william steig drawing


Certified Copy

*I am traveling right now, and am uneasy and anxious. Interestingly, in the past few days I’ve found myself yearning for the comfort of Juliette Binoche’s breasts in Certified Copy, and so I am reposting* I watched Certified Copy on a plane. I watched it on my laptop sitting between an older man and an older woman, and so the three of us watched the film together. They in secret glances here and there, and I, aware of their curiosity, in varying states of self consciousness. This is the inevitable consequence of personal movie viewing in public spaces, but as we three watched, these lines appeared and to my horror, I began to cry. “Look at your wife, who has made […]

Race in Film: L’eclisse

In Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1962 film L’eclisse (Eclipse), time is the enemy. For this reason the chronically depressed will understand it implicitly. They will know that a fan turning left to right makes all the more stagnant the air in a room. They will understand that no part of that room, no corner or cushion, can provide relief from the realization that every approaching minute is opportunity for life to prove itself meaningless. Do you not hear the constant victory, in the human footrace of time, slow as fire, sure, and thick and Herculean accumulating its volume and adding its sad fiber? – Pablo Neruda (Cold Work) Faced with this pointless existence, the only thing to do is roam listlessly about, […]

Race in Film: Festen (The Celebration)

The inclusion of an African American character in Thomas Vinterberg’s 1998 film Festen (see previous post) is a curious thing.  First I should make clear that the character is indeed an American man of African descent, not a black Dane, or an African immigrant (an important distinction). In the middle of Helge’s birthday dinner, sister Helene’s boyfriend Gbatokai (played by Gbatokai Dakinah*) arrives outside in a cab. Surprise! He’s black! Thinking he’s a hotel guest come to rent a room, brother Michael runs out to send him away, and is ridiculously offensive. Poor Michael can’t stop trying to prove his masculinity. He makes a fool of himself once again attempting to defend an institution that will soon be proved a […]

Race in Film: Paisá (Paisan)

Paisá directed in 1946 by Roberto Rossellini is, in my most humble opinion, one of the greatest films ever made. After watching neo realist films I often wonder how different American movies would have been then and now, had WWII been fought on US soil. I’m not saying Best Years of Our Lives (released the same year) isn’t good, but it’s certainly no Paisá. Paisá is the second film in Rossellini’s “War trilogy”, films made during and after the war (preceded by Open City, followed by Germany Year Zero). Though Open City is generally more critically acclaimed, I find Paisá to be more moving. The film consists of six episodes set during the liberation of Italy at the end of […]