Author Spotlight

Terrence Rafferty

Terrence Rafferty is the author of The Thing Happens: Ten Years of Writing About the Movies. He is a frequent contributor to the New York Times, the Atlantic, and DGA Quarterly.

18 Results

Keeper of the Secret: Remembering Jeanne Moreau
Keeper of the Secret: Remembering Jeanne Moreau

French New Wave icon Jeanne Moreau possessed a stillness, a way of surrendering to the camera, that made her utterly unique among modern actors.

By Terrence Rafferty

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The Emigrants/The New Land: Homelands
The Emigrants/The New Land: Homelands

Jan Troell’s narration of one Swedish couple’s arduous journey to America portrays the migratory quality of marriage—of “finding that you think of this person who is not you, or this place that is not the land of your birth, as your home.”

By Terrence Rafferty

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The Apu Trilogy: Every Common Sight
The Apu Trilogy: Every Common Sight

Satyajit Ray began his filmmaking career by offering a vision of the young Apu, the character he would go on to follow throughout the three films of his stunning breakthrough epic.

By Terrence Rafferty

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The Bridge: Cannon Fodder
The Bridge: Cannon Fodder

German director Bernhard Wicki proved his uncommon cinematic skill with his heartbreaking tale of teen soldiers sent off to die near the end of World War II.

By Terrence Rafferty

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Macbeth: Something Wicked
Macbeth: Something Wicked

Roman Polanski’s dark vision is the perfect fit for Shakespeare’s grim tale of treachery and ambition.

By Terrence Rafferty

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Bay of Angels: Walking on Sand
Bay of Angels: Walking on Sand

Jeanne Moreau’s flighty, enigmatic Jackie in Jacques Demy’s poetic drama is in the great tradition of dreamy Demy heroines.

By Terrence Rafferty

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In Which We Serve: Battle Stations
In Which We Serve: Battle Stations

Good wartime propaganda films are as rare as good wars. Noël Coward and David Lean’s In Which We Serve, which had its premiere in Great Britain in September 1942, when the nation was entering the fourth year of hostilities with the Axis powers, wa…

By Terrence Rafferty

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Les cousins: The Nature of the Beast
Les cousins: The Nature of the Beast

Jean-Luc Godard, lover of paradox, once characterized Claude Chabrol’s Les cousins (1959) as “a deeply hollow and therefore profound film,” a pronouncement, like so many of the pithy mots Godard used to reel off in the pages of Cahiers du cin…

By Terrence Rafferty

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Le beau Serge: Homecomings
Le beau Serge: Homecomings

When Claude Chabrol’s first film, Le beau Serge, had its premiere at the 1958 Cannes Film Festival (out of competition), a fellow critic at Cahiers du cinéma, François Truffaut, wrote: “Technically, the film is as masterly as if Chabrol had b…

By Terrence Rafferty

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Diabolique: Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts
Diabolique: Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts

Among the most enduringly popular motives for murder, in films as in life, is the desire to remove an impediment to happiness—to get somebody, once and for all, out of the way. In life, of course, the goal of freeing oneself by canceling the exi…

By Terrence Rafferty

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The Night of the Hunter: Holy Terror
The Night of the Hunter: Holy Terror

The Night of the Hunter (1955)—the first film directed by Charles Laughton and also, sadly, the last—is among the greatest horror movies ever made, and perhaps, of that select company, the most irreducibly American in spirit. It’s about thos…

By Terrence Rafferty

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For All Mankind: Fantastic Voyage

Tough title to live up to. The lofty three-word phrase Al Reinert chose for his 1989 documentary on the Apollo space program comes from the plaque the first men on the moon, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, left there in July 1969—“We came in peac…

By Terrence Rafferty


La ronde: Vicious Circle

In the too-brief life and art of Max Ophuls (1902–57), La ronde was a momentous film, a turning point. It represented a homecoming of sorts, though “home” was a rather fluid concept for Ophuls, who was born in Germany, worked in the theater the…

By Terrence Rafferty


Blast of Silence: Bad Trip

Allen Baron’s stark, moody Blast of Silence (1961) is a movie of many strange distinctions. It’s among the last of the true film noirs, those fatalistic black-and-white urban crime dramas that darkened the American screen so gloriously in the yea…

By Terrence Rafferty


Elevator to the Gallows:
Louis Malle on the Ground Floor

François Truffaut once wrote, “All of Louis Malle, all his good qualities and faults, was in Elevator to the Gallows”—a statement that, even given French film criticism’s traditionally high tolerance for the counterintuitive, pretty unambigu…

By Terrence Rafferty


Stray Dog: Kurosawa Comes of Age

Stray Dog, the ninth film directed by Akira Kurosawa, is a detective story that’s also meant to function as a commentary on the desperate social conditions of postwar Japan: a kind of neorealist cop movie. The filmmaker wrote his screenplay first i…

By Terrence Rafferty


Hamlet
Hamlet

Reviewing Laurence Olivier’s 1948 film of Hamlet, James Agee—then a critic at Time—wrote: “The man who brings Hamlet, his friends, and his antagonists to life has tackled one of the most fascinating and most thankless tasks in show business. …

By Terrence Rafferty

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Fires on the Plain

Tamura (Eiji Funakoshi), the hero of Kon Ichikawa’s overwhelming Fires on the Plain, may be the loneliest man in the history of the movies—lonelier than the spiritual pilgrims of Bergman, Bresson, and Dreyer. He is a soldier in an army that, in d…

By Terrence Rafferty