Winter 2024

A woman eats at a small wooden table while a man sits opposite looking at her.

The Passionate Epicures: The Taste of Things Director Tran Anh Hung Interviewed by Frederick Wiseman

A long-gestating passion project for Tran Anh Hung, The Taste of Things takes as its starting point Marcel Rouff’s eccentric, echt-French novel The Life and Passion of Dodin-Bouffant, Gourmet, which follows Dodin-Bouffant in the wake of the death of his longtime cook and occasional sexual companion Eugénie. For his adaptation, Hung retains a few of the book’s incidents but otherwise chooses to tell the story of Dodin-Bouffant and Eugénie’s life before the novel starts. A period romance set in 1889, Taste begins with a lengthy sequence of pure cooking—when I saw the film at Cannes, a woman behind me moaned […]



A black teenage boy hunches over a scooter on a street.

Hits & Misses: How Six Sundance 2023 Titles Performed in Distribution

After nearly flatlining during the pandemic years, American independent film saw some signs of life in 2023. While optimists might call it a year of transition as the industry looks for new audiences and a new equilibrium, cynics see an unsustainable and contracting arthouse marketplace, with most producers and distributors increasingly unable to recoup. But, if you look at the fates of last year’s Sundance titles, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.  For all the doom and gloom about the acquisitions market (“No one is buying films!”), 10 out of 12 films in this year’s Dramatic Competition […]

  • The 29 Features Shot, In Whole or In Part, on 35mm in U.S. Release Year 2023

    During the NBA playoffs this year, a Miller Lite commercial unexpectedly compelled my attention. The frames’ edges were rounded, the images’ scratches conspicuous—this was either shot on film or trying very hard to look like it. Further digging confirmed the spot (title: “You Never Forget”) was shot on 35mm, perhaps in keeping with its nostalgic world of bars with CD jukeboxes and cathode-ray TVs. I’d often read over the past decade that commercials and music videos have been using celluloid with increasing frequency; collating this year’s (tenth!) annual edition of U.S.-released features shot in whole or part on 35mm [2014, […]

  • Two white men in cowboy hats stand next to each other. The one on the right holds a rifle. The Future is Unwritten: Mark Asch on 2023 in Film

    For what, and for whom, do workers work? One way to conceptualize the 2023 writers’ and actors’ strikes is as a fight for the right to refuse the demands of shareholder capitalists maximizing return on investment and tech-world futurists devising new forms of extraction, notably via a disrupted exhibition environment that siphons away profits once reserved for residuals and AI that treats words and likenesses as royalty-free intellectual property. As I embark on this year-in-review exercise, I am also conscious of the past few months of policed speech—on campuses, within political parties, at newspapers and in the film world. At […]

  • The Art of Angling: The Making of Rose Troche’s Classic Microbudget Lesbian Love Story, Go Fish

    1994’s Go Fish, Rose Troche’s smart, punked-out work of guerilla filmmaking, combined a playful take on lesbian dating with discursive dialogues around gender politics and the cultural history of gay female representation. Part of the late ’80s and early ’90s low-budget boom of what critic B. Ruby Rich dubbed New Queer Cinema—films such as Poison, Swoon, The Hours and Times, Born in Flames and The Watermelon Woman—the Chicago-set Go Fish finds hip college student Max (Guinevere Turner, also the film’s screenwriter and producer) in a romantic rut and set up by friends with a hippie-ish older lesbian, Ely (V.S. Brodie). […]


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