Jean-Pierre Melville’s Un Flic (1972) and Le Corbusier’s Transitional Pigments

Jean-Pierre Melville was the master of the drame azur; those strange, dark films, usually French, that contrasted such dramatic darkness with often very light visuals of a bluish hue. The light was still murky, creating bluish white-outs with cloud, fog, sea and other natural elements playing into the blurring of the image. But the drama was predominantly daytime, often making crime films especially seem refreshing … Continue reading Jean-Pierre Melville’s Un Flic (1972) and Le Corbusier’s Transitional Pigments

Responses: Keith Arnatt’s Gardeners (1978-79)

In the late 1970s, Keith Arnatt embarked on an unusual series of photographs collected under the title of Gardeners (1978-79). In the years before, he had produced a similar series of works looking at dog walkers, such was the draw of the ordinary for the artist. Essentially, however, it is what Arnatt found in this seemingly everyday scenario that tapped into his usual sense of … Continue reading Responses: Keith Arnatt’s Gardeners (1978-79)

They Lay With Debris – Wreckage in Tarkovsky’s Stalker (1979)

“In the morning they leave. The animals, birds, and insects that watched in horror through the long night creep out from their hiding places. And what do they see? Old spark plugs and old filters strewn around… Rags, burnt-out bulbs, and a monkey wrench left behind… And of course, the usual mess—apple cores, sweet wrappers, charred remains of the campfire, cans, bottles, somebody’s handkerchief, somebody’s … Continue reading They Lay With Debris – Wreckage in Tarkovsky’s Stalker (1979)

Collapse and Gesture in Michael Haneke’s Happy End (2017)

This article contains spoilers. Though Michael Haneke is at pains to stress the nuance of his opinions regarding digital life and discourse  – see, for example, his recent interview with the BFI – it is undeniable that his film work has had a consistent approach to media and what he believes its effects are upon Western society. In many ways, his comments often denying such pessimistic … Continue reading Collapse and Gesture in Michael Haneke’s Happy End (2017)

Still life in Margaret Tait’s My Room (1951)

I was walking through the National Gallery recently when I came across Jan Trek’s Still Life (1648) painting with its atmospheric rendering of ephemera. Within it sits a skull, some books, manuscripts, the helmet of a suit of armour and other such seemingly random objects. I had been thinking about similar paintings for some time, not least because several books of interest (specifically Robert Burton’s … Continue reading Still life in Margaret Tait’s My Room (1951)

Cartographic Time In Jacques Rivette’s Le Pont Du Nord

In 1946, Jorge Luis Borges published the micro-short story, On Exactitude In Science. The piece is a fictionalised fragment, supposedly taken from Viajes de varones prudentes, Libro IV, Cap. XLV, Lérida, (1658) written by the equally fictional Suárez Miranda. The piece addresses the role of perception in cartography, relying on the irony of mapmakers attempting to make a 1:1 scale map of a place; the … Continue reading Cartographic Time In Jacques Rivette’s Le Pont Du Nord

Gertrude Stein’s Rose and Chris Marker’s Owl

When recently reading Gertrude Stein’s famous poem Sacred Emily (1913), later published in Geography and Plays (1922) and famed for its sequence of “A rose is a rose is a rose…”, I was not thinking about a rose. Instead of a rose, I was in fact thinking of an owl. Before reading anything by Gertrude Stein, I had watched copious amounts of films by Chris … Continue reading Gertrude Stein’s Rose and Chris Marker’s Owl

The Temporal Disruptions of Marguerite Duras

Marguerite Duras was never keen to allow cinema an easy route out. Adapting her own stories into feature films, it seems that the writer, rather than compromise the ghostly qualities of her books, experimented and destabilised the narrative aspects of film form to suit her needs. Like her contemporary, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Duras made many attempts to transplant the elements of voice from her work into … Continue reading The Temporal Disruptions of Marguerite Duras

Phantom Coincidence in W.G. Sebald’s “Remembered Triptych…”

I was sat on a couch in Strasbourg reading essays by Teju Cole, the volume Known And Strange Things published quite recently by Faber and Faber. It was night and I was alone, glancing up occasionally, as I often do when in my partner’s flat, to stare at the city’s famous cathedral lit up at night. I was at the point of the book when Cole … Continue reading Phantom Coincidence in W.G. Sebald’s “Remembered Triptych…”