Film & Television

Film & Television

Art and TV: Professor T, an extraordinary burst of mind

Contributed by Laurie Fendrich / Boy did the otherwise on-the-mark Guardian television critic Lucy Mangan get it wrong. In her 2017 review of the Flemish detective series Professor T, she dismissed the show as �thin gruel� with �morsels pilfered from the greats� (by which she meant such television shows as House, Sherlock, Morse, and Monk). Moreover, she said, its humor is �lost in translation.� What? Did she watch the same show I did? Doth the woman not laugh and weep? Doth the woman not recognize tragicomedy? In short, how did she miss that Professor T is the best television series since The Singing Detective, the riveting 1987 miniseries starring Michael Gambon?

Film & Television

Art and TV: L�Art du Crime

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / France produces some superb television, but you could be forgiven for entertaining skepticism about L�Art du Crime, which at first blush scans as one extended meet-cute: a tough, dyspeptic, and uncultured flic is in the doghouse and gets assigned to the �cultural property� investigative unit […]

Film & Television

Art and Film: 2019 Top Ten

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / It�s been a fine year for movies, their demise due to streaming having been greatly exaggerated notwithstanding awkward episodes like the theatrical release of Netflix-backed The Irishman. Here is my inexorably subjective and eminently debatable list of the Top Ten dramatic films of 2019. The Irishman. […]

Film & Television

Art and Film: Rogue plant

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / The political ascent of Donald Trump and others like him has produced a glut of ominous allegories, and Austrian director Jessica Hausner�s mesmerizing film Little Joe may be the richest yet. With an unabashed nod to Invasion of the Body Snatchers (all three versions), the […]

Film & Television

Art and Film: Merchants of nostalgia

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / If bad times increase the demand for nostalgia, the current bull market is going to persist for at least another year. But Donald Trump, the ultimate stimulus for that demand, is himself a product of a certain toxic brand of nostalgia � one for a […]

Film & Television

Art and Film: Joker is the wrong movie

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Joker, Todd Phillips� tensely anticipated origin story of the Batman villain that grossed $96 million in its first weekend, self-consciously presents as Taxi Driver meets The King of Comedy, and a kind of atavistic essay on the perils of inequality and the dominance of the one percent. […]

Film & Television

Art and Film: Issa L�pez�s fierce children

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Mike Kelley, the late conceptual artist, famously cast stuffed animals both as children�s escape hatches from worldly nastiness and as the potential tools of their nefarious seducers or demons. Writer-director Issa L�pez maintains this duality in Tigers Are Not Afraid, a film of stunning inventiveness, brutality, […]

Film & Television

Art and Film: Mark Asch�s New York

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Rivaled only by Los Angeles among cities celebrated in American cinema, New York deserves its own pointedly knowing and satisfyingly chunky essay on films set there. Now the city has one, in the form of Mark Asch�s New York Movies, the latest volume in Little […]

Film & Television

Art and Film: Argentina�s haunting precedent

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Argentina�s decade-long �dirty war� (1974�83) during which a right-wing military junta �disappeared� about 30,000 left-wing dissidents � that is, executed them without acknowledgement of their deaths � ended over 35 years ago. Yet Argentina�s outstanding contemporary filmmakers continue to revisit the dirty war. In 2009, […]