Lamblyoptic: Blog en-us (C) Lamblyoptic (Lamblyoptic) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:32:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:32:00 GMT Lamblyoptic: Blog 80 120 ISSUE 1: Vol. 2. PhiloCineSophia - Sexual Metaphysics in contemporary and repertory illustrations  




Outside the strivings of social scientists, historians, and Romantics on the one hand, and analytic-cognitivist philosophy and its many “hail, science!” secularists on the other, an alternative approach developed within the world of academic philosophy and film theorization. Film-philosophy proposes that both “philosophy and film engage with problems – specifically, scepticism and nihilism – that cut across cultural, aesthetic, and ethico-political domains.” (102)

For Stanley Cavell, “the experience of film affords us a way of contending with scepticism [the view that we can have no certain knowledge of the world; that we remain metaphysically isolated from reality/Being]... thereby helping restore meaning in a culture that still struggles with philosophy’s disenfranchisement of the ordinary. [Film] literally (cinematically) stages this ‘sceptical’ concern. The mystery of film is how it can present a visual world of movement and time that captures aspects of our experience of reality but which also remains intriguingly distinct and separate from it; a world that is present to me, that I perceive and experience, but from which I am absent and disconnected.” (103)

Queue nihilism. “...this image-world is nonetheless meaningful; a restoring of the sundered link with the world that has been lost in modernity.” (103) Whatever meaning we cannot find in our own lives, however unlikely it seems that our alienated, individualized, institutionalized existence could have meaning, we engage with the movies because we deeply desire to suspend our disbelief. If only for a couple of hours or – with the contemporary renaissance of substantial television – many, many hours. We seek escape from nihilism by giving our skeptical minds a break.

Philosophy has come to a moment where it could not be regarded any more contemptuously by ordinary people, and is simultaneously snubbed by intellectuals on the basis of the epistemological superiority of scientific rigor. Philosophy has become the helpmeet of the so-called “hard” sciences. “Modern philosophy has, of course, tried to vanquish scepticism by showing that objective knowledge is possible (mathematics, logic, science); that we can attain certainty about ourselves and the world in some respects, but that such claims always remain open to sceptical doubt.” (103)

The experience of film literally transcends the capabilities of philosophy and engages with human consciousness in ways that philosophy cannot. “[Stanley Cavell and Gilles Deleuze] argue that philosophy cannot merely be ‘applied’ to film as its object; rather, film and philosophy enter into a transformative relationship that opens up new ways of thinking.” (102) Consciousness itself is unfolding in front of our eyes. The whole of the audience, the whole of the “artworld” engaged in the medium of film - which would be nearly everyone on the planet – now has a seat at the metaphysical table.


Film isn’t fully appreciated without a love of wisdom, and without film, philosophy is dead, and without art, there is no science nor outlet for our suffering, and without an understanding of our suffering, we cannot grow as a species. Through this process we come to know ourselves. If the Pistis Sophia, through its metaphor or prophecy or what have you, points to the reality of an evolved sexual metaphysics, we may be on the verge of something new.



As in the case of Greek words for knowledge, Greek is host to many different words for different kinds of love. Romantic love (eros) was usually regarded as antithetical to knowledge, which was carried even into mystical, aescetic circles, but certainly embraced by what became of philosophy and its religious affiliates in the West following the Christianization of Rome and resulting orthodoxies. Greek brotherly love, philia, became the pretext of how wisdom could be responsibly considered. Contemporary fraternal organizations of influence come to mind. Meanwhile, “The tone and ethos of men’s house culture is sadistic, power-oriented, and latently homosexual, frequently narcissistic in its energy and motives.” (Millett, 50) Note also that “brotherly” denotes the absence of feminine participation. She is an object to be studied, in secret, while paying public obeisance to the Father.

Orthodoxy’s powerful character is shared on both seemingly opposing ends of the secular-religious spectrum in ways that are curiously conspicuous. Like religious orthodoxy, secular orthodoxy deifies the Rational Mind. This type of mind, or the kind of thinking made possible by the kind of bodies we have, is the only reliable authority in the pursuit of knowledge. One also finds evidence of this dominance/submission dynamic in religious orthodoxy, which makes frequent allusions to the Will of God. This approach flows from streams that are both authoritative (Descartes, Newton, Hobbes, Kant) and authoritarian. It’s motivating principle is to know in order to control; but not to control the source that gives it power. No. To put itself in a useful relationship with the power in order to control, or at very least influence others.

These are patriarchal worlds embodying patriarchal values, most especially threatened by all that is contained in Gnosis and its practitioners.

Secular heresy questions the primacy of the ideological authority of rationalistic paradigms. These objections are generally regarded as infantile/immature/naïve by the orthodox. Religious heresy consists also of questioning hierarchy and the authoritative canon, inroads toward (or hearkenings to prior) feminine political/religious influence,  as well as crossing class boundaries and questioning one’s assigned or expected social role in the wider society. Gnostic questioning of the authority of the rulers – by way of one’s personal, inner, intimate experience with a divine entity that supersedes the Yahweh/Jehovah/Fatherly force – is mirrored in the questioning concerning the implications of quantum mechanical experimentation, especially that regarding the nature of light, on the possibility of objective knowledge. For Gnostics, secular certainty is not the goal.





That which addresses the most fundamental mysteries of reality occurs through the contemplation of metaphysics - consciously and subconsciously. Reality can be both orderly and chaotic, material and immaterial. Whether this dialogue occurs between mind and word, spirit and film, body and mind, or mind and spirit (etc.) depends on the circumstances of the prescribed conversation. What is most real is most radical. Nothing in our lives is more radical than gender’s material and psychic manifestations, and you can see it in the movies.

According to Leonard Shlain, our society is currently recovering from millennia of imbalance between masculine and feminine energies wrought by articulation of our left-brained, analytical, causal, linear capacities that are, he argues, derived from our species most innovative invention of literacy. With the advent of cinema, the reliance on the page slowly gave way to a broad and complementary literacy provided on the screen. Images, processed primarily in the integrative right brain, began to multiply.

Sex is here considered both in an embodied sense of the act itself and with regard to the psychic, categorical splits between masculine and feminine. “Coitus can scarcely be said to take place in a vacuum; although of itself it appears a biological and physical activity, it is set so deeply within the larger context of human affairs that it serves as a charges microcosm of the varieties of attitudes and values to which a culture subscribes.” (Millett, 23) Sex manifests the qualities and valuations of the collective unconscious as halves of a dynamic whole.

Philocinesophic films test significant boundaries of the viewer. They engage philosophically via the medium of film, and have as their prime directive the conflict of material vs immaterial in the quest to unite soul and spirit. These can be boundaries set between bodies and the world they inhabit - but give us, also, a glimpse of the world that inhabits them. This can be the interior world of the characters, the personal, subjective world we bring with us into the theater, the culture at large (collective consciousness) or the collective unconscious (theories propelling our assumed metaphysics).

The reason metaphysics is argued here is that between characters there is a continuity of collective consciousness. In each case, the feminine protagonist struggles with her own wisdom, material and psychological, and reckons with its blind spots, inaccuracies, and repressions. In each case, the psyche/pneuma conflicts within each of the individual storylines hearkens to the Sophia myth of wisdom, falling into darkness, and resulting metanoia. In each case, she seeks some compromise with her interior world and the exterior world which is essentially hostile to her mental life and attempts to force her submission to the powers that be.

In these films are depictions that question our most fundamental failures and strivings: secular vs religious value, truth vs falsehood, and the relationship of masculine and feminine “modes” of power, be it physical or metaphysical. These films are the sine qua non of human inquiry into what knowledge qualifies as wisdom, and deficiencies wisdom has had and continues to struggle with.










Possessed, Puzzle of a Downfall Child, Belladonna of Sadness, House




Denoument: The Outsider, The Lighthouse



Who is the boogeyman? How does man-kind reclaim a positive masculine identity for himself?




(Lamblyoptic) alamo drafthouse alamo drafthouse raleigh amblyopix art house art therapy barry primus belladonna of sadness Carole Eastman carolina theatre carolina theatre of durham cinema cinema overdrive cinephilia cinesophia clarence brown clark gable criticism duke university durham nc Eiichi Yamamoto faye dunaway film philosophy film review gnosticism house 1977 Jerry Schatzberg joan crawford kate millett lamblyoptic martyrdom movie reviews moviediva nc Nobuhiko Obayashi philocinesophia philosophy possessed 1931 puzzle of a downfall child raleigh religion and sexism retro film series roy schneider rubenstein center screen society sex in religion sexual metaphysics sexual politics society of friends sophia triangle film Sat, 08 Feb 2020 00:30:00 GMT
ISSUE 1: PhiloCineSophia - Sexual Metaphysics through contemporary and repertory illustrations


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When you make the two one,
and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside,
and the above like the below,
and when you make the male and the female one and the same,
so that the male not be male nor the female female;
and when you fashion eyes in the place of an eye,
and a hand in place of a hand,
and a foot in place of a foot,
and a likeness in place of a likeness;
then will you enter the kingdom.


Peaces of Sophia

Peaces of SophiaPeaces of SophiaWisdom is trying to talk to me but I am nowhere to be found. To Find Doubt, Look UpTo Find Doubt, Look UpHow much of any interior world gains the status of reality?

The First Repentance:



"O Light of lights, in whom I have had faith from the beginning,
hearken now then, O Light, unto my repentance.
Save me, O Light, for evil thoughts have entered into me.

I gazed, O Light, into the lower parts and saw there a light. thinking:
I will go to that region, in order that I may take that light.
And I went and found myself in the darkness which is in the chaos below, and I could no more speed thence and go to my region, for I was sore pressed by all the emanations of Self-willed, and the lion-faced power took away my light in me."

"My power looked forth from the midst of the chaos and from the midst of the darkness, and I waited for my pair, that he should come and fight for me, and he came not, and I looked that he should come and lend me power, and I found him not.


And when I sought the light, they gave me darkness; and when I sought my power, they gave me matter."






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“The way of ascent is the way of descent.” The Three Steles of Seth

Glossary of terms, characters, and concepts



Acquaintance with God
In contrast to Agnosis (ignorance of God)
Gnostics support their belief in divinity by claiming direct experience with it.

God, for the Gnostic, is a “replication of characters at different levels of reality" which "plays out the gnostic concept of emanation, the process by which the single ultimate principle of all being, the Invisible Spirit, unfolds into an Entirety that consists of multiple aeons and yet is simultaneously nothing more than the Invisible Spirit itself." (Brakke, Pseudonymity, 203) The Gnostic believes in the existence of God as a direct result of their own knowledge/understanding/experience.

"The gap between self and not-self may provide the space in which knowledge of self and other, gnosis, may take place.” (Brakke, Pseudonymity, 196)

“Moreover, some gnostic works invite their readers or hearers to add their voices or, better, to participate in the work’s pseudonymity by giving voice to speakers within the work.” (Brakke, Pseudonymity, 197)


HDM_13_TITLE-5worldsHis Dark Materials - Title Sequence (dutch)


  1. EPISTEME - derivative knowledge, knowledge by way of reason/measurement

  2. GNOSIS - familiar knowledge, knowledge by way of personal experience

There are three Greek words for knowledge. In English, as in the academic study of philosophy, knowledge is generally attributed to epistemological pursuits (episteme).

This mirrors current conceptions of useful, functional, utility, technically-based knowledge (STEM) with almost any other possible form of knowledge. This would be characteristic of a rationalist position.

Practitioners of "hard" knowledge generally ally themselves with a static and unaffected observer, and simultanously depend on a sharp division, inherited in the Western philosophical tradition (wisdom) and by its creation (science), between subject/object, subjective/objective, and observer/observed.


Gnosis, on the other hand, requires not unaffected objectivity but rather deeply held personal experience that is accessible via a unifying principle between self and other.


HDM_05_ScholasticSanctuaryHis Dark Materials - S01E01Scholastic Sanctuary is a tenuous ideological freedom offered by the authoritarian religious institution, the Magisterium, that rules the world of His Dark Materials. Illegitimate Lyra is raised, therefore, at Oxford.


Influences include Platonism/NeoPlatonism/Hellenistic thought, Jewish mystical tradition, Christian mysticism, and Hermetic philosophy.

Religious and philosophical movement, broad in scope, generally practiced between the beginnings of the Common Era and 400 CE. Born from a hybridization of many strains of thought present in the cosmopolitan "cradle of civilization" - Upper Egypt, Sumeria, Greece, Syria, throughout the Roman empire and beyond.

For centuries, heresiologists were the primary source material for what was known of the lost Gnostic religion. This changed beginning in the 1770's with the discovery of the Askew codex containing the Pistis Sophia, and later discoveries in Upper Egypt in the 1890's.

The trickled stream of primary Gnostic sources spilled like a broken dam with the discovery of 13 Gnostic codices (books) in Nag Hammadi, near Alexandria, Egypt, months after the bomb was first dropped in 1945.

(our quarry)

The concept of Wisdom personified, frequently appearing in Gnostic literature.

Sophia is the 13th and final "emanation" of the divine

The divine, full and complete and totally unified, exists and does not exist. It is a concept well beyond mortal fathoms.

This concept, as a monad, is essentially androgynous.

In an effort to Know the Highest reality, she makes the mistake that causes the creation of the world by way of Ialdabaoth., seeking to Know without the consent of her syzygy (consort, balance, equal; masculine principle).

bs - sadnessbs - sadness

"But all the material emanations of Self-willed surrounded her, and the great lion-faced light-power
devoured all the light-powers in Sophia and cleaned out her light and devoured it,
and her matter was thrust into the chaos; it became a lion-faced ruler in the chaos,
of which one half is fire and the other darkness,--that is Yaldabaōth,
of whom I have spoken unto you many times." (Chapter 31)




Characterized as the Demiurge; literally, builder. An ignorant, false, but nonetheless "real" GOD. In the literature, His form is lion-faced with the body of a serpent.

God of the Old Testament (Yahweh, Elohim, Jehovah, etc).

Creator of a flawed world, his narcissism derives from ignorance - of Sophia, the Aeons, the Pleroma/Heaven, etc.. His ego and its various manifestations are sourced by his insecurity. "Thou shalt have no other gods" assumes the possibility of the existence of something outside itself, possibly betraying a fear of his creation's potential to surpass him.

This concept made the Gnostics especially susceptible to ire from their critics.


Balancing Aeons. Syzygys are generally archetypical powers that are formed by two halves of a complete concept uniting into an entire principle.

In some Gnostic circles, Y'Shua/Jesus of Nazareth/the God-son is the syzygy of Sophia. Gross, right? That's like...his grandmother.

But it doesn't quite work that way, since for the Gnostic and according to the words of the man here described, he ascended beyond the realm of the Archons and Aeons, beyond the creations of Ialdabaoth, and raised Sophia from her state of oppression.

This would be representative of the syzygy of Logos and Wisdom.

P - bedP - bed


12 powers (plus Sophia, the thirteenth) that characterize the divisions created after the monadic principle first divided itself.

Possibly related to other 12-point iterations, specifically those relevant to measurements of time and space. 12 months, 12 signs in the Western zodiac, 12 attributed disciples of the Logos/Jesus, 12 inches in a foot...



PDC - redPDC - red


The ability of consciousness not to consider all information presented as either fact or fiction. A removal of skeptical functions. Useful when watching movies, unfortunate when dealing with Archons, Aeons, and associated representatives.


(gnosis series)

Do not tell lies, and do not do what you hate,
for all things are plain in the sight of heaven.
For nothing hidden will not become manifest,
and nothing covered will remain without being uncovered.

Logion 6, Gospel of Thomas, Lambdin translation

Gnosis-series-Christian-WeaknessGNOSIS series - Christian WeaknessRips in clothing reflect rips in consciousness as the Feminine struggles for recognition in the Divine

It’s so easy to see ourselves as villains or as victims. We are both. With your feet on the ground, can you feel it rise up to meet you?

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In This Issue:

Television Renaissance






Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh, Cinema Overdrive, MovieDiva, Carolina Theatre of Durham, Retro Film Series, AnimeMagic

POSSESSED (dir. Brown, 1931. MGM)

PUZZLE OF A DOWNFALL CHILD (dir. Schatzberg, 1970)

BELLADONNA OF SADNESS (dir. Yamamoto, 1973)

HOUSE (dir. Obayashi, 1977



In the latter half of December 2019 and January of 2020 I experienced an onslaught of dynamic and tumultuous events.

First was the final division between myself and my father.



I found ways to embrace a strand of light that twisted itself around to accommodate collapses in my spine. Accommodations made for the needs of others nearly destroyed me over and over again. Still alive, I sought ways to cope. Peace rather than punishment was my quarry. I grounded myself and stood tall, seeking the silence that only peace can bring.

A voice answered outside of my reverie as I reflected on my pangs of want and the road that did not open to meet them. “We cannot always have what we want.”

“Do you think I wanted to be silent for 1600 years? Do you think I wanted my name to be used to justify cruelty? You have what you need, so heal and help me.”

I thought maybe he would have left me for good. Our father, who arts a heaven, the builder of the world, a kingdom. A lowly daughter returned to be with her family. Our father.

God Told Me To had started 13 hours away.

I had not created myself, but I certainly had chosen my heresy over the comfort of tradition. Heresy that spoke to me of the ultimate freedom.

He couldn’t know just how dearly I’d desired to throw it all away to have a consort I wanted in this world.

To submit to the Father-power.

This was not meant to be.


Ah. Knowledge. Good and evil. Life.

HDM_20_KnowingLyraHDM_20_KnowingLyra HDM_21_ImAGodHDM_21_ImAGod


Free, I finally had the tools to question the will and wisdom of the Father calmly, without pathos, with concerns about consciousness and care that pushed Our Father past his extant limits.






Second, "nature took its course" with regard to both my understanding of God and my understanding of myself in relation to Father, God, and - well, Him.




I entered in into the thirteenth æon and found Pistis Sophia below the thirteenth æon all alone and no one of them with her.

And she sat in that region grieving and mourning, because she had not been admitted into the thirteenth æon, her higher region.

And she was moreover grieving because of the torments which Self-willed, who is one of the three triple-powers, had inflicted on her.

But this,--when I shall come to speak with you respecting their expansion, I will tell you the mystery, how this befell her. (Chapter 29)


For my part, I loved it.

My ardor comes specifically from the continuation of the Rey/Ren dynamic established in the earlier Last Jedi. It's fair for the pharisees and scribes tasked with preserving the nostalgia of earlier Star Wars generations to object. For my part, the dynamic illustrated in extremes of the force, dark and light, can't help but tease my historical preference for impossible romances.

She must prove her worth. He has given up on meaning and goodness. Despite the connections between their minds, each seeks submission of the Other by way of a light vs dark compromise. She wants Ren/Ben to realize his latent Jedi potentials; He wants to destroy everything, except the tangible power that he could gain from her acquiescence.

It takes His end before He can see the Truth.

The core of the conflict light vs dark is redemptive and a hopeful fantasy for every woman who thought she was dealing with someone who hadn't fully resigned himself to the dark side.

Rise of Skywalker not playing by the rules of the Star Wars game. This is what I learned from my Star Wars nerd friends who deigned to give me their perspective, thorough as it was. For obsessives of the franchise, I don't recommend it based on their account.

Image result for kylo ren


I love everything. That's why I fall.


The Fall of Sophia

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"When then this befell, Sophia became very greatly exhausted, and that lion-faced light-power set to work to take away from Sophia all her light-powers, and all the material powers of Self-willed surrounded Sophia at the same time and pressed her sore." (Chapter 31)

p - heldp - held


We should find it curious that, with the passage of time, the depiction becomes less and less sympathetic to a happy ending for our Sophia.
('31, '70, '73)

In Possessed, Puzzle of a Downfall Child, and Belladonna of Sadness, the feminine heroine, Sophia's representative, struggles through the trauma of divestment from what is good, heavenly, God, confronts the mistakes of her creation, and appeals to the audience's capacity for wisdom, compassion, and gnosis. Her investment in each case is how the realities or truths of the world have weighed on her, and charts her response to the unforgiving, static nature of sovereignty in the world in which she finds herself.

Whether the Authority is class and status, purity and the church, or power and sensuality, she pursues gnosis as a way of escaping the laws established to keep her "in her place" with mixed results. belladonna-yoursoulwasscreamingbelladonna-yoursoulwasscreaming






Sexual Metaphysics through contemporary and repertory film illustrations


Am I My Own Shadow Or Did Something Else Create Me?Am I My Own Shadow Or Did Something Else Create Me?Where does the light come from? How can it be real when it decides to express itself based on our own devices for measure?



Corrine Botz’s Bedside Manner screened as part of Duke’s Screen/Society programming on January 30th, 2020. Not only did this film feature a consortium of mirrors, two-way and beyond, but it touched on many themes relevant for this discussion of metaphysics (if not sex, but they may arguably be one and the same).

As a special bonus, subject of the film and current associate professor of neurology at Harvard’s medical school, Alice Flaherty, joined Corrine in attendance. They hosted a lively discussion following the screening. In reference to the acting of standardized patients, to paraphrase Dr. Flaherty,  “just because something’s not real doesn’t mean it doesn’t point to something that is real.” It’s a wonderful surreal short and I hope it’s accessible somehow.
In any case, none of what is contained here is “real.”

I can say this with “authority” only because I’ve been to reality before. If only for brief moments at a time, but nonetheless quite real in a way that defies the skeptical and nullifies the nihilistic. There are things about reality that can only be seen in visions. Meaning can be contained in things that did happen; and in things that you perceived at one angle, but you couldn’t see them from another;  and in things that only happened on the screen; and in you, and me, and all the starlets inbetween.

In the following prose, with the assistance of cinematic illustrations and significant theorists and scholars, I’ll be ferrying you down a river dense with controversy. Our objective is to ask the most fundamental questions of our present moment: how cinema and philosophy have led us into the temptation of sexual metaphysics. I hope I can help guide your psyche and pneuma together on the difficult path between unfamiliarity and familiarity, order and chaos, to our destination in wisdom’s territories. You can know.

This is my best attempt at the truth.

BS - black bgBS - black bg




Different kinds of knowledge, different kinds of love

My first repentance

This might be a little dry for some.

Lots of philosophy struck me that way while I studied it. But I loved it. I loved, and still love, wisdom. I can't get enough of it. And there are so many who have sought and found wisdom, and like a puzzle slowly coming together contributed what they could to the topic. This idea that integrates knowledge, morality, being, purpose, and whatever extends beyond the boundaries of our bodies to a unified whole. Is philosophy still the love of Wisdom? What wisdom I have gleaned in my young life has often come from movies, with trauma as a kind of guide for what I sought. So I made enormous sacrifices, on occasion, to seek and find wisdom. I could have majored in something “useful.” Instead, I wanted to understand what it means to be a self, to be conscious. What meaning means. The “why” of everything. I wanted the truth. I am only interested in the truth. 

In contrast to skeptics I believe there is something more than what can be measured and demonstrated empirically - at least, empirically on a reproducible basis. For instance, I can say I had the “empirical” (I would call it mystical) experience of visions and epiphanies. The latest was of my mom’s young face in light, smiling and laughing, over the ambulance that took her to the hospital when she had her first seizures. I was thirteen. In that moment, it had quite a different character as I looked into the black of her pupils and didn’t see her light there to meet me. But I can’t reproduce this experience, and I can’t go back in time to “verify” that whatever happened to my mom’s consciousness when it first left her body was this brilliant, light-filled vision. But I swear to Fucking Christ that I believe it was true. I didn’t invent it. It wasn’t something I was trying to see.

I want to believe, and that’s enough for me. But I also want to believe that there are those of you here, with me, right now, who yearn for something outside the chasm of skeptical delight of overcoming your intellectual inferiors, who haven’t fully resigned yourselves to settling for “nothing matters”. Nothing does matter. And everything does matter. And matter, like God, exists because people believe in it. It’s absurd to say god doesn’t exist. God is an idea that people believe in and act on. This alone is enough for god to exist – not on some external plane but in the very real experience of life lived in the ordinary and the mundane, because that is all we have ever experienced.

Or it is?

