Few films are as explicit in their depiction of character relationships that are at the mercy of the fluctuating landscape than Roman Polanski’s 1966 film, Cul-De-Sac. Polanski had been to both ends of the environmental spectrum within his previous two films – the open waters of Knife In The Water (1962) and the cramped, claustrophobic London of Repulsion (1965) – and Cul-De-Sac sees him returning … Continue reading Isolation And Madness In Cul-De-Sac (1966) – Roman Polanski.
For a film about war, Ivan’s Childhood (1962) by Andrei Tarkovsky dwells quite unexpectedly upon the natural landscape of its narrative. At first, this might seem somewhat unsurprising; after all, most films set during war often make use of the battered terrain of the landscape, if only to show the fallout and power of the weaponry available. Ivan’s Childhood does more than this and contains … Continue reading The Forests Of Ivan’s Childhood (1962) – Andrei Tarkovsky.
The geographical make-up of a film’s scenario is often a subtle root-cause of its dramatic effect. The sense of place, both its physical and psychological attributes, can be so overwhelming that whole narratives can follow the buckling of characters under pressure from this force; to the point where their own emotional identity and personal dynamics fluctuate, reflect, and occasionally attempt to rebel against an imposing … Continue reading The Unleashing of Repressed Eroticism in Black Narcissus (1947) and The Shining (1980).
In one of the first attempts I made at canonising the sub-genre of Folk Horror, I likened the majority of its films to be brilliant but mere fugues on the ideas presented in Benjamin Christensen’s Häxan: Witchcraft Through The Ages (1922). Outside of Victor Sjöström’s The Phantom Carriage (1921), it was the earliest and most explicit form of the sub-genre that seemed to be surviving … Continue reading The Uncanny in Häxan: Witchcraft Through The Ages (1922)- Benjamin Christensen.
In spite of being set in the most cramped of city-based fictional areas, Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window (1954) successfully presents the bustling aesthetics of a whole metropolis while managing to retain an almost claustrophobic isolation. In the film, Hitchcock presents a temporarily wheelchair-bound photographer who becomes obsessed with a neighbour. He suspects the unusual man to have murdered his wife. Rear Window presents a number … Continue reading Sounds of the City – Defining the Metropolis in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window (1954).
Terrible things can happen in environments that allow people to step-back from consequences; this is the first step in most types of crime and film noir pictures. But to simply place Claire Denis’ latest film, Bastards (2014), into one of these categories just for the ease of categorisation does it little justice. Denis’ film has more to its narrative than its surface layer shadow but … Continue reading Bastards (Claire Denis, 2014) – Oily Depths and Blank Walls.
For a film that, on the surface, appears to be held in such high regard, Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Avventura (1960) seems to have distanced itself from a number of its audience. While I often wish to adhere to the third person in criticism, this article cannot help but revert to a personal reception of the film and also refer to recent personal reflections shared online. After … Continue reading L’Avventura (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1960) – A Curious Distance.
Introduction Michael Haneke’s debut feature set the tone for the majority of his interests that would be explored over the next few decades. The Seventh Continent (1989), though part of the Glaciation Trilogy, stands on its own for questioning a very specific and brutal form of philosophy; that of Freud’s Death Drive principles. Though Haneke would address philosophical issues in a lot of his films (this … Continue reading The Seventh Continent (Michael Haneke) and the Freudian Death Drive – Part 1.
Its geography is stark, rugged and eerily inviting, its characters are sickly happy and lying through their teeth and its narrative is immersive and questioning to the point where its finale is deeply affecting and horrifying. It’s a crying shame that viewers of The Wicker Man (1973) will never fully see the film as its director intended. Having been slashed to bits by the studio … Continue reading The Wicker Man (1973) – Defining Of The Folk Horror.
Alejandro Jodorowsky’s El Topo (1970) has rightly earned a place in the pantheon of cult cinema. Watch any number of documentaries or interviews with the man himself and the film will often stand proud as the pioneer of the “Midnight Movie”; a film obviously shown late due to its content but also exuding free reign over all of its creative aspects. Researching further into the … Continue reading El Topo and The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway (Jodorowsky and Gabriel).