Author Spotlight

Jonathan Rosenbaum

Jonathan Rosenbaum, former film critic for the Chicago Reader (1987–2008), now maintains a website at jonathanrosenbaum.net archiving most of his work.

19 Results

Good Morning: Structures and Strictures in Suburbia
Good Morning: Structures and Strictures in Suburbia

Yasujiro Ozu’s ode to childhood interweaves observations of human behavior with the simple surfaces of quotidian life in Tokyo.

By Jonathan Rosenbaum

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The Immortal Story: Divas and Dandies
The Immortal Story: Divas and Dandies

Set in nineteenth-century Macao, Orson Welles’s adaptation of a classic tale by Isak Dinesen is a hypnotic meditation on the pitfalls of storytelling.

By Jonathan Rosenbaum

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Jacques Tati: Composing in Sound and Image
Jacques Tati: Composing in Sound and Image

What you hear is as crucial—and as funny—as what you see in Tati’s films.

By Jonathan Rosenbaum

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F for Fake: Orson Welles’s Purloined Letter

F for Fake: Orson Welles’s Purloined Letter

There were plenty of advantages to living in Paris in the early 1970s, especially if one was a movie buff with time on one’s hands. The Parisian film world is relatively small, and simply being on the fringes of it afforded some exciting opportunit…

By Jonathan Rosenbaum

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The Young Girls of Rochefort: Not the Same Old Song and Dance
The Young Girls of Rochefort: Not the Same Old Song and Dance

Everyday life gets a musical makeover in Jacques Demy’s tale of chance and love, a film of exquisitely sad happiness.

By Jonathan Rosenbaum

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L’eclisse: A Vigilance of Desire
L’eclisse: A Vigilance of Desire

Your vigilance as an artist is an amorous vigilance, a vigilance of desire.—Roland Barthes to Michelangelo Antonioni, 1979 It’s lamentable that Michelangelo Antonioni, one of the most fashionable vanguard European filmmakers during the sixties, h…

By Jonathan Rosenbaum

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Gertrud and Light in August
Gertrud and Light in August

For several decades now, William Faulkner’s Light in August (1932) and Carl Dreyer’s Gertrud (1964) have been major touchstones for me—not only separately but also in some mysterious relation to each other. I even managed to find a wa…

By Jonathan Rosenbaum

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Crumb Reconsidered
Crumb Reconsidered

Now that Terry Zwigoff’s Crumb is fifteen years old, it seems pretty safe to say that it has evolved from a potential classic to actually being one. But what kind? A documentary portrait of a comic-book artist, musician, and nerdy outsider? A pe…

By Jonathan Rosenbaum

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Germany Year Zero: The Humanity of the Defeated
Germany Year Zero: The Humanity of the Defeated

Unlike the more aesthetically and intellectually conceived French New Wave, Italian neorealism was above all an ethical initiative—a way of saying that people were important, occasioned by a war that made many of them voiceless, faceless, and namel…

By Jonathan Rosenbaum

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The Dance of Playtime

I suppose it could be argued that I saw Playtime for the first time in ideal circumstances—as an American tourist in Paris. Yet to argue this would mean overlooking the film’s suggestion that, like it or not, we’re all tourists nowadays—and a…

By Jonathan Rosenbaum


High and Low: Eisenstein’s Ivan the Terrible
High and Low: Eisenstein’s Ivan the Terrible

I recently had occasion to show Ivan the Terrible in a course on forties world cinema I’m teaching at Chicago’s School of the Art Institute, and found it more mind-boggling than ever. This has always been the Eisenstein feature that’s given me …

By Jonathan Rosenbaum


Personal Effects:
The Guarded Intimacy of Sans Soleil

“The Sorbonne should be razed and Chris Marker put in its place.” —Henri Michaux “Contrary to what people say, using the first person in films tends to be a sign of humility: ‘All I have to offer is myself.’” —Chris Marker Even thou…

By Jonathan Rosenbaum


WR, Sex, and the Art of Radical Juxtaposition

Between the mid-1960s and the mid-1970s, it was generally felt among Western intellectuals and cinephiles that cutting-edge, revolutionary cinema came from Western Europe, Latin America, and the United States. Among the touchstones were Jean-Luc Goda…

By Jonathan Rosenbaum


Reasons for Kicking and Screaming

There’s plenty of wit on the surface,” I wrote in my capsule review of Kicking and Screaming when it was released a little over a decade ago, “but the pain of paralysis comes through loud and clear.” Having voluntarily spent five years as an …

By Jonathan Rosenbaum


Jean Renoir’s Trilogy of Spectacle

Movie trilogies can be created by either filmmakers or critics. When Pier Paolo Pasolini wrote and directed The Decameron (1971), The Canterbury Tales (1972), and Arabian Nights (1973), he made no bones about calling them his Trilogy of Life. But whe…

By Jonathan Rosenbaum


The White Sheik

ORSON WELLES: Fellini is essentially a small-town boy who’s never really come to Rome. He’s still dreaming about it. And we should all be very grateful for those dreams. In a way, he’s still standing outside looking in through the gates. The fo…

By Jonathan Rosenbaum


Figuring Out Day of Wrath

I first encountered Carl Dreyer’s work in my teens, but it wasn’t until my forties that I began to be ready for it. I mainly had to rely on lousy 16-millimeter prints, so ruinous to the sounds and images of Day of Wrath that I could look at that …

By Jonathan Rosenbaum


Othello

There are two ways of viewing the film career of Orson Welles which have tended, by and large, to be mutually exclusive. One can regard it as a fascinating but largely frustrating attempt to make mainstream Hollywood movies—an effort that yielded o…

By Jonathan Rosenbaum


Parade

It seems incredible that it’s taken seventeen years for a film as truly great as Parade—Jacques Tati’s final work—to become available in the U.S., and that it’s reaching the public, for the first time, on laserdisc. But old habits die hard,…

By Jonathan Rosenbaum