For almost 25 years, Guy Ritchie has been directing stylish feature films. Best known for his British gangster films, such as: Lock, Stock and Two Smokin’ Barrels (1998), Snatch (2000), Rock n’ Rolla (2008) and The Gentlemen (2019) as well as the Sherlock Holmes films starring Robert Downey Junior.
Ritchie is often criticised for his gonzo entertainment filmmaking and his inconsistent performance at the box office. His films have received – at best — a mixed critical reception across his careeer. As a result, Ritchie is not taken very seriously as a filmmaker.
The aim of this video essay is to demonstrate that Ritchie is very much under-appreciated as a director and has a unique style worth studying.
Richie’s stylish editing can be boiled down to the concept of a ‘fast & slow’ framework using a range of experimental formal elements (speed ramps, freeze frames, slow motion, intercutting, parallel action, and superimposition) to control the temporality of his sequences. It is Ritchie’s action scenes that best showcase this use of the framework, with careful consideration for shot length and manipulation of time through the use of editing & experimental formal elements.
Ritchie employs his framework to manipulate the passage of time in his scenes, creating pauses in action that encourage contemplation. To achieve this effect, he balances the use of a faster-than-average cutting rate with moments of stillness, seamlessly transitioning between the two speeds of cutting from one moment to the next. By leveraging this framework in tandem with his experimental formal elements, Ritchie generates a singular sense of motion and movement on screen. His meticulous attention to shot selection and average shot length (ASL) yields striking moments of spectacle and action that demonstrate his playful manipulation of film form.
In recent years, Ritchie has shied away from the style of action that put him on the map substituting fast and slow action for a greater focus on narrative cadence and control, with elements of action implemented throughout his films. I would like to see Ritchie return to his style of old and see more action films using the tried and tested fast and slow framework.
— Jack Brazil
Lock, Stock and Two Smokin’ Barrels (1998), Dir. Guy Ritchie,Ska Films
Snatch (2000), Dir. Guy Ritchie,Ska Films, Columbia Pictures
Swept Away (2002), Dir. Guy Ritchie, Searchlight Pictures, Sony Pictures
Revolver (2005), Dir. Guy Ritchie, Lionsgate UK
Rock n’ Roller (2008), Dir. Guy Ritchie, Warner Bros. Pictures
Sherlock Holmes (2009), Dir. Guy Ritchie, Warner Bros. Pictures
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011), Dir. Guy Ritchie, Warner Bros. Pictures
The Man from U.N.C.L.E (2015), Dir. Guy Ritchie, Warner Bros. Pictures
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017), Dir. Guy Ritchie, Warner Bros. Pictures
Aladdin (2019), Dir. Guy Ritchie, Walt Disney Pictures
The Gentlemen (2019), Dir. Guy Ritchie, Miramax
Wrath of Man (2021), Dir. Guy Ritchie, Miramax
300 (2006), Dir. Zack Snyder, Legendary Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures
Watchmen (2009), Dir. Zack Snyder, Legendary Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures
Fight Club (1999), Dir. David Fincher, Fox 2000 Pictures, 20th Century Fox
Transformers (2007), Dir. Michael Bay, Paramount Pictures
Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014), Dir. Matthew Vaughn, Marv Films, 20th Century Fox
Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017), Dir. Matthew Vaughn, Marv Films, 20th Century Fox
Hundred Mile High City, Ocean Colour Scene. 1997 Universal Island Records. Dir. Guy Ritchie
The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall into My Mind), The Bucketheads. 1995 Henry Street Music. Dir. Guy Ritchie
Deep, Marusha. Low Spirit Recordings 1995. Dir. Guy Ritchie
A Real Love, CB Milton. 1996 Cloud 9 Music. Dir. Guy Ritchie
Rave Can Can, DJ Jacques O. 1996 Kontor New Media Music. Dir. Guy Ritchie
Upside Down, Joelle. 1995 Hansa. Dir. Guy Ritchie
The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall into My Mind), The Bucketheads. 1995 Henry Street Music.
I Wanna Be Your Dog, The Stooges. 1969 Elektra/Asylum Records.
Diamond, Klint. 2000. Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.
Payback, James Brown. 1973 Polydor Records.
Fuckin’ in the Bushes, Oasis. 2000 Big Brother Recordings Ltd.
