R. Emmet Sweeney
R. Emmet Sweeney

R. Emmet Sweeney grew up in Buffalo, NY, where as a teen he haunted the few art cinemas in town. Soon he was gainfully employed slinging popcorn and ticket stubs in one of those theaters, where the restorations of TOUCH OF EVIL and REAR WINDOW inflamed his cinephilic passions. Further stoked by the film sections at the Village Voice and the Chicago Reader, he devoured as many moving images as he could, becoming an unrepentant auteurist in the process.

He earned a Masters degree in Cinema Studies from New York University, and has been writing about the movies ever since. His work has appeared in Film Comment, Time Out Chicago, The Believer, IFC News, the Village Voice, Moving Image Source, and most proudly, Baseball Prospectus. He lives in Brooklyn with his wondrous wife and the Ford at Fox box set. Follow him on Twitter at @r_emmet.

Posts by R. Emmet Sweeney

To view Bardelys the Magnificent click here. By 1926 director King Vidor and star John Gilbert were one of MGM’s most bankable duos, thanks to the massive success of their WWI drama The Big Parade (1925). They were immediately thrust into the similarly high-minded period piece La Bohème (1926), and were cast in The Glory Diggers, about the construction of the Panama Canal. […]

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To view Revenge click here. Revenge (1989) concerns a vengeance that cannot be contained by time. It floats through the centuries, traveling from 17th century Korea to 20th century Sakhalin Island, a much fought over spit of land squabbled over by Russia and Japan. A free-form mass of condensed hate emerges during this period, one which causes the […]

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To view Losing Ground click here. Losing Ground (1982) is a shape-shifting drama of an imploding marriage, insinuating itself into the diverging head-spaces of a pair of quarreling intellectuals. Shot on a shoestring budget in 1982 by City College of New York professor Kathleen Collins, it was one of the first features directed by a black woman since the 1920s. Distributors didn’t […]

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To view Mon Oncle click here. “That would be the ideal film. I would like people to see Hulot less and less and to see other people or characters more and more.” – Jacques Tati With Mon Oncle (1958), Jacques Tati gets closer to making his ideal film. The character of Hulot gets pushed further and further into the background […]

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To view Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday click here. The first screen appearance of Jacques Tati’s Hulot character is inside of a car: a clattering, jittering wreck making its way to a seaside hotel in Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday (1953). Tati cuts from the sound of a train horn to the pitter-putter of Hulot’s gasping car engine as it turns the corner […]

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To view Jour de fête click here. After a decade-long career as a music-hall performer, Jacques Tati transitioned to feature filmmaking witha comedy about a remarkably gullible postman. Before Tati invented the iconic bumbling bourgeois Hulot (in M. Hulot’s Holiday, 1953), he experimented with a clumsy working class letter carrier, prone to insecure bouts of drinking and falling flat on his […]

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To view Something Wild click here. Something Wild (1986) is a road movie with a penchant for detours, keeping its eyes on the side roads and rest stops instead of the highway in front of it. A shapeshifting romantic-comic thriller, it adjusts its tone to the landscape, paying as a romcom in NYC, a chase film in Pennsylvania and […]

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To view The Golden Coach click here. The Golden Coach (1953) begins with a red curtain raising on a stage, the camera pushing in until the edges of the theater disappear and the story proper begins. Jean Renoir’s feature about an Italian theatrical troupe setting up shop in Peru foregrounds its artificiality, a play within the film that […]

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To view Picnic on the Grass, click here. For Jean Renoir Picnic on the Grass was both a return and a departure. It was filmed in and around the country estate of Les Collettes, his late father’s land, where he had grown up as a child. It is the perfect setting for this back-to-nature comedy in which a scientist […]

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To view Elena and Her Men click here. In its time Elena and Her Men (1956) was something of a disaster for Jean Renoir, a succession of problems (contested rights, fevers, bad accents) for which he struggled to find solutions. It was a box office and critical dud, and ended any hope of Renoir returning to Hollywood. To read its […]

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