THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM (Alexandre Astruc, 1964)

As much as it has confounded critical readers with its phantasmagoria anticipatory of surrealism, subjective confusions and historical inaccuracies, “The Pit and the Pendulum,” originally published in 1842, is one of Edgar Allan Poe’s most compelling stories. After an ordeal of intense, unremitting fear following the death sentence handed him during the Spanish Inquisition, the […]

THE SHINING (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)

Such a parody of a horror film as Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining probably is all that its inspirational souce material, Stephen King’s novel, deserves; but it’s thin, vapid, illogical, silly—and outrageously entertaining almost from the start. The film manages to be both vacuous and overloaded—like tiramisu; one keeps imagining it will amount to something until […]

THE PACIFIST (Miklós Jancsó, 1970)

From Italy, France and West Germany, and in the Italian language, Miklós Jancsó’s La pacifista revolves around Barbara, a journalist who becomes a target of the neo-fascist group she is covering. While it lacks the formal rigor of the filmmaker’s Hungarian masterpieces, it is a dazzling, enchanting piece of work, pulsatingly contemporary (circa 1970), increasingly […]