Che vuole questa musica stasera, Peppino Gadliardi. UMG (on behalf of Decca (UMO) Classics (CAM)); ASCAP, BMI – Broadcast Music Inc.
Get Down, Nas. 2002 Columbia Records
Powerbeats Pro Commercial (2019), Dir. Hiro Murai, Zambezi
ZOM/BEING: The paradoxical nature of the living dead in cinema
Video Essay – Creator’s Statement
ZOM/BEING: The paradoxical nature of the living dead in cinema is a video essay that aims to explicate the pleasures of the zombie film and illustrate how its residence in the horror genre has spanned decades and continues to be alluring for audiences. As Olney remarks, “we have always had a closer kinship with the living dead than with other horror-movie monsters”: there is an intimacy between the human and the zombie. Of course, the zombie is often formerly human, but it is cinema’s personification, weaponization and eclectic representation of the iconography that renders the zombie a cinematic tool for filmmakers to exploit.
The video essay is structured around a central idea of paradox: the zombie exhibits a series of contradictions within their imagery and in the films they belong to. The unity of these contradictions is the essence of the zombie and what makes them so applicable to so many cultures and genres over so many years. The three parts of the video essay correlate to: their varying PACE, the SPACE in which they dwell in, and their expressive yet expressionless FACE.
PACE investigates the speed of the zombie, and how it can determine the pacing and tone of the film itself. The classical representation of the slow, bumbling zombie is concerned with the “contemplation of the horrific”: the lack of speed forces audiences to gaze upon a deformed, damaged and deconstructed human body. The unbalanced gait, sombre expression and minimalist mannerisms are as distancing as they are inviting an identification. In Zombi 2, (1979, Italy, d. Fulci) Susan (Auretta Gay) is almost paralysed with fear as she is confronted by a zombie quite literally rising from its grave, and in a series of shot/reverse shots, exemplifies this sense of ‘contemplation’ and concentration on the horrors of the zombie. The slow zombie becomes a spectacle of sorts, especially in Fulci’s grotesque iteration where the decay and dirt are highlighted through invasive, uncomfortable close-ups with a fish-eye lens. It produces a reaction of revulsion in the human protagonists, and therefore in the spectators, who find pleasure in viewing such violence and bodily destruction.
Train to Busan’s (2016, South Korea, d. Yeon) high-octane chase sequence through the carriages of a moving train infested with fast, blood-thirsty zombies provides a stark contrast with the aforementioned ‘contemplation’ of slow zombies. The fast zombies are akin to animals on the hunt, desperately galloping through each-other for a taste of flesh. Shot with shaky camerawork and a frantic editing style like in Dawn of the Dead (2004, USA, d. Snyder), they evoke a horror of surprise and relentlessness that resonate with “spectators relating to the human protagonists and to their situation in the diegetic world”, rather than the easily overpowered slow zombies, who are often deemed less frightening by contemporary audiences than those who are fast. This paradox is even recontextualised in the ‘zom-com’, as Shaun of the Dead’s (2004, UK, d. Wright) gross-out humour often revolves around the slowness and clumsiness of the zombie whilst in Zombieland (2009, USA, d. Fleischer) Columbus’ (Jesse Eisenberg) extensive rules of how to survive the apocalypse includes stretching in preparation for running away from zombies.
SPACE in a zombie film is used both as a “barometer of cultural anxiety” and as “wish fulfilment, catering to current fantasies about life in a postapocalyptic world without social structures and laws”. Recalling the seminal zombie offering Night of the Living Dead (1968, USA, d. Romero) and using Hervey’s writing on Romero’s film, the sequence in which Ben (Duane Jones) borders up the decaying Pittsburgh house can be viewed as to represent a paranoid, violence-stricken nation. The Harris Poll, a survey established in 1963 to examine the behaviours and attitudes of American adults, states that by 1968 (the release of Night), the proportion of Americans that were “seriously worried about crime and violence” was at two-thirds, in comparison to two-percent in 1963. This idea of the zombie film as a ‘barometer’ for societal concerns is present here, and the nihilist end to the film in which protagonist Ben is mistaken for a zombie and is shot dead, evokes imagery of the assassinations and Civil Rights movement that defined the turmoil of the late 1960s in America.