Have you not experienced the awe of losing yourself, together, with someone completely? Have you not been in the process of making work and felt yourself swept away by the spirit? Have you not experienced meaningful coincidences that thrilled you with an immaculate joy? Have you not tested the boundaries of your ego with psychoactive plans - our species’ birthright and possible doorway to the birth of consciousness itself? Have you never felt genuine, true, authentic peace, full of love? Have you not felt the pains of inadequacy wash away when you felt that moment of truth? If you have experienced any of these things, my friend, I believe you know. You know. 

It’s gnosis.







FILM VS. PHILOSOPHY: Sinnerbrink’s New Philosophies

Skeptical concerns


Beginning with Socrates, the Western philosophical tradition’s prime directive was first to ”know thyself”. How well we’ve accomplished this is not well understood. Most people don’t give 1200 shits for philosophy, and it’s not a part of how they live. But you know what? A hell of a lot of them watch movies. Fast forward. “Despite the success of modern rationalism in conquering epistemic scepticism, the knowledge that really matters to us - about the self, morality, or our relations with others - remains frustratingly uncertain.” (Sinnerbrink, 103)

“Seek knowledge within” would be fleshed out to such an extreme. We’ve figured out within. What’s all that space out there? Can we time travel? Meanwhile, asceticism in religion prevented necessary growth in the realm of soul-spirit relations. In our journey we lost sight of wisdom in favor of knowledge. This perversion of wisdom in our present day is the denigration of forms of knowledge that transcend logic and don’t follow scientific dogmas and methods. It’s the suppression and denigration of irreducible knowledge outside of what can be both demonstrated and reproduced.  They claim to be saviors but they maintain the masochistic penchants of philosophy and press her sore. 

Some lover.

“Despite the plethora of attempts to ‘define’ the medium, the ontology of the image, or the nature of film as art, cinema seems to resist any such attempts at conceptual definition.” (28) Rationalism has a reductionist problem when it comes to aesthetics, and film is its greatest aristarch. Films can’t help themselves but to present Sophia, who had been present on the stage, present in history, lost from prayer. She continually opposed orthodoxies that maintained static formulations of time and space. Matter, energy, no longer reality, just a taste of what was dangerous and irrational. Particle and wave? Get the fuck out. But film, as light, takes us to a place where She has always been home.

Philosophy wastes its time with struggles of dominance arguing for its primacy, advancing the subsumption of film into its grim, ivory-tower clutches. The love of wisdom has lost its way, and film is its messiah. Or do you believe that the orthodox are correct? "Is art, including film, reducible to the kind of explanatory theories provided by the best available science? Or does the art of film express forms of meaning that resist reduction to naturalistic explanatory accounts?” (Sinnerbrink, 8)






Arthur Danto coined this term, defined as "the attempt to subsume works of art into a philosophical discourse that enables us to master, comprehend and subordinate the work to theoretical or moral concerns.” (Sinnerbrink, 4). This is where the motion picture artform comes in – an assist to contemporary philosophical debate’s aggressive character. Let’s take a brief look at how both philosophical and aesthetic theories and the art of cinema have developed in the last century. “The original question that animated much early film theory was the question of film as art. Was the new medium of film merely a clever technical gadget, suitable for recording works of artistic performance? Or was it a new art form with its own creative possibilities?” (Sinnerbrink, 28) 

This opened up aesthetics by begging the question - what is art? The prevailing academic approach to aesthetics became the INSTITUTIONAL THEORY of art, which is almost entirely useless. It was a kind of perverse, pathetic mirror of the DADA it wanted to know. Rather than query the nature, the quality, the “why” of thing in itself, it simply defines that art exists because artists, exhibitors, venues, and audiences exist. What they do, they call “art” and therefore participate in an “art world" that more or less really exists. This is professional philosopher George Dickie’s reducto ad absurdum of Arthur Danto’s critique of the “philosophical disenfranchisement of art.” Pointless? I agree.

For revolutionary thinkers Bazin, Cavell, and the astonished they leave in their wake, something radical is uncovered by the film art and the theory it inspires. Attempting to bridge the divide, film-philosophy (here called Cinesophia) holds that  “the cinema – whatever other enjoyments it affords – is motivated by our desire for metaphysical connection with the world, ‘the wish for selfhood’, like all art; yet it shows us that we can only find this retrieval of meaning only in ordinary experience, however ambiguous or uncertain it may be, and however much the spectre of skepticism still haunts it.” (103-104) Side note, art films and exploitation films have equal grounding here.

Two schools currently compete for dominance in the realm of rational scholarship in the admixture of film and philosophy. In the Rationalist corner: Philosophy of Film. Philosophy of Film “embraces empirical and cognitivist psychology, the argumentative techniques of analytic philosophy, rejects ideological-critical and politically committed approaches, and downplays the former paradigm’s emphasis on film interpretation.” (Sinnerbrink, 6) They’ll go into all kinds of pseudoscientific fantasies that look like Star Trek but not everyone is into this. But they’ll make interesting observations and present their findings as facts. This developed as a response to aesthetic Grand Theory, a malaise of psychoanalytic, semiotic, structuralist/post-structuralist, and phenomenological critiques that made film theory all-too woo-woo for the analytic-cognitivist types.

Romantic approaches soaked up what was bludgeoned in the death of Grand Theory and chose as a pragmatic partner those who experienced a similar “de-facto epistemological dismissal of the humanities…cultural studies, media theory, post-colonialism, gender studies, queer theory, reception studies, production histories, historical and cross-cultural approaches...”(Sinnerbrink, 4) 

Etc. Etc. Usually documented by historians, fans, scholars, social scientists, and a handful of theorists here and there. This approach is often available in artfully curated film programming, or in the leaflets of your Criterion discs, or in the Special Features of this or that disc or streaming service. For those of you who share my general geographic location, we have the benefit of film programmers who offer these tantalizing tidbits of production histories and the personalities involved, along with queries about form and technique, live and in person. Places like New York and Chicago and Los Angeles have that.

 And I do believe in a critique of The Philosophy of Film and in the worthy opponents it draws as meager allies. That’s what I do. For the worst? Say “Fuck you, you’re wrong.”  Or better yet, fantasize about a well-placed “fuck off.” Or “I fucking love you,” as in, deep as you are and as chaotic as it can be, this is only fucking and fuck you for fucking me. “Any attempt to stymie theoretical reflection in the name of ideological or political orthodoxy is rife for criticism; but then again so is political vacuity - or indifference toward the larger social, cultural, historical and ideological forces that also contribute to the context of film.” (19) Bring it on, critics.


PDC - beachPDC - beach


It all made sense. That was the frightening part. 



It was a well-known fantasy (as opposed to a well-known fact) that scrawled its way through pages young and old yet remained entirely obscure. A consistent heartbeat instructed each movement, each disparate sequence. A call to wisdom. Those such valuables souls that bid two to become one, and for one to seek wisdom. Wisdom, which you will find if you search sincerely for it. Wisdom, which will find you astonishingly troubled when you find it. Wisdom, herself, astonishingly troubled. 

    Sophia’s character consists of the following: mother to God the Father. She who bore that original Ialdabaoth, demiurge, inferior to humanity but whose rules we labored to satisfy. Yahweh, the jealous one-and-only, sample of a man to all men, sample of a husband to all women. Elohim, all-powerful, all-knowing, in His benevolent quest to rape humanity of both innocence and dignity until He could arise victorious, leeching power from the powerless. God of the weak, reflecting His weakness. Unconscious of the pleroma of beyond paradise, the pantheon above and below Him. He creates humans to glorify Himself, but the spark in their eyes from Life, Afterthought, even Eve, surpasses His light. He extinguishes it gladly in His creations. He is threatened by their superiority.

    Lion-faced, with the body of a snake. Lion-faced, consumed by lust. The snake embodied his more contemplative side, his cunning, his knowledge of good and evil. In his full form he prowls with his eyes and bores his danger deeply into the soul of his participant by any means necessary, front and rear, every orifice. Conquering the flesh mightily, easily, he may need a meal to satisfy the Sovereign, eating you at the end of your usefulness. The eaten find incorporation with their God. 

Jesus cautions: blessed is the man who eats the lion, so that the lion becomes human. Woe unto the man eaten by the lion, as he becomes a lion. His form exposes the duality of his nature as, at once, Satan, his own adversary, his vanity, his uncompassionate strength, and his material manipulation of guilt by copulation.







[Vol. 2]






Possessed, Puzzle of a Downfall Child, Belladonna of Sadness, House


Persistence of vision, persistence of wisdom


Denoument: The Outsider, The Lighthouse

Who is the boogeyman? How does man-kind reclaim a positive masculine identity for himself?





Brakke, David. “The Body as/at the Boundary of Gnosis.” Journal of Early Christian Studies, vol. 17, no. 2, 2009, pp. 195–214., doi:10.1353/earl.0.0256.
Brakke, David. “Pseudonymity, Gnosis, and the Self in Gnostic Literature.” Gnosis: Journal of Gnostic Studies, vol. 2, no. 2, 2017, pp. 194–211., doi:10.1163/2451859x-12340036.
MacDermot, Violet. The Fall of Sophia: a Gnostic Text on the Redemption of Universal Consciousness. Lindisfarne, 2002.
Meyer, Marvin W. The Gnostic Discoveries: The Impact of the Nag Hammadi Library. HarperSanFrancisco, 2006.
Millett, Kate. Sexual Politics. University of Illinois Press, 2000.
Ruether, Rosemary Radford. Religion and Sexism: Images of Women in the Jewish and Christian Traditions. Simon and Schuster, 1974, Religion and sexism: Images of Women in the Jewish and Christian Traditions.
Shlain, Leonard. Art and Physics: Parallel Visions in Space, Time, and Light. Quill, 1993.
Sinnerbrink, Robert. New Philosophies of Film: Thinking Images. Continuum International Publishing Group, 2011.


(Lamblyoptic) alamo drafthouse alamo drafthouse raleigh amblyopix art house art therapy barry primus belladonna of sadness Carole Eastman carolina theatre carolina theatre of durham cinema cinema overdrive cinephilia cinesophia clarence brown clark gable criticism duke university durham nc Eiichi Yamamoto faye dunaway film philosophy film review gnosticism house 1977 Jerry Schatzberg joan crawford kate millett lamblyoptic martyrdom movie reviews moviediva nc Nobuhiko Obayashi philocinesophia philosophy possessed 1931 puzzle of a downfall child raleigh religion and sexism retro film series roy schneider rubenstein center screen society sex in religion sexual metaphysics sexual politics society of friends sophia triangle film Tue, 04 Feb 2020 04:17:56 GMT
LAALLH The End of Light Artists Are the Least Light-Hearted - The Horror This is the end

Beautiful friend

...the end of laughter and soft lies...


"Remember how this feels," I screamed at myself aloud, barreling as much as my Honda Fit could up the driveway and through the gravel, tears escaping through my anger. I don't remember which time that was. I just wanted, desperately, to stop. Sometimes, to stop and turn around, and say what needed to be said. But mostly, I wanted to stop doing what I'd been doing. The whole shebang.

In the end, I was empty. I gave it everything I had. I was not the overflowing Ace of Cups dealt to me in my youth. I was just alone, broken and struggling to find a balm to heal deeply entrenched wounds.

The feeling, the hoping, the wanting, the loving, and in the absence of love, the keeping it all inside. The pain, the anger, the depression, the truth. But I couldn't stop, or wouldn't. 

I'd seen a light.

A path, a person, a power. It was indubitably novel, while familiar at the same time. An apotheosis of all fears, dreams, desires, and their juncture. Through the fucking jungle of conflict.


Straight to Kurtz. 


"Almost we are persuaded that there is something after all, something essential waiting for all of us in the dark areas of the world, aboriginally loathesome, immeasurable, and certainly, nameless." - Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness


Mistah Kurtz - he dead.

A penny for the Old Guy


Before I dig in to the Apocalypse I’d like to express deep gratitude for the hardworking local film programmers who bring independent film exhibition - repertory and contemporary - to our Triangle. 




Thanks to Jim Carl, Programming Manager of The Carolina Theatre of Durham, my spiritual moviehouse homebase. His efforts with the Retro Film Series, boodles of festivals with an endless stream of excellent current and retro content, (truly impossible to keep up with), providing a home for other challenging local film programmers, are truly humbling. His kindness toward my contribution to this community kept it going many times over.


To Skip Elsheimer, the genius behind the Triangle Retro-Revival Screenings Facebook Group, from which so many Facebook Events are imported into the Art | House Calendar. Most especially his work with A/V Geeks, 16mm educational and industrial films screened all over the triangle for your pleasure, are some of my absolute favorite screenings to attend. I hope to soon get my hands dirty keeping the archives alive. Look for A/V Geeks at Ponysaurus (Durham), Kings (Raleigh), and Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh.

To Laura Boyes for the truly unique MovieDiva film series, featured both at The Carolina Theatre of Durham as well as the North Carolina Museum of Art, where she presides over film programming as the Film Curator for NCMA. Laura’s screenings gave me something to strive for. Her introductions are well-researched, accessible, entertaining and informative. Her film selections bring to light the long history of feminine strength and prowess in and out of Hollywood, on- and off-camera, and have comforted me in times of doubt.


And to Tom Whiteside, operator of the Analog Museum right here in Durham, NC, keeping the history of film-based film production and motion picture images (and some of my favorite smells) alive, and for the atmosphere of his unique screenings at the Durham Cinematheque.


To the generosity of Alex Manness, Jim Haverkamp, and Stephen Conrad at the helm of Shadowbox Studio’s MovieLoft screenings. A home for hot dogs, weird movies, sweet tunes spun and played live. For hosting screenings by the Smyth Brothers (Single Frame), acclaimed film and video artists, and MFA students from Duke’s Art of the Moving Image department. I am so grateful for what my eyes have seen and ears have heard. I look forward to collaborating with them in the future to bring Good grief the forbidden garden to a theater near you.

Thanks to the Screen/Society at Duke for ensuring that the vast sums of private Duke monies go toward featuring beautiful films and filmmakers, current and classic, exhibiting for free to the community at the Rubenstein Center in Durham. To Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh for all the great flicks and for Alamo Raleigh Film Club, and the Rialto, Chelsea, and Silverspot Cinemas for featuring independent programming.

And finally, to Cinema Overdrive’s Adam Hulin. Thanks for help moving back home to North Carolina from New Orleans; for Overdrive - an unrelenting source of aesthetically challenging content, which gave me plenty to write about for the duration of Light Artists Are the Least Light-Hearted. It owes its humble beginnings and ends in large part to you. 

Cinema Overdrive comes to the Carolina Theatre of DurhamCinema Overdrive comes to the Carolina Theatre of DurhamAdam Hulin presenting


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This is the end, beautiful friend.


In Light Artists are the Least Light-Hearted, using powers of observation, candor, shamelessness, and reckless abandon, I accounted for an experience. 

It was meant to be a touchstone, a multidimensional approach to understanding movies as art, the significance of that process, a collation of many years of work distilled into a single space - through the lens of an unhealthy relationship. 

Somewhere in the process I’d ditched my self-respect for the sake of... self-preservation?

I’d like to believe it was all for love. 

My love of loves in this world,

the motion picture art form.

Whether digital or analog, documentary or narrative, feature or short, studio or independent, I fully invested in my relationship with the movies and made an earnest effort to see as much as I could in theaters. To learn something new, feel something true, or because there was nothing better to do. I made the same discovery time after time. Wherever you go, there you are.

Nerves that fire together, wire together. 

On Set Cinema - Blue VelvetOn Set Cinema - Blue VelvetThis was sublime. Wilmington, NC 2019 with On Set Cinema

Meaning was framed. The bigger the screen got, the more the black around the frame grew larger, looming, an abyss. An inverse pupil. Wretched, amateur mistakes. Love, perverted, became...


Was that it?

The movies might have contained meaning, but fuck if I could. 


Besides working actively with a therapist to process my pains I need some freedom for change. 


There's another story form I have to explore. Less self-destruction, more creation. I'll still be writing about my adventures at the movies - but in a different format. I'll still be updating Art | House for local screenings, which is what you ought to want anyhow.





The secret inside of LAALLH is that my tail is showing. I talk of darkness without speaking its name.

The looming shadow can't help but be cast by the bright of light.

If you are not lighthearted, then dark is your heart, and there is darkness there that breaches the unspeakable.

Light, Artists, and the heart that dwells, dark and light, was my primary motivation for the time.


This is the end.


Redneck Philosophy & Critiques of Criticism


Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh - August 28, 2019

Briggs' persona embodies that devil-may-care attitude with a heart of gold, scrappy intellect defying the anti-intellectual bent of the redneck. But he went to Vanderbilt, so there's that to consider. While the poor redneck is the imagined apotheosis of the country's ills, it is the aristocratic class believing in its own highness that held slaves and perpetuates itself in current forms of oligarchies. It's antithetical to the redneck, who bows to none but God. And God loves rednecks, for the same reasons that Jesus asked us to embrace compassion (integration of differently-abled folks within communities) and blessed the meek (poverty keeps you from thinking you're so much better than other people).

Briggs laid out a kind of redneck philosophy as told through the movies. Briggs brought up the origins of rednecks and the Quaker role in shepherding them into this country via deeply held beliefs in religious freedom. I learned that Cumberland Presbyterians (the seedlings of all rednecks) also used the language of a "meeting house" rather than refer to their buildings for worship as churches. There are few that seem to maintain this convention today.

On my mother's side, Granny always said we were Scotch-Irish (aka redneck) (aka descended from poor sharecroppers). As both of my parents hail from the perfect Southern mistake that is Mississippi, I enjoyed Briggs' redemption of what positive values I hold as a result of this upbringing, especially a strong penchant for personal freedom. Briggs advanced the argument that, rather than leaning left or right, rednecks could be understood simply as a class of people who didn't give a fuck what you thought of them and wanted to be left alone.

I've never considered myself to be a redneck. My Dad's side introduced the Creole/Catholic/olive toned skin that kept me from burning so in the sun. But I have always been an outsider, an Other, enigmatic for my inability to be easily classified by sight or sound of my voice. I've always been proud of my fair-to-middlin' perspectives that planted me between left and right, high and low, educated and uneducated, ugly and beautiful, but more than anything aspiring to freedom and living life on my own terms.

So when critics like Roger Ebert point the finger at this or that I remember that even such giants have their blind spots, like his commentary on STIGMATA where he dismisses the validity of The Gospel of Thomas out-of-hand.

I escaped from the dark, gritty, gothic South, the shadow cast by the light, and found myself back here in Mayberry, hoping for a home for my spirit to reside, and for my soul to be at peace in the company of authenticity and mutual respect.

But there's a difficulty here that some redneck-ness in my soul has to speak to before I make my exit from this narrative.

I did always like to ride as a passenger in a fast car.

CredentialsCredentialsLady Katie, Pastor Katie's prophecy-obsessed alter ego, schools herself on the Pistis Sophia


The redneck is now associated with an elevation of masculinism as the ultimate value. I reject masculinism on the same basis as I reject feminism. Leaning too hard on either extreme is a limitation of the dynamics between these two forces present in every person. So when Briggs brings up things like North Carolina politicians and trans bathroom policies needing the voice of the wise Southern feminine to counter the Barney Fife impulse, I'm intrigued. Impressed.

Hypersexuality of the feminine redneck then feeds into this "Once they turn 12, they're legal" observation made by Briggs. It might have been my hypersexuality that led me to seek out the attention of men in positions of authority early on. I reckon it has caused me some grief. Just because I thought I could handle it doesn't mean I don't have some deep scars to show for my efforts to be seen as grown. Just because I was raised to be hospitable and care for my loved ones doesn't mean it was always the best idea to let folks in.

1600+ years ago a contingency within the cradle of civilization revisited Genesis to articulate an alternate relational model. In The Apocryphon of John, prior to the creation of Adam and Eve in the Garden, God has problems of his own. Namely, that he's been brought into existence with a single mom (Sophia) whom he is unable to recognize or appreciate. He's kind of half-formed and very defensive about it. In defiance of all else, he claims his existence as the one and only, and goes on creating other half-formed crap from his limited faculties.

So when I returned to the darkness to pick up where we left off, to watch Deliverance, and you paused after the film and asked me what I thought the film was about, “masculinity” came easily to my lips. But of course, you had only used it against me in passive ways up to that point. I accepted your external loyalties to my own detriment and your own shortcomings to the same end. How does a man demonstrate his essence in the world? By being the strong but short-sighted and ultimately broken Alpha male? By being the passive and pleasing Beta who gets himself fucked in the ass by lesser men? Or by precariously balancing between them, a wide-eyed and observant Everyman, refusing the extremes but suffering them both, somehow?


You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories.

If people wanted you to write warmly about them,

they should have behaved better.


― Anne Lamott


Genesis: Gender at the Crux of Creation


I was driving to the mountains with my dad, and put The Doors on Spotify shuffle for the 4am departure from Durham. Jim Morrison belted out a sermon. I remember being glad those earbuds were entertaining my conservative, catholic, father.


I never bothered praying to God about men.

The relations of men to women were established at the outset of the Good Book. My family, whether they meant to or not, instilled in me a deep core belief in my own inferiority on the basis of sex via Genesis.

This argument was unreasonable and unsupported by empirical info. I grew up with a very loving, supportive father, a perfect model for the best that masculine authority could offer. I also had an older and younger brother, both of whom drew out the absurdities of masculine authority and wisdom and called this philosophy deeply into question. Additionally, my grandfather - my mother's father - had abandoned his family while my mom was a child, leaving her and her three brothers for 5 or 6 other, greener pastures. 

This theology was intimated to me because they believed sincerely in the rightness of patriarchy. Both my father's Catholic family and my mother's Protestant family had their impact on my belittled soul and beleaguered spirit long before all this, in the darkness, ready to play its games with my head, my heart.

The responsibility for the Fall of Mankind fell squarely on Eve's lesser shoulders, inviting our collective downfall from her (immediately prior, innocent) desire. Adam couldn't handle the knowledge he'd tasted from Eve's generous fruits. She had led us to our fate, intuitively, the inevitable act leading us closer to God. Had we first eaten from the Tree of Life, we may have obtained immortality, but not without being able to recognize or reject the evil we might bring along with us to that end. In this way, Evil would have existed prior to Eve's being aware of it; would be a part of God itself. Maybe that's what Adam was so afraid of.

Somewhere inside. I tried to rephrase, a different angle perhaps, a way to understand the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life within the story as it was given me, and with interesting appendices.

In the Gnostic mythos, I found a way out.

And that is what I intend to do, here, with my own Apocalypse.




l'Amblyoptic: Logos &emdash; LO_AN


Hearts of Darkness in Apocalypse Now:

Conflicts of Masculinity

In which the documentaries Hearts of Darkness and Milius shed some light. Theatrical, Redux, and Final Cut are compared and contrasted. Leonard Shlain's Sex, Time, and Power is used to unpack Apocalypse Now with personal asides


PART III (fragments)

“I can’t do this anymore without feeling divided inside.”

The feeling, the hoping, the wanting, the loving, and in the absence of love, the keeping it all inside. The pain, the anger, the depression, the truth. But I couldn't stop, or wouldn't, because I'd seen a light. It was the light I looked for in Meeting. From pupils to pupil, some unspeakable truth, some recognition of one human being of another in all complexity - and the pains neither one of us had the freedom to express. The ability to see things clearly, to know someone truly. A path that led me to my own darkness, and indubitably, into his. 

“What, bent out of shape because the man you want is unavailable?”

It might have hurt less in the end if he’d just beat the shit out of me. Instead, as a result of the openness I’d maintained, I felt entire neural networks crystallize like carbon branches and in the cold combust into dust in my frontal cortex. I’d been lying to myself very effectively. Immense, immeasurable pain set in. I couldn’t be who I thought I was anymore. She wasn’t hard enough to withstand this degradation. I’ll never forget this feeling, even if I can heal from the pain. How could I believe the brutality I knew to exist wouldn’t find its way to me? 

I chose that path, accepted that mission, ferried down that river through the jungle straight to Kurtz.

All the things I loved, and all the things I hated, and all the past and future collapsing the wave function into singularity, oneness in the intimacy I thought was there. Alone, with a stale smell of sex on the filthy unwashed sheets I died. Over, and over, and the whole history crystallized and replaced the feeling of closeness I’d sought and thought wasn’t illusory. And what brutality, the likes of which I hadn’t experienced so clearly since I was a child, stupid enough to believe that people won’t hurt you if you’re kind to them, if you try.

