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  • Simon of the Desert

    Simon of the Desert

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Two leading characteristics that can be found consistently throughout the career of Luis Buñuel are his love of surrealism, and his detestation of religion. When one thinks about it, the two themes go rather well together. Many of the beliefs and behaviours inspired by religion are positively surreal in themselves.

    Take the example of the fifth-century Syrian saint, Simeon Stylites, a man who was canonised for nothing more than his decision to stay on top of a high pillar for…

  • Gold Diggers of 1933

    Gold Diggers of 1933

    The 1930s may well be the only decade in history when being a gold digger was something that could be regarded sympathetically. Even 1980s films such as Wall Street which had a character declare that ‘Greed is good’ were intended to be viewed ironically, and not with approval.

    What made the 1930s different was that serious recession was gripping the United States, the worst economic times in recent recorded history. Many people were struggling with crippling unemployment, and had few…

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  • Falling Down

    Falling Down

    The reputation of Joel Schumacher’s 1993 thriller has been affected by the fact that the movie was greatly misunderstood, and it might be said that it was liked and disliked by the wrong people.

    When the film was shown in cinemas, it seemed to offer succour to the angry white conservative males who could not help identifying with a hero who stood up againt minorities, insisted on his rights as a consumer and husband, and who felt disillusioned with a…

  • Through a Glass Darkly

    Through a Glass Darkly

    It was Ingmar Bergman’s 1960s movies that did most to cement the image that many people now have of him – that he is a maker of gloomy, po-faced, and not easily accessible arthouse movies, notable for their slow pace, their long silences punctuated by scenes that are heavy on talking and limited on action, and for their almost unbearable intensity of emotion.

    Through a Glass Darkly seems an apt title in this respect. It is as if Bergman, like…