This allegorical use of the zombie is juxtaposed with how the human protagonists act in the apocalypse, carrying out activities usually unavailable to them with no consequences for their actions- not even for violence. In some cases, zombie films allegorise contemporary social issues and on the other, they can gleefully provide a utopian world to become immersed in. In Dawn of the Dead (1978, USA, d. Romero), this means raiding department stores and playing endless games in the arcade- spectators watch vicariously and perhaps enviously at their freedom in usually-occupied, but now vast and barren spaces. Romero critiques this urge to consume by contrasting these tonally-light moments of wish fulfilment, with sequences like one towards the beginning of the film where low-income housing projects in Philadelphia suffer the effects of classism and racism within the government-enforced martial law, providing subtext for the ravaging apocalypse.
To discuss the zombie is to discuss ourselves, and this could not be more relevant than in the FACE section of this video essay. However, there is a sense of ‘othering’ in some filmic depictions of the living dead. By distancing the human protagonist from the zombie antagonist, filmmakers can enact a sense of ‘othering’, where the zombie is considered “the ultimate foreign other”, as displayed in World War Z’s (2013, USA, d. Forster) Jerusalem sequence. Hordes of zombies are indistinguishable from one another in these moments, there is a complete lack of individuality, before the film’s ending indicates that the human face is the polar opposite, or an enemy, to that of the zombie as the star image of Brad Pitt in a two-shot with a zombie scientist suggests separation rather than likeness.
In 28 Days Later (2002, UK, d. Boyle), the enigmatic Jim (Cillian Murphy) that timidly explores the empty streets of London in the beginning, brutally murders a fellow human in the film’s chilling finale. His face covered in blood is shot in murky shadows and through unclear camerawork as he gouges a soldier’s eyes with his fingers; an innate violence not too different from the vicious zombies of the film. Jim’s characterisation is ‘mirroring’ that of a zombie, so much so that Selena (Naomie Harris) nearly stabs him- unsure if her lover is truly her lover anymore. The mimicking of zombie traits suggests a cyclical attitude towards violence and its ubiquity and inevitability in humanity, even when it is faced with the insurmountable obstacle of a zombie apocalypse.
Romero’s depiction of Stephen’s (David Emge) descent in Dawn of the Dead (1978) allows for many interpretations, and by piecing two images of Stephen together as alive and dead, it encapsulates this video essay’s argument for paradox. There is an image of a human with piercing blue eyes plagued with fear whilst he furrows his brow and dons an aptly obnoxious leather jacket, living up to the character’s sarcastic nickname of ‘flyboy’. It clashes with an image of death personified: vacant eyes, a deathly grey complexion with the mouth ajar whilst wearing a regular, white collared shirt splattered in blood, a connotation of a conformist eventuality for the average American. It is an image intended to provoke contemplation. Has Stephen simply become a blood-thirsty zombie? Or has he become what he has always repressed? Does it represent the violent history of man? Or perhaps a guilty America in the years succeeding the end of the Vietnam War? A visualisation of the effects of toxic masculinity, or a stern warning of mindless consuming in a capitalist ideology? Is the transformation into a zombie truly a transformation, or is it a mirrored image of humanity at its most primal, or most pathetic, or maybe even at its worst?
by Cameron Smith
28 Days Later (Dir. Danny Boyle, Prod. DNA Films, UK, 2002).
Dawn of the Dead (Dir. George A. Romero, Prod. Laurel Group, USA, 1978).
Dawn of the Dead (Dir. Zack Snyder, Prod. Strike Entertainment, USA, 2004).
Night of the Living Dead (Dir. George A. Romero, Prod. Image Ten, USA, 1968).
Shaun of the Dead (Dir. Edgar Wright, Prod. Studio Canal, UK, 2004).
Train to Busan (Dir. Yeon Sang-ho, Prod. Next Entertainment World, South Korea, 2016).
World War Z (Dir. Marc Forster, Prod. Plan B, USA, 2013).
Zombi 2 (Dir. Lucio Fulci, Prod. Variety Film, Italy, 1979).
Zombieland (Dir. Ruben Fleischer, Prod. Columbia Pictures, USA, 2009).
Dendle, Peter. ‘Zombie Movies and the “Millennial Generation” in Christie, Deborah, Lauro, Sarah Juliet (ed.) Better Off Dead (New York: Fordham University Press, 2011).
Hervey, Ben. Night of the Living Dead (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008).
Olney, Ian. ‘Our Zombies, Ourselves’ in Zombie Cinema (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2017).
