Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Read the full piece at The L Magazine.
Monday, May 11, 2009
A teen runaway turned circus barker and vaudevillian, Tod Browning's sideshow life on the fringes of society foreshadowed the outcasts that would become the epicenter of his films. Whether theatrical performers themselves (such as in The Unknown and Freaks) or criminals who use theatricality as part of their schemes (The Blackbird and The Devil Doll), Browning's characters are linked by a shared anguish which manifests itself physically. It is only fitting that Browning learned filmmaking under the guidance of D.W. Griffith, for whom he was an actor. Whereas Griffith's innovative close-ups of Lillian Gish's face to reflect her pure soul, Browning used Lon Chaney's entire body to convey the impurity of his. And for five consecutive Mondays beginning May 11th, sin and lust will rule the big screen as Film Forum celebrates macabre master Browning...
Read my full essay on Tod Browning here at The L Magazine.
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
One could view Chris Marker’s A Grin Without a Cat (1977), just released on DVD by Icarus Films Home Video, as an aggressive antidote to such dumbed-down fairytales of that tumultuous time period, but that would hardly scratch the surface of the film’s profundity. In this three-hour tome to two decades of political struggle around the globe, Marker charts the idealistic rise of the international leftist movement in the 1960s and its problematic fracturing in the subsequent decade. Using his characteristic essay-film format, Marker culls interviews and footage from disparate sources, including propaganda and activist films, and weaves them into a complex tapestry of perpetually diverging political viewpoints...