Chantal Akerman’s first series of features in the 1970s have one defining aspect in common: all are suffused with loneliness. In her first fiction feature, Je Tu Il Elle (1974), a character wanders between lovers old and new but is always confused as to what she really wants. In Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels (1975), we follow a woman trapped in the monotony of … Continue reading All The Lonely People: Chantal Akerman’s Les Rendez-vous d’Anna (1978)
Even before the recent events that occurred in Charlottesville, a certain scene from Michael Haneke’s 2000 film, Code Unknown (Code Inconnu), had been repeatedly playing on a loop in my mind’s eye. I quietly admitted to myself recently that the scene in question is without a doubt the most telling and poignant dramatic escalation I have seen in twenty-first-century cinema and it seems to show … Continue reading Politics of Sequence in Code Unknown (2000, Michael Haneke)
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.
One of the key criticisms of the Folk Horror Chain is its emphasis, both in argument and in evidence, upon the rural landscape and its various elements. While the key works of Folk Horror cinema seem to broadly use rural landscape aesthetics and practice to set and conjure their horror, by setting up such a parameter, it does indeed neglect some of the sub-genre’s most … Continue reading The “Urban Wyrd” In Folk Horror.
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.
Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5. Part 6. Part 7. Part 8. Conclusions. The auteristic traits of any director can have a strong, almost unstoppable effect on a film and its subject matter. This often ranges from stylistic visual aestheticism to more thematic trends in a director’s body of work. For this case study of the work of Ken Russell, this … Continue reading A Musicological Study of Ken Russell’s Composer Films – Part 9 (Conclusions).
Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5. Part 6. Part 7. Lizstomania and the effect of Rock Aesthetics on Classical Reception. After making Tommy, Russell clearly felt as if there was still new territory to be explored. The last of his composer films would not simply be a final whimper in the delving into a musical and cultural history, but an all-out … Continue reading A Musicological Study of Ken Russell’s Composer Films – Part 8 (Lisztomania).
Trying to establish small cycles of trends in cinema is a key discipline in understanding the medium. When a theme can be seen to traverse genre but be defined by era, it perhaps states more of a sociological argument than simply an aesthetic or a narrative one. A particular group of films recently began to collect together in my own memory but the reason as … Continue reading The Ravenous Poor in Heath Era British Cinema.
Part 1. Part 2. A “Disembodied Voice” of some form is a clear norm for representing a creature that, by its very definition, is now bodiless. This means that, as an aural technique, it is used frequently throughout many other ghost stories as well. In Lawrence Gordon Clark’s films, the aural trait occurs several times with different and varying effects, though never with the layered … Continue reading The Aural Aesthetics of Ghosts in BBC Ghost Stories – Part 3 (William Ager).
This article was originally a paper presented at Queens University Belfast at the first Folk Horror Conference on Friday the 19th of September 2014. Introduction/Thesis. Folk horror is a strange form of media. It has a craving for the need to be defined and canonised whilst also being a sub-genre which seems inherently intuitive, especially when becoming aware of its common likenesses in films, television, … Continue reading The Folk Horror Chain.