If you submit.

Exactly the opening any insecure bull would thrash around in long enough to spend himself and dispassionately expect you to accept as a gift.

"Many a woman has rued the day she met a particularly artful liar. Women needed to become expert at reading between the lines. If a woman garbled the transmission of an unworthy beau, and granted permission for his emission to swim northward in her, she opened herself to a raft of future problems that had no simple solutions." (Shlain, 203)

Despondent, I felt the acute desire to scrape out my insides and vomit all over the place. My misreading of care called my intelligence into question more than any grammatical quaff or accident could. I had sought this out. I had chosen this person.

“Upset because we didn’t go beddie-bye together?”

The final cut. I'd lost my producer that morning, and my neural integrity the night before. I needed the help. I needed too much. And on the anniversary of my mother's death I'd lost my bid for a grant to finish the documentary, something I'd spent $500 dollars on already in hopes of getting what I needed to complete it. Probably, I'll be able to use the audio.

All of it, hopeless. All of it, broken. And me, no innocence left, struggling to make sense of the biggest questions, made to feel small by this man so he didn't have to face his own weakness. The shame was immediate, intense, and sent me straight to a therapist, sure I'd come very close to a mental breakdown.

I'd lost friends, but more than anything, I mourned what comforts could be gleaned from having some goddamned integrity. I finally appreciated the lessons my family had tried so desperately to teach me from their limited, patriarchal point of view.

"Parents, older women, and her culture's conventions constantly remind her that if she fails to secure a future reliable source of resources the result will be catastrophic. And it doesn't matter how badly she herself wants to have sex---she must exercise restraint over her hormonal urges...her veto over sex is the primary source of her power and becomes the root of his anger." (Shlain, 347)


What a tremendous mystery, intimacy.

You might think you know it, think you've had it, think that your tenderness, your vulnerabilities exposed, have been received and shared with another. 

Intimacy requires strength and trust. It requires strength to lay yourself bare with an Other. There is always the risk that, in so doing, you have given the Other the tools needed to wound you deeply. You must trust they won't.

It's no wonder why some people avoid it.

Things can get pretty ugly.

The world is a cruel place where kindness is interpreted as either weakness, or as a scheme to advance selfish ends. Anyone who falls for kindness is just naive. Anyone who doesn't take advantage given the opportunity is to be taken advantage of.

A "pussy."

What's that? What qualities do pussies have? Being taken advantage of? 

Depends on your perspective.

Passive, manipulative. Pussy. It never gives without the expectation of receiving more than is absolutely necessary in this quid-pro-quo.

A pussy might invitingly offer. But this offering is to be regarded with suspicion. Gifts, money, affection, there is no end to a pussy’s needy abyss. Pussies will absorb that which is given and keen for more. No end to the depths of needy, demanding pussy, which would rather present itself, awaiting, than assert its needs frankly like some kind of dick. 

It's a lack of business sense, a lack of dominance, when you just casually accept a pussy. You set yourself up to get fucked, like pussies do. Better to just fill it up with the least effort required and be on one’s way.

The best is when you get the pussy right where you want it, and withhold. That’s real power.

And if you find yourself at the receiving end, seeing yourself as the pussy, just be a dick and fuck someone else.



God, damnit, there has to be a way out of the gutter.

The way to avoid evil in the act of creation is to do it with love.

Because A Course In Miracles taught me that love is the only gift that increases when it's given away, and that it's the only real thing, the connecting thread. So to do the right thing is to love.

Is that what happened?

This is the way the world ends

I always wanted to believe that, if there was any class of people that could embrace intimacy to both appreciate dicks and pussies and the whole spectrum of two shared human consciousnesses - regardless of genital apparatus, to find intimacy amidst the chaos - it would be artists.

This is the way the world ends

I admit, I have never before felt so much of what I believed to be true slip through my fingers, or been so full of doubt, in all my life.

This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but with a whimper.


(Lamblyoptic) alamo drafthouse alamo drafthouse raleigh apocalypse now art house art of the moving image carolina theatre carolina theatre of durham cinema cinema overdrive cinephilia criticism deliverance duke university durham cinematheque durham nc film philosophy film review fragile masculinity gnosticism how rednecks saved hollywood joe bob briggs laallh lamblyoptic light artists are the least light hearted movie reviews moviediva movieloft nc philosophy raleigh retro film series rubenstein center screen society shadowbox studio the doors the end triangle film Tue, 03 Dec 2019 00:00:00 GMT

The disciples said to Jesus, "Tell us how our end will be."
Jesus said, "Have you discovered, then, the beginning, that you look for the end? For where the beginning is, there will the end be. Blessed is he who will take his place in the beginning; he will know the end and will not experience death."

Gospel of Thomas, Verse 18, Lambdin translation

In the beginning, it was as simple as an embrace that made me feel like home.




The Magnetic Fields - You Love to Fail



Jonesing for Cinematic Significance

The search for meaning...continues.

Healing Thoughtlessness

aesthetically, philosophically, emotionally resonant palate cleansers.

Retro Carpenter Double-Feature

Reason vs madness, fiction vs reality, good vs evil, and the battle for creativity.

Depths of the (Un)Known

shallow gnosis

Radiation Poisoning

nuclear phenomena

The meaning in life

Creation is impossible without destruction.




Exactly one year ago today, I began my blogging adventure to cover my experiences at cinemas in the Triangle inspired by one disappointing experience.

Image result for the visitor 1979

It could have been worse.


This led me to some of the more significant cinematic experiences of my life, and gave me an opportunity to flesh out and revisit what makes the medium of the moving image so incredibly potent for me. It doesn't happen in a vacuum - except that it does. The din of the theater is the vacuum, and the light from the projector parallels Day 1 of the Genesis creation myth.


Let there be light.

Movies are powerful because they speak to both sides of our brains, and stimulate both head and heart. At least, when the goods delivered do the hard work of making moves that show meaning to mankind.

But maybe it's all just supposed to be for fun? Sure, it's been fun.The show goes on, so it's fine. Sure. So. Here is something rather than nothing.

To help tell my tales, as is appropriate in all realms of communication, I'll be enlisting the help of one of my favorite bands, The Magnetic Fields.


Jonesing for Cinematic Significance

The search for meaning in these light projections continues.

On that note, please join me in a moment of silence, from which both meaning and meaninglessness can come, and will, in the course of this post.






















The Magnetic Fields - Silence is an actual track on their The Wayward Bus album.


In the din of the cinema I worship the silence interrupted only by revelation.*

Inside of outside reality I'm un-busily becoming what's explicitly meant to be shown, and taking it in, or rejecting it, as either other or my own.


In a Quaker Meeting, as in the movies, silence is broken by revelation. In the active calm of intentional reflection we find introspection beyond language. Like other Friends, and as a surprise to some of my own, I very much enjoy and appreciate the silence. Last Sunday I went to early meeting, which will have anywhere from 1-8 in attendance in contrast to the full meeting house of 200+ at 10am. Those meetings tend to be quieter. Is there less revelation, or more reverence for the silence?

It reminds me of how it is to go to the movies, and while it would be nice to have a full House, having a small, reverent few is sometimes preferable to the noise. Quakers are not the ones asking for your money.

Quakers are actually quite fascinating in the scope of Christianity. They have long rejected institutional dogmas including the integrity and infallibility of the hole-y Bible. Rather than preaching from a pulpit they count all in attendance as a worthy conduit for the Spirit.

I also found a Friend at Durham Friends Meeting who assured me the entire meeting would vouch for the authenticity of the marriage I performed if any questions should be raised about the veracity of my online ordination. We then chatted about The Gospel of Thomas, the crux of my break from Biblical Christianity.


Image result for stigmata movie

When I was in the fifth grade a neighbor invited me over to watch a movie with her family. STIGMATA (1999, dir. Wainwright). Something must have stuck in my head about it, because I didn't have any conscious thought about The Gospel of Thomas post-film. I didn't seek it out or anything. Between that viewing and a later-life rewatching, around 2009 I'd gotten hold of Elaine Pagels' lecture on CD about the Gospel with a paperback copy. I still have that copy, beat all to hell and yet, after 1600 years of silence, here we have it.

Watching the film again a few years ago, I ruminated on art's ability to get into one's subconscious and influence the viewer through space and time. Like it all had meant something.


-Features & Series-

While I heartily enjoy feature films, short films, 16mm educational films, avant garde french films from the 1930's that are in the public domain, narrative and documentary films, experimental films, epics, genre films, classic hollywood films, yadda yadda, I must say there's a lot to be said for the formal ethos of a quality television series. There's so much more to play with, so many more reasons for the mind to wander and can be carried along at not so focused and fast of a pace.

Features are nice because it all has to be compacted into a short, set amount of time, and using narrative conventions time-tested to keep an audience engaged over that span of time. Short stories are easily adapted into films, novels less so. I think television series today are tending to that novel thirst for fully fleshed out stories.

For this reason, I'll be including both an account of my experiences in local cinemas as well as brief reviews of series I've been watching this summer.


Oh, how I yearn for depth.

Someday, when the power of peace is appreciated, maybe it will be time. There's so much more to be found by going deeper.

On that, you just have to trust me.


The Magnetic Fields - The Things We Did and Didn't Do


Healing Thoughtlessness

These pieces were especially helpful as aesthetically, philosophically, emotionally resonant palate cleansers.

Kelly Sears | Shadowbox Studio | July 3, 2019

This special screening of work by artist Kelly Sears, currently in the area completing a residency with Level Retreat, reminded me how nice it is when the craft of the moving image is simplified to a small number of committed parties who value the work of art over the glamour of the filmmaking venture. Simplicity can be so beautiful. I especially enjoyed The Drift ("They got sick from all the emptiness out there"); Pattern for Survival ("Don't pretend you have no fears"); and Applied Pressure.

Those Mischievous Girls | Presented by A/V Geeks

King's Raleigh | June 18, 2019

Let me first say again how much I love A/V Geeks screenings. Even if there is a dull moment, it doesn't last very long. More importantly, there are unique and rare experiences, itches scratched here like nowhere else in the Triangle cinema community.

Like the Mischievous Lads program before it, this program included an early work by director Caleb Deschanel (Lost Puppy). It's really wonderful to see where great artists get started.

The real meat here was in That's Stealing. Although few notes were made, this piece came back to me time and again as I questioned my own existence: am I a thief? Interloper? Opportunistic heathen?

No. I'm fucking not. I work hard, both on my own work and what I share with others, in material exchange and investments in friendship and care.

All My Tomorrows was also a fun exploration of how responsible I've been in my experiments with drug use over the years.

Hollywood in Bits and Pieces

Durham Cinematheque | May 17, 2019

Image result for the wind lillian gish

While there were a lot of lovely pieces screened, including the wholly unique cue-dot reel, by far my favorite piece was an 8-minute version of The Wind (1928, dir. Sjöström) with Lillian Gish. I can't wait to watch the full film, though I have a feeling I might prefer the brevity of this unique piece screened at the inimical Durham Cinematheque.

I highly recommend trying out one of these screenings, and make sure you get there early to enjoy the Analog Museum.

Little Darlings (1980, dir. Maxwell)

Presented by Cinema Overdrive

Carolina Theatre of Durham | May 29, 2019

My God, I wish I had seen this film when I was a kid.

Our humble programmer made the comment that this film, in its dealings with the sexuality of 15 year old girls, just wouldn't get made today. And maybe he's right.

Nonetheless, this under-served community - independent, motivated young women with perfectly healthy and normal sexual awakenings - may need external representations of their conflicts to better understand the consequences of choices made in the heat of those conflicts.

Young women seeking out sexual and romantic experiences with older, more experienced men and the consequences.

Young women seeking more acceptable-seeming experiences with peers that demonstrate no care, compassion, or concern for their true vulnerabilities and the consequences.

Too late now. A little catharsis was as meaningful as any little death.

Image result for little darlings

Skyscraper Souls (1932, dir. Selwyn)

Presented by MovieDiva

Carolina Theatre of Durham | June 5, 2019

While I can't claim to have seen nearly the number of MovieDiva screenings I would like to have attended as of late, I am so glad I caught this screening of Skyscraper Souls.

Because I agitate, like most people do, for something better - more exciting - more lucrative.

Because I yearn for the attention of people who seem so much higher than me.

In the end, like any foolish girl, I'm not so different from anyone including those I would judge to be selfish or inadequate in some way.

I'm certainly not immune to dismissing people as stupid in some cases, when really, I'm probably dumber than them in lots of ways that may or may not be obvious given the contents of my little blog here.

Stupid girl. Do you deliberately misread your audience, or yourself?

Hollow men. Headpiece filled with straw. Embittered cockpiece.

Related image


The Magnetic Fields - Chicken With Its Head Cut Off


RETRO Film Series

John Carpenter Double Feature

June 21, 2019 | Carolina Theatre of Durham

Both of these films were fun overall fun and offered accessible illustrations of some of the deeper conflicts Western ideology and metaphysics.

Reason vs madness, fiction vs reality, good vs evil, and the battle for creativity. Is creativity reasonable or mad - and is it madness to embrace both? Are works of art works of fiction and therefore false, or do they speak to some deeper level of reality? Is the artist a force of good leading to catharsis, or harbingers of evil for the destruction implicit in their creative power?


This evening didn't proceed for long before Spooky Action hit me. Hello, Prince of Darkness. And boy, would it bear itself out.

Donald Pleasence in Prince of Darkness (1987)

Church - Tokyo store - Photo lab. Religion/ the bomb and metaphysics/light physics & materials


Prince of Darkness (1987)

Really, it was a fine movie with some high concept configuring and plenty of body horror. Evidently Mr. Carpenter had recently taken a course in Quantum Mechanics and took a stab at bearing those concepts out with other attendant metaphysical tropes. Hard to deal with the implications of the fundamental nature of reality without throwing religion and science together. At this nexus lies a point of power over the collective embrace of objective reality and the role of the individual within that firmament.

Just know that reckoning with this material doesn't exclude the feature narrative for needing some romance. Oh, well.


In the Mouth of Madness (1994)

What have we here? Culty reckonings with the insidiousness of the institutional artworld? Inextricability of artist and work, work and audience? Oh, heavens, we also get some Frances Bay. How nice for us. I wouldn't have reckoned Sam Neill for the womanizing type, but he played the part convincingly enough.


The Magnetic Fields - Courtesans


Depths of the (Un)known

In the West there have been two predominant ways of "knowing" offered by their Greek origins, epistem (facts through reason) and gnosis (understanding through familiarity).

Being that I fall comfortably in the Gnostic preference, here are my understandings of the following titles that strove for depth, with varying levels of success:

Eyes Wide Shut (1999, dir. Kubrick) Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh - Film Club. July 8, 2019

What is there to know, except that everything ends, and no story is ever fully told? If you don't know yourself, you can't know anything.

Under the Silver Lake (2018, dir. Mitchell) Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh - Film Club. June 17, 2019.

Thoroughly mediocre. Overreliance on nostalgia. Regurgitation of Hitchcock via De Palma. Not impressed.

Blue Sunshine (1978, dir. Lieberman) Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh - June 3, 2019

Presented by Cinema Overdrive

Good movie, bad acid.

The real meat here was in the Pre-Show programming.



Radiation Poisoning

It's my modus operandi to constantly mull over nuclear phenomena, including their quantum philosophical counterparts, historical instances, and how they might affect how consciousness works in our world. This is often aided by great works of cinema and television that seem to repetitively remind of its significance.



AKIRA (1988, dir. Otomo) March 31, 2019 @ Local 506

This happened quite a while ago but is worth mentioning anyway. The Local 506 in Chapel Hill hosted a screening of AKIRA with a live synth score. I've already written a little bit about Akira and how it radically challenges habits of Western metaphysics especially as it relates to the nature of matter and energy. As a bonus, this link will bring you to the best essay I've ever written, with a callback GOJIRA (1954) which recently screened at The Carolina Theatre of Durham's RETROEPICS AND ARTHOUSE film series. While I unfortunately missed that screening in lieu of a pending grant application, I was attending to the same monster.


ATOMIC CAFE (1982, dir. Loader, Rafferty and Rafferty) May 18, 2019 at Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh

This excellent documentary screened as part of Alamo Raleigh's FILM CLUB series, which has curated a quality program of classic and contemporary cinema so far. Being that it's a compilation of archival materials related to nuclearity in the US, it was a perfect precursor to my viewing of HBO's Chernobyl series. When I was actively studying visual art, I loved that collage allowed for the use of existing materials to create something new. This multimedia montage of cinema scratched my itch for cutting archival materials together and was helpful as I started back to work on one of my own projects.


Image result for atomic cafe movie


ON TIME, IN TIME, June 6, 2019 at Living Arts Collective presented by Durham Cinematheque

When it comes to quantum irregularity, spacetime is equal to matter and energy by way of important balance through dynamic opposition. Consider me the dynamic opposition of this screening.

Most of the time (derp), I thoroughly enjoy Durham Cinematheque programming, but this tested my patience heartily. I'd rather watch Tom Whiteside's personal (aesthetically splendid) work than a sloppy, unrehearsed-feeling presentation, a meaningless date screen, 2+ hours of films only kind of sort of relevant to the theme of time, and $10 per person to boot. I brought two of my friends, and we all left with the same feelings. Too long, felt like an art school student's performance piece. It felt rude to ask for my money back. Could have been so much better. To add insult to injury, I couldn't help noticing that the Lumiere was probably screened straight from this extremely low-def YouTube video:


Ugh. My eyes.


Chernobyl (2019, HBO)

I wish I could make the excellence of this series about my love for Stellan Skarsgaard after his many years working with Lars von Trier. He's a truly gifted artist and I've loved watching him in everything he's even done (Pirates of the Caribbean notwithstanding. Was that him? Ugh.) But it was also lovely to see Jared Harris after his performance in Mad Men, and Emily Watson (ahhh Breaking the Waves reunion) did an excellent job creating her not-historically-based character.

It's a good reminder that we continue to deal with knowledge we don't yet comprehend at a philosophical level, and even less so at an ethical level. Probably there is much more to understand about the development of nuclear energy and what it can tell us about life, reality, and consciousness, but we have not yet reached a critical mass of evolved, receptive, compassionate fields to have access to the knowledge that's on the table.

One thing I do know is that the power of great SFX makeup in cinema is crucial to this series, and carried the radiation poisoning to its deserved climax. It was remarkably disturbing. Another thing I loved learning was that the composer, Hildur Guðnadóttir, got field recordings at nuclear plants to create the score. Haunting and incredible. I loved this series.


Related image

It got much, much worse.



Dark S2 (2019, Netflix)

This German powerhouse blindsided me last year with its fascinating take on time travel and confluence of themes that all resonated deeply with my MO, aesthetic, philosophy, etc. etc. I think the best thing for the moving image to take on at this point is either the simplest of issues (love, compassion) or most complex of issues (evil, dark matter). This series has plenty of both, though it tends toward the Dark. A very Twin Peaks-esque vibe, if that's your thing.

Image result for dark s02 netflix

Let's go into bed

Please put me to bed

And turn down the light
Fold out your hands
Give me a sign
Hold down your lies
Lay down next to me
Don't listen when I scream
Bury your thoughts (DOUBTS) and fall asleep
for Neither ever, nor never
Neither ever, nor never
Neither ever, nor never


Find out... I was just a bad dream
Let the bed sheet
Soak up my tears
And watch the only way out disappear
Don't tell me why
Kiss me goodbye





Now that I've bored you to death I can share the reason for my absence.

I applied for a grant to finish my documentary. Here is the work sample.


Good Grief: The Forbidden Garden (work in progress)


The meaning in life


The Magnetic Fields - Meaningless, from their 69 Love Songs album trifecta


I'm constantly struggling in the battle between meaning and meaninglessness. When things are going well, the vibe is good, patterns manifesting like little fractal miracles, feelings of radical joy pervade and it's much easier to see meaning winning out.

Other times, it seems like a childish or naive fantasy. The nihilists certainly thought so. I do too when I'm feeling ashamed and heartbroken.

From the conflict, I find the existentialists a bit more in line with my brand of melancholy. Even from the abyss, something can come out. Nihilism as a philosophy coincided intimately with a resurgence in occultism. Rather than give my soul to the darkness I opted for mysticism's more comprehensive and compassionate way. I found their practitioners seemed a bit less like emotionally unstable and immature bullies. Rationally speaking, I picked pantheism over nihilism because there is something rather than nothing, and it seems more creatively rich to find a way for everything to be true.


Creation is impossible without destruction.

Destructively speaking, nothing can also be rendered.

Things that were once meaningful can be relegated to the meaningless realm.

And in the end, it's all the same. The beginning is the end.

The knowledge of good and evil brings you back to light from the darkness, without and within.


In the meantime, I have way too much work to do. On my documentary, and on some YouTube content covering possibly the greatest story ever told.



But eventually, I'll get to run my mouth all about:

Valley of the Dolls/Beyond the Valley of the Dolls at Alamo Drafthouse (7/22-23)

Once Upon A Time in Hollywood (currently screening in 35mm at Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh for a limited time!)

MYSTERYREALM at Carolina Theatre of Durham (7/26-28)

and more, including the upcoming:

Joe Bob Briggs at Alamo

Apocalypse Now: Final Cut


and lots of other great screenings coming up in August and September. Check the calendar!




For more fun:

Potential documentary interviewee, Todd Murphy.


And Here's a questionnaire to determine your left vs. right brain polarity: Polarity Questionnaire

Odd - True (L)
Odd - False (R)
Even - False (L)
Even - True (R)

To see how this polarization/laterality might affect you as a man or woman (especially right-handed men and women), here's a very interesting study exploring this dimorphism and how this might affect spiritual or religious experience and its relation to your own ego - The Sensed Presence Within Experimental Settings: Implications for the Male and Female Concept of Self



*Unless there are dim wits in the audience distracting me from my unresolvable task. Shut up, you selfish fucking assholes.

(Lamblyoptic) a/v geeks akira alamo drafthouse alamo drafthouse raleigh art house atomic cafe blue sunshine carolina theatre carolina theatre of durham chernobyl cinema cinema overdrive cinephilia criticism dark david lynch durham analog museum durham cinematheque durham nc evangelion experimental cinema eyes wide shut film philosophy film review films vs television gnosticism gojira gospel of thomas hbo hollywood in bits and pieces in the mouth of madness john carpenter kelly sears laallh lamblyoptic light artists are the least light hearted lillian gish little darlings movie reviews moviediva movieloft murphy nc netflix philosophy prince of darkness raleigh retro film series shadowbox studio skyscraper souls stigmata the magnetic fields the wind todd triangle film under the silver lake Mon, 05 Aug 2019 18:06:07 GMT
LAALLH Satan's Child: The Judgment of Cinema Overdrive You can catch CINEMA OVERDRIVE at the Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh 1st Mondays of the month.


CINEMA OVERDRIVE screens at The Carolina Theatre of Durham throughout the rest of the year. Grab a copy of the new RETRO FILM SERIES BROCHURE to see what's coming up!

You can also join the CINEMA OVERDRIVE Facebook group here



Love contains all real things.

In love there is also a pain, so it is the word necessary for this expression.

It also contains truth. I am only interested in the truth.



"Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds. When he finds, he will become troubled.

When he becomes troubled, he will be astonished, and he will rule over the All."

(Gospel of Thomas, Lambdin translation, 2)



In case you’re put off by Jesus or would make me into some kind of simple minded clod, our culture didn’t have the mostly completed text of this heretical, demonized, Gnostic text until Nag in ‘45. (PS there were loads of them.)


This is how I make friends guys.

“Love, as a way of uniting paradoxical realities of self and other. “


And all you INTP ESFJ whatevers, with your Jungian lineage, might appreciate that Jung himself spearheaded the effort to translate these works. So come with me as I explore this land of Nag. We’re going with Nag. Because i’Am, and Nag Hammadi in Egypt is where ancient scrolls were found even before the Dead Sea.


Get on with it, lord. OK, cool.

“...ego faces love in savagery and without compassion to maintain itself.”


Preface: Killing Satan


Last time, I brought you a wide spectrum of the cinematic viewings I enjoyed from a multitude of independent programmers around the Triangle. Since then there have been more and more. On my plate? Space and time and radiation and men and power and sweet, sweet release.


A smattering of friendly, familiar faces. Genuinely happy to get to know y’all. Really.

