COLUMNS

  • What It Takes

    Christopher Glazek on All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

    IT JUST TAKES ONE: a single dose that forever halts your breath; a killer product that hatches a monstrous fortune; a dead-set activist who barricades herself across history’s turnpike, lying flat, blocking traffic, screaming, “STOP.”

    In our timeline, there is only one Nan Goldin. A singular woman, she is largely responsible for the moral earthquake that in recent years has shaken the foundations of art and philanthropy. For decades, the art world operated as a high-end laundry service: In exchange for cash, museums and galleries would gently scrub the reputations of wealthy families such as the

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  • Hit the Road, Jack

    Jerzy Skolimowski discusses his donkey odyssey

    THE WORLD HAS SELDOM if ever seemed at once as ravishingly beautiful and beset with menace and cruelty as in EO, where it is imagined by Jerzy Skolimowski through the eyes—no, the entire perceptual system—of a donkey. EO (named for the hee-haw sound these animals make) performs in a circus with Kasandra, a young woman who dotes on him like Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s a love that is nurturing and tinged with eroticism. When Kasandra abandons him, riding off on the back of a motorcycle with the man who abused him, EO trots after her, but in dodging an oncoming car, he loses her

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  • Hungry Heart

    Luca Guadagnino’s tender cannibal romance

    IF ’80S CINEMA experienced a “cannibal boom” by way of Italian exploitation flicks, the ’00s/’10s zeitgeist’s deviant gourmand was the libidinous vampire. At a time when many complained sex was disappearing from film, a glut of horny American mainstream cultural phenomena (most notably True Blood, Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, and The Originals) took cues from Anne Rice and transferred desire onto the undead. The vile parasites, once mythical scapegoats for pestilence in pockets of Eastern Europe, were rebranded as soulful fuck machines and brooding suburban classmates, dousing normie sexuality

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  • High and Dry

    An absurdist homage to Battleship Potemkin

    A ROMANIAN FILMMAKER who regularly deflates Romanian myths of national greatness, Radu Jude recently graced the New York Film Festival with a compact, farcical essay on the material basis of historical memory, or, to use Trotsky’s term, “the dustbin of history.”

    The Potemkinists takes the form of a conversation between a would-be public artist and a prospective state patron. Those familiar with Jude’s tricksy, appalling account of a staged historical pageant, I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians (2018), will recall considerable screen time devoted to a similar debate. Indeed,

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  • THE DEEP END

    Amy Taubin on Nanny and Saint Omer

    TWO OF THIS YEAR’S most compelling and finely wrought films plumb the depths of the mother-child dyad and the anguish of separation from family, culture, and self. Alice Diop’s Saint Omer and Nikyatu Jusu’s Nanny focus on ambitious, intelligent women of Senegalese descent who live, respectively, in France and the United States. Nanny is a cross-cultural psychological thriller spiked with horror. Saint Omer is a courtroom drama adapted in part from the transcripts of a trial of a woman who left her infant daughter on a beach at the water’s edge so that “the sea would carry her body away.” Yes,

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  • Oh! The Horror

    Charlie Fox’s top ten scary movies

    In the spirit of the Halloween season, we invited Charlie Fox—writer and devotee of all things spooky—to recommend his top ten favorite scary movies. His list, dare we say it, is positively bewitching.

    THE INNOCENTS (1961) Jack Clayton (Prime Video)

    An extremely sinister adaptation of The Turn of the Screw (and inspiration for Kate Bush’s eldritch serenade “The Infant Kiss”) in which psychosexual anxieties galore flow from repressed governess Deborah Kerr onto her eerie little charges Miles and Flora amid the shadows and cobwebs of a haunted gothic estate. Inaugurated with the archetypal

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  • Peaks and Valleys

    A second look at the 60th New York Film Festival

    ON THE CLOSING NIGHT of the sixtieth New York Film Festival, Elegance Bratton, whose first narrative feature, The Inspection, was receiving its US premiere in this prestigious slot, tried to express how thrilled he was to be thus honored. Bratton is a charmer, and his stage presence is such that I wouldn’t be surprised if he had plans to adapt The Inspectioninto a Broadway musical. (I think he should.) But on this occasion, he conveyed his excitement at standing on the very stage and speaking into the same microphone as Martin Scorsese had on a previous evening by looking out at some seven

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  • The Lady Vanishes

    Park Chan-wook’s crimes of the heart

    MIDWAY THROUGH THE FIRST ACT of Decision to Leave, Park Chan-wook’s new film, a split-second gesture baits the senses: Alone with a woman late at night, a man unfastens his belt, its frictional hiss lancing the room’s tense silence. But the loaded cue dissolves in the same instant, as he reaches for a leather holster and fastens it to the belt. In the next scene, he’s cooking her dinner. No other filmmaker could so swiftly cram three seconds with as many successive feelings: a nascent thrill, its swerve into frustration, and its sudden detour into confusion, seeming too brief to have happened

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  • ARCADIAN RHAPSODY

    P. Adams Sitney on Temenos 2022

    DESPITE CONSIDERABLE OBSTACLES—meteorological, sociological, hygienic, economic—the fifth installment of Gregory Markopoulos’s Eniaios, 1947–91, was an astounding aesthetic success. Eniaios is a roughly eighty-hour opus composed of twenty-two cycles (referred to by the filmmaker as “orders”). Since 2004, the work has been revealed two or three cycles at a time, at intervals of four years, though the 2020 event was delayed by Covid until this past summer. The venue is a field in northwest Arcadia, and the event itself is known as the Temenos.

    Usually, about two hundred pilgrims show up for the

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  • New Beginnings

    A first look at the 60th New York Film Festival

    THIS YEAR’S DENSELY PACKED New York Film Festival, its sixtieth anniversary edition, just added a special event in honor of the late Jean-Luc Godard. The US landing point for most of the feature films the director made between 1963 and 2018 and the site of an extensive retrospective of his work in 2013, the festival will screen, during its first week, Godard’s final film, The Image Book, on a continuous loop in the amphitheater of the Elinor Bunin Center. Admission is free, but the quality of projection, and particularly the audio—which is crucial to the film—is, as I write, yet unknown. The

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  • Battle Lines

    Tony Pipolo on “Currents” at the New York Film Festival

    THE “CURENTS” SIDEBAR of the sixtieth-anniversary edition of the New York Film Festival offers fifteen features and more than thirty short works. We might begin with the inspired pairing of a program that includes one of each—Alain Gomis’s riveting Rewind & Play, preceded by Elisabeth Subrin’s cleverly conceived and executed short Maria Schneider, 1983. Since I generally avoid reading notes about movies before watching them, I fell right into Subrin’s trap. The video presents what I assumed was footage of a 1983 television interview with Schneider, followed by the same camera setup with two

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  • Blonde on Blonde

    Andrew Dominik’s Marilyn Monroe nightmare

    TO SAY THAT ANDREW DOMINIK’S BLONDE is a biopic of Marilyn Monroe is not strictly accurate. It would be more precise to say that it is a nightmarish, elliptical horror movie about a beautiful blonde being subsumed, and then destroyed, by an unfeeling industry, and that the blonde’s name happens to be Norma Jean, though people sometimes call her “Marilyn Monroe,” or “slut,” or “sweetheart.” Based on Joyce Carole Oates’s frantic, fragmented, exhilaratingly ugly 2000 novel of the same name, it has passages of true, invigorating brilliance, and about as many moments of baffling mawkishness. Its

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