Bright Wall/Dark Room offers a different lens on film: no hot takes, no hype, no movie news, no clickbait, no “content,” no pop-ups, no ads. We’re an online magazine devoted to exploring the relationship between movies and the business of being alive.
Bright Wall/Dark Room is also a gathering place for writers and readers who want to look more passionately at film. We’re your old neighborhood video store, the one you miss because the employees would talk for hours if you let them, riffing on films you’d heard of and recommending some you hadn’t. We publish work by filmmakers and cinephiles and film studies students, but also by comedians and novelists and painters and poets.
We seek out thoughtful analysis and wholehearted engagement. We’re a home for film writing that you won’t find anywhere else on the web: we’re not afraid to go long, to dive deep, to look close; to dig into filmmaking and film theory, but also to get messy and vulnerable and human, to explore nuance and mystery. Each month, we publish work around a theme, so we’re never slaves to the current release schedule or news cycle. We certainly publish work on new releases, but we also have the freedom to dig into all of film history: from Old Hollywood to New Hollywood, from German Expressionism to Italian Neorealism to the Hong Kong Second Wave. We also run longform interviews with filmmakers that feel like warm, human conversations, rather than hitting the familiar entertainment-news beats.
The goal is to engage with all that movies are, in fresh and interesting ways: with warmth and affection, with thought and care, with our heads and our hearts. Or, as Rebecca Solnit once put it:
There is a kind of counter-criticism that seeks to expand the work of art, by connecting it, opening up its meanings, inviting in the possibilities. A great work of criticism can liberate a work of art, to be seen fully, to remain alive, to engage in a conversation that will not ever end but will instead keep feeding the imagination. Not against interpretation, but against confinement, against the killing of the spirit. Such criticism is itself great art.
This is a kind of criticism that does not pit the critic against the text, does not seek authority. It seeks instead to travel with the work and its ideas, invite it to blossom and invite others into a conversation that might have previously seemed impenetrable, to draw out relationships that might have been unseen and open doors that might have been locked. This is a kind of criticism that respects the essential mystery of a work of art, which is in part its beauty and its pleasure, both of which are irreducible and subjective.
We believe fully in this mission, especially now, as more and more entertainment sites look for ways to maximize profits at the expense of writing and editing, leaving fewer and fewer good homes for quality writing on the arts. We sincerely hope to be one of them.
And we can (literally) only make it happen with your help and support, because we eschew all the traditional ways that sites like ours tend to make money. Because we believe there’s a better way. We don’t run ads or receive any outside funding; we’re 100% independent, and entirely funded by your subscriptions and patronage.
Click the black BW/DR logo in the bottom right of the screen! Registering gets you access to two more articles a month, and subscribing unlocks our entire back catalog and access to new essays as they drop.
How do I manage my subscription?
Click the black BW/DR logo in the bottom right of the screen while logged in.
What are your subscription plans?
Subscriptions are $3 a month, or $25 annually (with the first year being just $20), and managed through Pico. Subscribing grants you full access to our entire back catalog, as well as complimentary ebook editions of every issue and instant access to new issues as they come out.
We also now offer full site access through our Patreon, which comes with some additional perks & rewards, like monthly film recommendations from our staff—personalized just for you and your tastes—as well as the chance to select a film for us to write about in an upcoming issue.
Do you offer educational pricing/group subscriptions?
Yes! Contact us via the help button in the bottom left and we’re more than happy to explore options that suit your needs.
I subscribed, but I don’t have access. Help!
Contact us via the help button at the bottom left and we’ll figure out what’s going on.
I’m a subscriber through Patreon – will I still have access here?
For as long as you’re a patron, you’ll have full access to the entire site. If you just signed up, you should be hearing from us soon on Patreon, prompting you to create an account here.
How do I get ebook editions of Bright Wall/Dark Room?
There are two ways. If you’re a subscriber, you’ll get automatic complimentary access to ebook editions of every issue we’ve ever produced – just look for the link that says “Download ebook” under the thumbnail of each issue over on our issues page. Alternatively, if you’re not a subscriber and just want to buy one issue, you should see a link to buy the ebook edition of the magazine – either here or on the Kindle store – in the same spot.
Okay, I’ve got it. Now how do I read it?
Depends on your preference! To read the PDF issue on your computer, you’ll need Adobe Acrobat Readeror a third-party PDF reader (Windows 10 comes with one built in, aptly called Reader). As for your handheld devices, here are a few useful links:
Download the Kindle reading app(Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Blackberry)