With her resplendent early feature An Angel at My Table (1990), Jane Campion widened the scope of her storytelling, adapting the memoirs of New Zealand writer Janet Frame for a decades-spanning, convention-shattering biographical film. As it follows Frame from childhood to literary fame, documenting as well her harrowing spell in a mental institution, the movie takes care to craft a portrait much more attuned to the subjective experience of its protagonist than the typical biopic. In the latest episode of the monthly Criterion Channel series Observations on Film Art, scholar Kristin Thompson closely examines one particular aspect of the film’s highly impressionistic visual style. As Thompson notes in the above clip, Campion often chooses to forgo establishing shots, waiting until a scene is already well under way to reveal the entirety of the space where it’s unfolding, creating a sense of uncertainty and surprise that helps immerse viewers in Frame’s world. For more on this strategy of withholding and revealing, head on over to the Channel, where the full Observations episode is available now, alongside An Angel at My Table itself.
A Touchstone of Contemporary Chinese Cinema Makes Its Streaming Premiere
One of the most acclaimed and ambitious feature debuts in recent memory, Hu Bo’s An Elephant Sitting Still is a testament to the power of personal filmmaking.
Within Earshot: A Conversation with Sorayos Prapapan
Informed by his background in sound design, the Thai director uses audio to explore the absurdities of an oppressive society in his short film Death of the Sound Man, now playing on the Criterion Channel.
The Dream Factory at Its Dreamiest
Now featured on the Criterion Channel, MGM’s greatest musicals are filled to the brim with some of the most indelible moments of movie magic ever committed to celluloid.