william steig drawing


Pasolini’s Accatone

**Update: Accatone is a pain in the ass to see, but it’s on youtube right now. Great quality in one full video. Watch it before it vanishes (make sure to turn on CC)** Ballila the Fat Thief to Accatone the Starving Pimp: Did you sell your car? Is all the gold gone? You really look like a beggar. What a bad end! Hai venduto la macchina? E finito l’oro? Ma tu mi pari proprio un dizgrazato. Che brutta fine! Che brutta fine! Che brutta fine! I watched Accatone for the first time eight years ago, and for eight years now I’ve recited those words “Che brutta fine!” with regular regularity. I say them out loud, not to myself, and I do this the most as I walk […]

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 […]

I Am Love vs. Somewhere

**Watch my “Ebert Presents” segment on “I Am Love” here** In Luca Guadagnino’s I Am Love Tilda Swinton plays Emma Recchi, a Russian woman who marries into a wealthy Italian family and finds herself moving (somewhat unwillingly) into the role of matriarch. Dissatisfied with a soulless life of planning dinner parties, Emma finds love with a younger man, one with the earthiness she needs to remedy her stale aristocratic life. Now this is a movie about many things: family, legacy, death, birth, incest, and definitions of love and loneliness among them, but what I like most about the film is its size. I Am Love isn’t a movie that minimizes itself. Though we associate this kind of grandeur with melodramas […]

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, […]

Who’s That Knocking at My Door

**In the video I refer to “Il Bidone” when I meant to say “I Vitelloni.” Please excuse me.** There exist in this sometimes sad world, moments that remind you that you are alive. You know these moments well. Blood rushes from your toes to your cheeks. Or from your cheeks to your toes. Either way you are made aware of its movement. A great energy is felt in your jaw and in the ends of each strand of hair. Your fingers curl. Your hands turn into fists or claws. Everything is hot. You shudder violently (the energy must be flung off or you will be eaten alive). This all happens in two seconds. It is stunning. There is a scene […]

Bread & Chocolate: Memoirs of a Suspicious Foreigner

This is Mirror’s first guest post! Every now and then select persons will bless us with their most personal musings on film. James has been a dear friend of mine for years and years. I recall one particularly wonderful afternoon spent getting very drunk on a stone bench in Boston’s Little Italy whilst sharing our delight over Jean Cocteau’s “The Art of Cinema.” We are creative soul mates and must live at least 500 miles apart or else die in the heat of each other’s suns. This is the only reason why James lives in Beunos Aires, Argentina. Together we would cause far too much trouble. *** For the past few years I have been living in Buenos Aires, enjoying […]

Le Notti Bianche (White Nights)

Count Luchino Visconti di Modrone is my beloved. Grand and operatic. Never fearing the theatrical or taboo (but never vulgar for vulgarities sake). You see, we are exactly alike. The Count was an interesting man. A member of the Italian aristocracy and the Italian Communist Party. He was open with his homosexuality, and photographs men in a way unlike any other directors I’ve seen. He showcases their beauty. Le Notti (based on the Dostoevsky short story) has an unusual cast, all actors I associate with different directors simply because I saw them in other movies first. Marcello Mastroianni (Fellini’s man), Maria Schell (Rene Clement’s girl), and Jean Marais (Cocteau). Schell (with the most expressive eyes) plays Natalia, an innocent girl […]

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 […]