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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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  • 0 Comments

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

The Life Lesson of LENNY COOKE

“I don’t think they’re evaluated and drafted because they’re ready. They’re evaluated and drafted because of their potential […] also: They’re cheap. You can buy them,” explains Mike Jarvis. At the time of the interview, Jarvis was the basketball coach of St. John’s University.
  • By Nelson Carvajal
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  • December 2, 2013 12:55 PM
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  • 0 Comments

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: Alfonso Cuarón's Cinematic Canvas

People sometimes ask me whether I think “the kids today” are all right. Sure, I always respond, “the kids today” should be totally fine, because they had Pokémon—surely one of the strangest cartoons I’ve ever witnessed—and what’s more, they had Alfonso Cuarón's Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
  • By Nelson Carvajal and A.D. Jameson
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  • October 4, 2013 9:15 AM
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  • 2 Comments

VIDEO AND TEXT: Nelson Carvajal and Amber Sparks on Guillermo del Toro

Guillermo del Toro, the man with endless creative ideas, who lives in a mansion he calls Bleak House—filled with monsters, aliens, and comics—seems perhaps more in touch with a pop-culture obsessed public hungry for good horror than any other director since Hitchcock.
  • By Nelson Carvajal and Amber Sparks
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  • July 11, 2013 11:02 AM
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  • 0 Comments

VIDEO ESSAY: Wong Kar-Wai's Lust for Life

Wong Kar-Wai, whose long-awaited The Grandmaster opens in August, is not about plot. Wong Kar-wai is about motion and emotion. As my friend Nelson Carvajal's new video suggests, he's about the moment within the moment, the eternal in the now. Beautiful neighbors pass in a stairwell and exchange lingering looks, or talk more softly than they need to so that they can be face-to-face. The camera (usually Chris Doyle's) doesn't merely record or represent: it scopes out, insinuates, measures and caresses. All is texture. Physical texture. Emotional texture. What it feels like. What it really is. What you dream it is. What you dream it was.
  • By Nelson Carvajal and Matt Zoller Seitz
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  • April 25, 2013 2:09 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Between Fair Use and Infringement: The Perils of the Video Essay Form

During the last couple of years, as I developed my voice as an independent digital filmmaker, a majority of the content in my filmography grew under the direction of appropriation art, and in particular, the video essay form.
  • By Nelson Carvajal
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  • April 10, 2013 8:35 AM
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  • 12 Comments

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