A video essay exploring the frequency and meaning of that particular prop in a wide variety of Sirk movies. Is it a device that traps and keeps women in an artificial world with a limited point of view? Or is it a gateway to the past and the future, and a distorted but nevertheless real vision of the roles that woman are forced to play in society? It’s an exploration of the texts and subtexts of commercial films and the subterranean and complicated ways that they affect us and can be read. Continue reading Mark Rappaport – The Vanity Tables of Douglas Sirk (2015)
Stars of the 1940s and 1950s, were they cast for their mutual affinities or for their commercial appeal? If and when they were re-starred years later, did the magic still work? Did sparks still fly? The movie business, a machine that manufactured romance and desire at the same time that it documented the process of aging. A meditation on youth and beauty, aging and box office. Continue reading Mark Rappaport – Our Stars (2015)
Documentary essay about actor John Garfield. A rebel, but also sexy and Jewish. Discusses his work in film and theater, as well as his appearance before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Continue reading Mark Rappaport – John Garfield (2002)
As in his Rock Hudson’s Home Movies, Mark Rappaport offers a trenchant piece of film criticism, revisionist history, and social commentary in the form of a movie star’s fictionalized autobiography–specifically Jean Seberg (Mary Beth Hurt) speaking from beyond the grave about her life and career, as well as the careers of Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave, who, like Seberg, have also been associated with radical politics. Rappaport is a highly entertaining raconteur as he speaks through his title character, always justifying his many digressions on such subjects as movies about Joan of Arc, close-ups, expressionless actors, film directors who depict their actress-wives as whores, the Vietnam war, the FBI, and the Black Panthers; he also has a rather chilling story to tell–not only about Seberg but also about what her audience did and didn’t see in her films from the 50s, 60s, and 70s, including Saint Joan, Bonjour Tristesse, Breathless, Lilith, and Paint Your Wagon. Essential viewing.
Jonathan Rosenbaum Continue reading Mark Rappaport – From the Journals of Jean Seberg (1995)