Category Film

The Immigrant (2013)

Between 1880 and 1924, approximately twenty-five million immigrants settled in the United States, mostly from Eastern and Southern Europe. If their story has figured prominently in American cinema, as I have argued previously, it is not well-understood. From the original Scarface to 1970s classics like The Godfather to 1990s TV miniseries like The Sopranos, the […]

A Man Called Ove: Celebrating the Use of Space in Swedish Cinema

What are we beyond our memories? It was just after having a petty argument with the florist, an ignorant teen as she was that Ove first exposes the dimensions of his existence. Grieved by the death of the only love of his life, Sonja, we see him dissipating his space by magnifying his trivialities. A […]

Hell or High Water (2016)

As most historians know, from 1934 to 1968 American cinema was more heavily censored than any other film industry in the western world. The Motion Picture Production Code, the fruit of a partnership between the major Hollywood studios and the Catholic Church, had strict rules about what we could, and could not see in movie […]

Manchester by the Sea (2016)

Manchester by the Sea is the worst kind of bad movie. Directed by Kenneth Lonergan, whose previous films include the acclaimed You Can Count On Me, and featuring a cast that includes this year’s Best Actor winner Casey Affleck, the always excellent Michelle Williams, and a terrific young newcomer named Lucas Hedges, it is so […]

O.J.: Made in America (2016)

In Spike Lee’s 1989 film Do the Right Thing, Mookie, a delivery man played by Lee himself, has a brief argument with Pino, the racist older son of his employer, the owner of Sal’s Pizza. Unlike his father, Pino has no hesitation about voicing his contempt for black people, but Mookie has already noticed a […]

Arrival (2016)

(Spoilers ahead: It would be impossible to write about this film without spoilers so I won’t even try.) Arrival, the French Canadian director Dennis Villeneuve’s followup to the excellent Sicario, is based on a compelling premise. If we ever make contact with aliens what language would they speak? The problem for me was no so […]

Mediocrity, Propaganda and Trump

THE INTERNET IS ITS OWN ECONOMIC SYSTEM AND IDEOLOGY History seems to move faster at certain times than others. Now is one of those times. Karl Marx, thinking about industrialization, claimed that a newly emergent economic force/system was actually revolutionary in the sense that it reshaped all the territory and politics it touched. 100 years […]

The Magnificent Ambersons (1918) The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)

A revolutionary novel by a forgotten reactionary novelist. My hometown of Roselle, NJ is in a very old part of the United States. Elizabeth, the nearest big city, was founded in 1664. Westfield, the most important town in the western part of the county, was settled in 1712, and contains a house that date all […]

Moonlight Wins Best Picture

I haven’t seen Manchester by the Sea, Arrival or Hell or High Water and for all I know one of those might have deserved Best Picture. I also think La La Land and Moonlight are such different films it’s impossible to judge honestly which one was better. Both were very good. Neither was great. So […]

The Signifiers of Monsoon in Hindi Cinema: Parallels from Brecht and Cultural Studies

The cultural industry of Hindi cinema has banked upon its geographical richness since its inception. While the inclusion of every season and the festivals therein is quite balanced, it is unequivocally the representation of monsoon that sets up aesthetic metaphorical constructions on the silver screen. Whether it is Kuleshov Effect or the use of montage, […]