Pinedo, Isabel Cristina, ‘Postmodern Elements of the Contemporary Horror Film’ in Recreational Terror: Women and the Pleasures of Horror Film Viewing (New York: State University of New York Press, 1997).
Roche, David, ‘“That’s Real! That’s What You Want!”: Producing Fear in George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (1978) vs Zack Snyder’s remake (2004)’, Horror Studies (2:1, 2011).
 Ian Olney, ‘Our Zombies, Ourselves’ in Zombie Cinema (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2017),
 David Roche, ‘“That’s Real! That’s What You Want!”: Producing Fear in George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (1978) vs Zack Snyder’s remake (2004)’, Horror Studies (2:1, 2011), p.82.
 Isabel Cristina Pinedo, ‘Postmodern Elements of the Contemporary Horror Film’ in Recreational Terror: Women and the Pleasures of Horror Film Viewing (New York: State University of New York Press, 1997).
How does cinema capture time? How can time capture cinema? What effect does music have in showing the passage of time and forming a new world and narrative? Five years after the release of T2 Trainspotting I am still pleasantly surprised to discover the new and exciting ways that director Danny Boyle manipulates time and uses music to craft a story set two decades after its original that truly displays the effects of time. My video essay aims to answer these questions in relation to T2 Trainspotting through close textual analysis alongside historically informed analysis.
Before the title appears, the video begins with two versions of Iggy Pop’s ‘Lust for Life’, the original and The Prodigy remix, instantly providing viewers with the insight of how sound has changed over the last twenty years, as well as a chance to familiarise themselves with the film’s main theme. The video essay then dives into the ways in which T2 Trainspotting uses its past to create a refreshing and new world for its audiences, rather than use fan service and obvious call-backs as means of enticing viewers, as seen with films such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens. A close reading is applied to the opening scene, with particular focus placed on how time catches up to the main characters and how one can physically see these defects on the actors. Using a Kevin B. Lee desktop-documentary style of editing, I display Liam Gaughan’s quotation of how Boyle uses nostalgia not as a crutch, but as a tool, turning it into a weapon in the form of urgency that is used against the characters. (Gaughan, 2021: 1) Turning to another scene of close analysis, I observe the ‘1690’ scene and how Boyle uses the figures of Nationalists clinging to forgotten history as a means of forming a sense of identity and how the desperate attempt to cling to the past is futile. Beyond this, the Nationalists represent those who voted to ‘Leave’ during the Brexit referendum and Boyle’s stance on Brexit shines through in the way these characters are presented.
A significant portion of the video essay is dedicated to the discussion of freeze frames, and exploring how they literally capture time, something the characters cannot do. The freeze frames go beyond mere stylistic effect and highlight the desire to cling to moments that remind the characters of their past. Another method of preserving time arrives in the form of Boyle dating his film using contemporary technology and politics. Going beyond the realms of cinema, Boyle uses his film as a way to ‘freeze frame’ 2017 with his film. A direct quote from Boyle himself at the South By Southwest Film Festival in 2017 regarding how time can not only be extended or contracted, but can also be stopped and unlocked in cinema demonstrates the malleability of the form and how it can be used to great effect (Renee, 2017: 1).
Turning to music, one can observe how the film uses old and new sounds to reflect the characters’ positions in their lives, with them feeling comfortable in the music they remember and feeling confused and unfamiliar with the more contemporary music. A close look at High Contrast and The Prodigy’s songs reveal a comparison between their original sounds and the music that was chosen for the film, generating a sense of subversion within the film. The numerous stings heard throughout T2 Trainspotting also creates frustration for both the characters and the audience who can only hear edits of what they remember, and only hearing the full song by the end of the film once their journey is complete.
Matching the fast-paced editing of the film and the soft instrumental of Lou Reed’s ‘Perfect Day’ my video essay attempts to emulate the style of the film, while providing an informative and detailed understanding of how Boyle reshapes time and music, while also exploring how the two concepts operate in a realm beyond the screen.
– Leon Syla
Gaughan, Liam. How ‘T2 Trainspotting’ Weaponizes Nostalgia to Become One of the Best Sequels of the 21st Century. Collider. May 25, 2021
‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’ is Banksy’s 2010 entry into documentary filmmaking, and yet another instance of him painting over someone else’s business because the work just had to be seen. The feature is made from many hours of golden footage of the meteoric rise (and arguably the subsequent fall) of the street art movement. A movement wherein artists made colour from a “legal grey” as Banksy himself considers their area of operation. Banksy has us watch as these artists are confronted by police, then watch how confused they are when they are eventually confronted by auctioneers. And as street artists begin to play the role of police in their own art form as soon as those auctioneers are involved.
