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A Video Essay On Jim Jarmusch: Dead Men & Ghosts, Limited

Among Jim Jarmusch's films, "Dead Man," "Ghost Dog," and "The Limits of Control" share concerns and motifs: questions of wisdom and wandering, art and death, repetition and revision. They let genres become ghosts. They propose that white men are the scourge of reality.
  • By Matthew Cheney
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  • April 17, 2014 1:52 PM
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VIDEO ESSAY: Lars Von Trier: Cinema's Dancer in the Dark

Some feminists criticize the way Lars von Trier depicts his heroines, his obsession with their suffering, but von Trier’s films never struck me as misogynistic, as some critics claim. His heroines are complex and authentic. They make choices with conviction, even when those choices end up being the end of them.
  • By Nelson Carvajal and Arielle Bernstein
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  • April 10, 2014 2:10 PM
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  • 0 Comments

VIDEO ESSAY: Rough and Ready: The Return of the Microcinema

In a time of technological haste and overt content consumption, the microcinema offers up an old-school rhetoric that invites moviegoers to look back on films that challenged norms, to look forward to the new works that are breaking the traditional narrative structure, and to open up an offline, in-person dialogue with their fellow cinephiles.
  • By Nelson Carvajal
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  • March 19, 2014 11:54 AM
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VIDEO ESSAY: Women in the Works of Martin Scorsese

The first time I saw "After Hours" (the first of 9 or 10), I was 15, and I had no idea who Martin Scorsese was, or even that he had directed the movie. I was surprised to discover a man had directed it, after the fact; I had assumed it was directed by a woman. Why? Because women ruled the show.
  • By Nelson Carvajal and Max Winter
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  • February 7, 2014 12:56 PM
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  • 7 Comments

VIDEO ESSAY: The Coen Canon

Fear is at the root of much of what we consider humorous in films. The fear that something, whether it’s a job, a relationship, or some larger dramatic situation, might go wrong is always present in cinematic humor. This connection between fear and comedy gives the Coen brothers' films their power.
  • By Nelson Carvajal and Max Winter
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  • December 27, 2013 4:48 AM
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  • 1 Comment

VIDEO ESSAY: Dragons in Movies

In confronting dragons, humans confront an ancient, alien Nature. Unlike the other popular fantasy figures these days—vampires and zombies—dragons are not transmuted humans, but rather something beyond us, other than us. Often, they are represented as deeply greedy, and this is their fatal flaw (e.g. Smaug in "The Hobbit").
  • By Leigh SInger and Matthew Cheney
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  • December 13, 2013 12:36 PM
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VIDEO ESSAY: Monsters Are a Child's Best Friend

Most responsible parents will tell you that using the television as a surrogate nanny is bad for kids. My own experience as a child would argue against this. My parents knew that they couldn't raise me alone, and the only reliable guides were creatures of the night.
  • By Jed Mayer and Jeffrey Canino
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  • October 31, 2013 9:00 AM
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A Video Essay on THE X-FILES: Home Is Anywhere You Hang Your Head

What is the American Dream? Is it wealth? Power? Or it is something more existential like raising a family with a particular set of values?
  • By Ken Cancelosi and Serena Bramble
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  • October 30, 2013 12:36 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Self-Projected Artifice: The 49th Chicago International Film Festival

It was almost like a movie. Amat Escalante’s harrowing and unapologetically bleak film "Heli"—which looks at the crooked law enforcement and low-totem pole players of Mexico’s drug cartel scene—came to a hopeless closing shot before dipping to white for the end credits.
  • By Nelson Carvajal
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  • October 30, 2013 9:35 AM
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  • 1 Comment

VIDEO ESSAY: Rob Zombie and the Cinema of Cruelty

The feature films that Rob Zombie has made between 2000 and 2013 create new styles of emotional and perceptual disturbance from the corpses of cultural products past. True to his name, Zombie reanimates dead tropes, turns, and troubles into powerful attacks on our expectations and desires.
  • By Matthew Cheney
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  • October 25, 2013 12:03 PM
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  • 0 Comments

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