The Nation's film critic Stuart Klawans is author of the books Film Follies: The Cinema Out of Order (a finalist for the 1999 National Book Critics Circle Awards) and Left in the Dark: Film Reviews and Essays, 1988-2001. His film criticism and reviews for The Nation won the 2007 National Magazine Award. When not on deadline for The Nation, he contributes articles to the New York Times and other publications.
To die for art: No one takes the idea seriously anymore, and yet people do it every day.
To the list of movie characters who look back on their lives from the Beyond, add Lester Burnham, the 42-year-old, dead narrator of American Beauty. He is a murder victim--so it would seem
Conventional wisdom has it that Americans stopped attending foreign films as soon as the domestic ones started featuring bare breasts. Convention, as usual, is too simple.
When a boy comes of age in a movie made by Francophones, he's generally obliged to visit a brothel.
To suffer humiliation can be tragic. To bear humiliation for much longer than necessary, yet with loud impatience, is the comic gift of Albert Brooks.
For contemporary reactions from Nation critics to the films of Stanley Kubrick, follow these links: Lolita (1962), Dr. Strangelove (1964), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), The Shining (1980), all reviewed by Robert Hatch, and Full Metal Jacket (1987), reviewed by Terrence Rafferty.
In Summer of Sam, Spike Lee has made a small, shapely drama about two young Italian-American couples in the Bronx.
Legend has it that Potemkin, burdened by duties and melancholy, once neglected to order the packing up of one of his stage-set villages.
The title character in Run Lola Run lives underneath a fibrous growth that in shape resembles a neglected patch of lawn and in color brings to mind a fire engine--or maybe a fire engine cr