At The Edge Of Fortress Europe: ‘Fire At Sea’ Reviewed

Before any images, there are words: in the last 20 years, 15,000 people have died attempting to reach Lampedusa, an island off the southern coast of Sicily. What image could bear to follow this fact?


How The Liberals Ruined Ferguson: An Interview With Robert Stephens II

‘Obama perpetuates imperialism through performances of blackness that weren’t possible years ago. That’s why I’m so repulsed by our obsession with images of blackness in the media, because the images of blackness are now just that: images.’

On Heaven’s Gate

Bracketing the bullshit surrounding a movie is tough. But you make a concerted effort. Forget how much it cost (and lost), you tell yourself. Forget the stories and reviews and legends. Simply consider the images and sounds. Remember those strings! You replay them from Youtube. Is Cimino simply manipulating us? The audience is told to be wistful, or that the characters are wistful, or that 1870s Wyoming was full of wistfulness, or that we’re wistful for it. And remember Nate Champion, sweeping bread crumbs from his table, in his home; nervous but excited, glancing at Ella Watson for any sign of approval. Is he manipulating us too?

Rose-Tinted Telescopes: Nostalgia, Preservation and Cinema Paradiso (1988)

This winter, on its twenty-fifth anniversary, a cinematic re-release of Cinema Paradiso will confront a new generation of movie-lovers with Whitman’s enigmatic response. The film hasn’t changed (this is a “fully restored” version of a director’s cut that’s been around for a decade now), but what has changed is the audience. We’re jaded and bored, more nostalgic than ever for a collective film memory that has begun to fade. This time round, director Giuseppe Tornatore’s paean to lost love and a dying movie culture may just be too sad for the cinephile to bear. Paradoxically, the only therapy for this melancholy is to go and see it.

By Sam Thompson

Empathy and The Act of Killing (2013)

Joshua Oppenheimer’s documentary The Act of Killing asks Indonesian war criminals to produce lavish re-enactments of their roles in the torture and murder of ‘Communists’ and ethnic Chinese, as well as their nightmares and fantasies. The result is a mesmeric and profound indictment of the empathetic power of the moving image.

By Sam Thompson