• Heaven's Gate

    Heaven's Gate

    ★★★★★

    Woe to that life which promised so much and delivered so little. A Western by accident. This is the story of a man's life in three chapters: enthusiasm, absurdity, and regret. For me, the masterpiece of Hollywood's genuine heir to Josef von Sternberg's film aesthetics.

  • The Salvation Hunters

    The Salvation Hunters

    ★★★★

    On his first film, Josef von Sternberg already photographs the sun.

  • The Trial

    The Trial

    ★★★★★

    In 1975, several Japanese audiences were given hammers and nails to use on the last sequence of this short. Screens were damaged.

  • The Mechanical Butcher

    The Mechanical Butcher

    ★★★

    The Lumière Méliès themselves before Méliès.

  • History Lessons

    History Lessons

    ★★★★★

    The end of history. Analog and digital recordings have forced history to produce its own history, thus turn it into a very mortal thing: like a person who lives and passes. There’s no longer a writer and myth in between. History Lessons shows this loss and conflict ruthlessly.

  • The Adventures of Dollie

    The Adventures of Dollie

    Comparing this to The Sealed Room, I began to discern the influence of intertitles on cinema's converging paths of storytelling and documentary. The Adventures of Dollie is a film of movements and actions, a Lumiere "actualite" with three artificial occurrences. Whereas a year later, The Sealed Room is already dominated by a theater POV and the idea of literary adaptation. A fascinating genesis for cinema's "father of storytelling."

  • Edvard Munch

    Edvard Munch

    Presentness through diegetic gazes that challenge cinema's panopticon: the viewer's gaze. A revelation. Like having the sun on my forehead.

    “Amor Matris, subjective and objective genitive, may be the only true thing in life.” By repeating the images of her dying in her deathbed, Watkins achieves the cinematic evocation of episodic memory; phantasmagorical and mesmeric. That and other repetitions capture Munch’s soul, the stream of his consciousness in a cinematic sense. "Her face is too far away," but Edvard Munch might be cinema’s Stephen Dedalus. This is the most magnificent film I have ever seen, and one to which I return again and again.