Best & Co

My cousin Ruth worked at Best & Co, which is how I first heard of it. I don’t know what she did there, probably something in a stockroom, or at least behind the scenes, as she was, unlike her numerous sisters, exceedingly plain and physically awkward and her English would not have been up to sales or office work. [Read more]

The Wolf of Wall Street

Rule out guessing Scorsese’s motives in making The Wolf of Wall Street. Rule out fantasizing some other movie different from the one in front of us. Rule out mere energy or gusto or talent or stylishness or what have you as in any way relevant. Rule out the idea that we are being taught anything about Wall Street or invidious consumption or debauchery we did not already know. What do we make of it then? What is the most economical interpretation of what we see? [Read more]

Bicycle

I’ve just acquired a Raleigh DL-1 Tourist, like the one in the picture, from Mr. Bob Beechy of St George, Ontario, through an advert in an online marketplace. Mr. Beechy proved to be one of those characters with a passion for mechanical things with whom it is delightful to discuss such a mutual interest as … Read more

Barbara

The second ready-made, so to speak, on which Barbara hangs, is the dynamic of life in the old German Democratic Republic, now well-trodden ground in films. The action of the film takes place entirely in a provincial backwater on the Baltic coast, a shithole of casual brutality and meanness within which, in spite of everything, something like a normal life surfaces in unexpected ways. [Read more]

Amour

Haneke has, in interviews, remarked on his admiration for the Danish master, Carl Theodor Dreyer, whose film Ordet presents a religious parable culminating in a resurrection—one of the greatest moments in all of cinema. The analagous moment in Haneke’s film is perhaps not remarked on in reviews because it is more comfortable to explain the mysterious in psychological terms, or to assume there must be such an explanation. [Read more]

Black Peter

Forman’s English was of course American English. Not a generic American English (if there is such a thing), more a particular gravelly, lowish-medium, side-of-the-mouth, flat, no-nonsense American voice, its register neither specifically formal nor specifically colloquial, speech requiring no movement of either lips or eyebrows, a nowhere dialect whose native territory one thinks of as Hollywood big-shots, neo-cons in think tanks, sellers of Ponzi schemes. [Read more]