gently caressing a small cat that is squirming and playing in his lap.

Given the centrality of Bonasera and his story to this opening scene, the first-time viewer might well suppose, at this point, that the undertaker is to be one of the principal characters of The Godfather and that the story of his daughter and her attackers is to become one of the film’s main narrative strands. Such is not the case. In the nearly three hours (actually 175 minutes) of the film, Bonasera makes only one more, quite brief appearance, and the daughter and the attackers are never heard of again. It is, nonetheless, a sound cinematic strategy that leads Coppola to begin The Godfather as he does: for it is part and parcel of the film’s epic sweep that some of its major concerns can be introduced with a scene that is, at most, tangential to the main action. Precisely because the scene is of little intrinsic narrative significance, it helps to highlight how omnipresent and thematically important are the motifs that it introduces.

The most foregrounded of these motifs, the one announced in the first line of dialogue, is the theme of America and, more narrowly, the ambiguities of the American immigrant’s lifeworld. In his second line, Bonasera (whose first name is never mentioned in the film but is significantly given as Amerigo in Mario Puzo’s 1969 novel, The Godfather, on which the film is based) adds, “America has made my fortune.” The bourgeois commercial society of the United States has enabled him to become an evidently prosperous small businessman (he is wearing a well-tailored suit), whereas he would, perhaps, have been doing well to avoid starvation back in Italy. His belief in America has led him to raise his daughter “in the American fashion,” allowing her more freedom than would have been considered appropriate in the old country, and trusting, at first, to the institutionalized American system of law and justice. When this system fails him, he must turn to a much older and more personal kind of authority, one that derives from the almost pre-capitalist regime of rural Sicily that will be explored in detail in The Godfather, Part II (1974; hereafter referred to as The Godfather II). When Don Corleone chastises the undertaker, he does so not only for Bonasera’s prior aloofness to him personally but also for the naïve overinvestment in his adopted land that has led Bonasera to trust the American police and the American courts in the first place. “You found paradise in America,” says the Don sarcastically.

Yet there is a certain unconscious irony in Don Corleone’s sarcasm. It is, after all, he himself who has more triumphantly “found paradise in America” (after rising from beginnings that one would guess, in this film, to be unpromising and that are clearly shown, in The Godfather II, to be, indeed, about as unpromising as can easily be imagined). Amerigo Bonasera is a relatively affluent petty-bourgeois, but Vito Corleone is a member of the real ruling class: a man of immense wealth and power, who famously keeps judges and politicians in his pocket, and who, as we will soon see, is capable of winning a battle of will against one of the richest, most influential, and most determined studio bosses in Hollywood. Nonetheless, as an Italian immigrant, Don Corleone remains, like Bonasera, only ambiguously American. One suspects that the non-Italian boyfriend of Bonasera’s daughter has walked free at least in part because of a more unequivocally American identity (and in Puzo’s novel the judge, indeed, explicitly says that he is extending lenience partly because of the defendants’ “fine families,”5 a phrase that in context almost certainly denotes a WASP background). Likewise, though Vito can afford to put on a spectacular wedding celebration for his daughter on the grounds of his luxurious mansion—several outdoor scenes of the wedding immediately follow the indoor scene with Bonasera in the Don’s study—he must submit to the presence of FBI agents who mar the festivities by snooping around and writing down the license-plate numbers of the guests’ cars. True enough, the FBI’s interest is due to Don Corleone’s being a crime boss rather than an Italian immigrant as such. But, of course, it was his ethnicity and impoverished immigrant status that led him, indeed nearly compelled him, to exercise his skills of leadership and entrepreneurialism in the Mafia rather than, say, in such (then) WASP near-monopolies and “legitimate” enterprises as Wall Street or the CIA.

This ambiguity in the identity of the Italian Catholic immigrant—nominally American and yet not American in the strongest, most unqualified sense—interlocks with an even more important ambiguity concerning the nature of crime itself. What, really, is crime? Or, to put the question another way, what is the relation between the law and the justice that the law is meant to serve? Once again, the opening scene with the Don and Bonasera is exemplary. The judge who allows the attackers of Bonasera’s daughter to go free is almost certainly acting within the letter of the law; but the viewer must agree that the suspended sentence is far from just. Even more ironically, in order to seek the justice that the law has denied, the undertaker must go to a crime boss. Though Don Corleone’s power derives from illegal enterprises, his response to Bonasera—as he decides on corporal but not capital punishment for the two attackers—arguably displays not only a certain moral order but also quasi-judicial sobriety, restraint, and moderation.

The ambiguity that thus complicates any conventional axiological dichotomy between lawfulness and crime is intensified further after Don Corleone dismisses Bonasera and summons another supplicant into his study (there is quite a parade of them, all taking advantage of the Sicilian custom that prohibits one from refusing any favor on the day that one’s daughter is married). This is another successful petty-bourgeois, the baker Nazorine (Vito Scotti), who, like Bonasera, also has a daughter. The US immigration authorities are planning to deport his assistant Enzo (Gabriele Torrei), whom Nazorine wishes to stay in America so that he can marry Nazorine’s daughter and, presumably, eventually take over the family business. The Don promises to take care of things, and, after the baker and Enzo exit, tells Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall), his consigliere and adoptive son, to turn the matter over to “a Jew congressman in another district,” evidently one of the numerous office-holders who do the Don’s bidding. This is the first of many references to the Godfather’s political connections; and it presents us with the irony of a professional lawbreaker who not only gives orders to a professional lawmaker but who at least sometimes, as in the case of Enzo, does so in order to accomplish the right and just, if perhaps not strictly legal, thing. In addition, the overt reference to the unnamed congressman’s Jewishness obliquely announces that the theme of ethnicity is not restricted exclusively to Italian immigrants. The Las Vegas casino owner Moe Greene (Alex Rocco) constitutes a minor Jewish presence in the film; and, in The Godfather II, Hyman Roth (Lee Strasberg)—a powerful Mafia financier based on Meyer Lansky, as Greene is based on Bugsy Siegel—constitutes a major one. Moreover, Tom Hagen’s Irish background is given some importance as well (though less than in Puzo’s novel). The comparative marginalization, in WASP-dominated America, of more recent arrivals of non-WASP ethnicity, is of course unjust according to the universalistic Jeffersonian principles on which the US is officially founded; and so the resulting uncertainty as to whether Italian and Jewish—and even Irish—immigrants are “truly” American is integral to the larger indeterminacy that renders hopelessly fuzzy the officially clear-cut categories of law, justice, and criminality.

