Turn the Gaze Around
A racist, traditionally desexualized archetype from classic Hollywood gets queered and eroticized in Cheryl Dunye’s indie landmark The Watermelon Woman, now playing on the Criterion Channel.
The Ache of Desire
Whether sublimated or made explicit, that longing feeling so specific to the queer experience has always existed in the movies. A new series on the Criterion Channel dives into this richly layered but long-suppressed cinematic history.
When a Lovely Flame Dies: The Climactic Heartbreaker in 45 Years
The Platters’ impassioned rendition of the pop chestnut “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” highlights the irrevocable loss in Andrew Haigh’s marriage drama.
Transitory Figures: One Scene from Before Sunrise
Romantic love is poignant because it is an infinite feeling that exists in a finite frame. And Richard Linklater’s Before Trilogy is the most romantic and profound of love stories because it imbues love with the weight of time. In these three films…
Phoenix: Just Be Yourself
In Phoenix, Christian Petzold sets his nuanced melodrama of postwar German-Jewish identity within a starkly realist aesthetic, making newly fascinating use of his enduring interest in the tensions between the real and the artificial.
Michael’s Turn: Michael Jeter in The Fisher King
The late character actor Michael Jeter had a profound effect on me as a child, but as with so many things, I didn’t realize it until I was an adult. Twenty-five years ago this month, I saw my first Tony Awards broadcast. Amid all the spectacle—os…
Eclipse Series 41: Kinoshita and World War II
The prolific and popular Keisuke Kinoshita made his fascinating first movies at a time of great difficulty and censorship, yet their spirit and brilliance shine through.
Terence Davies: Chronicle of a Carpet
The following is excerpted from the book-length study Terence Davies, out September 8. See the bottom of the post for a clip of the scene it describes. Excerpt copyright 2014 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois and used with perm…
The Woman in Back: Lily Tomlin in Nashville
Today, the idea that comedian-actor-writer Lily Tomlin possesses dramatic versatility is so received that one might not realize how unexpected it was for audiences to see her in a serious role in Robert Altman’s Nashville in 1975. At that point, sh…
Man with a Plan: William Greaves in Symbiopsychotaxiplasm Take One
We don’t often talk about documentaries as featuring performances. But consider the highly performative people at the centers of Grey Gardens, General Idi Amin Dada, and last year’s The Act of Killing, or even the seemingly more modest souls …
The Witch Upstairs: Patsy Kelly in Rosemary’s Baby
In Rosemary’s Baby, one of the first exclamations that Minnie Castevet (Ruth Gordon) makes on hearing the news that her young neighbor Rosemary (Mia Farrow) is expecting a little bundle of joy is “I can’t wait to tell Laura-Louise!” Earlier…
In Time: Emmanuelle Riva in Hiroshima mon amour
Hiroshima mon amour (1959) is a groundbreaking portrait of a world come undone. Even more memorably, thanks to the brilliant precision of Emmanuelle Riva’s performance, it’s a study of a woman unraveling. In this first leading role in an astonish…