Jeanne Silverthorne

  • Jeanne Silverthorne

    Interior: a room of ambiguous dimensions and location—part surveillance center, part boudoir. UMA THURMAN sits in front of a monitor and a mike, flanked by a makeup mirror. Ignoring all this, she bends over a paperback. Enter PATRICIA ARQUETTE. Throughout the scene, the camera suffers from attention-deficiency syndrome, sporadically drifting off from the speaker. A radio is tuned to white noise.

    PATRICIA [squinting at monitor]: Who’s out there?

    UMA: Quentin. He got very excited about us changing places like this—me in here watching. Every once in a while I give him an order to keep him happy—you

  • David Mamet’s Oleanna

    THE SHOCK OF DAVID MAMET’S Oleanna, a play about a female student’s charges of sexual harassment against her male professor, is the shock of the Hill/Thomas hearings: it astounds by revealing how many otherwise “reasonable” people still don’t get it. And it’s an easy reading to say that one of them is the author. Once again, as in his screenplay for the Paul Newman film The Verdict, Mamet has invented a woman who seems to “ask for it” so intensely that New York audiences for the play, at this writing SRO off-Broadway, apparently routinely shout approval of the violence his politically correct

  • Secret Vices

    HERE’S WHAT HAPPENS: fat slithers off cheekbones, gouging ravines down the face. Cartilaginous noses and ears continue to grow, heedless. Lips shrink, lengthening that unnamed space between hairy nostril and mouth. Gums retract; result: “long in the tooth.” Earlobes turn pendulous, drooping under their own weight. Eyelids disappear beneath the mud-slide of a brow truly and finally smitten with gravitas. Pigment lumps; capillaries explode. If you live in horror of the body, aging only tells you you’re right.

    The guilty pleasure/secret vice of many feminists is eager discussion of face-lifts,


    IT IS THE 1920s. When a 19-year-old woman must abandon college after her father dies, she accepts a marriage offer from a wealthy older man. Her unsympathetic stepmother notes that if she marries this man she “will only be a concubine”: then “let me be a concubine,” the girl retorts, “Isn’t that a woman’s fate?” One year later the marriage has reduced her to insanity.

    The stark simplicity of this tale, the natural inevitability of its four-act structure—summer, autumn, winter, and summer (alas! no spring)—along with the static, symmetrical series of views through which it is told suggest the

  • Moving Men

    AS A MS IN SEARCH of her neglected anima, I closed my eyes to dream. A figure seemed to approach: lacy, flowing, yet stern. A voice as old as the ages called to me, the voice of Kali, Aphrodite, Demeter. My wounded spirit thirsted for the dour yet dulcet tones of the Great Mother, the Hairy Magdalene. She spoke:

    “It would be futile for Miss Manners to pretend to know nothing of the wicked joy of correcting others. There is that pleasant bubble in the throat, a suppressed giggle at another person’s ignorance; that flush of generosity accompanying the resolve to set the poor soul straight: that

  • Jonathan Demme’s Silence of the Lambs

    IN A FILM OF heart-stopping terror, perhaps the creepiest shot in Jonathan Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs is a close-up of a handshake. It is late in the film. Tough little bird Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) has just officially graduated from fledgling trainee to full-fledged F.B.I. investigator. She is flushed from the triumph of surviving an attack from and shooting a serial killer of young women. She is also the survivor of another mass murderer’s psychological assault: the brilliant asylum-inmate Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), whose intuitions and brief acquaintance with her


    SPEAK, SPEAK. THEY ALWAYS wanted me to speak. Buzzing that microphone around my head on DeMille’s set like a mosquito trying to suck my blood. Fine. Now I’ll speak.

    They think it was out of vanity that I refused to make talkies. But why should I mouth someone else’s words? I wasn’t such a fool as to fall into their trap. Women weren’t allowed to speak; why pretend otherwise?

    Things are a little different in the older-women movies they’re making now—and somewhat the same. One thing is they’re pretty timid with these age differences. I mean I was 50 in Sunset Boulevard; Bill Holden—sorry, I mean

  • The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover

    IN PETER GREENAWAY'S NEW FILM, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, the Lover is killed by the thief, and the wife talks to the cook, in whose restaurant most of the action takes place, about his view of her affair. “I saw only what you wanted me to see,” he tells Georgina (Helen Mirren), who replies, “Of course. How could I know it was real unless someone sow?” The “of course” smooths over a contradiction: the remark of the cook, Richard (Richard Bohringer), implies that Georgie is a gatekeeper of information; her reply suggests that there is no information outside the witness. This neatly


    IT'S LOVE WHEN a retired torero and a beautiful lawyer match obsessions and find a perfect fir. Their passion in intense... and lethal. But what about the young bullfighting student whose confessions to a string of murders bring the two lovers together?

    You’re not likely to find this part of Spain in a guidebook for tourists. Gloria, a very resourceful working class housewife, is a true feminist heroine who’s on the go 18 hours a day, trying to keep her outrageously wacky family afloat. Comedy and tragedy blend to portray a surreal and perverse fable of contemporary life.

    Yolanda, a nightclub

  • Batman

    FRANCIS BACON’S FIGURE WITH MEAT, 1954, is the only modern work in the Flugleheim Museum in Tim Burton’s Batman, as if Bacon’s image were the rough beast signaling the birth of the new barbarian age, the Cerberus in front of which the Joker pauses before entering the post-Modern Hades he will actually create: “I like this one, Bob. Let it go.” Bacon is an interesting choice as the father of a new artistic age—hardly considered “modern” at all, he’s nicely poised for filiation, and as the painter par excellence of violence, obsessed with the abattoir, he’s the logical ancestor for “the world’s

  • Gwenn Thomas

    Like a good linguist, Gwenn Thomas explores both the diachronic and the synchronic in her framed Cibachromes. One might also say that her works push us through time and space, at high velocity, to a point of relativity. Note how the exaggerated corridor perspective in Theater of Memory I, 1984–85, where the converging lines of ceiling and floor extend out onto the frame with paint, is tilted, as if we were swept off our feet in a wind tunnel. The effect of speed is heightened, as when a section of this same wall appears to curve in Untitled (Diptych), 1984–86, and so is the hallucinatory. These

  • David Salle

    Even more completely than before, this group of paintings by David Salle is about the body, or about body parts, to be accurate, thus raising the ante of sexual fixation. Accordingly, one of the ancestors Salle latches onto here is Jean Louis Géricault, one of whose specialities was dismembered limbs, decapitated heads, and tableaux of execution. His Heads of Executed Men, ca. 1820, appears in Salle’s Loft Barn Process, 1985. But true to his bloodless pictorial lust, Salle turns severed heads into talking heads. He presents heads, usually male, cut off from bodies, and balanced by female bodies,