It is, then, here, in the opening scenes of The Godfather in Vito’s study, that primitive accumulation makes its first and most deeply allegorical appearance. For primitive accumulation is, after all, the necessary basis of any deconstruction of the binary opposition between legality and criminality as understood in bourgeois society. Capitalist legality attempts to draw an absolutely clear iron line between itself and the criminality to which it opposes itself, so that the legitimacy of private property and the right of contract can be grounded as securely as possible. But the attempt never quite succeeds—the line is always, in fact, a permeable membrane—because capitalist legality is itself based (in its origins but also, as we have seen, to some degree as an ongoing enterprise) on massive crime, on the unilateral abrogation of property and contractual rights as well as on brute physical force. Such is the intrinsic instability—the potential moral, conceptual, and physical anarchy—that afflicts the fundamental presuppositions of capitalist society. And Don Corleone enacts this instability, this tissue of ambiguities, in the calm and shadowy luxury of his study, whose furnishings—the large wooden desk, the Persian carpet, the leather-lined chairs—all bespeak affluent bourgeois solidity even though, or rather precisely because, they are all the fruits of crime.

To Read the Entire Essay

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Monsoon Wedding (India/USA/Italy/Germany/France: Mira Nair, 2001)

Monsoon Wedding (India/USA/Italy/Germany/France: Mira Nair, 2001: 114 mins)

Batra, Kanika and Rich Rice. "Mira Nair's Monsoon Wedding and the Transcoded Audiologic of Postcolonial Convergence." Postcolonial Cinema Studies. ed. Sandra Ponzanesi & Marguerite Waller. NY: Routledge, 2012: 205-217. [Available in BCTC Library PN1995.9 P6 P68 2012]

Coles-Riley, Georgia. Monsoon Wedding." Far Flung Families in Film (October 2, 2012)

Edwards, Judson Michael. "Wedding Customs in Monsoon Wedding." The Pick #30 (2004)

Iyer, Pico. "Monsoon Wedding: A Marigold Tapestry." Current (October 19, 2009)

Macnab, Geoffrey. "The Weather Woman." The Guardian (September 13, 2001)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Vlad Dima - Perpetual Motion: The Dardenne Brothers' The Kid with a Bike

Perpetual Motion: The Dardenne Brothers' The Kid with a Bike
by Vlad Dima
Bright Lights Film Journal

The latest film by Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne is oddly both fast and slow. Cyril, the main character (played wonderfully by Thomas Douret), looks for his father who had abandoned him, but connects with a benevolent hairdresser, Samantha, who eventually becomes his legal guardian. The kid is moving constantly, mostly on his bicycle the English translation of the original title, "Le Gamin au vélo," misses out on a nuance, that of possession, which is under question at the beginning of the film; but it is his bike — "au vélo" — not "avec"/with a random bicycle). As Cyril's frenetic movement appears to up the tempo of the film, the directors drastically slow down the pace by using long takes, and as little cutting as possible. It is amid the two contrasting tendencies that Cyril's story finds the perfect narrative balance.

Naturally, even the mention of the word "bike" in a film makes us recall Vittorio de Sica's Bicycle Thief (1948): a kid, a bike, a father. De Sica's film indeed hovers over the narrative of The Kid with a Bike, but the latter goes in new directions. The stolen Italian bicycle is connected to the destinies of an entire family, while Cyril's bike evolves from signifying his lost connection to a father who does not want him to the object that offers him freedom. The theme of independence appears from the beginning when we witness Cyril attempting to escape the children's home in which he had been placed. In fact, in this instance we are reminded more of Antoine Doinel from Truffaut's 400 Blows (1959) than Antonio or Bruno from Bicycle Thief. The emblematic final run at the end of 400 Blows is essentially an interminable, uninterrupted travelling shot of Antoine running toward the sea. Cyril's story almost picks up where Truffaut had decided to open end Antoine's odyssey. The direction of Cyril's movement is rather significant, too. Antoine runs left to right, a direction associated with Western movement; he is headed toward a conclusion. Cyril's movement, conversely, is chaotic and goes both directions. Interestingly, when he is about to get into trouble (riding toward the gas station, running away etc.), he goes in the opposite direction, right to left. When the film reaches some sense of normality, and we see both Samantha and Cyril ride together, they go in the "correct" direction, left to right.

There are many other connections to Truffaut's film, and even to Godard's Breathless (1960). Cyril, like Antoine, lies about obvious truths; there are several references to a psychologist Cyril presumably talks with at the children's home, although we never see him or her. Truffaut's film famously chooses to show only Antoine during the conversation with the psychologist, completely ignoring the counter shot. When Samantha and Cyril are in a car, we often only see Cyril and hear Samantha's voice (the opposite happens in Godard's Breathless in which we see Patricia talk to Michel in the car, but we do not see the latter). Even though there are a few people influencing him, Cyril comes off as independent for the most part. Initially, though, he cannot think of anything but being reunited with his father (in another departure from Bicycle Thief, the father had sold his son's bicycle when he found himself financially strapped). At the crucial moment of acceptance that his father is no longer interested in taking care of him, Cyril finds himself on the other side of a metaphorical wall. However, this happens to be also an actual wall that he had to climb in order to get to his dad. When the father pushes him back to the other side, for a brief moment they are literally separated by a wall. For a moment, we fear for Cyril, for his fate, until we realize that he is on the open side of the wall, the side from which he can escape.

