THE TRAIN ROLLS ON (Chris Marker, 1971)

Perhaps Chris Marker’s masterpiece, Le train en marche has three distinct parts—an unwieldy structure for a half-hour film. The film opens and closes with a silent train in motion, but this Cocteauan sandwiching only underscores the film’s split quality. This “splitness,” however, serves Marker’s overarching theme.      The first part is the most identifiably Markerian, a […]

THIEVES’ HIGHWAY (Jules Dassin, 1949)

A.I. Bezzerides wrote the novel (The Long Haul) that is substantially the basis for Raoul Walsh’s They Drive by Night (1940), a strong film that situates the work of truckers in a critical social and political context.* Bezzerides himself adapted another one of his novels about truckers, Thieves’ Market, to the screen. Unfortunately Jules Dassin, […]

MAIDSTONE (Norman Mailer, 1970)

Probably I was in the movies.      That might have been a lovely way to open—or to close—Maidstone, which Norman Mailer, America’s greatest post-World War II author (both fiction and non-), wrote, directed, starred in, and co-edited, drawing apparent inspiration from Jean Renoir, Jean-Luc Godard and John Cassavetes. Mailer plays Norman Kingsley, U.S. presidential aspirant, like […]