Peter Tscherkassky’s Instructions


I started writing this post about the films of Peter Tscherkassky nearly three years ago, and never finished it: that happens sometimes, if I don’t have time to complete a bit of writing, or I lose my train of thought, or if I come across an article that says exactly what I wanted to say. I can’t remember what happened to this one, but I was reminded of the unfinished piece when I attended a talk by Tscherkassky at the newly opened EYE Film Institute in Amsterdam. It was the first time I’d seen the films projected on film, and it reignited an interest that had begun for me after seeing them on DVD and trying to use some of them in my teaching. Listening to him explain the incredibly painstaking methods he uses to create his films made me think the least I could do was knock out a few words in response. Continue reading

Black Swan: Build Your Own Review


[Don't agree with this review? Try this one.....]

For a film that is hoovering up awards nominations so hungrily, it was more than a little surprising to see Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan attracting such terrible reviews and critical derision in some quarters. And then I saw it. It’s one of those films that divides opinion fairly starkly, mixing as it does qualities of trash and art. On the one hand, it’s a drama about ballet, built around fine-tuned, highly-wrought, Oscar-bait performances, magnificent costume design and nervous but precise camerawork. On the other, its a histrionic genre piece with sensationalist sexuality and all the subtlety of a stubbed toe. But can it reconcile those two sides of itself and become a beautiful hybrid creature, or will it stay a mess of ill-suited parts? I like the view from up here on the fence… Continue reading

Black Swan: Build Your Own Review


[Don't agree with this review? Try this one......]

For a film that is hoovering up awards nominations so hungrily, it was more than a little surprising to see Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan attracting such terrible reviews and critical derision. And then I saw it. It’s one of those films that divides opinion fairly starkly, mixing as it does qualities of trash and art. On the one hand, it’s a drama about ballet, built around fine-tuned, highly-wrought, Oscar-bait performances, magnificent costume design and nervous but precise camerawork. On the other, its a histrionic genre piece with sensationalist sexuality and all the subtlety of a stubbed toe. But can it reconcile those two sides of itself and become a beautiful hybrid creature, or will it stay a mess of ill-suited parts? I like the view from up here on the fence… Continue reading