To Read the Rest

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Amelie (France/Germany: Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2001)

Amelie (France/Germany: Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2001: 121 mins)

Aytemiz, Pelin. "Looking Through 'Her' Eyes: Productive Look in Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s The Fabulous Destiny of Amelie Poulain." (Posted on May 24, 2004)

Gaggi, Silvio. "Navigating Chaos." New Punk Cinema. Edinburgh University Press, 2006: 113-125. [In BCTC Library]

Ortiz, Gaye. "Women as Spectacle: Theological Perspectives on Women and Film." Theology and Film: Challenging the Sacred/Secular Divide. ed. Christopher Deacy and Gaye Williams Ortiz. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2008: 85-113. [Professor has copy]

Steinberg, Stefan. "The Thoroughly Conformist World of Amelie." World Socialist Web Site (August 28, 2001)

(Not) Love and Death: On Michael Haneke's Amour

(Not) Love and Death: On Michael Haneke's Amour
by Vlad Dima
Bright Lights Film Journal

Michael Haneke's latest film begins abruptly with the police breaking down the door to the apartment of the two octogenarian protagonists, Georges and Anne. The violent intrusion is underlined by the fact that we go, with no transition effect, from complete silence and black screen to noise and color. This type of intense narrative shift is common in Haneke's films. Long periods of apparent stability and quiet are followed by sudden spurts of incredible viciousness, in The White Ribbon (2009), Funny Games (2007, and 1997), or Caché (2005). I say "apparent" because violence lurks just beneath the narrative surface of Haneke's films, its presence felt constantly. So when it does emerge, it is not just for shock value. Oddly, it soothes us, providing momentary relief from the stress accumulated throughout the film. Child beatings, shootings, throat slashing are part of the director's repertoire that may force the audience into a sadistic position, but we avoid them in Amour. Or so it seems. Make no mistake, this is a violent film, but its ferocity comes from being forced to confront our own mortality. This is not a film about love, as the title purposely misleads us. This is a film about death, and worse, our death.

The inclusion of "us," the audience, in the film's thematic concerns commences immediately following the sequence in which the police find Anne's rotted body in the apartment. We begin with a flashback to a night when the couple went out to a classical music concert given by one of Anne's old students, Alexandre. In a beautiful fixed shot, we can see the spectators in the theater as they are waiting for the show to start. After a long moment, as the shot turns into a long take, we become aware of the missing reverse shot. The stage is never shown. We, the "real" audience, are suddenly facing the diegetic audience. We are the reverse shot. So we are pulled into the narrative through a counter-cinema artifice. The lack of reverse shot also points to the impossibility of suture; thus the very beginning of the film points to breakdowns, some literal (the door), some metaphorical (the apparatus of cinema and, by extension, life).

To Read the Rest

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Ring (USA/Japan: Gore Verbinski, 2002)

The Ring (USA/Japan: Gore Verbinski, 2002: 115 mins)

Jarvis, Brian. "Anamorphic allegory in The Ring, or, seven ways of looking at a horror video." Irish Journal of Gothic and Horror Studies #3 (November 2007)

Kalat, David. "Ring Around J-Horror." Movie Morlocks (July 7, 2012)

Ozawa, Eimi. "Remaking Corporeality and Spatiality: U.S. Adaptations of Japanese Horror Films." 49th Parallel (Autumn 2006)

Wada-Marciano, Mitsuyo. "J-horror: New Media’s Impact on Contemporary Japanese Horror Cinema." Horror to the Extreme: Changing Boundaries in Asian Cinema. ed. Jinhee Choi & Mitsuyo Wada-Marciano. Hong Kong University, 2009: 15-37.

Xu, Gang Gary. "Remaking East Asia, Outsourcing Hollywood." Senses of Cinema (November 2004)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Incendies (Canada/France: Denis Villeneuve, 2010)

Incendies (Canada/France: Denis Villeneuve, 2010: 130 mins)

Gulgoz, Selun. "The Politics of Art: Middle Eastern Women in Fiction and Film." The Millions (January 5, 2012)

Pike, David L. "Burning the Candle at Both Ends: Denis Villeneuve's Incendies (2010)." Bright Lights Film Journal #74 (November 2011)

Said, Edward W. "Invention, Memory, and Place." Cultural Studies: From Theory to Action. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2005: 256-269. [In BCTC Library and professor has a copy]

Telmissany, May. "Wajdi Mouawad in Cinema: Origins, Wars and Fate." Cineaction #80 (2012)

May Telmissany -- Wajdi Mouawad in Cinema: Origins, Wars and Fate

Wajdi Mouawad in cinema: origins, wars and fate
by May Telmissany
Cineaction #88 (2012)

"Unknown and alone, I have returned to wander through my native country, which lies about me like a vast graveyard; and perhaps what awaits me is the knife of the hunter who preserves us Greeks for his sport even as he does the wild beasts of the forest." (Holderlin, Hyperion) (1)

The question of origins in Wajdi Mouawad's plays and film adaptations Littoral (published in 1999 and directed by Wajdi Mouawad in 2004) and Incendies (published in 2003 and directed by Denis Villeneuve in 2010) is concomitant to the question of belonging. Both questions are explored from multiple perspectives and both suggest various beginnings. While the plays combine references to different arts (2) as well as references to Greek and classical tragedies, the film adaptations seem to distance themselves from the plays' dialogical structure and introduce some narrative coherence into the discontinued and scattered timeline of war and memory depicted in the plays. This article will compare Mouawad's depiction of the question of origins in light of the historical and philosophical reality of war and study how origins are conditioned by fate imposed on the tragic hero. Littoral tells the story of a Canadian-Lebanese young man, Wahab, who struggles to bury his father in his parents' homeland. Throughout his journey, he discovers the truth about his father, and more importantly he discovers his country of birth ruined by war and terrorism. Incendies follows lane, a Canadian-Lebanese daughter who strives to find traces of her father and brother in the rubble of a war-torn country she never knew. Both Wahab and Jane are sent on a quest, and both discover the roots of their multiple identities upon their parents' death, while travelling across their parents' country of birth.

The powerful and multilayered construction of Mouawad's plays offers various beginnings to the narrative of origins, whether it is the narrative of the nomad (immigrant/traveler) or the narrative of war and displacement. The plot is built in order to explore, understand and challenge the conceptions of belonging and distance, of Self and Other, of identity constructions and postmodern dislocations. Both film adaptations respect and explore these elements and features; they also investigate the possibility of bringing together the reflection on war and the history of war in Lebanon within the "realist mode of representation" inherent to cinema, which helps in exploring the major questions of the plays under a different light. Hence, as one can see in cinema, the physical and material horrors of war take precedence over the transcendental tragedy of war depicted in the plays; moreover, both film adaptations open the door to clear partisanship and provoke controversy among film spectators who were mainly skeptical about the historical/sociological accuracy in both films as well as their political implications.