Banksy has always mixed social criticism with bone dry humour. As he describes in his first book, “graffiti is one of the few tools you have if you have almost nothing. And even if you don’t come up with a picture to cure world poverty you can make someone smile while they’re having a piss.”Exit Through the Gift Shop is his moving picture, enormously entertaining, with a clear attempt to this time critique the commodification of street art and the effect it has had on what art gets appreciated, and how.
This video essay seeks to establish important, somewhat complex context and explore why Banksy may have taken his own art in this direction, and how he chose to critique commodification. But this process is interrupted with the acknowledgement of popular speculation that the film was an elaborate hoax. Rarely does a film elicit this specific reaction, so Exit Through the Gift Shop is worth studying – what ought to be believed? And more easily answerable, how does this ambiguity operate in relation to the critique presented by the film?
This essay attempts to swiftly illustrate in clear audio-visual terms the lessons that can be taken from the documentary; that the ambiguous situation of the documentary, pointed in its critique, draws out a reconfiguration of art criticism – the means by which one assesses truth is not so different from that which assesses value. The unknowing regarding the film’s authenticity has a metatextual purpose. The viewer is placed in a very active position if the joke could well be on them. Only, film has been a game of deception between filmmaker and audience for a long time indeed. Despite its relative uniqueness. Banksy’s film is illuminated (becoming perhaps an essay film) in its (Schrödinger’s) placing in a historic catalogue of docufiction. These types of films “help to expand our understanding of what constitutes a documentary […] by forming a troubled relationship with the real.” For me, they paradoxically draw attention to that which they could be defined as obfuscating – the boundaries of reality.
Additionally, the film is illuminated in its ambiguous situation in that it can inspire more than one distinct and detailed reading simultaneously. And to want to narrow the film to only produce one grounded reading of the facts would be like wanting to make the mystery box nothing more than the box – charmless and shallower.
A consequence of this illustration is being confronted with the awareness (reiterated by Orson Welles) that the map is not the territory and images are treacherous things. That film is not reality and that really all films, all artworks, deceive on some level as constructions. A documentary filmmaker does not record, they interpret. Perhaps a simple truth, but always a freeing, thought-provoking and creatively inspirational reminder.
‘The Reality of Exit Through the Gift Shop’ Complete Reference List
24 Realities per Second, dir. Eva Testor, Nina Kusturica (Deckert, 2005)
Apocalypse Now, dir. Francis Ford Coppola (United Artists, 1979)
Banksy, Banging Your Head Against a Brick Wall (Weapons of Mass Distraction, 2001)
Banksy, Wall and Piece (Vintage, 2005)
banksyfilm, ‘Shredding the Girl and Balloon – The Director’s half cut’, YouTube, 17 Oct 2018, <https://youtu.be/vxkwRNIZgdY> [Accessed 5 February 2023]
Beardsley, Monroe, ‘Critical Evaluation: Reasons and Judgements’ in Aesthetics: problems in the philosophy of criticism (Hackett, 1981)
Blacksmith Scene, dir. William Kennedy Dickson (Edison Manufacturing Company, 1893)
The Blair Witch Project, Adam Wingard, Ben Rock, Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez, Joe Berlinger (Summit Entertainment, 1999)
Zahi Shaked, Israeli tour guide צחי שקד, מורה דרך, ‘Bethlehem and Bankasi – “Rage, Flower Thrower” or “FLower Bomber” by Banksy’, YouTube, 19 Feb 2018, <https://youtu.be/_aSLH9yNOd0> [Accessed 5 February 2023]
Exit Through the Gift Shop, dir. by Banksy (Revolver Entertainment, 2010)
 Banksy, Banging Your Head Against a Brick Wall (2001), p. 5
 Ohad Landesman, ‘Aesthetics of Ambiguity in Docufictions’ in Contemporary Documentary, ed. Daniel Marcus & Selmin Kara (2015), pp. 13
 René Magritte, The Treachery of Images (Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1929)
 Raffaele Donato, ‘Docufictions: An Interview with Martin Scorsese on Documentary Film’ in Film History, Vol. 19, No. 2, Film and Copyright (Indiana University Press, 2007), pp. 199-207
Following Eighth Grade (Bo Burnham), finally making its way over the pond to the UK last week, Josh and I discuss the coming-of-age tale in the latest instalment of the podcast.
