Volume 9, Issue 9 / September 2005

Doing Film Criticism

For this issue Offscreen presents five new articles bound by the unassuming goal of providing good film criticism, meaning criticism that reflects something of its author while opening up a tiny window of insight that speaks to the film’s style, content, theme, or broader social value. The issue gets started with a review of David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence, a film which has been receiving across the board positive feedback but not without some contention regarding its value as a piece of social criticism. This is followed by a longer piece which pulls together many recent films which author Daniel Garrett approaches with breadth and conviction in assessing what the films offer (or lack) with regards essential human values such as truth, love, and respect, without renouncing the art of entertainment. The final film Garrett looks at is Ingmar Bergman’s Saraband, which serves as a lead-in of sorts to the next piece, an appreciation of the late, great film critic Pauline Kael through Garrett’s analysis of Bergman’s Wild Strawberries. Writer Betty Kaklamanidou is up next with a narratological analysis of melodrama in her comparison of Ernst Lubitsch’s The Shop Around the Corner and its unofficial remake by Nora Ephron, You’ve Got Mail. Although more theoretical, Kaklamanidou’s general argument concerning the differences between the two films rests on the social and political changes that occured in the intervening decades between the two films, with respect to woman’s role in society. Rounding out the issue is David Church’s close analysis of the Zak Penn directed, Werner Herzog starring Incident at Loch Ness, a clever mockumentary which dovetails the mythology of the Loch Ness monster with that of Herzog himself.

← Previous Issue

Next Issue →

Recent Issues

More →