Silence (Martin Scorsese, 2016) “The Dark Night of the Soul”

Earlier this year, I wrote an article about this very film, “Last Breaths of Christendom in the Land of the Rising Son”, emphasizing the role of the Japanese state (Tokugawa Shogunate) and the Hobbesian reading which implies that the state proscribes the teachings and religions practiced by the populace; in this case the state religion … Continue reading Silence (Martin Scorsese, 2016) “The Dark Night of the Soul”

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

Aronofsky’s Black Swan follows 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, the same ballerina sometimes … 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”

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 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”

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”

Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979) “Tragic Fate of Colonel Walter E. Kurtz”

Preliminary remarks: There are several different versions of Apocalypse Now, including the theatrical release, the Redux version which is 53 minutes longer than the original and the 259 minutes long “VHS” version, which is now all but lost. This article is based on the Redux version, while the ending of the VHS version will be … Continue reading Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979) “Tragic Fate of Colonel Walter E. Kurtz”

Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958) “Reliving the Memory”

Alfred Hitchock’s desire was to make movies in which dream and reality are indistinguishable. In his Vertigo, he creates a nightmarish world in which Scottie (James Stewart) draws the female progatonist into a surreal ordeal, or it is the other way around; at certain moments we cannot really tell. The film is centered around several … Continue reading Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958) “Reliving the Memory”

Badlands (Terrence Malick, 1973) “Romantic and Soulless Killing Spree”

[This article has been edited on 11.3.2018] Badlands, Terrence Malick's first film is loosely based on real-life events following the murders a couple had commited in 1958, in the United States.  In 1993 the United States National Film Registry elected Badlands for preservation since they considered the film to be “culturally, historically and aesthetically significant”. The … Continue reading Badlands (Terrence Malick, 1973) “Romantic and Soulless Killing Spree”