In industrial Nottingham, belligerent young factory worker Arthur Seaton prides himself on not having “let the bastards grind [him] down”—or is this rhetorical compensation for the state of his overworked, underpaid, overtaxed existence? Manning the lathe is mindless and monotonous; Arthur’s sex life and his drinking, dictated by this work, suggest off-hours bobbing up for […]

MARTHA (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1974)

Writer-director Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Martha is one of the most exacting films about the institution of marriage in a patriarchal society. Margit Carstensen is brilliant as Martha Heyer, a thirtysomething virgin whose father doesn’t permit her to smoke cigarettes and who, after her father dies, marries a man who requires her to retire to the […]

MOLOM, A LEGEND OF MONGOLIA (Marie-Jaoul de Poncheville, 1995)

From Mongolia and France, writer-director Marie-Jaoul de Poncheville’s joyful, mysterious Molom is about eight-year-old Yonden’s path to Enlightenment. Yonden (Yondejunaï, miraculous) narrates as a child, imbuing the folk tale with a timelessness. Abandoned by his drunk father, a hunter, Yonden was adopted by wolves; now Molom, a wizened time-traveling shaman whose usual material form is […]