“Love, because I recognize my own capacity to choose my ego over love.’


But for now, I have an altar to offer. Buckle up. We’re going into OVERDRIVE.




Are you feeling agitated at the stream of mass-produced major studio mediocrity in the new releases at major movie theaters? Fan of the strange? Enjoy the thrill of the unusual, the rare, the unknown, the absurd?


Perhaps you’re in the mood for something a little...different.


On the edge of acceptability - for lack of exposure, low-budget indie status, subversion of traditional narratives or experimental technical approach. Maybe you want to impress your friends or a hot date with your knowledge of obscure, unknown film titles in every. Fucking. Genre.


Except maybe romance. Maybe not a date - get married first.


The Last Movie (1971) The Forgotten (1973)


Maybe, like me, you indulge this vice through well-researched and cleanly crafted fare of the current television renaissance. But these series require time commitments. They also require an enormous amount of intellectual and aesthetic real estate in your brain.


Ask yourself: are you the sort of person who seeks gold - even if it may be obscured by a layer of shit? Are you looking for a reliable outlet for your most sinister of creative and intellectual desires? Do you dare question the cinematic status-quo? Are you willing to dig inside your own shit? Test the limits of taste? Give your brain some time and space to play without having it all laid out on the uber-detailed platter of current aesthetic trends?


Maybe off-beat avant garde indulgences maintain your ability to see through the cracks of sleek, aesthetic perfection.


Maybe, too, that sleek, aesthetic perfection peeks out at you from the cracks of hidden masterpieces. Heroes and villains and everything inbetween. Familiar faces, familiar times and places, all the strangeness of the surreal and the horror of the real. It’s everything. And I have found heroes, and villains, and love and hate, and everything under the sun and in the dark of the theater.


Saint Jack (1979) Il mercenario (1968)


Put it in your calendar. Clear your first Mondays and a handful of Wednesdays. Maybe you can’t make it every time, but when you can, place your faith in the strange. Forever, always, mine will be at home in the rapture and lustful irregularity of Cinema Overdrive.



"Sometimes the greatest artists in a medium bypass or violate the simple technical competence that is so necessary for hacks...

an artist who is not a good technician can indeed create new standards,

because standards of technical competence are based on comparisons with work already done."

-Pauline Kael


Established in 2002, Cinema Overdrive is a series dedicated to bringing some of the rarest, boldest, most audacious and eclectic of feature film cult obscurities back to the big screen.


“You helped to regrow me from the roots.”


Those of you very kind and beautiful people who have been following LAMBLYOPTIC’s battle cry that Light Artists Are the Least Light-Hearted might have noticed some repeated themes and preoccupations.


I’m like a succubus - neither creating nor exhibiting any cinematic content of my own choosing. I’m not lazy, I just tend to be a little intense and even controlling sometimes. It’s my pleasure and occasional preference to be a passenger. Give someone else the wheel. Take it, Jesus. Show me what you want me to see.


At every raucous turn, I find myself going back to the Triangle born and bred, this nerd’s bread and butter, the inspiration to begin this film-philosophy venture in earnest. Within this humble offering I argue for the beauty - nay, sublimity - hearkening from the chassis of CINEMA OVERDRIVE.

Cockfighter (1974)

“A body. A lovesick idiot. A mistake. An escape. From what?”


I returned home to North Carolina in April of 2017 after an 8-year long stint in the Greater New Orleans area, newly minted as a Bachelorette of Film Arts and Philosophy. Fortunately, I was coming home to friends who were similarly engaged in heart and mind.


With the New Orleans Film Festival and a wide variety of theaters and programming always available, it was a huge relief to find that OVERDRIVE would scratch the itch I had for cult rarities and subversive titles that would help me continue to unpack the core of my thesis: Liberating Art from its Satan, Technocracy.

“I’d just felt like a series of tubes, a shell to put your shame into.”


Occasionally I have been ruthless in my evaluations of OVERDRIVE’s content. LAALLH started as a response to August 2018’s screening of The Visitor. April’s exhibition of the thankfully underseen Satan’s Children left me similarly flummoxed from an aesthetic point of view.


But it was never my intention to shit on this series. Anyone who’s been paying attention can see how much love I have for Satan’s child.



“I didn’t lie to you when I said romance was dead in me.”


I’ll never forget learning, in my Intro to Film class taught by then-department head Steve Hank, that hi-fidelity work imposes its own answers in the mind of the viewer, while low-fidelity invites the audience to participate more fully because not all answers are provided. The work is frayed at the edges.

Sedmikrásky (1966) Dolemite (1975)


Artworld accolade-winning titles have their day in the sun enough to blanch like plastic toys. It is the sometimes inelegant, sometimes crude, sometimes ugly and irreverent and bold titles hiding under the stones of time and attention that hold the most water if what you’re looking for is a more nuanced, balanced version of this light and dark of power we all share.


In OVERDRIVE, what has been lost in the sleek savagery of patently non-art commercial usage of the motion picture format can find its antidote.

“Art is more important than any of this.”


In films that were made for pleasure. Films that were made because someone had the gall. Even without the intent, films are made because the heart of creation is the antipode of nihilism. For an art that has relied so heavily on industry, cinema needs voices from beyond the void of over-produced politically correct watered down banality of our modern times.

Tuesday Weld in Play It As It Lays (1972) Kristy McNichol and Tatum O'Neal in Little Darlings (1980)


OVERDRIVE delivers. Hard. Because life is hard. Being honest is hard.


Audacity invites critique as much as it relishes in the delight of slaughtered sacred cows, and Satan - that elusive Other, that foil of foils - can’t help but subconsciously yearn for judgement, as long as it is noticed in the first place, boldly being and soaking in all the best and worst of feelings from the projections of its Master.


But the overwhelming kindness, the all-encompassing love, pantheism, forgiveness before, during, and after the committing of sins, is my wheelhouse.

“With my blood I proclaim the innocence of my heart.”



In my Gnosticism I have found that the naive, pathetic Jesus of my forefathers is not the man they thought he was (or at least, who they made him out to be). He was subversive. He was dark and uncanny and strange. He was a rabble-rousing slut-loving anarchistic martyr of the highest order.

“My supplication. Your cruelty. Defeat.”


In Pistis Sophia Jesus went to the other and found Sophia suffering, oppressed by the 12 powers and calling out to the Light, over and over, while her son-God reigned his chaos and the world went to shit while she’s not where she belongs in the 13th aeon. Then Jesus saves her and says her taking her true place will be the coming of The Beginning/End. Right here, baby.



And the number of people in the world who are hip to this could fit through the eye of a needle.

The people who can see God and Satan as one and the same.


Sometimes sin. Nada. Nothing. Gnostics went there and turned God into Satan. They said all kinds of fascinating shit. The Satan of Agnosticism, Gnosticism means you can know by being intimately familiar with that which is occasionally called God.




Communion (1976) The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1976)



Addendum: Satan’s Lover

“When it was good, it was heaven. Bad? Hell.”

I don’t mean some incarnated demon I’m talking about other. What is that?

A thing has its opposite. Its foil, its contrast, its consort. So too it may have its Satan.


Jesus, being the kind of thing it was or wasn’t (for you skeptics and conspiracy theorists and jews and - this is getting weird - amateur time travelers out there) had a particular incarnation of a Satan. This entity is illustrated as essentially a combination of cunning, mean-spirited, and nihilistic. Loads of candidates could fit the bill. If a man were to take the fall for all Satanic sins, you could find a little Satan in loads of them.


I’ve bedded them and would know.

The Telephone Book (1971) Image result for liquid sky


“Ego is the best safe word. It is the opposite of love.”


Chaos for the sake of, pain for the sake of, where meaning is meaningless and there is naught but the void. At least, you know, I tried. But I can’t help finding meaning if there’s some to find.




So too there were Jesus, and he were me, and I were they and therefore Satan, and am in all such intimate relations of friends, neighbors, countrymen, and so am a Satan to any number of saints and scum. And by that motherfucker God and all that is Holy under my mistress Sophia I am also fucking Jesus and that’s all the authority I need to stir shit up and say my piece.

Everyone is their own cup of tea. And there’s no opposite to tea. So all my love to all you fuckers as well as those in abstention absentia.


AF503B95-C5EE-4247-BE56-5D78B97DE3EBAF503B95-C5EE-4247-BE56-5D78B97DE3EB D4958D73-8178-4B12-9996-72E424F76978D4958D73-8178-4B12-9996-72E424F76978



I have sometimes been troubled and sometimes astonished at where we went in those times. But I know that I couldn’t have gotten to that singular place any other way.




(insert applause)

“There’s nothing more I can say about any of it outside art itself. There, truth prevails.”


Had your own religious experience with Cinema Overdrive? Let me know in the comments!


(Lamblyoptic) alamo drafthouse alamo drafthouse raleigh art house artworld carolina theatre carolina theatre of durham cinema cinema overdrive cinephilia criticism durham nc experimental cinema film philosophy film review gnosticism laallh lamblyoptic light artists are the least light hearted movie reviews nc philosophy raleigh retro film series technocracy triangle film Fri, 31 May 2019 19:24:42 GMT
LAALLH SPRUNG: EASTER SPECIAL EDITION! Cinephilic Voyeurs of the Triangle - and beyond What's so special about this? Well, first of all, I'm Risen.


From the ashes of a fundamentalist upbringing I fashioned myself into an altogether unusual sort of Christian identity lost to history for 1600 years. Gnostics believed that it was the onus of the individual to take on the responsibility of becoming like God.

Because this didn't serve the interests of powerful institutions and the Patriarchs of old (many sects were egalitarian, with feminine participation in rites and so on) their scriptures were burned and proponents labeled heretics.

Until 1945, we had very little access to their ideas except in circumstances where church fathers denounced them in their writings. Before there were Dead Sea Scrolls, there was Nag Hammadi.

Like poring over old, forgotten scriptures, I explore the landscapes of cinematic presentations of unusual content all over the Triangle and beyond. I have had the joy of experiencing sublimity over and over again.

Experiencing light, community, art, and finding meaning in this world we share together. I meet brave and kind people, shy and fine people, many much more intelligent and experienced than I, all engaging bit by bit, and it thrills me with awe.





All the better in the hands of artists that can shed light on the dark corners of our own minds.

Image result for blue velvet poster

This time around, I delved into the world of On Set Cinema presented by Myers House NC for their on-set screening of David Lynch's Blue Velvet (1985) attended by the wildly talented Jeff Goodwin, the mastermind behind SFX makeup for the film. He's the man who brought us The Ear, seen below.

BVelvet-7314Myers House NC - On Set Cinema Presents: Blue VelvetMay 3, 2019. Jeff Goodwin is the mastermind behind SFX makeup on David Lynch's Blue Velvet (1986) along with over a hundred other productions.

My ecstatic experience: I WORE BLUE VELVET

The first time I saw this film was around 2009. A friend had come down from North Carolina to Louisiana to visit me. She was my aesthetic mother, when it came to strange and uncanny films in those earlier days. It was late; I was living with my parents. The movie starts innocently enough. Then Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan) finds the ear, meets Sandy (Laura Dern, who will make another appearance later in this post) and gets the idea he might be a private investigator.

Private investigator.

This was about the time my actual mother (RIP) started to approach from behind us, in the shadows, from the kitchen to the living room. Just in time, hanging out long enough to meet our Frank (Dennis Hopper). She stands there and watched long enough to see Frank do his thing.

"What are y'all watching?"

Peepers, creepers...


where'd you put those eyes?


One of the things I love most about the art of cinema is the ability, and what it can mean, to show the world to an observer (see also: audience) as the artist sees it.


It's framed? Yes. A simulacrum of reality? Sure. But what else is perception? There is no all-seeing eye, no complete and "uncorrupted" objective reality to experience that any human observer would see the same way as another. There is no way to recuse our subjectivity, because like objectivity, these are abstractions of reality, concepts used to attempt to make the world more understandable within a conceptual framework. When it comes to subject/object, we're working well within a framework established in Western thought more than 2000 years ago.

It wouldn't be the case unless there was some use for this. But with the advent of photography and the beginnings of cinema at the end of the 19th century and its development alongside revolutions in theoretical physics, these fundamentally metaphysical issues have met their maker.

That's us.

Whether artist or observer, we all participate in this experience. By observing, the work itself is completed. Not all moving pictures are art, and not all art will be seen as art by everyone, and how charmed we are to be moved by moving images the way we can be. People yearn for participation in artwork same as they yearn for air or food or fucking. Just because it hasn't solved the riddle of how our species is supposed to live doesn't mean it isn't working.

It is an additive process and not one subject to reduction. Like love, it grows by being given away, and freely and with as much quality in form and content as possible. Art is as accessible as the observer observing it. I find that this work is best done by complex people. Unlike simpletons, complex people gravitate to broad ranges of content but don't shy away from squeamishness of lack in form or content from their own aesthetic preference.. For those seeking only escape from their regrettable realities, of course the preference is not to face the dark.

What about what isn't shared? What about things we hope to keep private? The parts that make us feel vulnerable, or that might expose us for the monsters we suspect ourselves to be?

Can we suppose catching a thing in an unobserved state is possible? Do we not affect by observation? How do we respond when the filmmaker draws our attention toward the voyeuristic nature of the cinema experience? Aren't we then witnesses to the scene of the crime?

Before heading to Wilmington for Blue Velvet, a true masterpiece in the hands of David Lynch boldly approaching the dark world of voyeurism and psychosexual exposure, I attended the latest Retro double-feature with Brian De Palma, a nice change of pace given how much shithouse cinema I'd eaten up to that point (I'll get to Satan's Children later.)


Friday Night Double Feature - worth it!

May 3, 2019 | The Carolina Theatre of Durham

Brian de Palma's

Body Double (1984)

Sisters (1972)

Speaking of voyeurism.

"You've been following me, haven't you?"

Craig Wasson in Body Double (1984) To think: This thing does not know I am watching. What a thrill! A "natural" state, that exotic dance, that miraculous view of the unaffected. Body Double hearkened to a few Hitchcock films recently screened at The Carolina in the masterworks Rear Window and Rope. The body in the couch, the iris for the framing. I loved the collision of the worlds - the curious actor, the glitz and glamour of LA careening into the world of adult film via the voyeur's panopticon spaceship. It sure does seem like a dog eat dog world out there in sunny SoCal. Maybe that's why I work so tirelessly on making something of my NC stint - I don't want to be out there. Exposed.

Craig Wasson in Body Double (1984)

"I'm not just a fucking stunt cock I'M AN ACTOR."

You're not, guy. You're a human being. You deserve more than just what you can provide with your member and your..seed.

William Finley and Margot Kidder in Sisters (1972)

Margot Kidder's performance of characters Danielle and Dominique reminded me also of Lynch's MO in double-identitied dames. Don't we all have to be a little split inside? Don't we have to pretend to be oh-so-sweet and innocent, hiding the unseemly inside ourselves, until someone is dumb enough to get too close to the truth?

And I finally got my first door prize, a sweet Sisters magnet, and had one of those sublime experiences I mentioned. Thank you, Jim, for your kind words, and to Tina and Budd Wilkins for reaching out about the writing, and to Shaun for introducing himself as the one with Feelings | Thoughts about Cinema Overdrive's screening of The Apple.

And it was nice, too, in that I was more or less unfamiliar with Kidder, but when chatting with one of Jeff Goodwin's buddies at Blue Velvet, Craig told me I was a dead ringer for this woman. What an unbearable compliment.

Margot Kidder in Sisters (1972)

Thanks be to you, Craig.



An epic battle of hearts, minds, souls - AND SPIRIT!? (spiwit?)


Satan's Children (dir. Wiezycki, 1975) | Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh

April 3, 2019 | Presented by Cinema Overdrive

Jesus fucking Christ, save me from this film.

Satan feels very at home in Florida.

Satan and Christendom both have a distaste for homosexual impulses.

Satan must have had a hand in the making of this devilishly terrible film.

Satan only wants "winners" aka the Florida version of Charlie Sheen's "winning" bender back a few years ago.

Hail Satan? (dir. Lane, 2019) | Carolina Theatre of Durham

April 5, 2019 | Full Frame Documentary Festival

Ok, so maybe Satan can be OK. This was a great film.

Funny, poignant, politically relevant and ultimately a caring portrait of a subculture that is genuinely interested in reclaiming "otherness" as a positive.

After all, that's all Satan really means, anyway. And there has to be an "other" when the primary mode

consists of a bunch of maniacal so-called Christians making it their business

to be in everyone else's business. Have a look at that beam in your own eye, you bastards.

You're making the rest of us look bad. Because as much as I sympathize with the plight

of these silly, harmless Satanists, I am mostly concerned with the flock I was born to shepherd.

After all,

Jesus himself spent most of his time with thieves, prostitutes, and other unseemly folk. He's no friend of pharisees and scribes.

Maybe that's why they perpetuate his gruesome death. A death of everything that might stand up against.

So thank you to the Satanic Temple for ensuring that (Gnostic) Christians like me aren't ruled by the patriarchs of a shallow and stuck up majority.


JESUS! (various) | King's Raleigh

April 9, 2019 | presented by A/V Geeks! (my new favorite, heart eyes emoji)

Holy shit.


I just had no idea there were filmmakers

who could make a straight narrative play like the most mind-bending avant garde piece

To witness Parable on the original 16mm print was miraculous.

Mostly I want to thank Skip Elsheimer, programmer and A/V Geek messiah, for exposing me to the work of Rolf Forsberg.

God bless you, Skip.

Rolf Forsberg and PARABLE from Movie Memories on Vimeo.

Monty Python's Life of Brian (dir. Jones, 1979) | Carolina Theatre of Durham

April 18, 2019 | 40th Anniversary Screening

I believe in miracles.

My neighbor in the theater turned to me during the trailers, commenting on the irony of the Amazing Grace (2019) trailer screening before Life of Brian.

"I think it's perfect," I said. "Grace, faith - and comedy!"

Turns out my neighbors were neuroscientists. We had a wonderful time chatting about some intimate experiences of mine (RIP mom) as well as where one might be able to find consciousness in a brain - one in a coma, for instance.

In the meantime, I enjoyed one of my favorite comedies. I love it mostly because it shines a light on some of my own idiosyncrasies and blind spots (warring tribes, anyone? messiah complex? wanting to live naked in a hole with a juniper bush?)

Also got some lovely swag at this special screening. Many thanks to The Carolina Theatre and especially Jim Carl for programming this event.


MovieDiva | The Carolina Theatre of Durham

I managed to catch just about every MovieDiva screening at the Carolina this go-round. Good thing, because they were all fascinating, fun, poignant, and easily dovetailed with my tendency to draw out massive metaphors and apply them to my own life.

Barbara Stanwyck and Ben Lyon in Night Nurse (1931)

Night Nurse (dir. Wellman, 1931)

March 27, 2019

I've unfortunately experienced my fair share of medical malpractice.

Perhaps not with the malice evident in this film, and none of the

high society hi-jinks therein. Nonetheless, Barbara Stanwyck's blown fuse

thrilled me with some semblance of encouragement

that there are normal folk in the world who do fight against

the banality of evil.


And maybe we can all benefit from the outlaws, the gangsters, secretly harboring

that heart of gold

willing to put their freedom on the line

to see that vigilante justice is served.


Love is a Racket (dir. Wellman, 1932)

April 24, 2019


Isn't it though.

What is love? Baby, don't hurt me.

Don't hurt me by playing me like a fiddle

stringing me along til the next best thing comes along

to whisk you into some peripheral stew.


But I suppose in all cases

there are a few in the wings waiting to be noticed

for the boons they bring to the table.

Red Dust (dir. Fleming, 1932)

May 1, 2019


Clark Gable. You rogue.

Of course the woman who'd be so free with her affections

would be the one you find yourself offended by,

and the inaccessibility of the aristocratic broad

makes your insides swell with desire and yearning from the void.


If it wants me, there's something wrong with it.

If it doesn't, I gotta have it.



You can find out more and see Laura Boyes' notes on the films at the MovieDiva website


Underexposed | Shadowbox Studio

SINGLE FRAME Documentary Shorts | April 7, 2019

Durham's very own Smyth Brothers manned the helm of the Full Frame alternative, SINGLE FRAME, at Shadowbox Studio with filmmaker Laurids Andersen Sonne in attendance. These experimental documentary shorts tested the boundaries set by the institutional documentary artworld, so of course I couldn't miss it. Neither could a room packed full and teeming with others.








Movie Loft |

Shadowbox Studio

Smooth Talk (dir. Chopra, 1985) | May 9, 2019

Now for the hardest part.

It felt somewhat less than accidental that Laura Dern should visit me this way, an old experience made blissfully new, and a new experience to annihilate the bliss.

That's not to say there was anything at all about Smooth Talk that made it a bad film. It was a perfectly good film. It was a devastatingly troubling film. I've been reeling over it ever since.

Because while Blue Velvet is one of those rarest of creatures, the disgust and dismemberment made pleasing with the help of the beautiful, there were no arthouse shortcuts taken by Chopra in this film. It's a straight narrative, firmly grounded in aesthetic and conceptual realism. And this makes Smooth Talk all the more terrifying to contrast the expressionistic tone of Blue Velvet. I'd go as far as calling it a horror film.


Because I was Laura Dern. To some extent, any headstrong, independent young girl has this in her. And my relationship with my mom was so similar. And my friends. And my enemies.

Because while it is fun enough to play along at the beginning it is a strange world to come out of when you realize how much you never wanted to give it away. And hate yourself for exposing yourself to dangerous people and empty experiences.



I missed Crispin Glover and really wanted to make it. Anyone here with FEELINGS | THOUGHTS so I can live vicariously through your experience? Also, if you've seen something recently (or not so recently!) in movie theaters around the Triangle and you have feelings/thoughts about it, I would love to hear from you!

More images with direct or indirect references to fun events with filmmakers and friends around the cinematic community


IMG_5783Cinema Overdrive's Adam Hulin presenting Walter Hill's The Driver in beautiful Cinema 1 at The Carolina Theatre IMG_5803IMG_5803






Stay tuned for more fun. Also, feel free to follow me on Instagram, like the Facebook page, sync ART | HOUSE to your own personal Google calendars, etc. etc. Yay for movies! Yay for content! Yay for fun and challenging and interesting and rare programming around the Triangle!

IMG_5864Thank you ShaunYour favorite color! IMG_5868IMG_5868








Thinking of you in Wilmington, Shaun! Look! You favorite color <3













Who, ME?!









One last thing.

IMG_5922IMG_5922 IMG_5921IMG_5921 IMG_5920IMG_5920

RIP Norma (Peggy Lipton - 1946-2019)

Image result for peggy lipton

(Lamblyoptic) a/v geeks alamo drafthouse alamo drafthouse raleigh analog film screenings art house blue velvet body double brian de palma carolina theatre carolina theatre of durham cinema cinema overdrive cinephilia clark gable criticism david lynch durham nc experimental cinema film philosophy film review full frame documentary festival hail satan? jeff goodwin king's raleigh kyle maclachlan laallh lamblyoptic laura dern life of brian light artists are the least light hearted love is a racket monty python movie reviews moviediva movieloft nc night nurse peggy lipton penny lane philosophy raleigh red dust retro film series rolf foresberg satan's children shadowbox studio sisters 1972 smooth talk triangle film voyeurism wilmington nc Fri, 17 May 2019 22:40:02 GMT
LAALLH O, Light! Springing Tentatively in Triangle Film Screenings  

All hail, Spring is upon us. O Light, let us be careful. Let's feel together, again.


Some nice music to accompany your reading.

"Then if you do not make yourself equal to God, you cannot apprehend God, for like is known by like......

make yourself higher than all heights, and lower than all depths, bring together in yourself all opposites of quality....;

think you are everywhere at once...;think that you are not yet begotten, ...that you are in the world beyond the grave;

grasp in your thought all this at once, all times and all places, all substances and qualities and magnitudes together;

then you can apprehend God."

From the Corpus Hermeticum book XI. [MacDermot, Violet. The Fall of Sophia. Lindisfarne Books, 2001. p.55)





Theorists in the West have tended so strongly toward splitting the subjective from the objective - with a clear preference for objectivity as the source of truth. Not only is this a relatively new invention in human terms, it is also a dogma. Welcome to the Fruit.

