PSYCHO (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)

The fragile nature of the civilized mind and of civilization—particularly, the fragile nature of the American mind; the fragile nature of American civilization: Alfred Hitchcock explored these interlocking themes in one of his most famous films, Psycho, cinema’s preeminent black comedy. Thus Hitchcock exploits two interlocking ideas for the pertinent resonances that they impart to […]

CHRONICLE OF A LOVE AFFAIR (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1950)

Michelangelo Antonioni’s first nondocumentary, Cronaca di un amore (Story of a Love Affair), is an interesting piece of noir whose complicated story and insipid characters do not succeed in distracting the viewer’s eye from the film’s extraordinary visual presentation. Film is a visual medium, not a dramatic one, but to the degree that a film […]

A JAPANESE TRAGEDY (Keisuke Kinoshita, 1953)

Nihon no higeki—Tragedy of Japan, or A Japanese Tragedy—chronicles a representative instance of hardship in postwar Japan. Written and directed by Keisuke Kinoshita, the film opens with archival materials and newspaper reports indicating a nation in turmoil, upheaved by defeat in the Second World War and demoralized, its social traditions uprooted, its confidence shaken, unemployment […]

TRAINSPOTTING (Danny Boyle, 1995)

Danny Boyle has made some of the most execrable films I have seen: Shallow Grave (1994), The Beach (2000) and 28 Days Later (2002). And now I have bought a cheap used copy of the DVD of one of his films, Trainspotting, about a pack of young, impoverished, heroin-addicted losers in contemporary Edinburgh. How did […]