Skip to main content

Posts

Watch Sarah Etkin's Video Essay on "Rear Window"

Alfred Hitchcocks' 1954 classic Rear Window has been dissected and rigorously studied in just about every way. There was even a video essay on how Hitchcock employed symmetry in select instances. While certain video essays spell their ideas out, not to mention written essays that like to argue through primary sources (a la footnotes), sometimes the best way to have a fresh approach to the material, is to literally cut it up and see its fragmentation coalesce into something enlightening.

That's precisely the approach Sarah Etkin went with in her video essay on Rear Window. As you watch it, you'll see how its effective clashing of intercuts versus repetition begins to form a new narrative language. It's like an anvil fell on the film's reel and condensed it to fragmentary clues that only add to its aura of mystery and trancelike obsession.
Recent posts

Review: "November"

The protagonist of Estonian filmmaker Rainer Sarnet's Where Souls Go (from 2007), a fifteen-year-old girl named Ann, sets the plot in motion when she visits a satanist's website and says a prayer (in an effort to seek solutions) that inadvertently gives her newborn stepbrother a heart disease. Ann also has a poster for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King on her bedroom wall, prominent in many shots of the film. This image is a strong representation of Sarnet's interests: to acknowledge how fantasy (with its mythical creatures and wish-granting powers) shares an overlap with hell (and its evil incarnates). Considering this, it's no wonder that Sarnet chose to adapt Andrus Kivirähk's novel "Rehepapp," which focuses on 19th-century Estonian village peasants and the dead souls that lurk in the forest, for his latest film November.

How can I best describe November? Well, it's as if Michael Haneke's The White Ribbon was re-constructed by Salv…

Watch: Race and Class are under critique in Ephraim Asili's film "MOVIE TOTE"

Some of the more striking works in the (what I like to call) "new cinema" -- moving image art pieces that radically challenge traditional narrative structures -- have emerged from the cinematic movement focusing on the African diaspora. Filmmakers like Amir George (Shades of Shadows) and Terence Nance (Swimming in Your Skin Again) have been prolific with moving image works expounding on the idea of Afrofuturism, and thus heightening the arts dialogue on what it means to be an African American today.

Which brings me to Ephraim Asili, a filmmaker whose impressive body of work over the years not only focuses on the African diaspora, but also carries on the renegade visual language of pioneering avant-garde titans like Jonas Mekas. Asili's work ranges from documentary to montage to appropriation art, but the vision is always consistent; a vision that aims to make a clearer sense of the ubiquitous images we take for granted (e.g. the quilted images of Obama in FORGED WAYS). …

Video: The 50 Best Films of 2017

At the close of every year, film critics and cinephiles tend to label it as a "good" or "bad" year for movies. Personally, I'm at the point in my life where I think every year is a good year for film. Some years might have more masterpieces in them, sure, but aren't we always discovering new ideas, images and icons when all is said and done? To help make this point, I expanded my best of the year video to include 50 films (in the past, I've done as many as 30 films).

You'll notice that certain awards-darlings like Dunkirk and Darkest Hour -- among others -- aren't on my list. They just didn't do it for me, plain and simple. And as opposed to including a shortlist of the year's worst films, like Tulip Fever and Transformers: The Last Knight, I'd rather put a spotlight on the year's most disappointing film: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. I think a film like Three Billboards can do more harm than a forgetful Michael Bay…

Watch the Wandering Odyssey in "Dream Walking: Eyes Wide Shut"

In regards to the moving image essay, Stanley Kubrick's final masterpiece Eyes Wide Shut has been studied, broken down, built back up and labored over in almost every way. I myself have even tied images of the film to Kanye West in the past. But in addition to Eyes Wide Shut's haunting portraits of sex and its embedded labyrinth of Kubrick's own personal secrets, I don't believe there's been a video essay on how important the act of "walking" is in the film.

Until now.

Fabian Broeker's "Dream Walking: Eyes Wide Shut" makes a good case for paying closer attention to the film's pedometer. It's also nicely edited to symphony music, alternating back and forth from full frames to split screens, giving the whole thing an easy-viewing experience too.

Broeker: "Characters retrace their steps, mirror each other and wander aimlessly through imposing, hollow interiors, decorated with bright pinpricks of light. This is Kubrick’s nightmare o…

Watch the Summed Frames of "Post Tenebras Lux" Create Video Art

Carlos Reygadas won the Best Director prize for his visually striking Post Tenebras Lux at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. The images in Reygarads' film looked like they emerged from a dream; there was a soft focus around the edges of the frame, giving its characters the cinematic equivalent of a screen halo. Now those indelible visuals from Post TenebrasLux are challenged and intensified in a captivating video art piece by Kevin L. Ferguson.

Using progressive summed frames, Ferguson creates a unique side-by-side cine-essay ruminating on two ideas: what we see and how much of it we see in total. On the left side of the screen, Ferguson presents a still from every ten seconds of the first five minutes of Post Tenebras Lux and on the right side of the screen he sums those progressive frames into ten-second intervals.

The result is an arresting piece of moving image impressionism. See for yourself.

Trailer Alert: "Ready Player One" - 'Come With Me' features King Kong, Halo and "Jurassic Park"

The latest trailer for Steven Spielberg's upcoming futuristic epic Ready Player One (based on the popular sci-fi novel by Ernest Cline) gets the Willy Wonka treatment with an updated cover of the song "Pure Imagination" from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate FactoryIMDb provides a synopsis for Spielberg's film:

"When the creator of a virtual reality world called the OASIS dies, he releases a video in which he challenges all OASIS users to find his Easter Egg, which will give the finder his fortune. Wade Watts finds the first clue and starts a race for the Egg."

Tye Sheridan (The Tree of Life) stars as Wade Watts, along with a cast that includes Ben Mendelsohn (Animal Kingdom) and Lena Waithe (Master of None). Previous teasers for Ready Player One showed us popular screen characters like The Iron Giant, The Joker and Freddy Krueger. This latest trailer gives us exciting glimpses of King Kong, the Spartans from Halo and the T-Rex from Jurassic Park. Check out…