Also within the cinematic context, the question of origins is altered in order to link together the immigrant's situation which involves at least two different cultures (Canadian and Lebanese) and the theme of civil war as a tragic event in Lebanon. Following the death of a parent, the hero is compelled to travel in quest for an answer to three recurring questions: who am I, where do I belong and how can I reconcile my multiple belongings, including belonging to my family's own history, within the context of displacement? In a much broader sense, Oneness (the One as opposed to the Multiple) which used to be a chief value in Modern Western thought seems no longer valid in the postmodern era when multiplicity has become the condition of the transnational individuals like the author and his characters. The displaced or the expatriate like Mouawad, and the temporal nomad like most of his characters, seek answers through the artistic expression (with its intrinsic logic of fragmentation and multiple beginnings) and through travelling and dislocation. Origins are therefore nourished and developed as an object of knowledge not as an object of national worship; similarly, the author and protagonists who look for truth and salvation learn through their journey that knowledge can only be accomplished thanks to movement and displacement.

In other words, knowledge of one's origins is constantly deterritorialized; it is achieved through an inescapable journey in time and space, back to the time of war, back to the place of birth, and back to the Greek and classical tragedies as major sources of inspiration. In fact, Mouawad's plays (and his single film to a lesser extent) add to the complexity of the question of origins by multiplying the intertextual relationships with Sophocles' masterpieces Oedipus Rex and Antigone, and Shakespeare's Hamlet. (3) For example, in Incendies, the mother falls into silence and dies after discovering that her lost son was also her persecutor in prison and the father of her twin son and daughter. The daughter (more than the son) is haunted throughout the film by the mother's ghost who knew before dying the identity of her persecutor and killer; exactly like in Littoral, where the father's ghost is following the son to help him understand the reasons of his disappearance years before his death. The transposition of the Greek and classical characters and themes into the contemporary setting of war in Lebanon allows for a new interpretation of what it means to be aware of one's own history (including the history of the literary canon) and accept one's fate; to be able to relate the stories behind one's origins from different perspectives, and from different starting points; to recognize one's affiliation to family and nation as an inescapable bridge between childhood and adulthood. When they finally succumb to the twists and turns of fate, the protagonists achieve adulthood and accomplish their quest for truth. Both their agency and their intellectual freedom are determined by the amount of truth they come to reveal: "There are truths that can only be revealed when they have been discovered." (4) says the mother Nawal to her daughter in Incendies. Yet unlike their Greek and classical counterparts, Oedipus, Antigone and Hamlet, Mouawad's protagonists are portrayed as nomads and outcasts, as immigrants and misfits. They are depicted in constant movement, much as Mouawad himself, learning about their origins and looking for the true story behind their parents' life and death. And while they explore their land of birth of which they know nothing, they also discover the meaning of their parents' silence and the signification of their tragic life. The viewer is therefore invited to reconstruct the parents' story out of flashbacks, symbols, signs and props (e.g. tapes, letters) as the story unfolds throughout the children's journey.

In addition to the textual/intertextual dimension, themes of war and fate are dealt with differently in both plays compared to the film adaptations. The plays deal with war and fate as themes within a larger humanitarian discourse that transcends the mega-narrative(s) of the Lebanese civil war. On the contrary, the films deal with war and fate as the expressions of immanence, relocating the narrative within its social, historical and political contexts and challenging the impression of reality altogether. One could argue that the tension between the divine and the profane takes place in the battle field of cinematic representation, re-defining the romantic perception of tragedy and fate and relocating the very idea of being Other (and/or Different in one's own culture) in a rather naturalistic fashion which delves into the horrors of war and the impossible salvation of mankind. However, Mouavvad views theatre as the site of a "ruthless consolatiores" (5) where the tragic and transcendental dimensions of war and Otherness are challenged on the plane of immanence, in writing, while writing. The process of writing itself has to do with the way Mouawad perceives of himself as a member of a larger group, as an Other within the Same in a rather epic way, when his own voice embodies the voice of the Greek chorus and vice versa. He explains in the preface to the English version of Incendies that the writing continued during the rehearsals, in an attempt to challenge the traditional conceptualization of a ready-to-play text produced by an all-knowing writer: "Throughout the entire period, I felt that the troupe, with its technicians and actors laying the groundwork for the writing, was at the heart of the process (...) It must be said, it must be heard: Incendies was born of this group, the writing was channeled through me. Step by step to the very last word." (6)

While analyzing the multiple links between the question of origins, the quest for truth and the reflection on war and displacement, this article seeks to answer the following questions: what role does the diasporic condition play in Mouawad's approach to the question of origins? What is the impact of war as a subject of reflection and as a historical event on both film adaptations? How is fate perceived in the plays and in the movies, and what links can be made between the tragic fate and war in Lebanon? The first part of this article contextualizes the question of origins in Mouawad's career as dramatist and filmmaker, with a special focus on the Oscar-nominated Genie-winning film Incendies by Denis Villeneuve, which offers a moving hymn to tolerance and a cry for the anti-militarization of religious and ethnic conflicts in Lebanon. The second part examines the relationship between war, fate and Otherness through the lens of Holderlin's concept of fate as a superior power to which the tragic hero must succumb in order to be punished. It will also explore Thierry Hentsche's discussion of death and narration as a way to understand Mouawad's infatuation with the question of origins and belonging in a world where displacement has become the modern expression of many heroic actions.

The Context: Transnational Cinema and the Question of Belonging

Haunting origins is not Mouawad's own innovation; it is one of the major topics explored in diasporic and transnational filmmaking as a tool to overcome the trauma of loss and displacement, and to restore order in a world of chaos and opacity. in fact, Arab Canadian filmmakers (7) like their counterparts in Europe and the United States, introduce in their films three major socio-cultural features which deal more or less with the questions of origins: first the ethnic/cultural feature which draws attention to the staging of minority problems as well as majority/minority relationships in homeland and in hostland; second, the historical feature which explores the filmmakers' present and past through the investigation of the colonial and post-colonial history as well as the major historical events that might have led to movements of immigration and displacement; and third, the religious feature which is expressed through the manifestations of religious conservatism and the call for tolerance on one hand, and through the political instrumentalization of religion in times of war and conflict on the other hand.

