At the time of their publication, Joanna Baillie‘s dramas were considered to be works of genius in their sustained and powerful fixation on one of the several possible human passions. In their very focus on these intense emotions, however, the plays actually reified the dangers inherent in the extremes of human passion. In other words, by fixing her attention on the passions, Baillie revealed that the emotions she was supposedly focused on often masked other, even more powerful desires. Thus, in Orra fear is the result of the heroines hatred of male dominance, while in De Monfort hatred is shown to be the symptom of incestuous love. But what has not been noticed about Baillie‘s plays is their almost obsessive interest in dead, abjected male bodies. Both plays present a very gothic vision of the indestructible patriarchy, an uncanny phallic power that cannot die, that persistently resurrects and feeds on itself or the legends that it has constructed.
This article traces how the queer Black writer James Baldwin’s transnational palate and experiences influenced the ways he wrote about Black domestic spaces in the late twentieth century. In the 1960s and 1970s, while Black feminist cooks and writers like Edna Lewis, Jessica B. Harris, and Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor developed new theories of soul food in relation to the Black American community and broader American cuisine, Baldwin incorporated these philosophies and transnational tastes into his lifestyle and works. He traveled and worked around Europe, settling in places like Paris, Istanbul, and Saint-Paul de Vence for years at a time. In Saint-Paul de Vence, where he spent his last years, he set up his own welcome table, at which he hosted internationally renowned guests and shared his love of cuisine. Inevitably, Baldwin’s passion for cooking and hosting meals became a large, though scholarly neglected, component of his novels and essays. In his novels Another Country, which he finished in Istanbul and published in 1962, and Just Above My Head, which he finished in Saint-Paul de Vence and published in 1979, Baldwin’s depictions of food and Black kitchens take a queer turn. Instead of lingering on traditional Black family structures, these texts specifically present new formulations of intimate home life and reimagine relationships between food, kitchens, race, and sex in the late twentieth century.
Brian McFarlane’s The never-ending Brief Encounter is above all a book intended for those who have seen and never forgotten the famous 1945 film in which two decent, middle-class people meet by chance, unexpectedly fall in love, but in the end acknowledge the claims of others. The book grew out of an article, the writing of which revealed that there was so much more to the after-life of the film than the author had realised. This book examines David Lean’s film in sufficient detail to bring its key situations vividly to life, and to give an understanding of how it reworks Nöel Coward’s somewhat static one-act play to profound effect. It also examines the ways in which the ‘comic relief’ is made to work towards the poignant ending. However, the main purpose of the book is to consider the remarkable after-life the film has given rise to. The most specific examples of this phenomenon are, of course, the appalling film remake with its miscast stars, and the later stage versions – both bearing the original title and attracting well-known players and positive audience and critical response – and an opera! As well, there are films and TV series which have ‘quoted’ the film (usually via black-and-white inserts) as commentary on the action of the film or series. There are many other films that, without direct quotation, seem clearly to be echoing their famous predecessor; for example, in the haunting visual quality of a deserted railway platform.
There is also a substantial portion of hooey in it. (Hinson 1988 ) Gibson has not made a movie that anyone would call ‘commercial’, and if it grosses millions, that will not be because anyone was entertained. It is a personal message movie of the most radical kind, attempting to re-create events of personal urgency to Gibson. ( Ebert 2004) When Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ ( 1988 ) premiered, it was met by protests, boycotts and even fire-bombings in Paris theatres that showed the film, yet when Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the
The Passion of the Christ ( 2004 ) and Hail, Caesar! ( 2016 ) present us with two very different twenty-first-century approaches to American cinematic representations of what the latter film intriguingly refers to as ‘the godhead’. More specifically, these films adopt strikingly divergent positions in relation to representations of Christ. They are, of course, films that emerged from dissimilar contexts. The Passion of the Christ was a labour of love and faith, personally funded by director Mel Gibson, which became a major box office success. Hail, Caesar
had included such epic-scale productions as The Robe (1953) and Cleopatra (1963) for Burton, The Pride and the Passion (1957) and El Cid (1961) for Loren. This is not to suggest that actors can’t and shouldn’t display versatility, but the kinds of baggage filmgoers might bring to bear on any new film starring such hugely known figures might well make it hard to accept them as an ‘ordinary’ couple. And this certainly proved to be the case. The point most relevant to this study is that major stars wanted to take on what Burton
The performances that have made the most impression on me, that have the deepest effect – when I narrowed it down to three out of the many – I realised are all those of character actresses. Judy Holliday in Born Yesterday , Giulietta Masina in La Strada and Maggie Smith in The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne. In each what inspires me is their skill coupled with a presence, and by that I don
Minimalism Mouchette (1967) and Le Journal d’un curé de campagne (1951) are returns to an ancient story, the Passion of Christ. In that story, as in Bresson’s two films, there are similar elements: chance (a series of encounters none of which are particularly connected, but all of which lead to a predestined end); predestination (though the paths to a final end are matters of chance and coincidence, the end itself is predetermined); freedom (the characters embrace their fate freely, not mere acceptance but an active embrace as understanding and thereby
way compensate for lack of real passion or concern’. 5 Even the complimentary quote from Alexander Walker that heads this chapter talks of ‘impersonal craftsmanship’: admittedly, it is coupled with ‘incisiveness’ and Walker is contrasting such craftsmanship favourably with modern, modish self-indulgence, but there is still the ghost of an impression of a reticent stylist who is typically and predictably English in the
and idiots and failures and creeps. But we’re called to the divine, we’re called to be better than our nature would have us be. And those big realms that are warring and battling are going to manifest themselves very clearly, seemingly without reason, here – a realm that we can see. And you stick your head up and you get knocked. (Gibson quoted in Boyer 2003 ) Mel Gibson’s emotional commentary on the significance of his biblical epic, the self-financed The Passion of the Christ ( 2004 ), followed on the heels of a major public controversy that saw numerous