VAMPYR (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1931)

Most of the best horror films, for a host of reasons, have come from Germany: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Robert Wiene, 1919), Nosferatu (Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, 1922), Jonathan (Hans W. Geissendörfer, 1970—this, from West Germany). From both Germany and France, Carl Theodor Dreyer’s Vampyr (Vampyr—Der Traum des Allan Grey) is probably the finest horror […]

SECUESTRO EXPRESS (Jonathan Jakubowicz, 2005)

For at least its first half, the most popular film ever in Venezuela pulsates with energy, visual dazzle, sensitivity and intelligence. Secuestro express is about the kidnapping of a young couple by three young thugs angling for a hefty ransom. Apparently these kidnappings aren’t uncommon in deeply class-divided Caracas. Jonathan Jakubowicz, the film’s writer-director, was […]

THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY (Anthony Minghella, 1999)

Anthony Minghella’s The Talented Mr. Ripley (actually, the complete title is much longer: The Mysterious Yearning Secretive Sad Lonely Troubled Confused Loving Musical Gifted Intelligent Beautiful Tender Sensitive Haunted Passionate Talented Mr. Ripley), based on the first of Patricia Highsmith’s five Tom Ripley novels (Wim Wenders’s The American Friend, 1977, is based on another), curiously […]


Jean Epstein’s beautifully photographed La chute de la maison Usher disappoints. If one is honest, one can even understand why Epstein’s assistant, a Spaniard named Luis Buñuel, despised and denounced it.      However, my own main difficulty with the film lies elsewhere than in its application of surrealistic techniques (mere mannerisms here) to apolitical matter. Epstein’s […]