It is important to relocate Mouawad's cinematic adaptations within this larger context of transnational and diasporic cinema made by filmmakers of Arab origins or based on their work. It is equally important to highlight Mouawad's hyphenated identity and the many lines of escape his work proposes beyond his Middle Eastern culture and his Canadian belonging. Born in 1968, Mouawad spent his childhood in Lebanon, his adolescence years in France and came to Canada in the late 1980s. His theatrical production in French is both locally and internationally acclaimed. In his plays Littoral and Incendies, the ethnic, cultural and religious identities (either Arab or Canadian, Christian or Muslim) are demoted for the benefit of a rather universal/cosmopolitan identity. Yet, it is obvious through the play of nouns and scattered allusions to geographic as well as regional characteristics, that both plays start in Canada and end in the Middle East. It is also noted that religious belongings are not criticized as such but rather demystified for the benefit of a clear-cut critique of the absurdity of conflicts based on religious affiliation in general.

To Read the Rest

Friday, July 5, 2013

Drew Winchur: Ideology in Christopher Nolan's Inception

Ideology in Christopher Nolan's Inception
by Drew Winchur
Cineaction #88 (2012)

In the West, propaganda films are nowadays an exceedingly rare art form. Few filmmakers are interested in making didactic arguments for or against "the capitalist order" or "Western empire"; investors willing to fund such work are undoubtedly even rarer. As a case in point, Christopher Nolan's Inception (1) is a conventional Hollywood suspense movie that completely omits any explicit reference to politics. Its narrative focuses on a corporate thief named Dom Cobb/Leonardo DiCaprio, as he frantically grapples with the aftermath of his wife's suicide, while also trying to return home to his young children. The trauma of excessive guilt and the necessity of grieving are the film's most obvious and important themes. Yet despite Inception's supposed focus on individual psychology, this foregrounding of Cobb's emotional turmoil in fact sublimates and rationalizes some disturbingly violent behaviour. Hired by a corporation to "neutralize" an important competitor, Cobb and his associates use futuristic, Matrix-like technology to invade the consciousness of a man named Robert Fischer, Jr./Cillian Murphy. They then succeed in implanting a suggestion in Fischer's mind that causes him to sabotage his own financial interests (the titular "inception"). By bracketing these acts as the uncontroversial circumstance of Cobb's emotional struggle, Inception covertly legitimizes the routine and far-reaching violence used to sustain corporate empires. In practice, if not by design, the film proves to be a highly sophisticated vehicle for capitalist propaganda.

In the production notes to the film, Nolan indicates that

[i]t was very important to [Leonardo DiCaprio] that [the emotional life of his character] be the guiding thread of the story, and with it he is able to draw the audience through the [film's] complex story in a very clear fashion. (2)

DiCaprio's priorities are indeed evident from the very first scenes of the film. Cobb's unresolved grief for his wife Mal/Marion Cotillard is singularly responsible for the failure of his preliminary mission into the dreams of Saito/Ken Watanabe (his eventual employer). As he gathers a team of criminals and prepares to invade Fischer's mind, Cobb is repeatedly confronted with the danger that Mal poses, both in regards to his own psyche and his corporate mission. Finally, and most importantly, Cobb's mission is accomplished only after he definitively rejects Mal's claims about the nature of their relationship, and accepts his share of guilt for her death. It is this symbolic resolution--as much as the success of the team's real mission--that allows Cobb to return home to America and his children. The lack of emotional tension and conspicuous absence of Fischer during the film's denouement is a final signal that Cobb's psychic pain is the driving force of the film.

This emotional journey, however, does not merely function as an engine for the film's plot. The role given to Ellen Page's character, Ariadne, suggests that there is a more duplicitous agenda behind this emphasis on Cobb's psyche. As the young university student recruited by Cobb to design the mission's dream-world, Ariadne functions as a proxy for the audience and as Cobb's personal psychotherapist. Nolan has admitted that

[i]n writing the script for 'Inception,' it was very important to me that there be a conduit for the audience--a character who is being shown this world for the first time and is eager to explore it. That's how the character of Ariadne was born. It was also very important for the audience to see Cobb through Ariadne's eyes and get to the core of that character. (3)

The very origin of Ariadne's name affirms this connection: i.e., a mythical Greek princess who helps the minotaur-slayer Theseus to navigate a labyrinth. Coaxing and guiding Cobb through his darkest memories, Ariadne both demands and provides "more objective" interpretations of what she sees and what she is told. At the same time, this character forcefully narrows the viewer's scope of potential interests, to the point that a fixation on Cobb's mental state is almost inevitable. As Fischer's subconscious becomes more dangerous and difficult for the team to navigate, it is Ariadne who demands that Cobb reappraise their collective predicament and his own psychological health. Cobb then confesses to her (and the viewer) the details of his wife's suicide and his subsequent exile from the United States. After Cobb confesses this secret, Ariadne asks no further questions, and wholeheartedly accepts his rather feeble reassurances as to their collective safety. She also fails to voice any qualms about his selfish recklessness in trying to withhold this information. Once Mal succeeds in sabotaging the mission at the third and deepest level of Fischer's subconscious, Ariadne insists on following Cobb into his own chaotic mind; it is there that she provides him with strong emotional support during his climactic confrontation with and triumph over Mal (whose name, not coincidentally, means "sickness" in French). Here again, she blithely accepts Cobb's story of apparent emotional catharsis at face value. Pertinent questions remain unasked, relating to the impact of this breakthrough on Cobb's future life, not to mention the mission still underway.

For all of her adeptness at critically interpreting Cobb's psychological struggles, Ariadne is tellingly silent in the face of his real behaviour. After a feeble protest against Cobb's offer of employment, she joins the team and fails to raise a single concern about the immorality of their mission. In her enthusiasm for playing therapist to Cobb (and despite the empathy she demonstrates in this capacity), Ariadne seems untroubled by the team's inherently violent trespass into Fischer's mind. Since "the audience [sees] Cobb through Ariadne's eyes", this tacit acceptance of a controversial norm illuminates the film's true ideological leanings.

