Responses: Albrecht Dürer’s St. Jerome (1521)

An old man is sat at a desk. His intelligence burns brightly above is head like a white halo as he writes in ink on a raised platform. His room is filled with things; measuring equipment and scientific apparatus, a skull, cushions, a lion, a dog and many books. The light from outside translates the designs of the glass windows onto the adjacent wall while … Continue reading Responses: Albrecht Dürer’s St. Jerome (1521)

Accumulation in Jacques Rivette’s La Belle Noiseuse (1991)

For a while after watching Jacques Rivette’s La Belle Noiseuse (The Beautiful Troublemaker, 1991), I repeatedly heard the sound of ink scratching from a nib onto rough paper and canvas. This action occurs throughout the almost four hour long film, to the point where the process of painting – from its earliest preparatory sketches to a devilish, unseen final canvas – feels almost conveyed in … Continue reading Accumulation in Jacques Rivette’s La Belle Noiseuse (1991)

Marcel Proust Turns Away

“What the Photograph reproduces to infinity has occurred only once: the Photograph mechanically repeats what could never be repeated existentially.” – Roland Barthes Marcel Proust turns away. His head is facing straight to one side but is not quite distant either. It could be considered a picture in profile if not for the angle of his body, crumpled and unusually creating the illusion of multiple … Continue reading Marcel Proust Turns Away

Horror’s Pleasure of Distance

One of my favourite moments from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) is not a typical choice considering the film’s many infamous scenes. Rather than showers, murders and other more memorable images, I particularly love a relatively bland scene later on in the film. It has narrative development in its eerie punch line but has little else on screen in terms of Hitchcock generally: it is perfunctory … Continue reading Horror’s Pleasure of Distance

Arcadian Folklore

Arcadian Folklore The lost realm of Arcadia was noted for its vast array of folklore and customs. Many unusual tales are at the centre of a rich and diverse research field which has painstakingly assembled a wealth of material from a huge variety of sources. This essay can only give a brief overview of some of the more unusual and seasonal based customs, superstitions and … Continue reading Arcadian Folklore

Responses: Tacita Dean’s Berlin And The Artist (2012)

Chance played a huge role in the writing of Robert Walser. I can picture his slow meanderings around towns and valleys, spotting something that fires a brief need to write. I can see him getting excited by the way the sunlight reflects off a lake’s water in a certain way, by the fustiness of a suited man coming out of a bank, by a woman’s … Continue reading Responses: Tacita Dean’s Berlin And The Artist (2012)

Snails and Death: Luis Buñuel’s The Diary Of A Chambermaid (1964)

A few years back, I dived into the French produced films of Luis Buñuel. My eyes were bombarded with images and ideas, so condensed and constant as to feel exhausted and exhilarated after each film. Even films that seemed at first more straight forward (That Obscure Object Of Desire, for example) had hidden, unconscious depths that played on my mind for weeks afterwards. Yet one … Continue reading Snails and Death: Luis Buñuel’s The Diary Of A Chambermaid (1964)

Responses: Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills (1977)

I first came across Cindy Sherman’s photographic series, Untitled Film Stills (1977), when looking for photos of film noir titles. The series is designed around fakery, seeking to recreate the feeling of stills from 1950s and 1960s American films but also, in producing the illusion with general key-notes as to the roles of women in these films, comment upon the basic norms prescribed in Hollywood … Continue reading Responses: Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills (1977)

Fernweh and The Green Ray (Éric Rohmer)

I have recently finished a draft of a novel which follows a lone woman who is mentally cast adrift by the news of her father’s suicide, her grief manifesting in a strange obsession with the town of Strasbourg where she opts to stay over the winter. In one of its sections, I have addressed the concept of Fernweh. The concept is unusual in that it … Continue reading Fernweh and The Green Ray (Éric Rohmer)

Georges Perec’s Les Lieux d’Une Fugue (1978)

When Georges Perec was 11, he decided to wander. In fact, escape is perhaps a better way of describing it; a jailbreak from his Aunt’s house in Rue de l’Assomption to wander Paris with who knows what planned other than avoiding school. It was such a defining experience for the writer that he later composed a text surrounding the feelings and places he encountered on … Continue reading Georges Perec’s Les Lieux d’Une Fugue (1978)