• Aesthetics
  • Epic Out, Epic In

    Rama Burshtein, the Israeli director of “Fill the Void,” at right on the film set. (Photo: Vered Adir/Sony Picture Classics) Some art forms favor expansion. Those are the ones that ask—require?—you to untether yourself and be taken outward, into a nimbus that exists beyond the quotidian of terrestrial constraints. The epic experience in art is […]

  • Aesthetics
  • It’s Only Afterwards

    Penelope’s Heart, by Paula Overbay When you are in the middle of a story it isn’t a story at all, but only a confusion; a dark roaring, a blindness, a wreckage of shattered glass and splintered wood; like a house in a whirlwind, or else a boat crushed by the icebergs or swept over the […]

  • Aesthetics
  • Living Outside Interpretation

    From “The Return” (Photo: Nathaniel Dorsky) Manohla Dargis has written a stop-in-your-tracks kind of piece about the filmmaker Nathaniel Dorsky in the Sunday Times. His rhapsodic appreciation of a body of work completely captured me even though I have never had the oppoortunity to see any of Dorsky’s films. (His book, Devotional Cinema, is now […]

  • Art Making
  • Thingness

    Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, featured in the film MANA: Beyond Belief, is a Buddhist pilgrimage site in Burma. Tradition claims that the boulder was placed on the cliff 2500 years ago by Burmese spirits. A gilded boulder sits on top and is believed to contain a hair of the Buddha. ______ This is a Wonderful Poem Come […]

  • Art Making
  • Cynicism’s Antidote

    International man of mystery, artist Banksy I am still carrying around a big chunk of Canada’s uncivilized wildness in me, and it just doesn’t sit well with culturally-induced cynicism. And art world cynicism is cynicism of a particular stripe, leaving one to search for a few gentle but targeted exorcisms to remove that nasty taste […]

  • cinema
  • On Examing Life

    The Thinkers: From left, Slavoj Zizek, Avital Ronell, Judith Butler and Cornel West discuss ideas in the documentary “Examined Life.” (Photo: Zeitgeist Films) The title of this post of course is making reference to the famous line from Plato about unexamined lives not being worth much. That phrase was also the inspiration for Astra Taylor’s […]