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Feature Screengem

Screengem: Otto’s single earring in Repo Man (Alex Cox, 1984)

In Alex Cox’s directorial debut Repo Man (1984), Emilio Estevez’s character Otto Maddox muddies the traditional code of appropriate masculinity with his brazen take on counterculture sartorial expression. His swagger and screw the man credentials are made manifest by his solo earring, seen petulantly swaying from his left ear. There is a nebulous sensuality to […]

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Feature Screengem

Screengem: The ‘Comanche Uprising’ fictional movie poster from… Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

While very much a buddy movie, thrilling potboiler and rambling revisionist period piece, at its core Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a modern(ish) urban fairy tale with its focus squarely on one man: Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio). We know as much since the start of the film is a 2 minute slow pan-out […]

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Feature Screengem

Screengem: The Dude’s Ralphs card in The Big Lebowski

The first time I went to Los Angeles was in 2002. My friend Wayne picked us up and drove us South to his home in Temecula a couple of hours away, where we stayed with him for a few nights. While staying there, we drove past a Ralphs supermarket. I had to go in. Ralphs plays […]

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Feature Screengem

The bloody petri dishes in The Thing (John Carpenter 1982)

“Ya see, when a man bleeds, it’s just tissue, but blood from one of you Things won’t obey when it’s attacked. It’ll try and survive… crawl away from a hot needle, say.”

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Feature Screengem

Screengem: The Caged Bird in Le Samouraï (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1967)

Part of the charm of Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le Samouraï comes from the subtle tongue-in-cheek alliterations to genre and character conventions developed in early and mid-century American gangster and noir films. Mannerisms and posturing from James Cagney, Edward G.Robinson, and Humphrey Bogart make their way into Alain Delon’s hard-edged portrayal of Jef Costello, professional assassin. In […]

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Feature Screengem

Screengem: Samantha Belmont’s Cheerleader Outfit from ‘Night of the Comet’ (Thom Eberhart, 1984)

This post apocalyptic slice of ‘80s camp about a comet that wipes out life on Earth save for a few lone survivors was released at a time when it seemed fashionable to locate films in decaying Los Angeles landscapes. Although it was a time of shopping malls, MTV and the city’s second Olympic games, Los […]

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Feature Screengem

Screengem: The Human Mask in Persona (Ingmar Bergman, 1966)

As dense and uncategorisable as Ingmar Bergman’s Persona (1966) is, the filmmaker’s career-spanning fascination with the human face remains abundantly clear. In one of his most startling images, he combines his female lead’s facial features to demonstrate how one’s identity cannot exist in total isolation but is always influenced and moulded by others. Elisabet Vogler […]

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Feature Screengem

Screengem: The Hidden Note in A Ghost Story (David Lowery, 2017)

(Warning: This article contains plot spoilers) We’re all going to die, and one day long into the future, every trace and memory of our existence will be lost forever. This inevitable (and rather depressing) truth is one of the key themes at the heart of David Lowery’s film, which follows a recently deceased man – […]

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Feature Screengem

Screengem: The Plaster People in After Hours (Martin Scorsese, 1985)

At the root of Martin Scorsese’s After Hours (1985) is a telling paradox: though the film chronicles a nightmarish, serpentine journey through New York’s Soho neighbourhood, it is ultimately a story of entrapment. The protagonist’s sense of being stuck in a life of routine is symbolised through a recurring, startling prop: plaster sculptures of humans […]