One thing I love about movies is how gracefully they call into question our human dogmas and our cultural impulse to separate ourselves from a thing in order to understand it. There is no experience so sweet as being swept away by great cinema the way one can with a great lover. Not only does the lover anticipate ones most unconscious desires, but encourages their expression as one that transcends the feeling of being inside oneself, breaking down the ego barrier via ecstasy.

Every time I see a great film - or, well, metaphor - I wonder whether I'm eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, the Tree of Life, or both. Genesis.

Is it right? Is it wrong? Is it both? How lonely are we, how isolated, how tortured, to know right from wrong and still to experience things that partake in both simultaneously. Doesn't our light necessitate shadow? So too does shadow have much to teach concerning lessons we are here to learn as human consciousnesses. At some higher level of conscious evolution, perhaps, there is a plateau to be reached when the knowledge, self, truth, light, harmonize as one type of being altogether.

At this stage of ecstasy, mysticism, what have you, the boundaries between what is right and what is wrong both change and find some more substantial ground to stand on.



The Apple. of. MY. EYE!

Screen Shot 2019-04-05 at 1.58.48 PMScreen Shot 2019-04-05 at 1.58.48 PM

A mysterious stranger had this to say about CINEMA OVERDRIVE'S presentation of The Apple (1980, dir. Golan) at The Carolina Theatre of Durham on March 20, 2019:

Screening: 10/10. Rating: WORTH IT.

"Absolutely bonkers. Why did Second Joss Ackland show up in a car, and why did it leave without him AND all the people? I love all the trailers fore and aft, especially when Jim [Jim Carl, Senior Director of film programming at the Carolina] tries to show trailers that would have appeared at the time of the feature's original release...The "SPEEEEED" song was just murder on my ears."

In this case, The Carolina Theatre unsurprising wooed the day with a flawless presentation, visual and auditory.

Related image Dear mysterious stranger and friend,

Thank you very much for the compliments. I did not intend that bit with the popcorn but I was thrilled when you pointed it out (I went as The Apple).

I hope you agree that, from the time the film itself begins and until it ends, the preferred way of being is to let the film happen to you and allow yourself the immersion in that experience. Apart from that - whether during trailers or when we're all settling in or filing out - it's healthy to experience the space and its reverent or irreverent anticipations or reactions with other human beings. Say hello next time! Preface it with your favorite color so I know that it's you. Wink.

l'Am merely a humble servant of the light that I love.

Seen a screening lately that you particularly enjoyed (or despised)? Have thoughts or feelings about the experience, the theater, the presenter, the film? Feel free to express yourself here!


My turn.



One thing I struggle with as I work on this writing is that I'm not so regularly pumping out these appreciations of local programming. In my defense, I've realized how valuable it is to draw similarities of various screenings and experiences. Hopefully, I demonstrate that an individual piece can be appreciated on its own, in relation to other works, as well as in its relation to the viewer. Great works of art can engage easily at each level.


THE APPLE (1980, dir. Golan)

3/20 CAROLINA (presented by Cinema Overdrive)

I had so much fun with this absurd movie. I fully expected to hate it and regret the decision to attend this screening rather than the Alamo Drafthouse's concurrent screening of Russ Meyer's Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! But after a quick Wikipedia search and immediate understanding of the film's relevance to the kind of shit that is constantly on my mind, I decided to approach Menahem Golan's The Apple.

Villains have such a way of utilizing the moral ambiguity of "there is no right, there is no wrong" to justify their ego-maniacal ends. And the sensitivity of feminine divinity approaches wisdom with tenderness, to be so ravaged within. The songs were terrible. The dancing was over-the top, glitzy, but inside...inside this strange film, some morsel of truth, some delight, some redemption.

Deus. Ex. Machina. It doesn't get any more on the nose than this.

In case you missed it, this title is streaming on Amazon Prime!



3/4 ALAMO (presented by Cinema Overdrive)

I went seeking some idea of whether or not this film relates to how David Lynch and Mark Frost RETURNed to the town of TWIN PEAKS in 2017. I would have to say that Martin Sheen's character, and Jodie Foster's age, may indeed echo through time to become the Bob and Laura Palmer we came to know in later times. "We'll be friends, you and I."

Friends. Right.

Image result for i'm no angel mae west
I’M NO ANGEL (1933, dir. Ruggles)

3/13 CAROLINA (presented by MovieDiva)

God bless Mae West schooling Cary Grant on things he'd rather assume than understand.







BRAINSTORM (1983, dir. Trumbull)

3/19 VARSITY (in partnership with the Ackland Film Forum)


Image result for brainstorm movie


Some minds are unprepared to take on the responsibility of what can be known about that sublime space between life and death. I'm making it my personal responsibility to find the incredible modernist industrial masterpiece which served as the exterior (and also possibly interior) location for the lab in Trumbull's solidly fun and fascinating film. Plenty of juice here concerning the barrier between the objective and the subjective, and comfortably within the realm of narrative storytelling. Appropriate use of special effects and very engaging manipulation of the frame itself.


Radical begins and ends when feelings and thoughts and lovers and friends come together again.


Observando el Cielo (Jeanne Liotta, 2017)

from Jeanne Liotta's Observando el Cielo (2017)

Breaking Stasis: Experimental 'Screenings' and the (Meta)Physics of Light


February and March of 2019 were chock full of inspiring, experimental cinema.

I had the pleasure of attending a few screenings which challenged the boundary of the frame, the movies as a medium, and had me thinking deeply about the nature of cinema itself. These experiences, and the pieces I witnesses, transcend my rating system because you literally had to be there. I hope this can inspire some of you to also seek this aspect of the experience of the moving image. Sometimes, it involves a performative aspect that like other genres of performance - whether live music, dance, or other - occurs the one time and differently, in a sense, for each member of the audience. So too is it unique in that attempts to capture such a thing would be impossible.

As we can know from the toils of folks like Neils Bohr and Werner Heisenberg, the measurement - the observation of a thing as such - directly impacts its manifestation and expression.





Jeanne Liotta is an accomplished, well-regarded video artist and attended the screening and performance of a number of works spanning the entirety of her career. It was such a pleasure to have a dialog with her after the fact, inquiring about her process, especially as it related to her short piece SPAZIO (2018). In the work we see glimpses of a figure thumbing a rare volume about the work of a monk by the name of Giordano Bruno, with some fascinating visuals of esoteric diagrams of space that this martyred 1600s esotericist created in his lifetime.

For some added SPOOKY ACTION AT A DISTANCE, this name would recur in my own life in relation to some research into SOPHIA mythos and scholarship in preparation for Netflix's June 2019 release of the anime series NEON GENESIS EVANGELION.

Manual Cinema, a Chicago-based troupe of light artists who create live cinema using a system of projectors, actors, and silhouetted puppets thrilled the part of me that dreams in terms of light, and depth, and parallax, and practical effects, and the responsibility and wonder at the witnessing of light with art, feeling, intention behind it. It was a unique and beautiful experience and a phenomenal piece, that helped to heal pieces of me that hurt from the loss of those I love in the lived experience of my life.

CHEVYS AND LANDSCAPES was such a transcendent experience that instead of describing how much I loved the opportunity to enjoy the Analog Museum at the Durham Cinematheque, or how blown away I was by Tom Whitehead's work in 16mm, I'm just gonna say GO.

In the end, with each piece, I felt drunk in light and how it had also moved over and inside of me within the context of performative pieces that would never happen again and would always be happening for me at the same time.

What is the significance of the moving image? How does interaction - exhibition, or as a viewer - translate to lived experience? What does this experience have to do with theoretical frameworks in the physics of light and its relationship to human consciousness and expression?


LOCAL, HONEY: Movies, Experience, Immunotherapy

FOREIGN BODY (2016, dir. Amari)  2/20 RUBY

There are a few characters I tend to see around all the same screenings, but it’s almost impossible to go to a screening that Kevin isn’t attending.

Last year, local cinephile Kevin managed to attend over 500 screenings. So when Kevin told me that this was one of his favorites from 2017, I made it a point to see this excellent independent film screening as part of the African Film Festival at Duke’s Rubenstein Center.

Following the trials and tribulations of a youthful woman, an illegal immigrant to France, Foreign Body asks radical questions of faith, nationhood, identity, and what freedom can and can’t look like when the traumas visited upon us have no reckoning. The film was beautiful in both form and content.

Image result for black cat white cat
BLACK CAT, WHITE CAT (1998, dir. Kustirica) 2/21 MovieLoft at SHADOWBOX

These have become some of my favorite local screenings and the folks who run the Shadowbox Studio couldn’t be warmer or cooler than they already are. This screening was a raucous romp on the banks of the Danube in Serbia, and hearkened a familiar face back to the fore of my consciousness. Amidst the peculiarly ordered chaos and kinetic energy of the film, the face of Branka Katić - so familiar!

Then I remembered her. I’ve been binging HBO’s BIG LOVE ever since, in a welcome re-watching of one of my FAVORITE series ever.


Image result for on dangerous ground 1951

ON DANGEROUS GROUND (1951, dir. Ray, Lupino) 2/25 RUBY

In a continuation of last month’s post on local Film Noir screenings, they came to a head with this wonderful screening of Nicholas Ray and Ida Lupino’s masterwork.

The mastery has a markedly subjective component for me. As soon as Lupino appeared on screen as Mary, my eyes immediately welled up with tears. She reminded me so much of my Mother.

My mother was disabled for the last 10 years of her life, which came to a grief-ridden end on November 25, 2013. Lupino was her. The big wide eyes, the free expression of her feelings writ all over her sweet face, the careful way she moved in space, her vulnerability and forthrightness and courage. So, too, in lines like

“I don’t want anyone feeling sorry for me.”

I was a goddamn mess and I wept and then I went home and I sobbed and now I’m crying again.


CLIMAX (2019, dir. Noe) 3/3 DUKE (Special early screening presented by A24)

Cut through this sentimentality like a slow, dull axe. And all the hell of this brutal blow was an inversion of every ecstatic little death.

This wasn’t my first experience with a Noe film, but it was the first time I made it through. The first was an attempted viewing of 2009’s Enter the Void, which was unwatchable for me because of the artificiality of wide angle shots (which comprised the entirety of the film). This formal assault was too much for me, but the content of Climax, mirroring this brutality, was a delicious descent into Hell itself.

The glory of expression perverted. The film documents artists who excel at their craft lumped together in an isolated workshop to dance through the pain of existence. In the beginning, we get each of them individually, speaking to us, lo fi and with clear cuts. As the film progresses the boundaries between each begin to dissolve and their shared horrors rise like a dark tide, as the film itself becomes a semblance of one long, uninterrupted shot. It’s as if all the pain bound up and expressed seeps immanently into the boundaries of their closed experience. This pandora’s box of suffering let loose by artificial hallucinogens and ignorance, floods the frame and the consciousness of the audience.

Welcome to hell. Everyone here is dead. There is no love or life left anywhere. Le petit mort.

Image result for noe climax



A good number of the films

listed on the ART | HOUSE screenings calendar

are free to the public

(especially for those of you lucky enough to call Durham your home!)

SCREEN/SOCIETY breaks from the exclusivity of the Private University atmosphere to feature free screenings, many of which are brilliant works of art. Now that they are coming to the close of their Winter/Spring 2019 season, a heartfelt thank you to Jason Sudek and Hank Okazaki of The Art of the Moving Image department at Duke University.

MovieLoft, presented and hosted by Shadowbox Studio in Durham, takes donations for what has proved to be a FANTASTIC film selection so far. Also, hot dogs! I'm making it a point to attend as many of these screenings as possible.

As one of my favorite film professors used to regularly charge - Watch movies, folks.




For months, once or twice a month, we touched. And in that touch something sacred, forgiveness meet sin. The above like the below and the outside in the in. For about the same number of months I could see and I could hear. Like cinema. There was no touch.

Unlike cinema, there was only darkness. No light, no life, like it always was in the end.

I grieved.

In the separation I grieved the misplacement of trust, the gifts ungratefully received. I grieved the innocence with which such gifts were given and the holiness spoiled by evil and deceit. I grieved the loss of my glimpse of The Gate and the Light therein.

Pain or scorn or strife and more. My lover, my friend, and neither in the end. In the end, we begin.


And so it was with each goodbye. And as the long goodbye never seemed to end, I struggled for peace and found it within. Like an animal, I'll fight to keep it, grow and nurture it, and will never let you reduce it again.


(Lamblyoptic) alamo drafthouse alamo drafthouse raleigh art house art of the moving image carolina theatre carolina theatre of durham cinema cinema overdrive cinephilia criticism duke university durham cinematheque durham nc experimental cinema film review laallh lamblyoptic light artists are the least light hearted manual cinema movie reviews moviediva movieloft nc philosophy raleigh rubenstein center screen society shadowbox studio triangle film Sun, 07 Apr 2019 01:17:54 GMT
LAALLH Warming Up at the Movies: Pre-Code Women, Noir contrasts, and Telephone Books


MOVIEDIVA: Damsel Defiled - or Deified?

Dames of the Pre-Code Era


All hail Laura Boyes’ programming! We are so lucky to have her.


Shanghai Express (1932) Her formal but accessible, well-researched introductions leave me enraptured with clear and brilliant visions of the worlds that make films possible.

Her current series, focusing on films featuring edgy dames before the introduction of the Hays/Production Code (censorship of liberal social attitudes most especially) has featured some of the more marvelous ladies to grace the silver screen in roles to live and die for.

More info on MovieDiva’s awesome Pre-Code Women series can be found here:

An inescapably familiar thread ran through all of three of the recent MovieDiva screenings I had the privilege of attending.

And I mean privilege.

Girls About Town was never released on home video. The scratching of the 35mm print screened at the Museum of Art had me salivating, but I only barely made it into the theater! Despite arriving half an hour early, not only was the film sold out, but I was about the 15th person on the waiting list.


But by God I made it. Without it, I wouldn’t have my trifecta. Girls About Town, along with Baby Face and Shanghai Express left me feeling hopeful, devastated, and a bit wiser.

I clenched my interiority, worried it was spilling all over existence.

Barbara Stanwyck and George Brent in Baby Face (1933)  


All of the films feature a strong female protagonist dripping with agency, sex appeal, and charm. Beneath their coiffed and carefully arranged exteriors, a raw woman - one with the power to decide her future for herself, which she takes by gaming the system meant to destroy her.

In each case, an even deeper power, one that makes her quite human. She would allow herself to love a man that might destroy her every freedom. But not lightly. No, sir. Light Artists Are the Least Light Hearted. And, well, times have changed since then, but that is something worth remembering when viewing these films to appreciate their radicality.

So she has her guard up, and he his. For beneath the exterior of our masculine love interests, each carries with him a similar state of affairs. Inaccessible, in order to protect his own tenderness, his own vulnerability, and demonstrate his masculine indifference. But he can’t help but find himself overwhelmed by the magnanimity of our leading ladies. He knows she is his weakness, and maintains his old guard. But he loves her. He knows her.

Or, she has obscured his senses so blindingly with all the glitter that he cannot rely on his perceptions anymore. He loves himself. He knows only himself.

In the end, our paragons of feminine power cause their masculine counterparts to rise to the occasion, each of them finding their own facades crumbling, hopes abounding that this rare Other can bring them to some balance, between their image and their truth. It’s the least any such beautiful thing as a unique human being can ever hope for. Can we - either man or woman, but in either case those lovers of freedom and bold enough to be their own unique selves - be understood? Loved, truly, for who we really are and not as some mold one mangles oneself to fit to please the other?

Glorious, glorious, gunning for more. Plenty of this great series left to enjoy. Get to it, folks, everyone else is already on the Express!

And if you’re not careful, there won’t be any room left for you to claim!

Baby Face (dir. Green, 1933) MUST HAVE

Girls About Town (dir. Cukor, 1931) WORTH IT

Shanghai Express (dir. von Sternberg, 1932) MUST HAVE


See MovieDiva's extensive notes on each of the films at this link: What's New


Neo and Nous: The Soul of Noir

Whether Neo or not, Film Noir lives long and strong around the Triangle in screenings throughout the region.

Courtesy of the SCREEN/SOCIETY of Duke University:

Detour (1945)


John Cassavetes neo-Noir double-header in late January with Cassavetes’ directed The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976/78) and acting in Elaine May's 1976 masterpiece Mikey and Nicky. Also featured, Edgar G. Ulmer's Detour (1945 - an interesting year for detours, indeed.)


Cassavetes’ approved 1978 cut screened in 35mm at the Rubenstein Center. Lovely performance by Ben Gazzara, who finds himself at the will of powerful men until he utilizes the brutality of his youth to settle the score. The revenge was utterly satisfying. Gazzara’s final monologue is surprisingly not on the internet anywhere I can find, despite its brilliance.

The film ended on my very favorite sort of note:




The next Neo-noir screening from that week still makes my brain weep electromagnetic soul substance tears, oozing out of the cleft between my hemispheres.





A truly unique work of art that showed me something I have never seen in cinema, something especially familiar to me (besides fitting the branding of l’Amblyoptic); it was the first time I have ever seen a filmmaker simulate amblyopia, the condition of having a lazy eye.

Starring John Cassavetes and Peter Falk, Elaine May’s 1976 neo-noir masterpiece Mikey and Nicky would be the first film Criterion Collection chose to release on its new streaming service.

While Falk himself had a glass eye, and although the condition was never spoken about within the context of the film, point-of-view shots show Falk’s character’s lazy eye drift independently of the dominant eye, betraying his subconscious motives and fears. I wanted to jump out of my skin. It’s also the story of a 30 year long friendship - men who have relied extensively on one another - embittered, reaching its end by means of betrayal. I loved it. I loved it so, so much.

While I would truly love to give you the entire opening sequence to demonstrate the killer acting in this film - immediately gripped by Cassavetes’ screaming “MIKEY!” - this clip should suffice:


Other noir screenings during the months of January and February included this marvelous Double Feature at The Carolina Theatre of Durham:

The Maltese Falcon (1941) Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray in Double Indemnity (1944)


The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (dir. Cassavetes, 1976) WORTH IT

Mikey and Nicky (dir. May, 1976) MUST HAVE

Detour (dir. Ulmer, 1945) WORTH IT

The Maltese Falcon (dir. Huston, 1941) WORTH IT

Double Indemnity (dir. Wilder, 1944) MUST HAVE


This February and just in time for Valentine's Day, Cinema Overdrive screened one of my absolute favorite underground cult films.

The Telephone Book (dir. Lyon, 1971) MUST HAVE

In fact, I love this film so much, I made a commercial especially for the screening. Unsolicited. Unpaid. For sheer laughs and enjoyment and expression’s sake. I had a blast, traversing the Triangle for an old telephone, finding fun royalty-free sounds like this wonderful screeching state fair prize winning pig. I mean, you can almost see how massive this thing must have been to make that noise. I erupt in peals of laughter every time I get to that part.

I also have been notified that this commercial doesn’t make a whole lot of sense if you haven’t seen the film. But if you have, or have some alternative reference, perhaps you’d enjoy it anyway.

It wasn’t until I made way to the antique mall in Siler City, NC before I found a phone.


Throw in some Spooky Action at a Distance, and this is what your Filmme Fatale finds when she arrives where she’s meant to be all along:


This was almost the first booth I saw when I entered, but I assumed I was only noticing because of the great legs and the hearkening to my SALEM - WINSTON roots. I did not see the telephone.






















I walked the entire mall, scanning each booth, looking for a telephone before arriving back where I started.


At BOOTH 1, not only do I spot the phone, but the bust of Zeus (just for fun and, because, God), an apple peeler that looks suspiciously like a JACK, The Animator's Survival Kit, a Keith Haring book, and a beautiful beat up copy of Catcher in the Rye. See also, THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT, a slew of animated films recently covered, SHIRKERS, and all things North Carolina School of the Arts.

Oh. And my sweet, sweet telephone. She cleaned up real nice.





You can keep up with all the off-beat screenings available in the Triangle region at this public calendar located here:



See you at the movies!


(Lamblyoptic) alamo drafthouse alamo drafthouse raleigh amblyopia art house art of the moving image baby face barbara stanwyck ben gazzara billy wilder carolina theatre carolina theatre of durham cinema cinema overdrive cinephilia criticism detour double indemnity duke university durham nc edgar ulmer elaine may experimental cinema film noir film review film theory george cukor girls about town john cassavetes john huston josef von sternberg laallh lamblyoptic light artists are the least light hearted marlene dietrich mikey and nicky movie reviews moviediva nc nelson lyon philosophy pre-code women raleigh retro film series rubenstein center screen society shanghai express the killing of a chinese bookie the maltese falcon the telephone book triangle film Wed, 06 Mar 2019 20:16:14 GMT
LAALLH Spooky Actions of l'Amblyoptic: Being There in Time nor Space


While I unfortunately missed the opportunity to view Hal Ashby's masterwork Being There at the North Carolina Museum of Art's sold-out screening on January 11, 2019, I nonetheless felt that peculiar insistence of Spooky Action at a Distance.

I love this phrase. It comes from Albert Einstein, a phrase used to criticize his contemporary Niels Bohr's work in Quantum Mechanics:

"It involves a pair of particles linked by the strange quantum property of entanglement (a word coined much later). Entanglement occurs when two particles are so deeply linked that they share the same existence. In the language of quantum mechanics, they are described by the same mathematical relation known as a wavefunction. Entanglement arises naturally when two particles are created at the same point and instant in space, for example.

Entangled particles can become widely separated in space. But even so, the mathematics implies that a measurement on one immediately influences the other, regardless of the distance between them. Einstein and co pointed out that according to special relativity, this was impossible and therefore, quantum mechanics must be wrong, or at least incomplete.  Einstein famously called it spooky action at a distance."

[Einstein's "Spooky Action at a Distance" Paradox Older Than Thought]


The title Being There is an English translation of the German dasein. Dasein is the consistent subject in Heidegger’s text. Dasein has this or that character, when Dasein does such-and-such, etc. Who is Dasein? Heidegger defines the “who” of Dasein with “the expression ‘Self’.” Selfhood for Dasein is not the selfhood of any revealed entity, but rather is “defined formally as a way of existing, and therefore not as an entity present-at-hand.” (Being and Time, 312)

    Philosopher and art critic Arthur Danto claims that “when art attains the level of self-consciousness it has come to attain in our era, the distinction between art and philosophy becomes as problematic as the distinction between reality and art,” and that “the degree to which the appreciation of art becomes a matter of applied philosophy can hardly be overestimated.” This is especially true when materials used to produce films are used to create great works of art. Film art resembles our world more closely than any other, and can subtly elaborate meaning in a way that philosophers can envy – and that some have used themselves. Unlike so many adaptations, Being There is a rare case of a film adaptation being more powerful than the literary work at its foundation – the poetry of the image adding much to the poetry of plot, characters, and dialogue.

In the absence of technocratic understandings, Chauncey offers only the knowledge he possesses; because truth is the source of that knowledge, it extends beyond the narrow constraints of specificity. For Ben Rand especially, Chauncey’s wisdom surpasses the value of specific knowledge or craft or cleverness. “You don’t play games with words to protect yourself,” he says to Chauncey. This honest approach to the world is what Heidegger calls authenticity. Chauncey’s authenticity can be understood best in light of the bookended scenes of the film involving death. 

    When death is approached authentically, life is appreciated in anticipatory resoluteness, Dasein’s authentic being-towards-death. Even in the opening sequences, we glimpse Chance’s anticipatory resoluteness. Louise is astonished by his indifferent attitude when she tells him the Old Man has died; her expectations are based on everyday Dasein’s inauthentic response to death – Chance should respond with fear, not with seeming indifference. This is a mere misunderstanding; his response is best seen as an expression of anticipatory resoluteness. Because of his intimate familiarity with cycles of life and death in the garden, Chance is unsurprised by the event. He is not ignoring the death; instead,

anticipatory resoluteness is not a way of escape, fabricated for the ‘overcoming’ of death; it is rather that understanding which follows the call of conscience and which frees for death the possibility of acquiring power over Dasein’s existence and of basically dispersing all fugitive Self-concealments.” (Being and Time, 357)

    The conclusion of Being There particularly illuminates the transcendent power of the film and its superiority to Kosinski’s novella. While Kosinski was responsible for the screenplay adaptation of his book, Hal Ashby, the film’s director, crafted the final scene in a fit of inspiration. Benjamin Rand has died, and Chauncey, Eve, and Robert join with the President to attend his funeral, along with the rest of his associates and other undefined characters. While the President presides and eulogizes Rand, Chauncey wanders off into the woods, tending to a young tree that was overcome by a dead branch in the midst of a snowy winter’s day. He continues his walk. Eve sees that he has walked away, then turns her attention back to the funeral scene.  Presumably thinking, Chauncey walks – directly onto the surface of the water in the woods.

