Film & Television

Film & Television

Art and Film: Rogue plant

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / The political ascent of Donald Trump and others like him has produced a glut of ominous allegories, and Austrian director Jessica Hausner’s mesmerizing film Little Joe may be the richest yet. With an unabashed nod to Invasion of the Body Snatchers (all three versions), the […]

Film & Television

Art and Film: Merchants of nostalgia

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / If bad times increase the demand for nostalgia, the current bull market is going to persist for at least another year. But Donald Trump, the ultimate stimulus for that demand, is himself a product of a certain toxic brand of nostalgia – one for a […]

Film & Television

Art and Film: Joker is the wrong movie

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Joker, Todd Phillips’ tensely anticipated origin story of the Batman villain that grossed $96 million in its first weekend, self-consciously presents as Taxi Driver meets The King of Comedy, and a kind of atavistic essay on the perils of inequality and the dominance of the one percent. […]

Film & Television

Art and Film: Issa López’s fierce children

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Mike Kelley, the late conceptual artist, famously cast stuffed animals both as children’s escape hatches from worldly nastiness and as the potential tools of their nefarious seducers or demons. Writer-director Issa López maintains this duality in Tigers Are Not Afraid, a film of stunning inventiveness, brutality, […]

Film & Television

Art and Film: Mark Asch’s New York

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Rivaled only by Los Angeles among cities celebrated in American cinema, New York deserves its own pointedly knowing and satisfyingly chunky essay on films set there. Now the city has one, in the form of Mark Asch’s New York Movies, the latest volume in Little […]

Film & Television

Art and Film: Argentina’s haunting precedent

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Argentina’s decade-long “dirty war” (1974–83) during which a right-wing military junta “disappeared” about 30,000 left-wing dissidents – that is, executed them without acknowledgement of their deaths – ended over 35 years ago. Yet Argentina’s outstanding contemporary filmmakers continue to revisit the dirty war. In 2009, […]

Film & Television

Art and Film: Joanna Hogg’s sublime deliberation

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / In the autobiographical film The Souvenir, writer-director Joanna Hogg’s fourth and latest feature and a gemlike crystallization of her seamless method, she uses Jean-Honoré Franogard’s eighteenth-century canvas of the same title to set the terms of the budding relationship between Julie, the film’s ingenuous protagonist, […]

Film & Television

Art and Film: Claire Denis’ cosmic noir

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Claire Denis’ stupefyingly smart film High Life, the first she has directed in English, starts ahead of its main events, without any set-piece exposition, in and around a barren spacecraft inhabited by a father, his baby daughter, and zippered corpses that used to compose the […]