Black Humour in Serbian Films of the Early Eighties and Its Cultural Consequences: The Cinema of Slobodan Šijan and Dušan Kovačević

Examining the dark heart of laughter and the symbiotic relationship film has with its audiences, how it wires us to think and talk in certain ways, its cultural impact, and its myriad semiotic and cinematic legacies - this was my MA dissertation (Birkbeck, 2005), a bungy jump into the Serbian (and YU) 1980s cinema scene, specifically, four films, and two filmmakers. One day I might programme this whole bonanza into a fest, the way I writ it - from YU Black Wave to Balkan 'Black Humour Brand', and screen the selection in cinemas (Belgrade to London). For now, please enjoy the words, deliciously.

From Door Frame to Freeze Frame: Femmes Ante Portas

A post-Jungian reading, encountering feminine mysteries on celluloid, analysis of the veneration of the Hollywood film icon, tracing the blazing trail of cinema femme fatales, their imagery framed within portals, places where darkness and light meet, the heroines gazing back at us, in defiance, as permanent challenge to imposed authority, transforming, dynamically, into a new animus/anima fluid form of the femme fatale as action figure. [read more]

Mank

David Fincher's take on Herman J. Mankiewicz's life made for a story of authorship, fabrications, responsibility, public opinion, great talent, addiction, singing for one’s supper, screwing over of a popular progressive candidate by the Hollywood propaganda machine (before Sanders, there was Upton Sinclair), and finally, the making of Citizen Kane. A rare tribute to the importance of writing in film, and one of the most honest and subdued depictions of Hollywood that Hollywood delivered. Inevitably, shot in 1930s monochrome. [read more] ★★★★✩

Fallen Women of Hollywood Melodrama: 1930s-1950s

Exploring the myth of the fallen woman in classic Hollywood melodrama, via Jungian framework, tracing her historical, religious and literary antecedents, delving into the archetypal realms of the dark, wild feminine projected onto the screen, and her impact on the spectator, male and female. What these femme fatales, gold-diggers, seductresses, fallen angels, and furious housewives subversively revealed was a hidden narrative current underneath the official one, women's own dispossessed femininity, debased, fragmented and demonised, yet so powerfully vibrant and creative. [read more]

Golden Globes 2020: Anarchy, Pomp & Circumstance

The human need for a pedestal is to look up to something that is desired, and ultimately, to be achieved. That particular social contract breaks when the chosen begin to look down at the rabble in complete disdain. If in doubt, read up on the French Revolution. And have some cake. The tyranny of being special purely for being wonderfully presentational. Suddenly, who makes that (free) speech begins to count again. [read more]

Judy

This might be a gold standard Hollywood biopic, with the melodrama sentiments & fan mail, the pale devastation of the flesh smoothed over by flashbacks re-visioning studio corruption and blanket emotional abuse as a technicolor Oz nightmare. But, at its center, is a performance so raw, tender, and gut-wrenching that all the glitz only serves as a mere proverbial curtain. [read more] ★★★★✩

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

A showreel glorifying the industry of canned dreams, in a backhanded kind of way, it does that pimp thing where it tries to sell you the very stuff it mocks. Its one redeeming feature - Brad Pitt's actual acting chops. The crack in that eternal sunshine that let the light shine through. [read more]
★★✩✩✩

Chernobyl HBO Aftermath: Seeing In The Dark

The only way to look at Chernobyl is through a rear-view mirror, the complex ocular shield of the camera. Otherwise, we'd be staring at Medusa's face, unprotected. An open nuclear reactor core burning our synapses through sheer magnitude of existential incomprehension. An apocalyptic serialised memento mori. [read more]

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