Ariadne's support of Cobb is perhaps justifiable during the innocent beginnings of their relationship, but proves less and less credible as the film wears on. By the time Fischer has been kidnapped within his own subconscious, Cobb resembles less a grieving widower than a murderous thug. Shoved into locked rooms and unmarked vans, handcuffed, repeatedly threatened and drugged, and beaten with an insouciance bordering on contempt, Fischer's body is gradually stripped of its humanity and debased to the level of anonymous hostage. When Cobb needs Fischer to fabricate a non-existent security code, a member of the team impersonates Fischer's godfather and most trusted confidant. Fischer is then convinced that this imposter will be murdered if he refuses to cooperate. Later, upon revealing to Fischer that his dreams have in fact been invaded, Cobb pitilessly capitalizes on the fear and vulnerability that this disclosure understandably provokes. Throughout all of this, Ariadne seems oblivious to the protagonist's descent into near-sociopathic criminality.

Perhaps most disturbing is the corruption of Fischer's already troubled relationship with his recently deceased father. The entire dynamic and meaning of this private bond is falsified by Fischer Sr.'s dramatic, deathbed confession--a confession that has, in fact, been scripted and stage-managed by Cobb. Given repeated chances to reflect on this profound transgression, Cobb's response is always the same selfish shrug: "I'll do whatever it takes to get back to my family." Ariadne's staunch refusal (or inability) to address this violence is a crippling blow to her credibility---both as pseudo-therapist and proxy to the viewer.
To Read the Rest

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Time of the Wolf (France/Austria/Germany: Michael Haneke, 2003)

Time of the Wolf (France/Austria/Germany: Michael Haneke, 2003: 113 mins)

Bingham, Adam. "Long Night's Journey Into Day." Kinoeye 4.1 (March 2004)

Brunette, Peter. Michael Haneke. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois, 2010.

Frey, Mattias. "Great Directors: Michael Haneke." Senses of Cinema #57 (2010)

Grundman, Roy. A Companion to Michael Haneke. Malden, MA: Wiley Blackwell, 2010.

"Michael Haneke Studies: Videos, Podcasts and Article Links." Film Studies for Free (June 26, 2010)

Price, Brian and John David Rhodes, ed. On Michael Haneke. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University, 2010.

Sorfa, David. "Uneasy domesticity in the films of Michael Haneke." Studies in European Cinema 3.2 (2006)

Wheatley, Catherine. Michael Haneke's Cinema: The Ethic of the Image. NY: Bergahn Books, 2009. [BCTC Library PN 1998.3 H36 W44 2009]

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Moolaadé (Senegal/France/Burkina Faso/Cameroon/Morocco/Tunisia: Ousmane Sembene, 2004)

Moolaadé (Senegal/France/Burkina Faso/Cameroon/Morocco/Tunisia: Ousmane Sembene, 2004: 124 mins)

Bartlet, Olivier. "Adventures and Misadventures of African Cinema." Cinemas of the South (2006)

Borden, Amy. "At the global market: Ousmane Sembène’s Moolaadé and the economics of women’s rights." Jump Cut #53 (Summer 2011)

Bug Girl. Is My Vuvulzela Too Big?" Skepchick (June 20, 2010)

Coventry, Martha. "Making the Cut: It's a Girl! ... Or is it? When in doubt, why are surgeons calling the shots?" Ms. (Oct/Nov 2000)

Diop, Baba. "Ousmane Sembene: The Elder of Elders." Cinemas of the South (February 15, 2009)

Dotson-Newman, Nzinga. "Family Pressure on Young Girls for Genitalia Mutilation Continues in Kenya." Project Censored (2012)

Finney, Nikki. "The Greatest Show On Earth." (Read the poem/read an analysis of the poem/and listen to Nikki read it)

Halpern, Sue. "Breaking a Conspiracy of Silence." The New York Times Book Review 56.18 (November 19, 2009)

Marzana, Nicola. "The Art of Hunger: Re-Defining Third Cinema." 16:9 (November 2009)

Pride, Ray. "Woman is the Future of Man: Ousmane Sembene on Moolaade." Cinema Scope #21 (2004)

Santur, Hassan Ghedi. "On Being a Muslim in the West." Ideas (June 1, 2011)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Head-On (Germany/Turkey: Fatih Akin, 2004)

Head-On (Germany/Turkey: Fatih Akin, 2004: 121 mins)

Brockmann, Stephen. "Gegen die Wand (2004) or Germany Goes Multicultural." A Critical History of German Film Rochester, NY: Camden House, 2010: 478-487. [Professor has copy of the book]

Hoffgen, Maggie. "Crossing Boundaries: Gegen Die Wand (Head-On, 2004). Studying German Cinema. London: Auteur, 2009: 201-213. [BCTC Library]

Tobias, Scott. The New Cult Canon: Head-On." The A.V. Club (October 1, 2009)

Monday, May 13, 2013

John Engle -- August and Everything After: A Half-Century of Surfing in Cinema

August and Everything After: A Half-Century of Surfing in Cinema
by John Engle
Bright Lights Film Journal


