Koyaanisqatsi (1982)

sonder n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

—John Koenig, The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows


gift of ubiquity

“… thanks to the mobility of the camera, to the multiplicity of shots, I am everywhere at once. . . . I know that I am in the movie theatre, but I feel that I am in the world offered to my gaze, a world that I experience ‘physically’ while identifying myself with one or another of the characters in the drama — with all of them, alternatively. This finally means that at the movies I am both in this action and outside it, in this space and outside of this space. Having the gift of ubiquity, I am everywhere and nowhere.”

—Jean Mitry, French film theorist, critic and filmmaker


Double Take (2009)

Double Take (2009) is an essay film. The plot is set during the Cold War and combines both documentary and fictional elements. The protagonist is a fictionalized version of Alfred Hitchcock, who succumbs to paranoia and deep fear after a brief encounter with his doppelgänger in 1962.

The backdrop of the film charts the rise of the television in the domestic setting and with it, the ensuing commodification of fear during the cold war. Woven with Bernard Herrmann’s music and gorgeous typography, the film becomes oddly meditative after one adjusts to director Johan Grimonprez’s dreamlike editing.


a super lady

The positive attributes that are central to her characterization are self-unconscious naturalness, consistent sincerity, and good manners. For Marge, manners do not function as a veneer or as some form of artificial, programmed behavior, suppressing a more authentic self-expression she has not had the daring to try out. Instead, manners are—in her way of living through them—a crucial moving illumination of what Edith Wharton has termed “that vast noiseless labor of the spirit going on everywhere beneath the social surface.”

One of my students declared Marge Gunderson the most natural character she had ever encountered, and while we could have spent time interrogating her assumptions about what that slippery word “natural” consists of, no one in the class, including myself, had any immediate urge to come up with rival candidates for the accolade. Marge’s refreshingly unabashed pleasure in her nonstop eating, her thriving pregnancy, her deep, untroubled sleep, and her comfortable sorties into the unpromising, frozen Minnesota landscape suggest an almost magical integration of self and world.

Her way of inhabiting her physical and social environment seems based on an acceptance of certain things as given, and simultaneously an acceptance that a number of choices she has made are settled matters.

Toles, George. A House Made of Light: Essays on the Art of Film. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2001.


Tippi Hedren visits Chicago’s Music Box Theatre

Tippi Hedren at Music Box Theatre

On March 27, I had the honor of attending a screening of The Birds (1963) at Chicago’s Music Box Theatre, part of Turner Classic Movies’ annual “Road to Hollywood” film festival. Original Hitchcock blonde Tippi Hedren was present to introduce the film with TCM host Ben Mankiewicz.

Hedren sat down for a very candid interview beforehand, openly discussing how Hitchcock made her a household name shortly before taking it all away after she refused to acquiesce the director’s personal affection. Appreciative of what little time they shared professionally before things turned, she reflected, “He may have ended my career, but he didn’t end my life.”


The Birds of Anger: Rovio’s best-selling mobile game, told in the style of Hitchcock’s 1963 classic


A History of the Title Sequence

This short pays homage to the following designers and their titles:

Georges Méliès – Un Voyage Dans La Lune (1902)
Saul Bass – Psycho (1960)
Maurice Binder – Dr. No (1962)
Stephen Frankfurt – To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)
Pablo Ferro – Dr. Strangelove (1964)
Richard Greenberg – Alien (1979)
Kyle Cooper – Seven (1995)
Danny Yount – Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005), Sherlock Holmes (2009)