Joker (Tod Phillips, 2019) “Pathological Struggle for Recognition”

Editor’s Note: Since the film is in the cinemas at the moment while I am writing this article, I will not reveal any details about the film's plot, and I will certainly not write a value judgment of the film. Whether the film is enjoyable or not in the final verdict is a matter of … Continue reading Joker (Tod Phillips, 2019) “Pathological Struggle for Recognition”

Black Swan (Darren Aronofsky, 2010) “Dionysiac Union With Art”

Aronofsky’s Black Swan follows the mental disintegration of the ballet dancer Nina, who gets a part in the production of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. She is fragile, innocent, fearful and pure, but lacks the feel for playing the Black Swan, while she is a perfect cast for the White Swan. In the performances of Tchaikovsky’s ballet, … Continue reading Black Swan (Darren Aronofsky, 2010) “Dionysiac Union With Art”

Bronson (Nicolas Winding Refn, 2008) “Confessions of Britain’s Most Violent Criminal”

In the final lines of the chapter “The spectacle of the scaffold”, in his book Discipline and Punish, Michel Foucault writes about a great shift in the portrayal of criminals in fiction, which took place in the 19th century: “We are far removed indeed from those accounts of the life and misdeeds of the criminal … Continue reading Bronson (Nicolas Winding Refn, 2008) “Confessions of Britain’s Most Violent Criminal”

Annihilation (Alex Garland, 2018) “Thanatic Journey into the Unconscious”

“For me, [Annihilation] was a film about the nature of self-destruction… it was about an observation I made, which is that everybody appears to be self-destructive. Some people are very obviously self-destructive because they’re addicted to heroin or alcohol… Other people are very comfortable in their own skin, and they’ve got a fantastic job and … Continue reading Annihilation (Alex Garland, 2018) “Thanatic Journey into the Unconscious”

Silence (Martin Scorsese, 2016) “Last Breaths of Christendom In the Land of the Rising Son”

The first European Christian missionaries landing in Japan… found their hosts totally unprepared for the message of salvation they brought. Not indifferent however. On the contrary, their preaching... though it was radically at odds with native beliefs, it was warmly received… Baptismal waters flowed. Japan might have gone Christian. But it was not to be. … Continue reading Silence (Martin Scorsese, 2016) “Last Breaths of Christendom In the Land of the Rising Son”

A History of Violence (David Cronenberg, 2005) “A Veiled Body”

We question a country’s self-mythology. Perfect town and perfect family are – like Westerners – part of America’s mythology, involving notions of past innocence and naïveté. But is it possible for innocence to exist while something heinous transpires elsewhere? David Cronenberg In David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence something heinous transpires underneath the presentation of … Continue reading A History of Violence (David Cronenberg, 2005) “A Veiled Body”

Manchester By the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan, 2016) “A Symphony.”

A cynic would say that a razor blade should distributed alongside the DVD version of Manchester By The Sea, just like one music critic suggested regarding Leonard Cohen’s album Songs of Love and Hate. In that kind of reasoning there is a misunderstanding of the power of the melancholic experience when it is shown in … Continue reading Manchester By the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan, 2016) “A Symphony.”

A Serious Man (Joel & Ethan Coen, 2009) “The Comedy of Job”

What need is there to weep over parts of life? The whole of it calls to tears. Seneca, To Marcia On Consolation The veracity of Seneca’s words can be debated upon, but they seem to fit to describe the Coen brothers character Larry’s fortune in the film. Yet, A Serious Man is a comedy. We … Continue reading A Serious Man (Joel & Ethan Coen, 2009) “The Comedy of Job”

Never Let Me Go (Mark Romanek, 2010) “Path to Completion”

  Title card: The breakthrough in medical science came in 1952. Doctors could now cure the previously incurable. By 1967, life expectancy passed 100 years. Never Let Me Go is based on a novel by Kazuo Ishiguro; the film describes the dystopian reality which takes place more than 50 years before the film was made. … Continue reading Never Let Me Go (Mark Romanek, 2010) “Path to Completion”

Dr. Strangelove (Stanley Kubrick, 1964) “Ship of Fools”

Dr. Strangelove, based on the Peter George novel Red Alert is clearly deeply rooted in its own time; shot when Cold War was in its zenith, yet it manages to speak to us. It will speak to us as long as Doomsday Machine in the form of the nuclear arsenal possessed by the major world powers … Continue reading Dr. Strangelove (Stanley Kubrick, 1964) “Ship of Fools”