The tensions of these real and screen lives have in large part remained those of the film genre Gidget engendered. In the half-century since, from the Beach Party franchise and its early '60s spin-offs, through Big Wednesday, Point Break, Blue Crush, and many others, and on to Chasing Mavericks in 2012, filmmakers have gone to the sand a couple dozen times to produce narratives either focused expressively on surfing as sport or obsessive life choice, or at least as significant background informing and directing the film's meaning. The result has been movies that are often more incisively pertinent in their treatment of growing up, family tensions, a world of dizzying social change, race and class, and the seductive lure of commerce and appearance than their wicked barrels, great tans, and dudespeak might presage. With an eye to the meanings behind their attractive surfaces, I'll be looking at a handful of these, at least one from each decade, for the most part relatively high-profile examples of a film type that, if rarely the source of smash hits, has generally met with commercial success. Hardening firmly in place by the 1970s, a highly restrictive formula thereafter rules the near totality of these films: given their interest in young people on the cusp of adult life, it's not without a certain logic that they return repeatedly to such story elements as the wise mentor, the temptation to sell out, the preparation sequence, and the concluding challenge or competition. The remarks to follow will examine the genre's creation in the beach-craze '60s, then turn to its elaboration in what one might consider the main line of "classic" surf films, with their reliably formulaic focus on childhood's end; the conclusion will explore how, while remaining generally faithful to established patterns, certain films have brought within their widened purview broader social and political issues. With the exception of Bruce Brown's The Endless Summer (1966) — a documentary but vaguely story-centered and, in any case, so iconic as to be compulsory — all of the films under discussion are pure narratives. As such, they should be distinguished from the grainy collections of hot rides Greg Noll brought to stoked kids in countless multipurpose halls and their often lyrical or thrilling cinematic descendants. Whether big deals like Riding Giants and Step into Liquid, or smaller, edgier efforts like BS!, these documentaries are absolutely central to the surfing subculture and merit separate study, with their specialist target audience, their shared values, and visual assumptions.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, the first treatments of waveriding were documentary in nature and aimed at the widest possible audience. Like les Pathé-Frères, who put together 100 minutes on Le Surfing: Sport national des iles Hawaii in 1911, filmmakers in the first half of the century responded periodically to a curious public's hunger for images of exotic locales and practices that, even in the era of grand liners and early aviation, remained largely inaccessible. By the thirties, in any case, the word on surfing was getting out, if Hawaiian Holiday, the first cinematic narrative treatment of the sport, is any indication. In this 1937 Mickey Mouse featurette, Goofy recklessly challenges waves that, with the typical extraordinary range of Disney's animation teams, manage at once to be dumb funny, anthropomorphically nasty, and possessed of a frothy, sculpted loveliness drawn straight from Hokusai. While the cartoon is (somewhat speciously) considered the source of the term goofy-footed for surfers who, like its hero, lead with their right foot, its variation on the timeless theme of the arrogant individual chastised by a recalcitrant natural world in fact says little more about surfing than that it was just edging into the public consciousness. It would take the '50s and early '60s and the sport's headlong drop into popular culture before filmmakers would begin to recognize and exploit its rich visual and thematic possibilities.

And what visuals, for there is something basically unbelievable about human beings standing up on a tumbling wave, not to mention carving sleek sweeps and tight reverses back up its face. Cinematically, what's not to like about good-looking kids in a dream locale practicing a potentially dangerous sport that, even straight-on from a fixed shore location in black and white, films like a million bucks? Considered a moment, however, the scene is much more than its very pretty pictures, in large part because of the richly conflicting signals it emits. As sport, identity definer, and style locus, the surfing we have come to know these last decades is a space of, variously, big-money competition, reverent communication with the natural world, heavy partying, one-to-one confrontation with appalling physical force, proprietary localism of the ugliest sort, New Age self-discovery. It is a counterculture and a culture, a way to rebel and a way to grow up, and some live an entire adult life, work and all, still somehow rhythmed by the daily wave report. Surfing is the Beach Boys sweet in their striped Kingston Trio short-sleeve button-downs, and it's Dora dive-bombing kooks and bouncing checks. It's the garden and the salesmen who slither into it. Let's go surfin' now, everybody's learnin' how, we are joyfully urged, but to paddle out as the new guy is in fact to try entering the most closed of societies. Surfing can seem like an ocean of style, posing, and attitude, but out in the impact zone and beyond, the superficial abruptly washes off. To choose a short board or long, three fins or one, can be no less than to define different selves and value systems.

The very physical space offers an equally rich palette of thematic opportunity. From knee-high kids' stuff to Fukushima, pure fluid energy rears in defiance at sudden, solid resistance. The arriving swell is pattern and endless variety, or as Laird Hamilton says of the big ones in The Wave, "it's never the same mountain" (72). Proceeding in stately sequence, breakers seem all ruler-edged order, but of course they are also sites of chaos and fear. There the simple can become "in practice immediately complex," writes Woolf in To the Lighthouse, "as the waves shape themselves symmetrically from the cliff top, but to the swimmer among them are divided by steep gulfs, and foaming crests." Wild swings of perspective rule the sand as well, for what place is more one for sun-drenched, thought-free lotus-eating than the beach. Yet on that thin strip of dry land the tragic drama of our collective addiction to fossil fuels will play out first. And even carefree Waikiki lies hard by an ocean's unfathomable mass with its troubling, timeless reach of myth and suggestion. It is on the shore after all that Wordsworth rejects that world that is too much with us, yearning seaward to affirm the deeper truths of Proteus and Triton. The beach is just the beach, and it is much more than that. The greatest of the wavewriters, Daniel Duane, recognizes the way the surf scene can encode paradox, locate that sweet spot where the deeply complex and the unreflective simple both somehow find their footing.


To Read the Entire Essay

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Caché (France/Austria/Germany/Italy/USA: Michael Haneke, 2005)

Caché (France/Austria/Germany/Italy/USA: Michael Haneke, 2005: 117 mins)

Arthur, Paul. "Endgame." Film Comment (November/December 2005)

Brunette, Peter. Michael Haneke. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois, 2010.

---. "On the Films of Michael Haneke." The Marketplace of Ideas (April 15, 2010)

Ebert, Roger. "Cache." Chicago Sun-Times (January 13, 2010)

Ford, Hamish. "From Otherness 'Over There' to Virtual Presence: Camp de Thiaroye - The Battle of Algiers - Hidden. Postcolonial Cinema Studies. ed. Sandra Ponzanesi & Marguerite Waller. NY: Routledge, 2012: 63-77. [Available in BCTC Library PN1995.9 P6 P68 2012]

Frey, Mattias. "Great Directors: Michael Haneke." Senses of Cinema #57 (2010)

Grundman, Roy. A Companion to Michael Haneke. Malden, MA: Wiley Blackwell, 2010.

Grundman, Roy, Edward Nersessian, Brigitte Peucker, Brian Price, and Garrett Stewart. "Caché - Videoed roundtable discussion of Michael Haneke's film." Philoctetes Center (2008)

Jeong, Seung-hoon. "Gaze, Suture, Interface: The Suicide Scene in Michael Haneke’s Caché." Cinephile 5.1 (2009)

"Michael Haneke: A Ribbon of Links." Film Studies for Free (October 6, 2009)

"Michael Haneke Studies: Videos, Podcasts and Articles." Film Studies for Free (June 26, 2010)

Ogrodnik, Benjamin. "Deep Cuts." Film International 7.1 (February 2009)

Price, Brian and John David Rhodes, ed. On Michael Haneke. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University, 2010.