    Walking on water; this image, while it draws from the rich storytelling traditions of Christianity, it is perhaps all-the-more powerful as a metaphor for letting be, and the Other Beginning Heidegger aspired to for philosophy. Poetic dwelling sees human beings as not a separate phenomenon, but a thing intimately familiar to nature. In pure reflection atop the water. Chauncey offers us the potential for our own ability to be authentic and reflect nature itself, building a Self, and being a vehicle for Being and steward of nature. The lofting music explodes beautifully with the scene; the voice of the President running parallel all the while, eulogizing Rand. Chauncey becomes aware of his circumstances, dipping his umbrella through the surface of the water. The voice rings clearer now. “Life…is a state of mind.”


Being There. By Jerzy Kosinski. Dir. Hal Ashby. Perf. Peter Sellers. 1979.

Danto, Arthur. "Art, Philosophy, and the Philosophy of Art." 12 February 2013 <>.

Heidegger, Martin. Being and Time. Trans. John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson. 7. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc., 1962.



My first experience of this film was watching it with one of my best friends, with whom I was unrequitedly in love for 10 years, at his house in Winston-Salem circa 2009. We broke bread and drank water and I watched as Chance walked the water while the All Seeing Eye stood guard, with and for the dead.

Although I missed the screening, I was at The West End Wine Bar of Durham while it was taking place and another friend of ours, who manages the bar, unknowingly had Satie's Gnosseines on the playlist. It came on. I stopped all conversation to gasp, my eyes welling with tears, and feel the entanglement course through me, my waves rippling through space in time. I did not know the name of the piece, but I knew the piece.


How much meaning is too much for one person to handle?

It has not occurred to me that, a month before while shooting my friend's guitar recital at North Carolina School of the Arts, that he too had played Gnosseine I. I didn't recognize it until I was editing the video a few days ago. You can hear it in my most recent YouTube shenanigans.

Looking for clues, I checked the Wikipedia on Erik Satie and specfically, the Gnosseinnes:

"The word appears to derive from gnosis. Satie was involved in gnostic sects and movements at the time that he began to compose the Gnossiennes."

When I was a child an anime called Neon Genesis Evangelion came into my life, introduced me to the Dead Sea Scrolls, Kabbalah, and became the inspiration for my foray into Nag Hammadi (gnostic) scriptures discovered en masse at Nag Hammadi, Egypt in 1945. Mysticism is my bag.

The complete text of The Gospel of Thomas was then revealed, though fragments existed during Satie's time.

If you look for the truth it will find you. If you look for meaning you will discover it inside you. If you do not look you will never find it.


If your leaders tell you, “Look, the kingdom is in heaven,”
then the birds of heaven will precede you.
If they say to you, “It’s in the sea,”
then the fish will precede you.
But the kingdom is inside you and it is outside you.
When you know yourselves,  then you will be known,
and you will understand that you are children of the living father.
But if you do not know yourselves,
then you dwell in poverty and you are poverty.


(Lamblyoptic) art house being there cinema dasein einstein erik satie film review gnosis gnosseinnes gnosticism hal ashby heidegger laallh lamblyoptic light artists are the least light hearted movie reviews moviediva mysticism nc north carolina museum of art peter sellers philosophy raleigh spooky action at a distance triangle film Wed, 13 Feb 2019 14:48:27 GMT
LAALLH Chill of Winter. Epic Screenings. Formidable Formats. Sexy Contents. Or, The Hell With Love IMG_4749IMG_4749

Ladies and gentlemen,

friends and neighbors,

freaks, geeks, nerds, and cheeky turds,

fellow cinephiles and wisdom lovers,

I so hope you have had the opportunity

to enjoy at least a taste

of this delicious fare I share with you now.

If not,

maybe you'll get lucky some other time!




- KAHtheRose of l’Amblyoptic


January Recap:

MV5BNTczNGFhYmYtODc3ZS00OWI0LTkzNWMtNDVhNmE4ODVkZmJmXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjI3NDAyNg@@._V1_MV5BNTczNGFhYmYtODc3ZS00OWI0LTkzNWMtNDVhNmE4ODVkZmJmXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjI3NDAyNg@@._V1_ baby-face-movie-poster-1933-1020417044baby-face-movie-poster-1933-1020417044 MPW-47433MPW-47433



ANIME MAGIC @ The Carolina Theater of Durham

Perfect Blue, Steamboy, Mind Game

modern masterpieces

SCREEN/SOCIETY Burning, The Image Book  (RUBY)

OSCARS ROUNDUP Cold War, Shoplifters, Shirkers   (ALAMO)

overlooked masterpieces and rarities



SCREEN/SOCIETY Mikey and Nicky  (RUBY)



SCREEN/SOCIETY The Killing of a Chinese Bookie  (RUBY)



See also, my YouTube play-by-play from the middle of January and SUBSCRIBE to the YouTube channel for continuing updates, including some exciting stuff I have coming up soon regarding upcoming screenings.

ART | HOUSE is a continuous updated calendar featuring local retro, repertory, radical, revolutionary, and otherwise resplendent screenings around the NC triangle.



This month was about beginnings.

“Have you found the beginning, then, so that you are seeking the end? For where the beginning is, the end will be. Blessed is the one who stands at the beginning. That one will know the end and will not taste death.”

I had plenty of help from the excellent programming available via The Carolina Theater of Durham’s ANIME MAGIC series, the SCREEN/SOCIETY programming courtesy of Duke’s Art of the Moving Image department, CINEMA OVERDRIVE, as well as the incredibly (and deservedly) well-attended premier of MovieDiva’s 2019 season at the Carolina.


Screen Shot 2019-01-31 at 4.34.13 PMScreen Shot 2019-01-31 at 4.34.13 PM


I guess we're going back to the beginning awfully soon. Baby, I remember it all. I was there for The Fall.


The Image Book (dir. Godard, 2018) MUST HAVE

January 10, 2019. Rubenstein Center @ Duke (Ruby) presented by Screen/Society

This film set the tone of the rest of my life.

Wikipedia described it as an avant-garde horror essay. A memoir of cinema from one of the most fundamental auteurs of the medium. This will find a place in my top 5 favorite movies of all time. I literally dream of the day I can hold it in my hands.

The introduction was a great primer on both Godard and a warning to the uninitiated - this will not be your garden-variety, accessible narrative. Bewildering use of montage. Disorienting cuts; the editing station involved manual manipulations of tape media. The occasional disjunctures from one aspect ratio to another. Stark contrasts and dense saturation, with Un Chien Andalou as one of the first sourced materials I recognized. Hearkenings to the Lumiere’s train, and the beginnings of it all.

Some of the more impactful recollections, having seen it just the once, is the capacity for artists to aspire to transcendence of the world through the work, but there is an inherent violence that the artist enacts on a subject when that subject is objectified for the work itself. Additionally, the motion picture, its wielding of vast influence over the human imagination and heart, was not able to defeat the drives that led man to manifest 20th century atrocities.

For cinema, we cut our eyes open; the artist can help us see better. For art, we cut our hearts out and expect they be returned; but some hearts are hard. The laws of diminishing returns will hold strong for this world. Still others are so tender that they can be too easily mangled by evil.

Our hands, our hearts, our every endeavor suffers the fatal flaw of an imperfect, evolving, and damaged humanity.

I gasped. I wept. I finally, blessedly, gave up.

Suffered, died, was buried, and Rose again.

Much of the month was spent viewing films from Japan and Korea, old and new, befitting the beginnings of my mind's persistently meta milieu.

On morals: in preparation I reflected on my middle school years joining my Korean friends at Savannah Korean Baptist church every Sunday.

Sunday school was spent with Mrs. Choi, investigating the biblical text and gleaning what lessons there were to be had. The contrast between that approach and the over-ritualized authoritarian mass my father preferred, and the Methodist Sunday school with my mom (worksheets and stupid assignments) eventually led me to the Society of Friends and that thoughtful, peaceful way Christianity could be practiced.

While this makes me a pacifist, in times like these the lambs of God must sometimes wrest judgement from the old idea of an external God, and act with recognition of the inner power we can use, wisely, to absolve the sins of the world.

During that same time, I was watching a lot of anime.

It was how I learned to draw - pausing recorded VHS tapes to capture Sailor Moon in all her glory. But anime, as a medium, is really a mixed bag - while my parents assumed I was watching stuff made for kids, there are a whole lot of titles that are, really and truly, more appropriate for an adult audience. I think the likely explanation is that there is something about Japan in the wake of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that collapsed a lot of content barriers we've grown accustomed to in the West that we take for granted. There is an urgency in Japanese cinema that, in my experience, touches a bit more deeply on exploring the implications of the collapse of dynamic opposites like form and content, spacetime and energetic matter, even masculine and feminine.

Anime Magic - January 18-20th at The Carolina Theatre

Mind Game (dir. Yuasa, Morimoto, 2004) WORTH IT

This one is a bit of a rarity and is loads of fun. I most enjoyed the choice to include within the illustrated animation animated stills and actual video captures of actors and actresses. Immediately beckoned my mind toward emergence of the second dimension to the third, and beyond to the fourth via death and rebirth.

Art school friends I was hanging out with before the show both lit up like a beacon when I told them I was going to see this film. Two of the more unhinged friends I have, aesthetically speaking, one of whom showed this in a Film Club he used to organize. We’re all adults now, but I know I picked a good tribe. Bending the rules of dimensionality is one of my favorite prompts for cinema. What is living cannot die. They had found their way to this rare title, and I thoroughly enjoyed the romp through the under-overworld.


Steamboy (dir. Otomo, 2004) NOT WORTH IT

Much weaker than anticipated. Gestalt theory holds that a mind will make a complete picture from sparse information. Cinematic theory, in kind, holds that a viewer with less information engages in a more participatory role if all the answers, visually speaking, are not available. For Steamboy, there were no loose ends; every detail was fully fleshed, and there was no room for individual experience. There was simply too much information. Akira, Otomo’s timeless masterpiece, was raw and has deserved its continued position in the history of motion pictures, while this film has been thankfully forgotten.


Perfect Blue (dir. Kon, 1997) MUST HAVE

Early internet, persona and change, breakdown of the idol, submission and shame? Honestly. This was a great way to start the Anime Magic series, like it had been reading my mind. Lots of films to be reminded of here, including perhaps most specifically Requiem for a Dream.




Burning (dir. Chang-Dong, 2018) WORTH IT

January 17, 2019. Rubenstein Center @ Duke (Ruby) presented by Screen/Society

Free screening courtesy of Duke; some of the most beautiful cinematography I’ve seen all year. It looked like The New Topographics movement come to life. PSA: be wary of bored, independently wealthy, handsome men with a knack for feigning interest.

The shots were gorgeous, magically lit, compositionally perfect. Loved learning that Lee Chang-Dong made his first movie in his 40's, and that its been said he's never made a bad one.


Shoplifters (dir. Koreeda, 2018) WORTH IT

January 16, 2019. Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh

Originally recommended to me by Tim League, CEO of Alamo Drafthouse. I’m a little jaded on “the family you choose” right now, so I couldn’t be fully invested, but some of the camera angles - one in particular, a birds-eye dutch angle of the family sitting on their back porch still burns there in my mind matter. Definitely worth a watch, and a brilliant contender for the Oscars in Best Foreign Language.


Shirkers (dir. Tan, 2018) MUST HAVE

This doc currently has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Rather than giving you my personal experience, I'll let it shine through from the critics' reviews.

Screen Shot 2019-02-01 at 7.52.04 AMScreen Shot 2019-02-01 at 7.52.04 AM


Between the Endless Forms

January 13, 2019. Rubenstein Center @ Duke (Ruby) presented by Screen/Society. From their schedule:

A short program of experimental films that interrogate the gaze and reappropriate it as a site of resistance.

Here is an excerpt from my favorite short from the program. Dedicated to you. Maybe we both wish the other would just go away.





And my favorite Cinema Overdrive screening up to now…as well as a gripe about dubs vs subs.




(help me by writing to Kino Lorber for a release of this hidden masterpiece)

January 16, 2019 at The Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh


“Don’t you ever get tired of doing favors for people?”

“You don’t know how tired.”

You know why I'm so obsessed with meaning? Truth? Freedom? They all go hand-in hand. It's actually damn near impossible to have any of them without all of them. This buildup of moral quality - artistically, intellectually, socially, biologically, and on down to the basics inorganically - is what creates reality. The truth is only ever what will hold water in the long run. I don't think there are any favors paid to oneself or the rest of humanity by submitting to cynicism and embracing a nihilistic approach to life, apart from keeping oneself guarded from hurt. Oh.

I guess that's a good enough reason for most of us to indulge, at least a little bit. Even I had my fun.

Screen Shot 2019-02-01 at 4.10.32 PMScreen Shot 2019-02-01 at 4.10.32 PM

In Play It As It Lays, our protagonist Maria (Tuesday Weld) has found herself at an impasse. Lacking any substantial reason to do - well, pretty much anything - she fires shots into the desert from her yellow corvette, changes her own goddamn tires, and neither bends nor breaks at the sways and pressures of her environment. She is unaffected, due in part to having reached something of an inverse apotheosis. She doesn't have to worry about money. She's disillusioned by her marriage, and the social sphere she exists in. There's little left of passion for anything, except the hope that her daughter could maybe live a life outside the institution.

But why wouldn't she? The world seems to do what it'll do regardless of how she acts, reacts - and indeed, her director husband asserts that her work on one of his films wasn't even a performance. There's nothing for her to do, apart from aimlessly drift hither and thither looking for something to feel.

Her position is mirrored by her friend, the producer B.Z. played by Anthony Perkins. While he enjoys a status that allows him to be more effectual than Maria, he has only reached this plateau by embracing that pit of nothing, nowhere, for no reason other than to be able to stomach his day to day existence as one constantly in service to the needs of others. Eventually, he succumbs. "I knew. I did know."


This screening had a number of things playing in its favor. First and foremost, the splended 35mm print may never have been run on a projector anywhere, straight from the archives at Universal. This rare film had a limited release, was never made available on home video, and only has a current presence because the Sundance channel ran it on TV back in the day. You can find a YouTube link to the film’s bootleg version at the end of this post.

In form and content, excellent. Here’s my extremely subjective response to the film.

It wasn’t a performance.

“A philosopher. A Poetess.”

What is the camera-subject relationship? Violence.

Let me show you.


MV5BYTc3NmY1MjMtZDY1YS00Yjc4LWIxYjgtZDMwYWM3MzA5ZmMzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzk3NTUwOQ@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,787,1000_AL_MV5BYTc3NmY1MjMtZDY1YS00Yjc4LWIxYjgtZDMwYWM3MzA5ZmMzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzk3NTUwOQ@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,787,1000_AL_ I knew. I did know. Of course I knew. Did you? Do you?

Is there nothing you don’t already know?

Ego. You’re still playing. Go to hell.

See also, programming. Been there. Seen that. Why keep on playing?

Why not? I’m not going anywhere. You don't get to decide my response. I looked for the answer.

Beyond gender, beyond ego. Is that a place we can get to, or do you just end up going nowhere?

Nowhere. Nothing. You opt for casual nihilism. Coward.

You and I, we know something. We’ve been out there where nothing is. We went there.

Wisdom tells me you can find everything at the edge of nothing. I saw everything, felt everything. See also: a very self-destructive personality structure.

Or, I don't know, fucking mysticism.

“Exactly what do you want?” Sincerity. Maturity. Basic human decency.

Also known as: Nothing Applies.


Strongly tossed by Play It As It Lays, it was disappointing to move on to Overdrive's premiere at the Carolina with Sergio Martino's Torso. (1973)

I really don't know if it was a good film or not. I can't help but be distracted when a film, made in Italian, is then screened in a dubbed format complete with an over-insistence on poorly matched lips and less focus paid to the quality of the performance. It was caricaturish and dull. I fell asleep. I did, however, get a fit of glee at the revealing of the killer. See also, the one who hated himself the most.


As promised:


God-only occasionally and within specific circumstances-Mighty, I'm tired. While I SO enjoyed this week's Cassavetes double-header, a heart and mind can only spill so much before the well runs dry. Look forward to spending a bit more time on them in a future post, as well as my upcoming February update video on my nascent YouTube channel! Be sure to subscribe :)



Upcoming screenings I'm looking forward to (for the first full week of February) are:

MONDAY 2/4 7pm Happy As Lazzaro (2018) dir. Alice Rohrwacher (DURHAM - RUBY)

WEDNESDAY 2/6 7pm February Movie Night (local shorts) (CARY - THE CARY THEATER)

THURSDAY 2/7 7pm Too Late to Die Young (2018) dir. Domingo Sotomayor Castillo (DURHAM - RUBY)

FRIDAY 2/8 7pm The Maltese Falcon and Double Indemnity (DURHAM - CAROLINA)

SATURDAY 2/9 10pm Manual Cinema 'Ada/Ava' (EXPERIMENTAL!!!) (DURHAM - DUKE'S Reynolds Industries Theater)


For further excitement, keep your eyes open, your hearts out, and let's all just kill each other with love. It's the only real thing in the world.


(Lamblyoptic) alamo drafthouse alamo drafthouse raleigh anime magic anthony perkins art house art of the moving image baby face barbara stanwyck ben gazzara between relating and use between the endless forms burning carolina theatre carolina theatre of durham cinema cinema overdrive cinephilia cold war criticism duke university durham nc elaine may experimental cinema film philosophy film review frank perry jean-luc godard john cassavetes kahtherose katsuhiro otomo laallh lamblyoptic l'amblyoptic light artists are the least light hearted mikey and nicky mind game movie reviews moviediva nc perfect blue peter falk play it as it lays raleigh retro film series rubenstein center sandi tan screen society sergio martino shirkers shoplifters steamboy the image book the killing of a chinese bookie torso triangle film tuesday weld Fri, 01 Feb 2019 23:08:39 GMT
LAALLH At the hands of Jack: The House That Jack Built First, I hope you'll enjoy my very own YOUTUBE VIDEO REVIEW OF THE MOVIE!
  • The missing shots I recognized were so viscerally potent at first watch that it was a relief not to see them again

  • Jack. Shoutout again to The Shining, Jack. Jack the Ripper. My own personal Jack.

  • Other notable films: MANDY & Suspiria. Similar palate, aesthetic quality

  • Wandering women; then Simple (Riley Keogh). There's intimacy here beyond the others.

  • Favorite line: "hubris is punished by nemesis"

  • Planar travel (dimensions and dialog) - through and inside a body

  • Mocking those with a fear of death, belittlement of those who believe in love



Why do other people watch movies, and choose the movies they do see? What do we want when we go to the movies?

I know what I want is meaning. I'll seek it out, traveling great distances when necessary.

Let it be known: while I am a comfortably social being, I am a homebody. I work from home, I watch movies at home, I don't go out but once or twice a week at most - often to the movies, and more often than not, solo.

North Carolina is my home.


"He should be with someone more like you who's more of a homebody."

"We're not having that conversation."


By way of introduction...a seemingly off-topic reference to an old Czech master

My favorite motion picture since 2012 or so has been Jan Svankmajer's Dimensions of Dialog. It does in 12 minutes what most great movies spend 2-3 hours doing. It's the most meaningful 12 minutes I've ever witnessed. Three fundamental stories: dialog of the sexes (male/female), dialog of man's masteries (nature/force/technique) and dialog of similar individuals (we are using all the same tools).

I understand the desire to escape, using cinema as a guide out of reality. But I want to argue for the hyperreality of cinema. Inspire awe at its ability to wring ectoplasmic light information out of the most densely packed expression of human sensation that any art to date has yet been able to achieve. The sublimity of it!

Motion pictures and their potential to transcend three dimensions of space and time are inherently meaningful.

My thesis is this: that films that consciously seek to be meaningful tell us something fundamental about meaning, and consciousness, itself. The difficulty is claiming that anything that's art could lack this quality. There's also, of course, the question of what counts as art in cinema, and if there's an alternative. What draws the line? Who gets to draw it? At the end of the day, each man is his own aesthetic judge. However, a individual claiming to be an artist and creating a work SHe claims to be art is a reasonable minimum qualification.

Lars von Trier is one of my favorite artists. His handling of consciousness and meaning in his films, both in their form (avant garde, expressionism) and content (masculine and feminine extremities, questions and problems that arise from that conflict) gives me hope for our entire species from the mind of a single man who can't help but haunt the rest of us with his own internal struggles. There are other artists who do this for me too, but Lars is on the block because he is controversial, and he has made what is forevermore one of my favorite films.

So I've found myself in The House That Jack Built.


Imagine you are watching a movie and the plane of your existence where your pupil meets the light from the screen

incorporates you into the very thing and you, too, are the movie.

This is ultimate submission, and I yielded easily to Mr. Von Trier as per usual.

His heroines are always pieces of me - and the excesses of masculine power, illustrated, leave me deeply affected.




Prelude - The Depression Trilogy

I was still living in New Orleans and attended the premiere of 2013's Nymphomaniac I and II at the Prytania Theater. There were some in the theater who laughed at the ending, the best part of the film. The moral spinal cord. The nerves through which the body of the film had their life.

I still hate them for laughing at my cathartic moment. Skarsgaard's character was so many men I'd known. Patient, willing to listen, but only to a point. Then, the 'oh come on's would begin. In this, I am far from alone. Perhaps what sets me apart is that I have also been Skarsgaard. Willing to be open, listen, offer wisdom and perspective, generous and hospitable, then agitate for sex. After all, I've been so nice to you.

Nymphomaniac investigated the rift between the persona of the lover and the shadow of the incubus.

2011's Melancholia is one of those films whose shots appear unbidden in my mind on a regular basis when feeling helpless, at the mercy of self and/or nature, contemplating the end of the world, death, depression, a deep inability or lack of desire or sheer lack of strength to handle the suspicion that life is meaningless. The beginning of 2018 saw me in my first pit of nihilism. I felt very much indebted to Mr. Von Trier for giving me a visual vocabulary to understand what could only be felt inside myself.

Melancholia's planets would surely collide, and the energy inside snaking out would show itself plainly out of the end of my fingertips...!

I've written a lot about 2009's AntiChrist. Its Genesis reflected so much of my own. As a child, my elder brother kindly informed me that a woman's place is to become a wife and submit to and be ruled by her husband. He had this on authority. It's IN THE BIBLE. That was about the time I started looking for alternatives to the Bible, and likely where my deep mistrust of the institution of marriage came from. Thanks, big bro. While it was far too much for an 11 year old rambunctious girl to hear, it was something I had known implicitly. Genesis. The Fall of Man could be blamed on his Other, and she must be tamed. Silenced. Punished for insubordination. I, as a woman, act as a stand-in for nature and anything else that comes between man's rational mind, its innate connection to God.

If Christ is forever alive, She is Anti-Christ. Her nature is nature. She dies. She lives again. Create, destroy, create, destroy. How does one punish immanence?

Thanks be to Charlotte and Kirsten for living their truths through Mr. Von Trier's frame.











(dir. Von Trier, 2018) Director's Cut

Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh - November 28, 2018



She deserved it.

In an interview Dillon stated:

“I wasn’t sure about the opening scene with Uma Thurman...It felt to me like the only time that Jack was passive, but then it became clear to me: It’s all in Jack’s head! Uma’s character is very real, but when she starts talking, the words we hear… that’s his inner thinking. I told Lars and he gave me a look like ‘you caught me.’” [Indiewire]

I must admit difficulty in imagining what was "actually" happening.

This sequence opens up the central theme of The House That Jack Built.

What is the relationship between the artist and the work produced?

We're introduced to two crucial elements of Jack's personality and philosophy. One, his occupation - an engineer, though he would have preferred to be an architect. His mother pushed engineer, as it would be more lucrative. The Mother-Material made it such that Jack would only be able to facilitate the work designed by others. It is doubtful that the creativity required in architecture would have been well-suited to our soulless Jack.

