More Habits Than Dreams: The Hottest August

“The Sick Woman is the starving. The Sick Woman is the dying. And, crucially: The Sick Woman is who capitalism needs to perpetuate itself. Why? Because to stay alive, capitalism cannot be responsible for our care – its logic of exploitation requires that some of us die.” ~ Johanna Hedva, “Sick Woman Theory,” Mask Magazine […]

Editor’s Note: Capital

“Curiosity is a luxury reserved for the financially secure,” writes Tara Westover in her 2018 memoir Educated. Recounting her time as a severely cash-strapped college student, she explains why her academic performance was hindered by her material reality: “…my mind was absorbed with more immediate concerns, such as the exact balance of my bank account, […]

Dress Coding 9 to 5

In the foreword to the 1977 guide The Women’s Dress for Success, a book dedicated to help women master their workplace dress codes, author John T. Molloy immediately goes on the defensive when outlining his mission: “This book is designed as a classic “how to” book. Its purpose is to give every American woman a […]

Sicario: Blunt Force Trauma

“A friend and I were just saying about Villeneuve the other day that he really doesn’t care what he’s directing as long as it shows off his abs.” – Wesley Morris, Grantland In the rollout of reviews for Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario (2015), understandable attention has been paid to the casting of Emily Blunt as FBI […]

Women to Watch: Ana Lily Amirpour

Like the vampiric figure simply known as “The Girl” in her 2014 feature A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, Ana Lily Amirpour commands and complicates spaces often more comfortably occupied by men. Described by Amirpour as an “Iranian vampire spaghetti western,” her debut film is an impressive mash-up of genre and sensibilities that would […]

Voice(s) of the People: An Interview with Alanis Obomsawin

To listen can be a powerful political act. Few filmmakers demonstrate this more than Alanis Obomsawin. Steeped in oral storytelling traditions, her world-renowned documentaries are not so much about giving voice to an issue, but allowing for the often muted voices of First Nations peoples to be heard. A member of the Abenaki nation, Obomsawin was raised […]

Bad Eggs: Juzo Itami’s Tampopo

“The first ramen western!” proclaims the tagline of Juzo Itami’s 1985 food comedy Tampopo. Here, instead of the lonesome cowboy wanderer and his sidekick of the traditional western, we get a pair of Japanese truck drivers: the rugged Tsutomu Yamazaki as Goro and a baby-faced Ken Wantanabe as Gun. They breeze into town for a […]

She’s Lost Control, Again: Todd Haynes’s Safe

“I love you. I love you. I really love you. I love you.” Carol White (Julianne Moore) stares into a mirror, repeating this phrase to her reflection in the final shot of Todd Haynes’s 1995 film Safe. This dénouement comes as Carol’s final offensive blow against the debilitating and unexplained “environmental illness” that has suddenly […]

Holy Motors: “I miss the cameras.”

After a thirteen-year hiatus, filmmaker Leos Carax returns with Holy Motors (2012), a kaleidoscopic dawn-to-dusk journey through Paris following the chameleon-like figure known only as Monsieur Oscar (frequent Carax collaborator, Denis Lavant). Oscar is an actor-for-hire, commissioned by a series of unknown clientele to perform as an array of characters, playing out vignettes on the […]