“America is not a young land: it is old and dirty and evil before the settlers, before the Indians. The evil is there waiting.”

— William S. Burroughs

The Devil All The Time ends with the main character, Arvin, imagining himself going to Vietnam to fight, not because he wants to, but because he’s good at it. Having spent most of his young life trying to escape the circle of absurd violence that grips him and his world, he goes on to embrace a violence from within an organized and military frame, simply because it’s the only thing he knows…


Doha, Qatar

2019

A digitized desert. I sit in my apartment, eyes fixed on my phone screen, typing in a message to a friend in Paris. In the background my 60 inch TV simultaneously beams a live NBA game from thousands of miles away. I glide effortlessly between both screens, one upright in my hand, the other horizontal before me.


Psycho (1960), the film that ushered in the 1960s, and Easy Rider (1969), the film that turned the lights out on it, might as well be millennia apart in most direct aspects: stylistically, narratively, socially, and politically. Both films seem to be made in completely different and inverted Americas (Psycho in an America still in the grips of 1950s conservatism and paranoia, Easy Rider in an America in the midst of a countercultural upheaval and a drug infused social and sexual revolution). They do however, share key attributes that closely link them together in several profound aspects.


Mandatory Second Viewing

I emerged from my first viewing of Tenet puzzled, dazed, and with more gaps in my understanding of the story than I’d care to admit. Yet, even as I walked out of the theater (my first post-Covid trip to the cinema), I was already planning my next viewing. With the benefit of retrospect and hindsight, the second watch was a lot more fruitful and I was able to get a firm grip on the still awe inspiring and jaw-droppingly intricate storyline. …


On the surface of it, Where Is The Friend’s House (1987) is a seemingly realist film that adheres to its realism throughout. However, as the film advances, Kiarostami ever so subtly and masterfully inserts small gestures of magical realism and fairy tale that profoundly affect the film’s narrative and elevate it to a dream-like level.

The film opens with a shot of a school room’s flapping door, later we will see that it has trouble staying closed as if possessed by a gently disruptive invisible force. Children in this film are condescended upon and bossed around by their adult supervisors…


I’m Thinking of Ending Things (2020) is a fascinating piece of Cinema (yes it’s cinema even if we’re seeing it on a TV or computer screen!) projected straight from the dark twists and turns of the one and only Charlie Kaufman’s brilliant brain. Drawing from a multitude of cultural and psychological references, tangled up within one strange mind, I’m Thinking of Ending Things evokes a vast spectrum of comparative images and textual parallels with a number of other films new and old.

More Lost Highway Than Lost Highway?

Ghayyan Al Amine

Filmmaker, Photographer, and Writer posting my musings on cinema, culture, and arts. @dark_globe_photography on Instagram 📷

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