NIGHTMARE ALLEY (Edmund Goulding, 1947)

A film that draws a distinction between community and society, Nightmare Alley, from a novel by alcoholic future suicide William Lindsay Gresham, is a somewhat fatalistic film noir—visually at least, among the darkest noirs. Its darkness projects the befuddlement of protagonist Stanton Carlisle, who prides himself for his savvy as an ambitious backwater carnie, but […]

SOCRATES (Roberto Rossellini, 1970)

Covering the last years of the life of Socrates, the world’s greatest teacher whom the State condemned to death for “corrupting youth,” Roberto Rossellini’s brilliant Socrate was shot in Spain, originally, for French television; but it is the Italian-language version that we now watch. It is one of the extraordinary series of Rossellini’s present-tense histories, […]