Empty Criticism

This week has seen some quite bitter disagreement over the role of the critic in writing about genre.  As pieced together by Abigail Nussbaum and Niall Harrison, the debate started when a new group blog launched claiming not only the name ‘ethics’ but also the primacy of enthusiastically positive genre writing.  Before long, a test case presented itself in the shape of Martin Lewis’ review of a fantasy novel.

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Town and Country (and some links)

VideoVista have my review of Daihachi Yoshida’s Funuke : Show Some Love, You Losers!.

They also have my review of Compton Bennett’s The Seventh Veil.

Funuke is by no means a perfect film but it does shed quite an interesting cultural light on one of my favourite social dichotomies.  A dichotomy I have also been discussing over at THE DRIFT.

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The Panic Tone – Polanski and Topor’s The Tenant (1976)

In my piece on Polanski’s Repulsion (1968), I highlighted the homage paid by Polanski to the generation of Surrealist filmmakers who came before him.  In this piece, I want to examine the similarities in tone between another of Polanski’s films and the branch of French Surrealism that provided the source material for one of Polanski’s best known films, The Tenant (1976).

By 1960, the vultures had started to circle the Surrealist movement.  What had started out as a desire to destroy and rebuild the iconography of Western Art in the aftermath of the First World War now seemed like a circular and pointless endeavour through which one section of the bourgeoisie tried to shock and outrage another section of the same narrow social institution.  While members of the Generation of ‘27 burned with anger at the Franquist government which had exiled and jailed them, the alliances with Marxism that would impact film-makers such as Bunuel were still a way off.  Facing such creative stagnation, Fernando Arrabal, Alejandro Jodorowsky and Roland Topor came together to form Burlesque, a creative clique which would later inspire itself from the god Pan and name themselves the Panic Movement.

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Blasphemous Geometries 13

Futurismic have just put up my thirteenth Blasphemous Geometries column entitled “The Alternative Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form”.

Unsurprisingly, given that title, it is an alternative shortlist of five works of genre cinema that push the envelope a little furthers than the very mainstream indeed hugo shortlist.  I’ll also take the opportunity to link to Mark Kermode’s discussion of Martyrs, which he agrees is an almost unwatchable film redeemed by its transcendental themes.