Sammond, Nicholas. "'Hidden,' or Fear of a Black Planet." Jump Cut #52 (Summer 2010)

Sorfa, David. "Uneasy domesticity in the films of Michael Haneke." Studies in European Cinema 3.2 (2006)

Sternagel, Joerg. "From Inside Us: Experiencing the Film Actor in Michael Haneke's "Caché." Film International #39 (2009)

Tobias, Scott. "Gateway to Geekery: Michael Haneke." The A.V. Club (June 3, 2010)

Wheatley, Catherine. Michael Haneke's Cinema: The Ethic of the Image. NY: Bergahn Books, 2009. [BCTC Library PN 1998.3 H36 W44 2009]

Brokeback Mountain (Canada/USA: Ang Lee, 2005)

Brokeback Mountain (Canada/USA: Ang Lee, 2005)

Benshoff, Harry M. "Brokering Brokeback Mountain — a local reception study." Jump Cut (2008)

Garrett, Daniel. "You Don't Know What Love Is." Film International #21 (2006)

Koziak, Barbara. "Shepherding Romance: Reviving the Politics of Romantic Love in Brokeback Mountain." Genders #50 (2009)

"Queer Cowboys: Alternative Space in "Brokeback Mountain." Film International (2006)

Schneider, Richard, Jr., et al. "Not Quitting Brokeback/Lost in Adaptation/The Hate Crime/Beyond the Mountain." Gay & Lesbian Review (May/June 2006): Reprinted in Annual Editions: Film 07/08 170-174 [Available in BCTC Library PN1993 A6285]

Sharrett, Christopher. "Death of the Strong, Silent Type: The Achievement of Brokeback Mountain." Film International 7.1 (February 2009)

Stamatopoulos, Irini. "Ang Lee's Cowboys: Fallen from Brokeback’s Paradise Lost." Offscreen (February 28, 2007)

Vicari, Justin. "Discovering America: Reflections on Brokeback Mountain." Jump Cut #49 (Spring 2007)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Funny Games (Austria: Michael Haneke, 1997);Funny Games (USA/France/UK/Austria/Germany/Italy: Michael Haneke, 2007)

Funny Games (Austria: Michael Haneke, 1997: 108 mins)

Funny Games (USA/France/UK/Austria/Germany/Italy: Michael Haneke, 2007: 111 mins)
Brunette, Peter. Michael Haneke. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois, 2010.

Dawson, Mike. "Comparative Examination: Funny Games and Funny Games U.S." Left Field Cinema (February 27, 2009)

Frey, Mattias. "Great Directors: Michael Haneke." Senses of Cinema #57 (2010)

Grundman, Roy. A Companion to Michael Haneke. Malden, MA: Wiley Blackwell, 2010.

Hui, Daniel. "Fun and Games: On Michael Haneke's 2007 Remake of His 1997 Funny Games." Bright Lights Film Journal #61 (August 2008)

"Michael Haneke Studies: Videos, Podcasts and Article Links." Film Studies for Free (June 26, 2010)

North, Dan. "Funny Games Funny Games." Spectacular Attractions (October 15, 2009)

Price, Brian and John David Rhodes, ed. On Michael Haneke. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University, 2010.

Sorfa, David. "Uneasy domesticity in the films of Michael Haneke." Studies in European Cinema 3.2 (2006)

Wheatley, Catherine. Michael Haneke's Cinema: The Ethic of the Image. NY: Bergahn Books, 2009. [BCTC Library PN 1998.3 H36 W44 2009]

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The White Ribbon (Austria/Germany/France/Italy: Michael Haneke, 2009)

The White Ribbon (Austria/Germany/France/Italy: Michael Haneke, 2009: 144 mins)

Brunette, Peter. Michael Haneke. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois, 2010.

Frey, Mattias. "Great Directors: Michael Haneke." Senses of Cinema #57 (2010)

Grant, Catherine. "Michael Haneke: A Ribbon of Links." Film Studies for Free (October 6, 2009)

Grundman, Roy. A Companion to Michael Haneke. Malden, MA: Wiley Blackwell, 2010.

Horner, Kierran. The White Ribbon Film International (May 10, 2011)

Horwath, Alexander. "Michael Haneke Uncut: Talking shop, theory, and practice with the director of The White Ribbon." Film Comment (November/December 2009)

"Michael Haneke Studies: Videos, Podcasts and Article Links." Film Studies for Free (June 26, 2010)

Ogrodnik, Benjamin. "Deep Cuts." Film International 7.1 (Feb 2009)

Price, Brian and John David Rhodes, ed. On Michael Haneke. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University, 2010.

Wheatley, Catherine. Michael Haneke's Cinema: The Ethic of the Image. NY: Bergahn Books, 2009. [BCTC Library PN 1998.3 H36 W44 2009]

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Tree of Life (USA: Terence Malick, 2011)

The Tree of Life (USA: Terence Malick, 2011: 138 mins)

Bellamy, Jason and Ed Howard. "Conversations: Terrence Malick, Part One. The House Next Door (May 28, 2011)

---. "The Conversations: Terrence Malick, Part 2: The Tree of Life." The House Next Door (June 22, 2011)

Cummings, Doug, Michael Sicinski and Kevin B. Lee. "Secret Experiments in “The Tree of Life,” Part II: Influences and Antecedents." Fandor (June 7, 2011)

Gleiser, Marcello. "'The Tree Of Life': Need We Choose Between Grace And Nature?" NPR (August 17, 2011)

Greydanus, Stephen D. "Tale of Grace vs. Nature: The Tree of Life Asks Life’s Important Questions." National Catholic Register (June 10, 2011)

Koresky, Michael. The Tree of Life: Design for Living." Reverse Shot #29 (2011)

Lee, Kevin B. "The Secret Experiments Inside The Tree of Life.” Fandor (June 1, 2011)

O'Brien, Geoffrey. "The Variety of Movie Experience." The New York Times Book Review (July 14, 2011)

O'Neil, Phelim. "The genius of Douglas Trumbull: He blew minds with SFX work in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, and he's doing it again in Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life. In a rare interview, we catch up with a true visionary." Guardian (July 9, 2011)

Vishnevetsky, Ignatiy. "The Tree of Life: A Malickiad." MUBI (May 26, 2011)

Wisniewski, Chris. "Known Unknowns: Tree of Life." Reverse Shot #29 (2011)