A new film centers on a young, unmarried woman’s attempts to secure an abortion—over a decade before France legalized the practice in 1973.
Would that the Earth Could Stop Us
“Ecohorror” films depict nature avenging itself on humans, revealing a common but wrong-headed hope: that nature can win, even if we do nothing.
Femme Fatale Talks Back: Meenu Gaur on Feminist Filmmaking
“We have to take over spaces because we are not going to be invited in.”
Goodbye “West Side Story”
Many Latinxs—the nation’s largest ethnic group & most avid movie consumers—think the nation’s most beloved musical on racial tolerance is racist.
Watching “Go Fish” with My Queer 15-Year-Old
“You can wear something to be cool,” you told me, “or because another person likes it. You don’t have to be truly ‘yourself,’ or whatever.”
Toxic Masculinity, Spectral Homosexuality
The secret of the Western—as Jane Campion’s “Power of the Dog” shows—is that its mythology nurtures a queer fantasy, hiding in plain sight.
In the Editing Room with Ruth Ozeki and Rebecca Evans
“I'm aware, as I'm writing, that I'm changing camera angles.”
“Mississippi Masala” @30: Revisiting a Film Classic in Authoritarian Times
What might it mean to forge a politics explicitly based in the places we are, rather than a politics of the places from which we came?
Miguel de Unamuno in Spain’s Memory Battle
As fascist armies conquered much of Spain, a writer publicly and famously denounced high-ranking officers right to their faces. Or did he?
When the Vibe Is Off
Which matters more, intent or interpretation? What if a juxtaposition of images in literature or art is just that—a chance encounter?
“Nomadland” Swerves from the Manly Road Movie
Repeatedly, the film shows this venturesome woman alone at all hours—yet never do we see her fearing or fending off assault.
Sembène’s “Black Girl” Is a Ghost Story
Few know the film—the first feature-length film by a West African director—was based on a real-life incident, a real tragedy lost in colonial archives.
To Air Is Human
An aerodynamicist and an anthropologist discuss the world of “Dune,” finding it as aesthetically beautiful as it is functionally implausible.
Some Mexican filmmakers now mirror global stereotypes about Mexico’s violence, which make the films legible for international liberal audiences.
On Our Nightstands: July 2021
A behind-the-scenes look at what Public Books editors and staff have been reading this month.
“Reality Entails Risks That Fiction Doesn’t Know”: Talking with Everardo González
“There is definitely a line between victims and perpetrators. But that line is not essentially determined.”
Urban Democracy’s Documentarian
How to explain the miracle of an institution as gargantuan, complex, and pivotal to society as “government”? Watch Frederick Wiseman’s City Hall.
Storytelling Is Big Business
When creating and selling culture, you’re also selling a story about that culture—for good and for ill.
Buster Keaton Falls Up
Comedy demands a fall guy—someone upon whom the absurdity crashes and yet who emerges unscathed. And in comedy, Buster Keaton remains unrivaled.
“Parasite” and the Plurality of Empire
Bong Joon-ho’s critique in Parasite is less of “universal” capitalism than of the particular imperialisms that have shaped Korean life.