[Paradise: Love] entertains, titillates, disgusts, and confuses the viewer, who in turn becomes increasingly aware of him or herself as a spectator. A concluding striptease act during which the women ogle, molest, and mock in racial terms a Kenyan sex worker whose naked body is as much exposed to the roving camera as to the ululating women’s gazes and groping, drives home the point of spectatorial complicity. Watching Paradise: Love is a visceral, Schadenfreude-tinged experience that produces belly laughs and queasiness alike—sometimes in tandem. (x)
Posts tagged film comment.
The Japanese eco-fantasist Hayao Miyazaki is an animation magician, a crowd-pleasing storyteller who is also a builder of worlds. He designs meticulously engineered imaginary aircraft, sets their perfect gears spinning, and propels them over moss-green rolling landscapes, zipping between the sprung columns of ruined castles. He uses animation in a refreshingly direct and intuitive way, reveling in its capacity to lift things off the ground.
with all the controversy surrounding the rolling stone cover, let us not overlook the fact that lindsay lohan is on this month’s film comment
IMDb is an important resource for improving our understanding of spectator response—which is why it is so odd that my colleagues raise their eyebrows when I praise it. It attracts actual—not hypothetical or ideal—viewers. Moreover, their responses are direct and open-ended; dialogue and debate emerge unshaped by interviewers, and they grow and change chronologically. Then, too, where else can one find such a large and inclusive gathering of diverse people? While all posters need sufficient English as well as Internet access to communicate, and while many also fall into certain categories of cinephile (for example, film students and fanboys), most posters appear to be “ordinary” viewers who anticipate new releases, rewatch old favorites, and primarily see films on television or DVD without significant viewing agenda. Whichever the case, IMDb allows us to see what they focus on, get a sense of where they come from, who they are, and how they think. It is for these reasons that I love IMDb, and often use its posters’ comments in my seminars and essays—not just to enliven class discussion and ground my scholarly arguments in real-life experience but also to bridge a gap that need not (and, indeed, should not) exist between academic film studies and (to quote Norma Desmond) “all those wonderful people out there in the dark.” Those wonderful people have a lot to say—and a good many things to teach us scholars not only about the films we see but also about the ways we see them.
hey, guess who showed up in the newest copy of film comment…
Jeered at Cannes, belatedly hailed as a masterpiece, guaranteed to inspire nightmares, David Lynch’s widely misunderstood “prequel” to his 1990-91 cult TV smash Twin Peaks was dismissed by critics and fans seeking tidy answers to lingering questions about the final days of ill-fated high school beauty queen Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee). But taken on its own terms, Fire Walk With Me is pure Lynchian dream narrative, and perhaps the director’s darkest, most unsettling vision of what lurks beyond the neatly manicured facades of plasticine suburban America. Coffee-loving FBI agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) is back on the scene—tracking an enigmatic killer from one bucolic Washington town to the next—as are the Log Lady, the Man from Another Place, the demonic parallel reality of the “Black Lodge” and the shape-shifting phantom known only as “Bob.” Rich in echoes of the Jekyll and Hyde story and Little Red Riding Hood, and featuring two spellbinding set pieces—one in a traffic jam and one in a noisy roadhouse known as the Pink Room—that are alone worth the price of admission, Fire Walk with Me is an unforgettable descent into the depths of human madness…and of Lynch’s singular cinematic imagination.
Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master
Joaquin Phoenix on the cover of the new Film Comment
Film Comment, March-April 1976