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Features Four Frames Uncategorized

Flowers of evil in Cold War Japan: Masahiro Shinoda’s Pale Flower

Pale Flower (Kawaita hana, 1964), set in the yakuza milieu, questions the codes of Japanese gangsters and subverts the gangster codes of the films that flooded the Japanese film market in the early 1960s. It deals with obsessive love but replaces the carnal element with gambling. Shinoda’s film harks back to Charles Baudelaire’s volume of poetry, Les Fleurs du Mal (The […]

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Features New Releases Reviews

New Releases: Be My Cat: A Film for Anne

Obsession is not a reticent discourse within horror cinema. Most of the horror genre’s notorious villains (and their nefarious intentions) are obsessive: Norman Bates is the obsessive lunatic masquerading as his deceased mother, Freddy Krueger is the obsessive dream demon hell-bent on vengeance, and John ‘Jigsaw’ Kramer is the dogmatic obsessive who ‘rehabilitates’ his victims […]

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Features Lost Classics Reviews

Lost Classic: The Midnight Story (Joseph Pevney, 1957)

Joseph Pevney is a name you don’t hear often, although his output as a director was prolific. He made eighty or so productions, and gained success with a few commercial hits, including Female on the Beach, Tammy and the Bachelor, and (fun fact!) the first 14 episodes of Star Trek. His mostly forgotten The Midnight […]

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Features Thousand Words

Thousand Words: The Dark Side of the All-American Hero (White Hunter, Black Heart)

The heroic (white) male is at the core of Clint Eastwood’s cinematic oeuvre. However, the victory over evil is always overshadowed by the hero’s ambiguity. Harry Callahan’s (Dirty Harry, 1971, Don Siegel) chase of the criminal is an inner journey which results in a confrontation with the cop’s own violent impulsions. The serial killer Scorpio […]

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Features Lost Classics Reviews

Lost Classic: Pi (Darren Aronofsky, 1998)

It’s a trait that has remained constant throughout much of his career, but the dangerous consequences of obsession were never more strikingly explored than in Darren Aronofsky’s distinctive debut. The high contrast provided by the jarring black and white reversal film stock on which Aronofsky filmed Pi (1998) is emblematic of the madness/genius see-saw its […]