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 Lady Snowblood click here. Lady Snowblood (1973) is an aria of arterial spray, gushing in myriad patterns against a variety of white fabrics. It takes Jean-Luc Godard’s tossed off comment that the blood in Pierrot Le Fou (1965) is “Not blood” but “red” to its logical conclusion, a festival of artfully composed throat-slittings and torso hackings. Blood spits […]

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To view Querelle click here. Rainer Werner Fassbinder passed away on the morning of June 10, 1982, three weeks into the editing of his final feature Querelle. The New York Times reported that, “a video-cassette machine that he had been using was still running at 5 A.M., Munich time, when Miss Lorenz [Julie Lorenz, his roommate and editor] discovered his […]

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To view Dirigible click here. Summer movie season is already upon us, with superheroes saving the world from various varieties of destruction. I’m turning back the clock to 1931 to look at a disaster film that uses the same playbook, Frank Capra’s blimp inferno Dirigible. (For the throngs of readers who have been following my Jean Renoir series, it […]

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To view La Bête Humaine click here. Following the transformative success of Grand Illusion (1937), Jean Renoir suddenly had an overwhelming number of opportunities. There was an offer on the table from Samuel Goldwyn to come to Hollywood, though he delayed his route there, at least temporarily. Instead he would direct the panoramic French Revolution drama La Marseillaise ([1938],which […]

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To view Le crime de Monsieur Lange click here. Jean Renoir considered  Le crime de Monsieur Lange (1936) to be a turning point in his career, a film that opened “the door to some projects that are more completely personal.” He would go on to make A Day in the Country (1936) and The Lower Depths (1936) immediately after (I […]

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To view The Lower Depths click here. “That man who makes films where people spit on the ground.” – Jacques Schwob d’Héricourt (producer) on Jean Renoir When the funding ran out on A Day in the Country (1936), Jean Renoir left that film unfinished to start casting on The Lower Depths (1936). An adaptation of Maxim Gorky’s play starring Jean Gabin and Louis Jouvet, […]

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To view A Day in the Country click here. One of Jean Renoir’s most beloved films is one he wasn’t interested in finishing. While making A Day in the Country, Renoir was in pre-production on both The Lower Depths (1936) and Grand Illusion (1937). Once A Day in the Country ran into money problems he put it to the side, leaving it to be finished by his […]

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To view Boudu Saved From Drowning click here. “From Boudu I have learned that one of the attitudes to take toward society is to loathe it.” - Michel Simon In Boudu Saved From Drowning (1932) Michel Simon plays a bearded bum who has lost interest in humanity. Boudu would prefer to stroll in the park with his dog or […]

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To view La Chienne click here. The characters in La Chienne (1931) do not learn or grow, but remain indelibly themselves. Each act of pettiness, adultery or murder is a logical extension of personality, fated in DNA.  It is the earliest of director Jean Renoir’s canonical works, bitterly funny and desperately sad, which unravels a love triangle in […]

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To view Nana click here. Jean Renoir considered Nana (1926) to be “my first film worth talking about.” An ambitious adaptation of the Emile Zola novel, Nana (Catherine Hessling) is an actress of limited means adept at manipulating men’s hearts, failing as a stage star but lavishly succeeding as an actor in her own life (a theme […]

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