The Earrings of Madame de … was Max Ophuls’s penultimate film, preceding the difficult experience of Lola Montes (1955) and his untimely death at the age of fifty-five in 1957. Into it, as though he somehow sensed that his career was about to end, he collected so many of the themes that had preoccupied him over the previous two decades…
Stripped of its halos, alibis, and consequences, sex would constitute a cruel, if pleasurable, formalism whose sole principle is sex for sex’s sake. And with the closing of the circle, the final surprising, yet not unexpected, match of high and low, such urgent but empty and gratuitous sex seems a universal fate.
Progressive era American cinema, Sicko, British music subcultures, Chaotic Ana, London Avant-garde, Mindframes, and an interview with David Gatten
READ: From Handmade to Hi-tech; A Backlot in Bulgaria; Playing Undead; Myths, Mothers, and Monoliths
In addition to regular commentary on narrative cinema and documentary, Film Quarterly has a useful role to play from time to time by publishing accessible writing about avant-garde film and video. Although there are rare exceptions (such as Matthew Barney’s films), this work is mostly not screened theatrically, which is one reason for it slipping through the net of magazine coverage.
The first striking impression created by the five-DVD set Stephen Dwoskin (Les Films du Renard, http://www.renardfilms.org) is the immense variety of modes and forms with which this director works — not only from film to film, but frequently within the same film.
Although conflict in the Balkans has been out of the headlines for several years, Danis Tanović’s No Man’s Land (2001) stands out among other recent war movies for its strong indictment of the intertwined nature of war, global power, and media.