We discuss Burnham’s origins as a comedian and what attracted the film to myself, delving into how the film depicts anxiety and social media in the 21st century. Reflecting on how it reflects the contemporary climate insightfully, we go into the nightmarish pool party sequence, as well as the touching relationship between Kayla (Elsie Fisher) and her father (Josh Hamilton).
The use of colour, YouTube and its context within the teen film genre give us plenty to talk about, and Josh even takes the time to explain some internet slang to me.
Salma Zulfiqar is an artist who has worked on women’s rights, human rights and humanitarian issues around the world – with decades of experience working for the United Nations in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. She´s been Birmingham-based for the last few years and I´ve been admiring the projects she´s been involved with, from the Migration blanket installation, to the ARTconnects workshops she´s been offering all over the country and abroad.
The combination of art, activism and community, all with the aim of informing and empowering people, usually migrant or refugee women who are in vulnerable and precarious situations seems amazing to me, and I´m awestruck by the success with which Salma Zulfiqar has constructed and disseminated both the work and the idea across various formats (books, talks, workshops, installations) and in all parts of the city, from Foyle´s, to Grand Central, the Council House and many universities. You can see what Salma has been doing in her own website: http://www.salmazulfiqar.com/
Salma has also participated in the debate on migration in the House of Lords, contributed to policy discussions on migrants and refugees, and been chosen as one of the inspiring Birmingham ´Women Who Dared to Dream´. She is also currently a finalist for the national Asian Women of Achievement Awards 2019. The Migration Blanket installation will be exhibited at the Venice Biennale at The Palazzo Bembo on the 12th of May with an ARTconnects workshop taking place at The Palazzo Rossini.
The ‘Routes to Peace’ project highlights the dangerous journeys the women made when crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach safety in Europe. ‘Routes to Peace? is an event in two parts; a conversation exploring research into the stories of people who have to leave their homeland in search of peace and safety, and a workshop that encourages the audience to explore these stories creatively. A workshop arising from this project will also be held in London on May 21st.
The above are the reasons why I wanted to talk to Salma and they form the basis of the conversation in the podcast below:
Tom graduated with a degree in Film and Literature from the University of Warwick in 2007 and since then has contributed to The Guardian, The Observer, The Financial Times, The Telegraph, Wallpaper, CNN, BBC and other important newspapers and magazines. He was also the digital editor of The British Journal of Photography for several years and has recently become Senior Writer for Creative Review.
The conversation ranges from how he got into writing about photography, the experience of going to and writing about Chernobyl, how he pursued the Çağdaş Erdoğan story, and the changing cultural status of photography as well as the current ecosystem of the medium in London. We end with an extended discussion of the great Don McCullin exhibition currently on at Tate Britain, which we both urge everyone to see.
‘The aim of Alternate Takes is to provide analysis of cinema that is informed by academic debates, but also walks a line between the journalistic review and the critical essay. It publishes long-form essays that embody this ethos, but the most obvious way the site has achieved this compromise position between reviewing and scholarly criticism is by writing about new films twice. First there is a short, evaluative piece that ‘spoils’ as little as possible about a film, but still grants a sense of the sorts of experience it offers; the idea is that this is a review to read before you see a film. Then, after you’ve watched it, you can read our Alternate Take – a longer, more in-depth critical piece, which usually digs more deeply into a particular critical issue that the movie raises. While over the years this dual-review format has become less rigidly enforced, the overall approach it fostered has remained the same, and the site has continued to publish film criticism that is in-depth, critical, mindful of social and artistic contexts, but also accessible and enjoyable.’
The impetus for this conversation with Josh Schulze was merely to find out if there was a new direction he, along with co-editors Matt Denny, Patrick Pilkington and Leanne Weston, wanted for the now celebrated digital platform and what that might be.
In the podcast Josh and I discuss Pauline Kael, cinephilia, the pressures of writing quickly and its effects on film reviewing, the nuances of film criticism and how Alternate Takes is devoted at looking at films and television in depth. We also discuss our admiration for the video essays of Adrian Martin, Catherine Grant and Kogonada, and how contributing to Alternate Takes is a great way for early career people and students to explore their ideas and take new approaches to film.