Within Our Gates (1920)

Within Our Gates (1920)
“Getting Recognized More and More”: Donald Trump and Within Our Gates “Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more, I notice.” These are the incredible words of the leader of the most powerful nation in the world. To compound the horror of it, President ...

“Toward a Cinema of Failure”

I often tell my students that my life is mostly failure. The acceptance rate at most academic journals in which I publish is 15%. That means, for every successful essay I write, some five will not get published. There is tremendous value in pulling back the veil on a career and showing students the messy ...

Dossier on Carol (Todd Haynes, 2015)

Dossier on Carol (Todd Haynes, 2015)
“Nighthawks of New York” By Simone Becque As Rhona Berenstein discusses in Lesbian Histories and Cultures, mainstream film representation of female desire was often alluded to or implied rather than shown, and when desire was made explicit it had a tendency to end in death (or falcons). The lack of which is what makes Carol, ...

What’s Opera, Doc? (1957)

What's Opera, Doc? (1957)
“It’s Wagner” The massive lengths of the operas of Richard Wagner have resulted in a narrow range of films capable of adapting them, and this in a medium, like opera, devoted to the elegant combination of sound and image. Hans-Jurgen Syberberg’s 1982 film of Parsifal runs well over four hours, limiting its commercial distribution to ...

The Crowd (1928)

The Crowd (1928)
“American Dreaming” In the midst of this seemingly endless collapse of the American middle-class, it is worth looking back to great films that continue to inspire us to become better than seems possible. A case in point is King Vidor’s The Crowd, released in 1928 as one of the last great American silent films. Every ...