Film scholar extraordinaire David Bordwell is among our most meticulous writers on the art of cinema, looking closely at the construction of a film to see what makes it work and how its technical approach reflects its historical moment. We naturally turned to Bordwell for an analysis of Carl Theodor Dreyer’s early silent comedy Master of the House, which seems somewhat anomalous in Dreyer’s body of work, known for its formal austerity. In the following excerpt from the visual essay he contributed to our release, Bordwell discusses the film’s focus on the textures of everyday life, its startling number of cuts (there are more shots in Master of the House than any other Danish film of the period, he says), and its relationship to the German Kammerspielfilm of the time, anti-spectacles about ordinary people.
John Bailey Breaks Down a Tour de Force of Gothic Lighting
The veteran cinematographer takes a close look at the highly stylized and atmospheric lighting in one of the most pivotal scenes in pre-Code classic The Story of Temple Drake.
All About Mankiewicz
One of the most celebrated Hollywood writer-directors of his time, Joseph L. Mankiewicz offers a window into the way he sees his characters in this illuminating clip from an archival interview.
Charisma to Burn: Béatrice Dalle’s Incandescent Debut in Betty Blue
The young French actor didn’t require much direction for her first screen role. As the film’s director and cinematographer recall, she quickly proved herself to be a born star.
How Paweł Pawlikowski Reimagined His Parents’ Fiery Romance for the Big Screen
As the director explains to filmmaker Alejandro G. Iñárritu, the love story at the heart of the Oscar-nominated drama Cold War has its roots in his own family history.