Selective Viewing

An exploration of film, video and other media by Kate Blair

Month: April, 2014

Review – Under the Skin (dir. Jonathan Glazer, 2013)

under the skin In my mind, this movie has already earned a place in the canon of science fiction films. Under the Skin does what sci-fi does best: holds up a mirror to humanity and makes it alien. Like the best sci-fi, Under the Skin isn’t about far off worlds or people, but the ones that populate this earth. I don’t mean great sci-fi narratives have to be about Earth at all – far from it. Rather, after watching or reading great sci-fi, you look at our world differently, whether or not what you’ve just experienced had anything to do with this galaxy or another one entirely.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Women in the film world

Smiling Madame Beudet (Germaine Dulac)

The Smiling Madame Beudet (Germaine Dulac, 1923)

I was having dinner with some friends the other day, and somehow the topic moved to women in film. I don’t remember how, exactly. Chances are I was responsible, because the lack of women in production roles in the film industry is something I think about frequently. I had just gone on a small tirade about Spike Lee, who last summer released a list of essential viewing for filmmaking students. The list contained exactly one woman, and she just happened to be one part of a collaborative team that included a man. Since Lee’s list was not a short one, the exclusion upset me.

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Review – Le Beau Serge (dir. Claude Chabrol, 1958)

le-beau-sergeOf the Cahiers du Cinema cohort, Chabrol was the first to make a film, which he wrote, shot and produced himself. The result is the startling complex Le Beau Serge, which inaugurated the French New Wave in 1958. In this first attempt, Chabrol introduces many of the themes he will continue to grapple with for the next 50 years or so. While the film has its share of awkward moments, it’s also filled with the kind of visual subtleties and intricate relationships that Chabrol would go on to refine throughout his prolific career.

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