His preoccupation with 'the material' and its capacity to 'have a will of its own' are also addressed in the First Incident. In this case, Virg speculates that the material was the jack, begging to find its way into the insufferable lady's face. Perhaps this matter, and its own will, are what Jack has been so anxious about all along. As an engineer, he would want to - would have to - deal with the material at it is, and manipulate it however possible. When that material does not bend to his will, we see the dark seep out from his controlled exterior.


And somehow I’ve always hoped that this would be a kind of love letter.


FIRST INCIDENT: It was me you’d glanced at blankly while I asked for more than you wanted to offer. Asking for something necessary, it bending wildly into hellish shapes in your mind. Needing knee-deep actual love and getting a Jack to the Face.


SECOND INCIDENT: It was me you were hearkening at the door as you were over and above. I let you in - why? Exhaustion? - and you killed me for exposing and humiliating you. You half-suffocated me, then stabbed me in the heart. You posed me in a chair and took your Negative.


THIRD INCIDENT: It was me with the children of my mind and heart finding ourselves in a field taking unanticipated shooting lessons from a serial killer with a rifle with no shame for killing kids. You put a frame around our dead bodies - the concept of family so many dead ravens and a nevermore - this is simply the hunt, let’s play a game.


FOURTH INCIDENT: It was me that saw an off-screen crutch-wielding suitcause-toting hunk of a man. You push then pull then wring wires around our fingers and weedle feelings into phones and turn coldly exacting and perform and cut pieces off and not let me out. And nobody cares. Do you carry around a piece of me to jerk off to? Call me Simple? Mr. Sophistication? Why is it always the man’s fault?


FIFTH INCIDENT: It was me that became a Full Metal Jacket, parts of me wielded to form The House That Jack Built. I’m part of every body, and against us any thought that required the undermining of reality to square the world into the right shape for its rigidity. These statics can never hold the a real house. This imaginary house that bad art consecrates will never hold up in time. These horrors will melt into hell as they seek to climb the circumference of the pit, trying to be real. I’ll just be more bodies to kill.


But only if you killed me.


Wrapped me in plastic.


God can too wash away the sins of sinners, assimilate body parts into earth. Annihilate her face, put another in its place. Call it family, call it romance, only friendship is complete obedience, and everybody dies in the end.


"Why are you trembling?"


(Because my body betrays my reality)

See the official trailer here:



Jack screened Wednesday, November 28, 2018. On Friday the 30th, I saw a man draped in a red cloak just like Jack's. My friend proceeded to tell me, unbidden and inside, unaware I had seen the man, that he is both homeless and dangerous.

Saturday, December 1, 2018 was my 30th birthday party. My best friend Steven, addressing the prompt of the costume requirements (any version of yourself) came as the god Kronos and had made a scythe for the occasion.




Hello to all you fellow cinephiles out there I've had a chance to meet and discuss movies with. I know I saw a couple of you at the JACK screening! Specifically Kevin (freaking everywhere, but especially Stop-Motion Shorts - Alamo, and Region Salvaje - Carolina) Curtis (The Last Movie and Suspiria and - damnit you and Kevin!!) Steve (MANDY - Carolina Theater) and Todd (Carnival of Souls - NC Museum of Art and House - Alamo). It's really great to have a dialog about movies. It may also explain why I was so preternaturally giddy about the whole affair.

To hear more about how Matt Dillon prepared for his role as Jack and the processes on set for The House That Jack Built, check out his post-screening interview at the Lincoln Center here:









"Well I'm not stupid"



mood swings

verbal superiority





Recently Watched:


La Chienne (dir. Renoir, 1931)

Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (dir. Jireš, 1974)

Dancer In the Dark (dir. von Trier, 2000)

His Girl Friday (dir. Hawks, 1940)


Code Unknown (dir. Haneke, 2000)

Badlands (dir. Malick, 1973)

The Other Side of the Wind (dir. Welles, 2018)

They'll Love Me When I'm Dead (dir. Neville, 2018)

Under the Skin (dir. Glazer, 2014)


Turkey Shoot (dir. Trenchard-Smith, 1983)


Selections from movie notes:


He's in.


put in these situations it's just not fair





pillow under your head

tears? remorse?


stab, gasp





OCD. cleaning compulsions.hello wrapped in plastic.

Use of the word "sir" (police & jack to men in false deference.) He has outsmarted them. Outsmarted us all.

BOWIE BODY BAG. The great rain. Devoted man of faith. "I felt I had a higher protector." Pervert Satan.

PSYCHOPATH: ego vulgarity rudeness impulsiveness narcissism intelligence

"Well I'm not stupid"

Irritability manipulation mood swings verbal superiority

"Disappointed. Very, very disappointed." the significance of the reeds.

  • "And the reeds?" 180 degree turn; subliminally in the reeds

paths to discovery.Cut the meadows with their scythes, "it was as if the meadow was its fullest in my consciousness."

sophisticated lover on the click clack. clever and tough like all the other criminals.




the negative.

culling. two male children being raised by only a mother. Targets. Bit of a gentleman. Hunting rules.

romantic foods. loving. schweisshund(sp?)


"I had a romance."

She's fully dominated.

Shown interest, her head in her hands. He must have kept something up. For some amount of time. Or was he cruel to her always? "I feel like you're trying to leave me." Oh, God, Keogh you are killing me. With your good hair, and your cute outfit, notable eyebrows, manicured nails.  Your turqouise. "To me, your name is Simple, Simple. Hey, you got great tits." I have to wonder if the asymmetry of the breastmarks was intentional. Shoulda asked Matt Dillon. "Can you forgive me?" "Yeah, I forgive you. Come on, let's go inside." Not simply killing, but torture. gaslighting. alienation. Prayers.

"Why are you trembling?"


(Because my body betrays my reality)


HATE/////work of art. Love is also a work of art.

His smile when she screams and nothing happens. The red telephone cable. (when he was nice) choosing a knife.

"There is something that's been bothering Mr. Sophistication.

Why is it always the man's fault?


Stupid women. Mr Sophistication = the theoretician

"Women are easier to work with." "Religion has ruined human beings" "You should have read the right letters in your life, Jack. But you didn't want to."

The noble rot. Aesthetically perfect ruins. "An artist must be cynical."

Goosebumps from Melancholia. Is it going to happen, Lars? Is it a prophecy? Will it be our shadow planet? Is consciousness going to change?

Everything is clean but the walk-in freezer. "That's not full metal ammunition, sir." Subordination.

"You meant a great deal to me." Flattery.

How a man such as this approaches other men

Wasn't there something about the material? Let it do the work.

Jack's path in the underworld. Waves. "There was once a bridge. That was before my time." Fall into the deepest hell for hubris' sake, or get a lesser sentence?



(Lamblyoptic) alamo drafthouse alamo drafthouse raleigh amateur antichrist art house cinema cinephilia criticism dimensions of dialog experimental cinema experimental criticism film review gnostic creation story jan svankmajer laallh lamblyoptic lars von trier light artists are the least light hearted melancholia movie reviews nc nymphomaniac pervert satan raleigh the house that jack built triangle film Fri, 28 Dec 2018 03:08:30 GMT
LAALLH Cine-assed: Cinema of the Fall feat. Carnival of Souls, Haneke, Suspiria, The Last Movie This time around, I'll be introducing my own rating system. Here's how it works:

Since I've been seeing a lot of movies in the theater lately, I've decided to rate films as "WORTH IT" or "NOT WORTH IT" in reference to both the cost of admission and the spending of time. As an added bonus, films that are so good that I must own them are "MUST HAVE."

NC Museum of Art - MovieDiva

Carnival of Souls (1962, dir. Harvey) November 2, 2018

MUST HAVE (already do)


This experimental screening was a lot of fun, though I must admit, the film itself is enough without the addition of active players.

John McGowan-Hartmann screened Carnival of Souls for my Film Theory and Criticism class. Loving its simplicity, its ingenious use of location, I only recently learned (thanks MovieDiva!) that the movie was made with a 6-person crew in three weeks on a $30,000 budget.

John was the best professor I ever had. He earned his PhD at University of Melbourne in Cinema Studies under the direction of the inimical Barbara Creed . I studied with him at the University of New Orleans in the Film, Theater, and Communication Arts department. In my first semester with him, I had to take an incomplete when my 1500 word midterm turned out to be a thesis which I've yet to complete because it almost gave me a nervous breakdown.

I still kept all my notes.

What is it about Mary, the film's protagonist, that resonates so with my own soul? Superficially, we couldn't be more different. I, who am so warm and accepting, enamored of religion. MovieDiva observes: "Mary is haunted by her inability to grasp reality, as her consciousness swerves in and out of focus.   But she is hounded by awful men, who refused to listen to her or see her as she is, even as they pretend to do so." Oh. Right.

I too have a penchant for confusing my realities. I, too, seek out unusual and abandoned places for exploration without regard for my health and safety. I, too, seek out the help of men I mistakenly appreciate as capable. I, too, find myself surrounded by fearful circumstances and, in the end, submit to and become that same strange shadow of the strong self I thought I was.

I, too, have mistaken myself for alive when really, something is dead inside my own dance macabre.


Chelsea Theater, Chapel Hill, NC

Funny Games (2007, dir. Haneke) November 3, 2018


My first visit to the Chelsea was charming and I very much look forward to returning. It's a lovely old-school theater setup with a blessedly flat projection screen. And I finally saw my first Haneke.

My God.


Mulholland Drive, Twin Peaks: The Return, I Heart Huckabees - Naomi Watts has more than demonstrated her acting ability to my satisfaction, but this piece with Tim Roth had me gasping for air. It's a perfectly terrifying movie in its proximity to likelihood. Juvenile sociopathic boys have a way of getting under my skin. The level of anxiety reminded me of the viewing experience I have every time Lars Von Trier circles back around. One shot that sticks out most in my mind is the single, static shot of Roth and Watts, bound and incapacitated, struggling to release themselves from torment after the villains leave them to their own devices. The contortion of the human form left a deep impression on me. Which leads me straight in to...


Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh

Suspiria (2018, dir. Guadagnino) October 31, 2018


While early reports claimed the 2018 Suspiria to be a remake of Argento's 1977 supernatural thriller, this was not at all the case. Fortunately, it allows for the 2018 film to have a life, a story, appreciable on its own while still participating in the world circa 1977.

I highly recommend that anyone with access to Alamo Drafthouse see the film in conjunction with the BIRTH. MOVIES. DEATH. pre-show programming, which illuminates the behind-the-scenes research that made the choreography of the new film so incredibly powerful.

Dance was the only one of the major "fine art" artforms I never really participated in, my 3 year old self notwithstanding. Structure was never my strong suit, and it's a bit funny to watch me twirling around by myself, completely in my own world, in those old home movies. Perhaps if I'd seen the transcendence of the work that inspired the choreography and its articulation in Suspiria I might have been more inspired.

The muddy cinematography and understated production design were a bit of a surprise, given their contrast to the original - so rich with color, and with some of the most strikingly beautiful production design I've ever seen in any movie. But we're all post-retro, and this new aesthetic - whatever the hell you could call it in this post-post-modern world - imbues a sense of morguish solemnity. The final sequences of both the dance itself and the final climax of the film have in color and richness what the entirety of the rest of the film held off on. The anticipation was held nicely, and more than worth the wait. This one is a must have.



The Last Movie (1971, dir. Hopper) November 7, 2018


Durhamites will be pleased to note that Cinema Overdrive will be relocating from the Cary Theater to the Carolina Theater in January 2019.

Having recently re-watched Easy Rider (courtesy of Durham County Public Library) and with no prior experience of The Last Movie (even the knowledge of its existence) I was pleasantly surprised to discover more Dennis Hopper to soak in. My first run-in with this bewildering character was his performance in my favorite film, Apocalypse Now. I can't say I wouldn't also have followed Mr. Brando to my own bitter fucking end. "If it dies, he dies, if he dies, it dies..."

Pretty sure I already claimed I was dead earlier.

BUT FIRST what really killed me and thrilled me beyond comprehension was seeing the name of the church, the church of Didymos Thomas with a verse from The Gospel of Thomas, saying 66:

"Show me the stone that the builders rejected; that is the cornerstone."

The Last Movie - Official Theatrical Trailer from Arbelos on Vimeo.

And so it was for Dennis Hopper. While The Last Movie was summarily rejected, in part due to its experimental editing and non-linear storytelling, Hopper's legacy now has the benefit of a 4K restoration and perhaps now can take its proper place of respect in the annals of cinema history.

What else? How about that wonderful relationship? Abuse in both counts - take everything the man can give you (including all those bruises) and feel jealous when he turns his attentions away after that wonderfully romantic utopian vision. Surely there will be gold. If there's ever a road to get there. Probably, though, the industrialists will simply swallow one whole and no pains will have been worth the trouble.



Excited for:

Oh my word there's that anxiety coming back again.

THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT - Director's Cut (2018, dir. Lars Von Trier), Alamo Drafthouse Raleigh, November 28, 2018


CircumscriptionCircumscriptionPenland School of Crafts. Maritza Molina's Directorial Photography, Summer 2011 l'Annunciation of the Least Light-Hearted


Fast approaching the age of 30 and thinking myself quite grown, I now learn to keep some compassion for myself. There is tenderness when I think of the weight, too heavy for a child, of the speed and depth and starkness of light and how it came into me.

My annunciation does not always make me accessible, nor convenient, nor correct. My catharsis was self-induced, a way of resolving the enormous responsibility of breaking patterns and ideas that no longer serve growth.

And perhaps if I can save myself, that is enough to open the chasm to a different kind of world.

Logic, critical thinking, and science came as easily to me as spirituality, open-mindedness and art. My appetite for the bizarre, the peculiar, the idiosyncratic led me to fascinating territory in the kinds of cinema (and other art - music, dance, photography, painting) that demanded my attention. It also determined the formal expectation of many of my friendships. The art I was exposed to in my early years as a web-based emo kid military nomad became the cornerstone of my evolution as an artist and as a person.

If there should be anywhere to find wisdom, art could lead me there. A way to understand everything all at once. Eventually, explaining the nature of art consumed me. I collected non-fiction tomes centered around philosophy, metaphysics, art, and religion. I wrote a thesis about it in pursuit of my philosophy degree. I defended it to a room of professional philosophers, and excelled. Art cannot be defined by the artworld because its nature is to radically challenge the basis of all institutions.*

But it was not ever my intention to simply appreciate art as an observer. From a young age, I wrote, painted, drew, and photographed my world. I didn't know it at the time, but I was ensuring my own place in this reality - affirming my right to exist and participate in creation.


Art carries with it the peculiar capacity to collapse the seemingly separate worlds of subjective and objective into a single, indivisible reality. As the duality between subjective (self/subject) and objective (world/other) underpins every metaphysical assumption in the West since the Greeks, an escape from this duality is essential for the moral evolution of our species. This and other insights offered by Leonard Shlain in the oft-overlooked Art and Physics: Parallel Visions in Space, Time, and Light carry enormous implications for cinematic art. More than any other art, cinema consciously attends at once to space, and time, and light. Also like other arts, cinema collapses subjectivity and objectivity into a single expression, and at a greater complexity (a higher degree of miraculousness) than other arts.

So cinema is the art I choose to give myself to whole-heartedly, both in pursuing my own contributions to the medium and a sincere desire to share what insights I can glean through its appreciation and analysis.



*See also, Theodore Roszak's The Making of a Counter Culture (how 'technocracy' secretly underpins moral assumptions of most of the population, its violence in denigrating the amateur) and Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (intro to metaphysics) and Lila (full articulation of a cogent metaphysical system, the Metaphysics of Quality)

(Lamblyoptic) alamo drafthouse alamo drafthouse raleigh art and physics art house art theory Candace Hilligoss carnival of souls carolina theatre carolina theatre of durham chapel hill chelsea theater cinema cinema overdrive cinephilia criticism dennis hopper durham county library durham nc experimental cinema film review funny games herk harvey laallh lamblyoptic lars von trier leonard shlain light artists are the least light hearted luca guadagnino metaphysics of quality michael haneke movie reviews moviediva naomi watts nc philosophy raleigh robert pirsig subjective objects suspiria suspiria 2018 the house that jack built the last movie theodore roszak theory and practice triangle film Tue, 13 Nov 2018 22:13:13 GMT
LAALLH Terror, Insanity, Power, and Fear: Consciously Spooky Cinema in the Triangle October has been a great month for spooky cinema juicy enough to sink one's teeth into.


from r/MoviePosterPorn

Suspiria (2018) Screening 10/31

This week, I'm looking forward to Luca Guadagnino's remake of Dario Argento's 1977 thriller. When I first heard this would be a thing, I balked - the original is so good, still so fresh, has aged beautifully; why bother? Then I saw the trailer and it actively gave me goosebumps. Alamo Drafthouse will be doing an advanced screening on Halloween, and that's how I'll be Halloweening.

Now that I've already accomplished all the Ultraviolence I can handle.

The Shining (1980) [1200 x 1600] from r/MoviePosterPorn

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992, dir. Lynch) October 8, 2018

Many years ago now, a beloved friend turned me on to a 1990's television show called Twin Peaks.

This show was a revelation for me.

I remember calling and asking her if I should just buy Season 2 (It was $5 at Big Lots). "NO. You have to watch the first season." Netflix had put it up about then. I watched the entire series all the way through three times within a month.

My mom was experiencing the beginning of what I now know would be the end of her life. Neurological disorder. Atypical neurology, misfirings of electricity. The show's challenge to so-called "objective" reality gave me a visual vocabulary that asked me to question what was happening in other realms. It ultimately contributed to everything I ended up studying while pursuing degrees in Philosophy and Filmmaking.

Through the years I've found that each successive viewing of the feature film lulls me back into the same state of disarmament. It also inspires that peculiar yearning to understand what lies beneath what is seemingly meaningless and cruel about reality to reveal something more deeply true about the human condition. And yeah, of course I have daddy issues. All of Western Civilization does. Speaking of Daddy issues....


Chapel Hill, NC

The Shining (1980, dir. Kubrick) : Midnight Movie 10/26/18

First, I have to say this was my first time attending a screening at this theater and don't know if I would return. I get irrationally rankled when I see a curved screen in a theater. Luckily, there weren't too many people there so I could pick a spot that almost made the screen appropriately flat.

No filmmaker more inspired me to learn the craft as much as Kubrick. Once I'd seen Full Metal Jacket, The Shining, and Eyes Wide Shut, I felt I knew the power of movies and could dedicate myself to their study. Lolita competed as one of two movies which for years would be cited as my "favorite movie" (the other being Coppola's epic Apocalypse Now).

But The Shining terrified me. I'm not particularly sensitive to horror films - often, I find them far too lacking in substance to require much in the way of analysis. Not much to sink your teeth into. But that is a trope of genre and Kubrick was one of the first to show me how it could be done.

While Nicholson's performance is appropriate for the goal, I think what's most terrifying about the film is the concept of shining itself. It challenges objectivity and reason and linear time. The surrealistic elements of the film are perhaps the most horrifying aspects of the production. The woman in Room 237, the furry giving a blowjob, and, now that I'm older, something even deeper.

It has to do with collective consciousness as its spread over time. We know from the film that the hotel is known for the revelry of the rich and famous through time, and they can't get their kicks like the rest of us. They benefit from the finer - rarer - experiences of life through which they derive power and establish bonds amongst each other. Jack is simply the conduit of an attitude that illustrates the savage cruelty of the powerful. Here's Johnny, and Daddy, and Stanley. Every artist, too, makes the choice to defy the expectations of the masses to brave the wilderness of self valuation. There is something savage about this process.

Cary Theater



Messiah of Evil (1973, dir. Huyck and Katz) and Don't Look in the Basement (1973, dir. S. F. Brownrigg)

I couldn't not attend this particular event, fond as I am of concepts like messiahs and evil. Surprisingly, I very much enjoyed Messiah, but I actually think I liked Basement even moreso.

Like any zombie-related phenomena, I attribute something akin to the anxiety that permeates unfamiliar rooms while imbibing a little too much THC. Individually, humans are not particularly threatening. But a hive mind, devoid of selves and circumstances and empathy, is a terrifying (and unfortunately, legitimate) prospect. Think, if you will, of being a single, sexually-viable female in the vicinity of a) a single male vs. b) a crowd of males. The energy feeds off itself, and feeds the crowd. It's a different order of fear. And of course, mix in a little of that all-too-primal urge to consume flesh and, voila. One must eat, but one does not eat oneself - one eats the Other.

One motif I particularly enjoyed in Messiah was the artist-as-conduit; artists open themselves to the world, and when that world is permeated by cruelty and violence, the artist may become insane as the senses are tapped, the mind is stilled and opened. Like any good father, this character attempted to shield his daughter from the inevitable. Like any wise woman, the protagonist couldn't help but seek to understand her father's condition, the results of his grief and isolation. Funny though unrealistic portrayals of relationships notwithstanding, this film was worth the cost of entry.

The real treat was Don't Look In the Basement, mostly because of the twist - which I anticipated - but it actually did surprise me that the ensemble of lunatics had been advised that the nice, pretty new nurse was herself a patient. Specifically, her good intentions seemed to impart to her a kind of lunacy. This was an unforgiving place. The kindness of the maiden contrasted the severity of the crone, who was really an enjoyable character start to finish. When it dawned on me that she was in fact a patient, I eagerly anticipated the reveal. On such a low budget, it really is lovely to see that something that looks a bit dated, without a lot of production value, can still be a valuable contribution to the medium because the content is treated with care.


Carolina Theatre of Durham

Splatterflix 10/12/18-10/14/18

As I mentioned, I'm not a huge fan of the horror genre. But I love my local cinema and there are always those gems out there. Recently, I reviewed a modern piece of horror from Mexico (La Region Salvaje) which screened at the Carolina. Also, I had the pleasure of viewing Mandy at the Carolina. It's a great theater with a fun, wide variety of programming. Also, I'd been advised that Bubba Ho-Tep would be screening, and that I should see it. Unfortunately, I don't have much to write about these films, but they deserve honorable mentions nonetheless.

Bubba Ho Tep (2002, dir. Don Coscarelli) a handful of great one-liners by Ozzie Davis, otherwise nothing to write home about.

Cemetery Man (1994, dir. Michele Soavi) Truly awful. How not to write a movie. Decent production design.

Creepshow (1982, dir. George A. Romero)  I actually loved this film. Anthologies are rare and fun, and Hey Stephen King! Full disclosure: I left before they showed me a shit ton of cockroaches. I just- I just can't.


Home viewing:


Jacob's Ladder (1990, dir. Lyne) Holy. Fucking. Shit.

This movie hit every note for me. Government experimentation on members of the military - specifically of the hallucinogenic variety? Check. Tim Robbins looking gorgeous as fuck? Check. A philosopher protagonist?! Have I ever seen that before?! God, damnit! And then - and THEN - one of my favorite Radiohead songs from high school, I discovered, had sampled a piece of dialog for their song Rabbit in Your Headlights. I literally cried. The visual effects of the evil in the world? I was actually deeply frightened by this movie. I loved everything about this movie.

The Green Mile (1999, dir. Darabont)

When I was nine years old, we were visiting my dad's mother in Wiggins, Mississippi. That evening, the adults sat on the couch in the fancy living room to watch The Green Mile. Even at that age, I was familiar with Tom Hanks' face and it seemed safe enough, though there was a sneaking scent of taboo in the air as the film was Rated R. No one pushed me to leave the room. Therefore, I got about halfway into it - long enough that, at 9 years old, I saw what it might look like for someone to be improperly electrocuted. I watched until the end of the scene. Then I left the room.

I had not seen this film since that time. It left me so traumatized that I've always referred to it as the most frightened I've ever been by a movie. Strangely, this viewing did not change my opinion. But it was amplified.

It might help to add at this point that my mother suffered a seizure disorder which made it impossible for normal levels of anti-seizure medication to have any effect. By the time she died at age 50, I saw my mom have dozens of full-on, grand mal seizures. Maybe hundreds. Viewing this film again, it was she in the electric chair, and I as John Coffey. And I bawled my motherfucking eyes out for ten minutes during and after that scene. And I felt the vulnerability and tenderness of my innocence seep away, and I cried and grieved for myself as I have not for many, many years after suffering this trauma.

