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VIDEO ESSAY: Directed by De Palma

It seems that video essayists are emerging every day—and if it isn't a new talent crossing our radar, it's someone whose extraordinary work we've somehow missed. The latter is the case with Joel Bocko, who's been making video essays since 2009.
  • By Joel Bocko and Kevin B. Lee
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  • April 24, 2013 2:39 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Sell Out the Hallway—Room 237 and the Stakes of Found Footage

"Room 237" bears a strong anti-intellectual impulse, more geared towards ramping up the spectacular weirdness of its interviewees than towards taking their ideas seriously.
  • By Kevin B. Lee
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  • April 11, 2013 8:35 AM
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  • 13 Comments

VIDEO ESSAY: Growing up a Bond Girl

I am a woman, a feminist, and a hardcore James Bond fan; I've even written a book on the Bond movies. But when I meet fellow fans, they are often startled that a woman is among them.
  • By Deborah Lipp and Kevin B. Lee
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  • October 30, 2012 8:01 AM
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  • 14 Comments

VIDEO ESSAY: A Death Foretold: Foreshadowing in MAD MEN

"Mad Men"'s season-five death obsession dominated recaps and comments threads throughout the last 12 weeks—with good reason, as it happened.
  • By Matt Zoller Seitz, Deborah Lipp, and Kevin B. Lee
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  • June 13, 2012 9:30 AM
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  • 1 Comment

VIDEO ESSAY: Kevin Brownlow, Film Essay Pioneer, on D.W. Griffith

Next week the San Francisco Silent Film Festival will present the complete 5 1/2 hour version of Abel Gance’s epic Napoleon. It is truly a singular event: Due to the expense, technical challenges, and complicated rights issues involved, no screenings are planned for any other American city. This monumental event is being presented by SFSFF in association with American Zoetrope, The Film Preserve, Photoplay Productions, and the British Film Institute.
  • By Kevin B. Lee
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  • March 15, 2012 8:27 AM
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  • 0 Comments

VIDEO ESSAY: A close analysis of the Season 1 title sequence from THE WIRE

Analysis of the opening credits of the first season of "The Wire," exploring how the images highlight the overall themes of each season and offer predictive snippets of future plot twists.
  • By Andrew Dignan, Kevin B. Lee and Matt Zoller Seitz
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  • March 11, 2012 1:40 PM
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  • 0 Comments

VIDEO ESSAY: Looking vs. Touching

Two European-set love stories separated by nearly a century, Lady Chatterley and In the City of Sylvia share a fascination with the art and practice of “looking.” This video essay picks up on a special connection between these two films.
  • By Kevin B. Lee
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  • March 7, 2012 2:17 PM
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VIDEO: Hal Hartley's Must-See Moments

Hal Hartley’s newest film Meanwhile is said to be about a man who can do everything from plumbing to international finance to novel-writing, but who can’t seem to find “success.” But how do we measure success? In a quarter century of iconoclastic filmmaking, Hal Hartley has redefined the “achievement” as it pertains to film. As Meanwhile makes its debut at IFC center Wednesday, February 29, we celebrate several of Hartley’s films with a tribute to classic Hartley moments, especially from his excellent 1991 film, Surviving Desire.
  • By Kevin B. Lee
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  • February 28, 2012 12:49 AM
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  • 0 Comments

FESTIVALS - Berlinale 2012 Final Report: The Tantalizing and the Taboo

What does it take to get your film into a world class festival? That's the question asked with gleeful irreverence by "The Woman in the Septic Tank," which screened at the recently concluded 2012 Berlinale, one of the world's foremost festivals. This hilarious satire of international art filmmaking finds two aspiring auteurs sitting in a Manila café, jealously regarding a rival's Facebook photos taken at the Venice film fest. They vow to devise the ultimate movie to win festival audiences and prizes: a single mother of five suffering in the slums is forced to sell her son to a rich pedophile. But like Mel Brooks' "The Producers," the project gets out of hand, and before we know it we're watching a musical version with the pedophile singing "Is this the boy / who'll bring me endless hours of joy?" It's one of many delightful detours taken by these filmmakers seeking the road to art house glory.
  • By Kevin B. Lee
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  • February 21, 2012 6:46 AM
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  • 0 Comments

VIDEO ESSAY: Love Against Irony in Maren Ade's EVERYONE ELSE

One of the most sublime and insightful romantic films in recent memory, Maren Ade’s Everyone Else won both Best Director and Actress awards at the 2009 Berlin Film Festival. This video looks at one of the film’s key love scenes, and explores how two people struggle to express their true feelings clouded by personal insecurities, which they cloak behind a wall of smart-ass ironic statements. In other words, it’s truly a film for our time.
  • By Kevin B. Lee
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  • February 17, 2012 3:33 PM
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  • 0 Comments

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