The Safdie Brothers, Josh and Benny, exploded onto the indie scene in 2017 with their equally explosive film Good Time. More recently, their 2019 release Uncut Gems has introduced the brothers’ work to a much wider audience, even prompting outrage when the film was seemingly snubbed by the Academy. It may look as if they appeared from nowhere but the Safdie’s have been making films for over 10 years and in those years they have created a signature style. With only 4 features under their belt, their style has become highly recognisable and undeniable. Their films have been described as “tense”, “relentless”, “stressful”, and “anxiety-inducing”. Often, this is meant as the highest compliment as there are few filmmakers who can insight a reaction like this, especially in the mainstream which the Safdies, post-Uncut Gems, seem to be breaking in to. But what makes these films so stressful? Well, if you break it down, pretty much everything. From story to characters to filmmaking techniques, everything seen, heard, and done on screen serves to make the audience feel like they are having a collective heart attack. …

Charlie Kaufman is a fascinating writer. He is the name in screenwriting. Critics, for the most part, praise his films to no end. Even though the box office never seems to match up, cinephiles everywhere watch his films obsessively. And that’s just it, they are his films. No matter what director he works with, people talk about them as Kaufman films. This is pretty much unheard of, I can’t think of another writer that would be given this much credit. Maybe Aaron Sorkin, but if someone told you they loved The Social Network, even though the dialogue is so very Sorkin-esque, you would probably be more inclined to recommend another Fincher film to them as their next watch. In fact, when I was 16 and first getting into movies properly and I was speaking to a film-fan friend of mine about Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the first Kaufman film I had ever seen, he immediately asked if I had ever seen Synecdoche, New York. Not Be Kind, Rewind or any of Michel Gondry’s films. But Kaufman’s. In fact, he wrote a list of Kaufman’s films on the notes in my phone and told me to watch them all. So over the next few weeks, that was exactly what I did. And I was hooked. Since, at least one of Kaufman’s films is always in my top 5. I think this emphasis on Charlie Kaufman as a writer comes from the kind of stories he tells. I had the pleasure of attending the talk Charlie Kaufman held at Dublin Film Festival this year, just a week before the coronavirus forced us into lockdown. When asked for his best screenwriting advice, Kaufman replied “Try to be truthful”. Coming from any other writer this may not be as striking a statement, “write what you know” is pretty much the first thing any writer is ever told to do. It’s the standard. But coming from the man who wrote Being John Malkovich I think it has a different meaning. …

An Introduction

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Often cited as the voice of his generation, Bob Dylan is one of the most iconic names in modern music history. He began his career singing folk music in the early 60s and, after a highly controversial and contested move to the electric guitar in 1965, became a legend of the rock world too. Dylan has inspired people since the early days of his career and he continues to do so today. But Bob Dylan is not a real person. Bob Dylan is a carefully, and cleverly, constructed identity. A modern folk legend, a tall tale crafted by someone who has now won a Nobel prize for Literature. As The Academy (who award the Nobel prize) put it “Dylan has the status of an icon. His influence on contemporary music is profound, and he is the object of a steady stream of secondary literature.” An icon; “a physical resemblance to the signified, the thing being represented.” That might just be the perfect way to describe Dylan, an icon. …


Aisling Kane

A Film & Media student writing about Film and Media

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