Funny. My family was always so sensitive about sexuality portrayed on screen. They must have had no idea how this movie had affected me. It might even be why, deep down, I came not to trust them about much of anything. I certainly did not expect them to properly protect me from the evil in the world. Also. I fucking love the cast of this movie. It - I don't have anything else to say.

mother! (2017, dir. Aronofsky)

I avoided this film.

People said it was bad. I hated Black Swan and everyone else loved it. I should have known. This film is a great work of art. Allegories get my goat, and this one hit so close to home. Anxieties about gender roles was something that always plagued me. I thought Aronofsky, Lawrence, and Bardem did a beautiful job bringing it to life.


I clowns (1970, dir. Fellini)

This one was sad for me. Something about the death of carnival and vaudeville resonates with me - the coming of neoliberal technocracy like a replacement for so many shitty totalitarian ideas is no less than totalitarian. The fool knows more than anyone else can know. And that is the real tragedy. The clown in society is the only one who dares to see.

Shame (2011, dir. McQueen)

Fuck. Man.

The Third Man (1949, dir. Reed)

Orson Welles is so fucking hot. Really. I love his wide-jowled face so much, and his big expressive eyes...! I just want to grab him and squish. But of course he would be coy and turn predator. Just the way I like them.

That doesn't say anything about this movie (it was fine, but its been a few weeks and I preferred actually being in Vienna) but as always I seek validation for the fucked up human being I've become.

A scallywag. Truly.

Lovely Diane and I filling our scully wulls with flicky pics


(Lamblyoptic) alamo drafthouse alamo drafthouse raleigh art house carolina theatre carolina theatre of durham cary theater chapel hill cinema cinema overdrive criticism darren aronofsky david lynch don't look in the basement durham county library durham nc film review fire walk with me halloween jacob's ladder laallh lamblyoptic light artists are the least light hearted lumina messiah of evil mother movie reviews nc raleigh splatterflix stanley kubrick suspiria the green mile the shining the untamed triangle film twin peaks Tue, 30 Oct 2018 20:15:14 GMT
LAALLH Psychosexual Sensitivities: La Región Salvaje (The Untamed)  


"There is a duality to sexuality. It’s pure but it’s also dirty or hidden at the same time." - Amat Escalante



Amat Escalante’s La Región Salvaje (2016) recently screened at The Carolina Theatre of Durham as a part of the Latin American Film Festival.

I first discovered this film while using the app 'Showtimes' to look up screening information near me. It's a buggy app - sometimes displaying the wrong movie poster, title, description, or some combination of all three. La Región Salvaje - English title, The Untamed - was not actually screening at the local AMC, but this is how I found out about it. Reading the reviews and summary, I thought, "This sounds perfect for me."

At that point, I had no way of knowing just how perfect.

People are so beautiful.

We bear our pains and suffer the slings and arrows of our fortunes and failures.

The premise of the film is that an extraterrestrial being collides with earth via meteorite (a hearkening to David Lynch's 1977 debut, Eraserhead) causing all the animals in the immediate area to mercilessly hump each other. The being is described as us at our most primitive, our most primal side materialized, perfecting itself by copulating with humans.

To distract ourselves from ennui we yearn for something to consume and be consumed by. Intimacies. Cathartic experiences. These temporary banishments sometimes become their own contributions to our suffering. We become ill. We visit it on those around us.

Each successive body comes to discover some conflict with the being, and it lashes out - sometimes to death.

Some bear suffering silently, passively fuming toxic vapors for others to breathe in. Others wear displeasure openly, crying at parties, oversharing with new friends. Whichever style we choose, we cannot help but hurt those around us. The only way to be harmless is to be ineffectual. Life is for the living. To live is to be affective and affected.

Occasionally, too, affectionate. But even this becomes perverse when imbalances persist.

Veronica (Simone Bucio) opens the film with a scene in the cabin housing the creature. Veronica's compatibility with the creature is waning. Implicitly, her need - either for the physical satisfaction, or for wanting more than a 20-armed alien would be able to give her - causes the rift, and it tries to bite a chunk out of her abdomen. In order for the creature to survive, she must find a new, willing visitor.

For them, Veronica says what they each need to hear. "You have beautiful eyes." "You're so beautiful." Then, the creature goes about the business of being the most all-consuming lover possible.

In the absence of moral agreement, there is no right or wrong answer - only a drive to seek pleasure and avoid pain. But that's Hobbes, and that's hogwash. Pain can cast the shadow of pleasure; the reverse is also true. And so the cycle repeats.

We yearn for something to consume and be consumed by. Intimacies. Cathartic experiences.

In the wake of our passions, the fallout.

"The bodies are really piling up."

Amat Escalante interview with MovieMaker



(Lamblyoptic) amat escalante art house carolina theatre carolina theatre of durham cinema cinephilia criticism durham nc experimental cinema film review la region salvaje laallh lamblyoptic light artists are the least light hearted movie reviews nc panos cosmatos philosophy simone bucio the untamed triangle film Wed, 17 Oct 2018 20:51:46 GMT
LAALLH Review: Liquid Sky (and other phase-shifting elements) VS-200_o-card_frontVS-200_o-card_front CINEMA OVERDRIVE PRESENTS:


(1982, dir. Slava Tsukerman)

Alamo Drafthouse, Raleigh, NC | September 18, 2018

"Extensive notes," I said. And by God, I thought that's what happened. But when I looked at my notes from September's screening of LIQUID SKY, I had a flashback to the melange of colors and textures of the film. Mostly, I wrote down quotes. Gems like:

"I hate you, you ugly chicken."

"I want my vision blurred so I don't have to look at your face."

"Apple pie. Shit."

"The police are no protection from aliens. Are you? You got a laser gun in your pants?"

"I'm a killer. I kill with my cunt."



In summary: An alien creature invades New York's punk subculture in its search for an opiate released by the brain during orgasm.

The film is an off-radar masterpiece.

But it's not enough to say "Oh man! That was really great!"

So here's what I can say, based on the ugly chicken chickenscratch from my notebook and the semi-solid sounds and sensory details that did not escape my first viewing of the film.





Liquid_Sky_1.1.7Liquid_Sky_1.1.7Stills courtesy of Vinegar Syndrome


This film was deeply gratifying from the standpoint of its graphic elements, cinematographic treatment of color and light. The fascinating, richly saturated starkly contrasted alien POV shots hearkened to electron microscopy as much as straight photography.


In my mind, I still clearly see the shot of a New York City intersection, Blue shadows, cycling streetlights, yellow cabs pacing through and through. Primary colors, baby.




Liquid_Sky_1.1.7Liquid_Sky_1.1.7Stills courtesy of Vinegar Syndrome


In a world with so many Weinsteins, Kavanaughs, and Cosbys, so many undulating definitions and terms for gendered expression and construction, LS demonstrated a clear foresight of the implications of power dynamics in scenes on the fringe. The culture of these fashionable nihilists, outside of the status quo, suffer from the same conflicts as their normie equivalents. There is seemingly no escape. At least, in this case, the culture allows for a cynical perspective, a fury and a fight.




Liquid_Sky_1.1.7Liquid_Sky_1.1.7Stills courtesy of Vinegar Syndrome


"Perfect record. Flawless." - Cinema Overdrive's Adam Hulin on Sheppard's filmography. I couldn't agree more.


PERSONAL REVERIES: Reflections on controversial relationships


Liquid_Sky_1.1.7Liquid_Sky_1.1.7Stills courtesy of Vinegar Syndrome


For many years, I had a healthy and pleasant relationship with a man who had been my professor. While a power imbalance exists implicitly, I felt personally empowered by the fact that I had been the pursuer. I enjoyed the company of someone who could stimulate my mind and expand on its potential by osmosis.

His maturity and knowledge meant he knew to value me, and gave me a reasonable amount of space to be myself.

In reality, the most fruitful read of the relationship between Margaret (Anne Carlisle) and Owen (Bob Brady) is the tension illustrated between the cynical nihilism of Margaret's peers, "We, at least, know we're in costume," and the aging irrelevance of Owen's romantic stonerdom. Margaret stands between, one foot in each mutually exclusive world.

No more romantic illusions. This is the 80's. Love does not win. Power does.




Liquid_Sky_1.1.7Liquid_Sky_1.1.7Stills courtesy of Vinegar Syndrome


Stimulating substances, whether it be heroin or oxytocin, are hard habits to break. Maybe that's the reason for all the detachment of the scene culture in LS. Getting too close, feeling too good, is just a recipe for dependency. Better to depend on a substance than a person. People are fickle, opportunistic, and cruel. And those are just the average ones. "Good" ones seem naive, pitiful, and helpless in a world with so much degradation and evil. Prey to feed all the predators out there. Margaret is neither. And this alien isn't in a position to have to choose. How nice for... him?




Liquid_Sky_1.1.7Liquid_Sky_1.1.7Stills courtesy of Vinegar Syndrome


As grateful as I am to Vinegar Syndrome for re-releasing a beautiful new BluRay of Liquid Sky and providing the lovely stills you see above, you can't imagine the beauty of Margaret, draped in a wedding gown, climbing a fire escape on the side of an apartment building in the night.


Liquid Sky is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.



I have the privilege of living in Durham, which gives me access to Durham County Public Libraries.

I recently discovered that one can check out up to 10 movies at a time, with a very easy online user experience that allows placing holds and searching their catalog. Thanks to this amazing, free, public resource, I've been filling out some outstanding gaps in my cinematic experience.

They also send all your Held titles to the branch closest to you. It's a fucking miracle.




Recently Watched/ Movies I Loved:

The Lady From Shanghai (1947, dir. Welles) - A reminder to be glad not to be a part of the upper class. They're the worst. Also, Welles is smoking hot.

La Dolce Vita (1960, dir. Fellini) - An old man once told me I look like Sophia Loren. After this movie, I think it may be the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me.

*Correction: that was Anita Eckberg. Whoops. Thanks anyway, old man.

The Last Picture Show (1971, Bogdanovich) - Holy. Shit. Ellen. Burstyn. Her character's meaningful fling with Sam the Lion made the movie.

Jodorowsky's Dune (2014, Pavich) - Dali, Welles, Jagger, Jodorowsky, Giger, all part of the same project? I mean, how the fuck did this not happen?!

The Ruling Class (1972, Medak) - Speaking of money. I felt my soul short-circuit at the nerve endings in my face at the conclusion of this movie. It left me feeling devastated, mortified. I needed time to catch my breath.




Excited About/Coming Soon:

Mandy (2018, dir. Cosmatos) Screening at Carolina Theater (Durham) and Alamo Drafthouse (Raleigh)

Bubba Ho-Tep (2001, dir. Coscarelli), Alamo Drafthouse (Raleigh), October 3 @ 8:30pm

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992, dir. Lynch), Alamo Drafthouse (Raleigh), October 8 @ 8pm

La Region Salvaje (2017, dir. Escalante), Carolina Theater (Durham), October 9th @ 7pm

Hausu (1977, dir. Obayashi), Alamo Drafthouse (Raleigh), October 10th @ 7:45pm







Spooky actions at a distance:

While I've had Eyes Wide Shut  on the brain for a couple of weeks now, I was hanging out at my friend's bar during the brief brush we had with Hurricane Florence and he played Chris Isaac's Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing unbidden. It had been stuck in my head for two days prior.

Then, today, I was listening to The Classical Station (WCPE 89.7FM) and this happened:



"I got so many problems with my brain, it's a real pain in the ass."

(Lamblyoptic) alamo drafthouse alamo drafthouse raleigh art house carolina theatre cinema cinema overdrive criticism durham county library eyes wide shut film review jodorowsky la region salvaje laallh lamblyoptic light artists are the least light hearted liquid sky movie reviews nc orson welles the last picture show the ruling class triangle film tsukerman WCPE Thu, 27 Sep 2018 01:36:43 GMT
LAALLH Late Summer Cinema in the Triangle: Cary, Alamo, Overdrive, A/V Geeks, Bergman Retrospective *Tonight's screening: Weird Wednesday - LIQUID SKY, presented in Partnership with CINEMA OVERDRIVE. Alamo Drafthouse, 8PM.*



CINEMA OVERDRIVE Presents: Alice Sweet Alice (1976, dir. Alfred Sole). August 15, 2018.

August’s screening of Alice Sweet Alice was one occasion that I thanked myself for making the trek from Durham to Cary.

That day, I was a Quaker who was going to pick up her Catholic – and since I have to specify, biological - father from RDU shortly after. Essentially, it helped to prepare me for spending a few days of that conflict.

Like Alice, it’s not all my fault but I’m not innocent from blame. Doesn’t keep me from being a horrible, troubled little shit.

Ultimately I just won’t let him convert me. I get mad when he sends me Catholic podcasts. I’d rather fight him tooth and nail about Thomas.


A young girl (child actress Brooke Shields) is killed in Church on the day of her Communion (which was the original title of the film). Was it her sister Alice? Is Alice a sociopath, as her aunt suspects?

Action, intrigue, tension to hang a wide curtain on, and careful production design. The Catholic symbolism might have been worth playing up, but the masks and complexity of settings beyond hammy Catholic wares were so compelling that I think it’s ok. Alice Sweet Alice is as much about mental illness as religion, as much about heresy as woman problems.

I was carried with often-baited breath by the lead actress, astonishingly beautiful Linda Miller, as Alice’s mother Catherine. I believed in her conflict – grieving over the loss of her least troublesome child and desperate not to condemn the older Alice as irredeemably bad.

I'd just read an article about a support group for parents of child psychopaths. I do not envy that position. No one does.

Just because you don’t like something doesn’t make it false. And just because some people experience maladaptation doesn’t make them evil. What mother would really want to believe they brought an evil child into the world? (Hearkening back, of course, to August's screening of The Visitor).

Though the film is a rarity, it has not gone completely. It's out there. And amazing.


PERSONA (1966, dir. Ingmar Bergman)

This is far too personal to write about. This unapologetic art film from Sweden in the 60’s and stars two women alone together. Facades vs. reality, kindness and hidden violence, maybe multiple personalities? It was like sacrament. And too personal to elaborate any further. Just watch it if that's the kind of thing you're in the mood for.

Upcoming Screenings @CaryTheater: Cinema Overdrive presents The Substitute (Sept 19) Monty Python and the Holy Grail  (Sept 22) Sick Chick Flicks Film Festival (Sept 29-30)



A/V Geeks Present: STOP MOTION EXPLOSION! A/V Geeks were kind enough to screen a consortium of video and 16mm stop-motion animated shorts in their STOP MOTION EXPLOSION! program. A sprinkling of Svankmajer made me a happy girl, but it was also wonderful to see Ray Harryhausen's rendition of some Mother Goose silliness. My favorite, however, would have to have been the pre-show short, Vanished History of Gloves by Czechoslovakian filmmaker Jiri Barta.

As a side note, no one does this style of animation as well as the Czechs. Just saying.

Upcoming A/V Geeks Screenings: Super Mario Bros. (NC Museum of History, 9/14) Women Direct Educational Films (Alamo, 9/17) And the Schoolhouse Will Rock (Kings Raleigh, 9/18)

More info at

Then it was time for me to revisit two films that have as much to do with who I am as most films ever will, like it or not.

EXHIBIT A: David Fincher's Fight Club (1999)

fight_club-320750671-largefight_club-320750671-large The Fight Club screening wasn't great, so I'm gonna try not to dwell on the negatives though they will be mentioned.

This movie made me want to make movies when I was in the 7th grade. It was referred to me by one of my internet friends, an artist called Z that I was in love with. But I'm not a kid anymore. Even though my new job makes me feel like I'm the adult version of the kid I was in middle school, spending all my time on computers. So now I’m 2.0 and the movie is aged.

Still, I find myself quoting it regularly in my head -

“You’re smart, you’re funny, you’re spectacular in bed. But you have serious, deep-seeded emotional problems...”

- more or less accurately, unlike whatever schlub they put in front of the audience to awkwardly solicit complements about the outfit he wore to announce “sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken.” That was the only quote he got right.

There’s just too much more one could say about this film, aged or not. Anti-Corporatist, an indictment of our modern way of living, anxieties about appearances, crises of masculinity, broken people finding other broken people and trying to pick up the pieces, schizophrenia - there's so much to work with. I've probably seen it too many times to really enjoy it anymore. There are no more hidden surprises. Though, this time around, I did notice how well Fincher builds up to the identity reveal, with so many little clues.

But it’s meaningful to me.


Of course I went as Marla. I used to sign paintings that way. Now I blink my eyes and, at almost 30 years old, the transformation is nearly complete.




EXHIBIT B: Katsuhiro Otomo's AKIRA (1989)


This was a real privilege. Really. I've seen this film enough times to have written an extensive tract on it. However, it's been quite a few years since I saw it last, and this was the first time I had ever watched it on a big screen. It was truly, legitimately, sublime.

Maybe one of these days, I'll dig out my essay on Godzilla and Akira as expositions of the Classical Mechanics > Quantum shift. The essay is smarter than me. I promise.


I feel really lucky to have landed back in North Carolina. Organizers like A/V Geeks and Cinema Overdrive feature rare programming that's hard to find, digital or otherwise. Keeps my training and education in film theory and practice from withering away.

In the age of mindlessly droning through titles on Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming services, it’s nice to have a source of closely curated content you didn't know you were missing out on. I try to attend screenings whenever I can.



If there’s something you REALLY think I should see and want me to write about, let me know!

Currently watching: Insecure (S2), The Deuce (S2)

Recently watched:

La Strada (1954, dir. Fellini)

Belle de Jour (1968, dir. Buñuel)

Una (2016, dir. Andrews)

Wonder Wheel (2017, dir. Allen)

(Lamblyoptic) A/V Geeks akira alamo drafthouse alice sweet alice brooke shields catholicism cinema cinema overdrive communion criticism fight club film review holy terror horror independent film ingmar bergman jan svankmajer jiri barta laallh lamblyoptic light artists are the least light hearted movie reviews nc organized religion persona raleigh ray harryhausen stop-motion animation thriller triangle film Wed, 12 Sep 2018 17:25:30 GMT
LAALLH The Guest: My Review of 1979's The Visitor CINEMA OVERDRIVE Presents: The Visitor (1979, dir. Giulio Paradisi as Michael J. Paradise)

Alamo Drafthouse, Raleigh, NC | August 1, 2018



Besides actually being a little high, I had high hopes for this picture. Not only had the Programmer assured me it was the most entertainment my $5 could buy, but the IMDB trailer looked promising. I even managed to wrangle a friend to join me for the screening.

Honestly, I'm of two minds about it.

Innocence took it all in and enjoyed it for being daring, breaking or not caring about rules, and even felt an affection for the obvious amount of work, talent, and creativity required to bring it to fruition. My taste in movies - a steady diet of content-rich surrealist, avant-garde, genre-bending masterpieces and cult classics - should have me well-primed for The Visitor to invade my mind space.

Lead actor John Huston, upon reading the script, was also of two minds about it: either it would be amazing, or it would be a pile of shit.

Like the metaphysics section of a used bookstore, sometimes you find quality among the shallow stupor; a work of love that makes you think or feel more keenly, that asks questions waiting in the depths of your subconscious and brings them to the fore. And as a big fan of metaphysics - especially Judeo-Christian mythology, oligarchs, demonic and heavenly forces battling for the upper hand - this movie should have left me with the catharsis I so crave.

It didn't.




The Visitor's opening scene was a dazzling array of gorgeous spectacle. Plumes of smoke build from a sinister horizon. A black-clad figure materializes. Winds racing, the figure is revealed to be a child covered in eggy dust.

This is the beginning of a surrealist epic! This will be awesome! But this was the beginning and the end of the sublime in this film.




The rest was a dazzling array of disconnected ideas made meaningless by the lack of craft. Not in technique, which was satisfying enough for the $800,000 budget - but in terms of content, story, and understandable human responses. A bunch of great ideas, interesting symbolism, rich metaphors, all gone to waste. But we can make a meal of this. I hope.

I'm an anarchist. I'm not a fan of hard and fast rules. But hell - sometimes things work or they don't. 

Experience made me appreciate my screenwriting professors a little bit more. When they would offer me criticism like "you have a lot of great ideas here, but they don't go anywhere" and "your audience isn't being guided through the characters on what or how to feel" they might have thought I intended to write another Visitor.

"Who's your protagonist?" I don't know. Probably the mother. "What does she want?" Not to get pregnant.

Well, I guess I can identify enough with that.




As much as I would love to blame this monstrosity of wasted resources on the screenwriters, there remains the role of the director in the poor handling of the drives and motivations of the characters and how they emote from within the frame.

But enough of that. These criticisms of The Visitor have been levied since its original release in 1979.

Since my interest lies in meta-analysis of challenging content, and since the content of this film resides firmly within the realm of my interests, I feel compelled to offer an interpretation of its meaning as it may relate to its makers. 




There's a shallow treatment of each character in this film that betrays a peculiarly masculine set of priorities and anticipated approach to wisdom. Reduce a thing to it's most useful function, and forget there's anything else that needs to be explained. Haphazard, lazy, it's nonetheless an exposure of a particular demographic's ultimate fear - supernatural power vested in the feminine vessel.

This anxiety permeates the shallow symbolism of The Visitor, specifically as it manifests in evil little Katy. What's more sinister than an 8 year old girl gymnast? Is this a subconscious characterization of political feminism as understood by the filmmakers? Bratty, wants attention, won't settle for less than As I Like It?

Probably not - that would be far too incisive an observation. There is no strain of perceptive metaphors here, just pretty pictures.

Truly, the fear should have manifested in an 11, 12 year old girl on the verge of puberty. That's the real crux of the abyss, where so much strife gets born. I mean, can you? Can't you?

"Oh, Hum..." (oh, hey Shelley Winters)

But nothing displays the Creator's ignorance so much as the likely protagonist, Barbara Collins (Joanne Nail).




Barbara exemplifies the emptiness of the maternal vessel trope. Arguably the protagonist, she experiences no arc - only a complete reversal at the film's conclusion following the anti-climax. Despite the conflicts thrust on her by the filmmaker, he offers little comfort in the way of character development to accommodate the blows. Not only is she unaffected by her demon child-inflicted paralysis, she's overjoyed to find herself settling back home in her newly wheelchair-bound existence. Perhaps Paradisi and the screenwriters thought slipping in that Sun in Libra (peacemaker) Rising Sagittarius (overly optimistic) Moon in Virgo (sexually intimidated) birth chart was supposed to stand in for actually creating her character.

She seems to know something's up inside her, but is woefully ignorant of the maelstrom of evil in her womb. She's the final carrier of the genes of Sateen/Zatteen/Satan, which don't seem to impact her in any way apart from what she can pass to her offspring.

Sort of the same way the material value of the female body has resided in the procreative function. I get the anxiety, I really do. Let's just say Sarah Palmer was a huge improvement.

Is there anything more deeply outside the grasp of the machismo than motherhood? Its ideal is the antithesis of masculine deifications. The excesses of the masculine feed on mothers like a parasite to persist itself. That unconditional love a mother may extend to her offspring is woefully absent in the world.

She is dismissed as empty because her resources. Are. Tapped. But we need more from her.

Therefore, she must be taken by force.




What lengths will man go to to achieve his nefarious ends? Surgically implant himself. Forget romance, folks, this is the easy part. If she won't submit willingly she must be sedated, reduced to her dark potentials, and used appropriately.

Barbara was lucky there was a nice ex-husband to pick up the fetus pieces.

I guess people can be terribly smart, technically apt, but be complete morons when it comes to the requirement of form and content, thinking and feeling, as the path to wisdom. Emotional intelligence requires expenditure of emotional labor. It's no wonder both can be so hard to find in the masculine sphere, and it spills into their cinema.

What, with those puny corpus callosums and over-reliance on the power of their man hoods.




And what of the promise of mystical powers? Will we be able to grasp wisdom beyond heaven and hell?

Eh. Maybe when we're old and ugly. Sorry, Space Jesus. Maybe next time.

Whew! There's the catharsis I was looking for.

Stills embedded from:

Smith, Johnathan. 'The Visitor' Is All of 70s Horror Shoved into One Film


(Lamblyoptic) alamo drafthouse alamo drafthouse raleigh art house camp cinema cinema overdrive criticism film review laallh lamblyoptic light artists are the least light hearted metaphysics movie reviews nc raleigh the visitor triangle film Sun, 05 Aug 2018 17:08:15 GMT