A trio of 1994 Hollywood mainstream softcore films (Disclosure, Color of Night, and The Last Seduction) are each, in their own way, gripped with masculine fears concerning established sex and gender roles and the women who refuse to conform to them.
Amateur (1994) | Sony Pictures Classics
The studied cool facades Hal Hartley’s characters put on, the way they almost play-act being criminals, the romantic fatalism that drives both the overarching narrative and the characters themselves: These are all elements that would make just as much sense in a Godard or Truffaut joint as they would in a ‘90s American indie film.
Chungking Express (1994) | art by Tony Stella
In Chungking Express, everything is important—every can of pineapple, every dripping towel, every loop of “California Dreamin’”—mimicking that all-encompassing feeling of infatuation. These small items hold an entire story, the heartbreak and the hope and the waiting.
It’s not death and disaster and grievous harm that incite my anxiety if I consume too many consecutive episodes of ER—it’s the randomness of those things, the way the show forces me to grapple with the uncontrollability of our physical and psychic vulnerabilities, and the fact that pain is an inevitable consequence of having a human body.