Vivian Sobchack’s “Phenomenology and Film Experience”

For Sobchack, classical and contemporary film theory’s three metaphors – window, frame, and mirror – usually function in isolation. That is, the realists focus entirely on film as perception, formalists on cinema as expression, and the psychoanalysts and Neo–Marxists on cinema as deception. Therefore, the overlapping sections between these disparate categories (purple, orange, and green) […]

Deceptive Surfaces in “The Skin I Live In” (2011)

Short Response for Film Theory. Major Spoilers ahead. Xavier Aldana Reyes’ paper “Skin Deep? Surgical Horror and the Impossibility of Becoming Woman in Almodóvar’s The Skin I Live in” perceptively demonstrates the persistent collisions existent in the Vera/Vincente character throughout its runtime. In great detail, the writer argues how Almodóvar successfully deconstructs the very way in […]

Suspense AND Surprise in The Conversation (1973)

This academic paper conducts a formal analysis Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation (1973), extensively focusing on its cinematography and editing. Major Spoilers ahead. In his infamous interview with filmmaker and critic François Truffaut, Alfred Hitchcock details the critical difference between eliciting surprise and suspense from an audience. Using the “bomb under the table” analogy, the […]

Thappad (2020)

The rise in production and consumption of “social-message movies” in Bollywood of late has given birth to some actors’ careers (Ayushmann Khurrana), and somewhat resurrected flailing ones (Akshay Kumar). But, if there is one person, this movement has entirely changed (arguably liberated), it is director Anubhav Sushila Sinha. Take his output before the still hauntingly […]

Chhapaak (2020)

Major Spoilers for Chhapaak (Only if you have not seen the trailers) In an era whereby Bollywood has been content in churning out countless hagiographies and jingoistic propagandas to comfort the mass’ sentiments, the success of the fearless Meghna Gulzar deserves special praise. With Talvar (2015), the female director turned what could have been (and was in […]

Ghost Stories (2020)

The transformation of this anthology film series from being a one-off theatrical celebration of Bollywood in Bombay Talkies (2013) to a regular Netflix production that champions the idiosyncrasies of Hindi cinemas’ auteurs is an admirable one. The streaming platform affords these directors so often constrained by the need to bring in box-office numbers and obey Indian censorship’s strict guidelines […]

The Personal-Political Spectrum (via NYFF 56)

A question asked during the Q & A of Bi Gan’s fascinating “Long Day’s Journey into Night” brought about an answer from the young Chinese director that continues to linger in my mind. The person in the audience asked the director if he thinks contemporary filmmakers should focus on making emotionally driven films (like Gan’s […]