The landscape of late-nineties American film culture found a loving chronicler in John Pierson, whose groundbreaking TV series Split Screen premiered on IFC in 1997 and now has its streaming home on the Criterion Channel. In this excerpt from the third season, which makes its debut on the Channel today, the show takes a break from exploring little-known pockets of the independent film scene and visits the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, in Washington, D.C., for a glimpse at some of the treasures of Hollywood’s past. With historian David Shayt as his guide, Pierson turns the camera on the movie ephemera lurking in the museum’s archives, including the red sequined dress that Dustin Hoffman wore in Tootsie, a particularly eerie rendering of James Dean’s face, and—the pièce de résistance—John Wayne’s hairpiece.
Consuming the Cat: Brenda Lien Calls Out an Internet Fetish
In a short film now featured on the Criterion Channel, the German filmmaker interrogates our insatiable appetite for feline memes and what it says about our consumerist culture.
The Art of Lighting a Comedic Thriller
In the latest episode of Observations on Film Art, Professor Kristin Thompson explores how Ernst Lubitsch’s satirical masterpiece To Be or Not to Be employs a venerable cinematographic technique: three-point lighting.