Bresson, Schrader and the Fool
Essay

Bresson, Schrader and the Fool

By Jackson Diianni Robert Bresson is often described as the “patron saint” of the cinema, or “the most Christian director.” For the past 60 years, the dominant reading of his films in academic circles has been a religious one. The words “transcendental,” “spiritual,” “Jansenist,” “Christian” and “metaphysical” are interchangeably applied to his films, particularly those … Continue reading

Dogville
Throwback Review

Dogville

By Jackson Diianni The first thing one notices about Dogville (2003) is the way it looks. It’s essentially a stage play, shot in a blackbox, on a minimalist set. This presentation style is new to film, but it is borrowed from the theater, which can be said of the film’s content as well. Dogville is … Continue reading

Raging Bull
Throwback Review

Raging Bull

By Jackson Diianni Raging Bull (1980) is a movie I’m very ambivalent about. There are great things about it and there are terrible things about it. The script by Mardik Martin and Paul Schrader is great. The direction by Martin Scorsese is not great. Neither is the performance by Robert De Niro, although it is … Continue reading

Clean, Shaven
Throwback Review

Clean, Shaven

By Jackson Diianni Forget horror movies. Clean, Shaven (1993) is the scariest movie you’ll ever see. This is the debut film of Lodge Kerrigan, who directed and produced it. The plot follows two characters; a schizophrenic and a policeman. The policeman is tasked with tracking the schizophrenic, who has escaped from a mental institution and … Continue reading

The Wrestler
Throwback Review

The Wrestler

By Jackson Diianni The Wrestler (2008) immerses us in the life of Randy “the Ram” Robinson (Mickey Rourke), an aging ex-professional wrestler who has fallen on hard times. Randy seems to have lost the ability to regulate what is healthy for him and he struggles to maintain a meaningful relationship with anyone in his life. … Continue reading

Thief
Throwback Review

Thief

By Jackson Diianni Michael Mann’s Thief (1948) begins with a ten-minute scene depicting a bank heist. Frank (James Caan), a master safecracker, breaks into a vault and steals a set of priceless diamonds. He doesn’t trip any alarms, he doesn’t leave any trace. He and his cohorts disappear into the night undetected. Cut to the … Continue reading