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Of Meshes of the Afternoon

The film Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) is an enigma.  It ‘works’ on many levels: as an example of polished cinematography; as a personal statement; as the original representation of filmic art as psychological journey (psychodrama) and as an almost interactive challenge to its viewers to be accepted and pursued.  “Meshes” is definitely one of … Continue reading

Pull My Daisy and Social Substance

Pull My Daisy and Social Substance Frank and Leslie’s Pull My Daisy (1959)[1] is the quintessential experimental ‘beat’ film. Based on an act of a play by Jack Kerouac—who provides the amusing narration—“Daisy” reflects the impulsivity and anti-social spontaneity of the late 1950’s American beat generation.  Initially hyped as impromptu and unscripted—co-director Leslie later revealed … Continue reading

Of Journeys from Berlin

Yvonne Rainer’s Journeys from Berlin/1971 (1980) reveals and explores various acts of terrorism by extreme pro-leftist/socialist groups and individuals. These include the Russian woman who attempted to kill Russian functionary/official Trepov; Emma Goldman’s involvement with the attempted murder of steel magnate H.C. Frick by Alexander Berkman—and especially—the activities of Germany’s Baader-Meinhof group. Rainer uses four … Continue reading

Daughters of the Dust: A Review

Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust (1991) is a beautifully photographed portrait of a culture and a time with which undoubtedly few are very familiar: The Gullah community and sea islands off the coast of Georgia and South Carolina, circa 1902. The sumptuous white sands and surf of the place are so cleanly inviting—one is … Continue reading

Flaming Creatures: A Review

Jack Smith’s  Flaming Creatures (1962-63) is at times campy, at times explicit (especially for the early sixties) and mostly confusing.  I was hopeful at the beginning—what with the dramatic music, filmy imagery and the announcement that  urgent whisper that “Ali Baba comes tonite”—but I was quickly disappointed. I have to say that this is my … Continue reading

The Uses of Imagery and Narrative in The Life and Death of 9413: a Hollywood Extra[1]

The Uses of Imagery and Narrative in The Life and Death of 9413: a Hollywood Extra[1] In order to achieve an exemplary example of an elliptical narrative[2], co-creators Robert Florey and Slavko Vorkapich utilize strong, simple symbols and communicative signs.  At the very beginning—in the cast of characters—the future ‘star’ is introduced, (and therefore, defined) … Continue reading

Of the Digital Age

Due to the onslaught of the digital age, the formerly public space of  “out there” is now both “out there” and “in here”—in the formerly private arena of the home; even one’s own personal space is now a public space courtesy of the Blackberry, I-Phone and social networking applications. Of course, geographical, physical public space … Continue reading

Of Citizen Kane

Citizen Kane, directed by and starring a 24-year-old Orson Welles, is considered by many critics as the greatest film ever made. It is known for its unique narrative structure as well as its groundbreaking cinematography (by Gregg Toland, in close collaboration with Welles and the expert eye of editor Robert Wise, who later directed) and … Continue reading

Of “Chick-Lit”

I’m not one who is qualified to write much about “chick lit”—as I am not a fan of the genre.  Frankly, and not to come down on those who do read and enjoy it—I’m not even a fan of the title ‘chick lit’—just as I am not a fan of the title ‘chick flicks.’ It … Continue reading

Of Caligari

Upon re-watching “Caligari” I as struck by a few items. Firstly, how ‘modern’ the whole concept seems to be—especially when compared to what was happening in the mainstream world of Hollywood cinema, circa 1920.  Its European origins give “Caligari” its distinctive German Expressionist look—complete with its awkward, obliviously fake village setting (it could easily work … Continue reading