Selective Viewing

An exploration of film, video and other media by Kate Blair

Tag: contemporary film

Review – Abuse of Weakness (Dir. Catherine Breillat, 2014)

Catherine Breillat’s newest film, Abuse of Weakness (2014), is pleasantly bizarre, and you never quite know what’s going to happen next. However, if you’re familiar with Breillat’s repertoire, you suspect the worst. This is all especially fascinating given the narrative is based on Breillat’s true life experience. Truth truly is stranger than fiction.

Kool Shen and Isabelle Huppert in Abuse of Weakness

The story is as follows: Filmmaker Maude (Isabelle Huppert) undergoes a stroke that effects the left half of her body. Afterwards, she sets out to resume her life.  Read the rest of this entry »

Intricacies of Infection:

Brandon Cronenberg’s Antiviral and Shane Carruth’s Upstream Color 


Caleb Landry Jones as Syd March, employee at the Lucas Clinic, and obsessed fan

Infection in a digital age

I happened to watch two movies streaming on Netflix over the last couple of days, and they shared an interesting  preoccupation with infection. Funnily enough, I have never encountered anything about either of these movies when I wasn’t online (granted, I’m not lucky enough to be able to attend many film festivals, or have access to a New York Times subscription). It seems to me that both achieved a sort of grassroots popularity through sites like Tumblr. In a way, that kind of digital connectivity is at the root of the body horror that is the focus of both films. Even in this new digital age, the visceral, organic nature of the human body is a horror that technology still cannot transcend. The body eventually revolts and falls apart. Therefore, that great modernist preoccupation is still very much with us—no matter what social technology intervenes, we still worry about what it truly means to connect with the people around us, and whether that is ever truly possible. Cronenberg and Carruth engage with this contemporary zeitgeist by contrasting intense, visceral images of the human body, against the mores of social and emotional attachment. Read the rest of this entry »