Visual
Underwater Protest

Underwater Protest

Demonstration photography is boring. At least if you go by the photos in most newspapers. Aside from being relevant, to, say, an article about a protest march, more often than not, the images are interchangeable. Earnest people holding up signs. Long lines of young people, following one another in pursuit of some noble cause. More»

Blaming British Muslims

Blaming British Muslims

Within days of the French terrorist attacks, BBC One’s Panorama aired a documentary appropriately titled After Paris: The Battle for British Islam. Thirty seconds in, the fear mongering starts, featuring a video of the Charlie Hebdo shootings, set to a tense Hollywood-style soundtrack.  More»

Peering Through the Smog

Peering Through the Smog

In some circles, Inherent Vice was the most eagerly anticipated film of last year. Its director, Paul Thomas Anderson, has long been a favorite of cinephiles, both for the excellent performances he gets from actors and his delightfully retrograde insistence on shooting to film. But tackling the work of the legendary writer Thomas Pynchon added greatly to the hype. More»

Masculinity in Crisis

Masculinity in Crisis

It’s ironic that the films receiving the most critical praise and attention right now are about, in varying degrees, the crisis of masculinity and the difficulties of being an (important) man. This isn’t to say these films are not good. More»

The PEGIDA Problem

The PEGIDA Problem

The Nazis are back. So one would be inclined to believe, over the last few weeks, as Islamophobic demonstrations mushroomed across Germany. First catching the international media’s attention with a riot in Cologne, followed by a series of Monday night demonstrations in Dresden, Germany has been forced to acknowledge the growth of widespread sentiment against minorities, specifically Muslims. More»

Abandoning Earth

Abandoning Earth

Science fiction has become obsessed with the idea of humanity abandoning Earth. It is not just movies like Interstellar, which was a smash hit this year. Audiences identify with the theme of resignation in the genre. More»

My Year in Film

My Year in Film

It’s increasingly difficult to write year-end surveys. They seem to come earlier and earlier each year, and are hardly special in a landscape of reportage made almost entirely of lists. A top ten of lists would almost be worth it, if not for the risk that such navel gazing would precipitate Internet implosion (or self-loathing). Moreover, there was a lot of cinema in 2014 that merits note. More»

Earthquake Weather

Earthquake Weather

When it comes to earthquakes, America takes the cake. At least as far as news coverage is concerned. Having weathered two of the most devastating quakes to strike a first world country – the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, which ravaged the San Francisco Bay Area, followed by the 1994 Northridge earthquake, which severely impacted Los Angeles –  you can understand why. More»

Selling Newspapers in Italy

Selling Newspapers in Italy

I’d nearly crashed my car. Headed back to Milan, after a brief vacation in Rome, I was slowly making my way up the highway on-ramp, when I swerved to avoid a newspaper salesman. Walking through the traffic, holding up copies of La Repubblica, were several uncharacteristically dark-looking men. I made sure to pay attention to the next guy in line. He was South Asian. More»

When Every Flag Seems False

When Every Flag Seems False

If director Laura Poitras’s new film Citizenfour doesn’t make you paranoid, nothing will. By the time she has finished telling the story of Edward Snowden, how he meticulously plans to reveal the extremity of the post-9/11 surveillance state and then suffers the consequences once he sets the wheels in motion, you may be wondering whether privacy is even possible More»

The Whole World Is Watching

The Whole World Is Watching

After watching hours of CNN’s coverage of the unrest in Ferguson, I felt a desperate need to protest against the St. Louis County grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting of Mike Brown. But because there were no protests taking place nearby, I headed to a suburban theater to watch the latest installment in the Hunger Games franchise instead More»

Orientalism For Dummies

Orientalism For Dummies

Most of the time, the point of education is to help us to distinguish between things, figuring out what does and doesn’t belong together. But there are times when it pays to remember what ignorance once conflated and confused. Prejudice may derive from misunderstanding, but that doesn’t make it any less real. And prejudice, more often than not, comes from a failure to recognize and respect distinctions. More»