Cameraperson documentary

Documentaries in focus: ‘Cameraperson’ and ‘Marathon’

The documentary landscape recently grew a little bit brighter with the release of two first-rate works, very different from each other, but both doing what film has always done best: eliciting powerful emotional responses by showing us things we have not seen before. At least not like this. The first movie is Kirsten Johnson’s Cameraperson.…

By Jonathan Eig
Remote Control

Switching on to Reality: Byamba Sakhya’s ‘Remote Control’

A teenager runs away from the drunkenness and poverty of his rural home and moves into the city. It’s not an uncommon story, sadly, but in the hands of Mongolian director Byamba Sakhya, Remote Control becomes both a survival story and an exploration of the line between fantasy and reality. Tsog bivouacs himself on the…

By Ed Rowe
Steven Knight Eastern Promises

Steven Knight: The Screenwriter as Auteur?

Regular readers of Curnblog no doubt recall fondly the slugfest Simon Butler and I engaged in a while back about the validity of the auteur theory. I don’t think we changed anyone’s minds, but hopefully it provided some reasonable debate. As an opponent of the theory that unquestioningly elevates directors above everyone else in every…

By Jonathan Eig
sibling filmmakers o brother where art thou

The Greatest Sibling Filmmakers: Keeping Cinema in the Family

John Michael McDonagh’s new movie Calvary is quite good. And quite difficult. I intend to write about it in some detail in the near future, but I often find it better to think about difficult things for a while before committing fingertip to keyboard. So, in the meantime, I’m using McDonagh as a springboard to…

By Jonathan Eig
Auteur theory Upstream color

Debating the Auteur Theory: An Argument Against

The second of a two-part debate between CURNBLOG’s Simon Butler and Jonathan Eig on the legitimacy of the Auteur Theory. See Part One here.  Let’s go to the source. Andrew Sarris, writing in the Introduction to his seminal book The American Cinema: “Not all directors are auteurs. Indeed, most directors are anonymous. There is much…

By Jonathan Eig
Richard Quine

Strangers When We Meet: Getting to know Richard Quine

Fifty years from now, when they update the film history textbooks, which current directors will merit a section? Some of the older vets are obvious. Scorsese and Spielberg. Almodovar and Von Trier. Zhang Yimou. Household names to film connoisseurs. What about Francis Lawrence, Shane Black, Chris Buck, Pierre Coffin, and Zack Snyder? They directed (or…

By Jonathan Eig
feature film finale

Sunset Cinema: 30 superb directorial feature film finales

One of the best things about writing a blog is that it gives my family an excuse to talk to me. And so, when I recently put up a piece about great directorial debuts, I heard from a lot of them. Usually they were telling me, in the politest possible terms, how many titles I…

By Jonathan Eig