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)

An Exhaustive List of Nothing and Everything in Chantal Akerman’s Saute Ma Ville (1968)

It is fifty years ago this September since Chantal Akerman made her first film. It was a short comical fragment about distraction and suicide called Saute Ma Ville (1968). Following Akerman herself running up to her flat, the film then shows her gradually making a mess of the kitchen into which she has locked herself, taping the gaps in the door and windows ready for … Continue reading An Exhaustive List of Nothing and Everything in Chantal Akerman’s Saute Ma Ville (1968)

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)