Table of contents


Love in the time of the civil rights struggle

Richard Loving is a bricklayer in rural Virginia, but he comes from such rustic stock that he is mocked for his backwardness, in which he learned to treat black people like people, ignorant, because of his father, of the segregation that dominates life in the […]

Cave of forgotten dreams 2

The cave of Werner Herzog

Mr. Herzog lets us know at some point that a child’s footprint had been impressed next to a wolf’s. He says, we can never know whether the wolf stalked the child; or they walked together; or they were separated by ages. These are the three ages of men–man was […]

Cave of forgotten dreams

A documentary filled with anthropological speculations about the character of our imagination

This is Werner Herzog’s most political film. After private men searching for caves discovered in a cave in France very old paintings of animals, after they presumably made the discovery public, the French state declared the cave a secret, closed it to […]



Casablanca plus The English patient equals another Oscar drama?

It’s Oscar season & I’ve had the chance to attend an advanced screening of Allied in Seattle, where Paramount’s security men assured us we’d enjoy the show & that they would, too–having night vision goggles, they’d be all over us […]

Sunset blvd. 3

The question concerning tragedy

Nobody in Hollywood seemed a new Shakespeare quite like Billy Wilder. He is not the only poet to have done both comedy & something like tragedy–the closest thing to tragedy available to the age of liberalism. But he did it more often, more successfully, & more naturally than, say, Howard […]

Sunset blvd. 2

The age of reason Recommended reading, Stendhal

The talkies are an entirely different world. The assistant director jokes about how his friends might write their story such that it would get him a job. The producer jokes that he had no idea Gone with the wind would be big–it’s just a Civil War picture, […]

Sunset blvd.

The shocking origins of Hollywood greatness On modern worship

Let’s talk theology. The old stars of Hollywood are like forgotten gods. One hears talk of Valentino or Fairbanks as though they were Mars & Adonis. They may not be gods–nor heroes–but they played such on screen.

They even have the names of European […]

House of games 5

Margaret thus comes to plan a scene of her own. She turns out to be really bad at gaining trust–she does not know how to speak–but she may be saying the same things Mike had been saying to her to seduce her, without any of the art. Maybe in a way she loves […]

House of games 4

The drama of the life of crime A note on the fantasy of danger, punishment, sacrifice, & redemption

The night is made for lovers & thieves, & Margaret wants to be both when the occasion apparently accidentally presents itself. As naive as the movie watcher, she thinks a coincidence is an innocent thing, not […]

House of games 3

A note on love supplanting law as a guide to life

The next trick Mike pulls is to do with showing up the inadequacy of moral virtue. He will cheat an honest man & thereby prove the superiority of intellectual virtue. Getting away with crime or immorality is a way of being invisible &, […]