On Film


396 Results


Lost in the City with the Feelies

In Susan Seidelman’s Smithereens, the odyssey of a New Jersey transplant trying to survive in Manhattan is accompanied by the music of one of the Garden State’s most iconic punk bands.

By Vikram Murthi

The Daughter of Dawn’s Vanished World

After glimpsing his great-great-grandfather on-screen, a writer searches for the history of a landmark silent film.

By Adam Piron

Playing the Vampire: Six Performances That Draw Blood

The role of the vampire has given talented actors throughout film history—from Bela Lugosi to Catherine Deneuve—the chance to embody physical and moral extremity.

Deep Dives

Slash Americana: Strange Behavior’s Eerie Charm

With an inscrutable aesthetic that feels stumbled upon as much as developed, Michael Laughlin’s cult B movie is a delirious mix of science fiction, horror, and American pastoral archetypes.

By Howard Hampton

Blood, Guts, and Videotape: ’80s Horror and the Rise of Home Video

The emergence of VHS was a major turning point in the genre’s evolution, inspiring a veritable arms race among filmmakers looking to conjure the most extravagant and terrifying visions imaginable.

By Clyde Folley

Deep Dives

All Aboard the Ghost Ship: Hiroshi Matsuno’s Folk Phantasmagoria The Living Skeleton

This underappreciated 1968 film is a feast of dark delights, filled with vengeful ghosts, psychically linked identical twins, obsessed mad scientists, creepy priests, and seemingly sentient skeletons.

By Adam Nayman

Paulin Soumanou Vieyra and the Birth of African Cinema

Deeply influenced by his French education but primarily interested in the representation of African realities on-screen, this long-overlooked visionary approached a variety of subjects with a style both investigative and declarative.

By Akin Adeṣọkan

James Wong Howe’s Way with Light

Throughout his prolific career, the Oscar-winning cinematographer mixed technical ingenuity with the vulnerability and longing of an outsider.

By Walter Chaw


Double Seduction in Bull Durham

In a pivotal early scene in this baseball classic, director Ron Shelton mischievously uses two contrasting rock tunes to comment on disparate versions of masculinity.

By Chris Vognar

The Mancini Touch

The music of the legendary, multiple-Oscar-winning composer brought the freedom and anxiety of postwar America to life.

By Nate Chinen

Eagle Pennell, the Last Cowboy

An indie pioneer whose life was cut tragically short, the Texas filmmaker found grace in the tedium of repressive small-town existence.

By Nadine Smith

The Cosmos According to Ulrike Ottinger

A seductive brew of decadence, dada, and drag, the German director’s fantastical films embrace the possibilities of female visual pleasure.

By Patricia White

Cinema Pugilistica: A Century of Boxing on Film

Entwined with the evolution of American culture, boxing movies have used the microcosm of the ring to tackle issues of race, class, gender, and labor.

By Christina Newland


An Enigma Made Flesh: Delphine Seyrig in Golden Eighties

In her last significant film role, the art-house icon reveals an emotional vulnerability previously hidden by her ethereal persona.

By Beatrice Loayza

The Unabashedly Queer Musical That Turned the Genre on Its Head

Both crowd-pleasing and gleefully subversive, Blake Edwards’s 1982 hit Victor/Victoria remains one of the few Hollywood musicals that explicitly depicts queer life.

By Michael Koresky

One Scene

At the End of Love’s Road with Michelangelo Antonioni

The long, quietly tense opening minutes of L’eclisse offer a blueprint for filmmakers looking to craft a devastating breakup scene.

By Eskil Vogt

The Melancholic, Joyous Soul of Guru Dutt

The Indian director, actor, and producer’s early death has enshrined him as a tragic icon in public memory. But there is more to his art than misery.

By Mayukh Sen

A Rain of Sorrow, A Rain of Gloom

A major figure in contemporary Hindi literature pays tribute to Guru Dutt in this fantasia that reimagines the great filmmaker’s death.

By Geet Chaturvedi

The Rule-Breaking Maestro Behind Noir’s Trademark Sound

With his love of dissonance and bold use of dramatic motifs, the Hungarian-born composer Miklós Rózsa popularized a whole new style of film music.

By Tim Greiving

The Uncharted Frontier: Will Rogers in John Ford’s America

In his collaborations with Ford, the beloved star—the highest-paid Hollywood actor of the early 1930s—played multidimensional characters that challenged assumptions about Native Americans.

By Adam Piron

One Scene

Reality Breaks in Irma Vep

The director of We’re All Going to the World’s Fair reflects on the transformative power of a Sonic Youth needle drop in Olivier Assayas’s 1996 film.

By Jane Schoenbrun

The Eyes That Fascinate

Louis Feuillade’s influential serial Les Vampires reflected the French national subconscious at the time by depicting a madcap world of anarchy and violent spectacle.

By Lucy Sante

Kazuo Hara’s Dedicated Lives

In his uncompromising chronicles of modern Japanese society, the celebrated filmmaker shows a deep understanding of both larger-than-life individuals and collectives of ordinary citizens.

By Markus Nornes

Antifascism on the Home Front

A landmark of leftist documentary filmmaking, Leo Hurwitz’s Strange Victory examines the hypocrisy of a nation that defeated fascism abroad while maintaining an apartheid society at home.

By Gerald Horne