Teleological Cinema: Films as Language in Arrival

Originally published at Thresholds. First published in 1998 in the science fiction anthology series Starlight, Ted Chiang’s ‘Story of Your Life’ tells the story of humanity’s first contact with aliens. After the beings appear in orbit around Earth, world-renowned linguist Dr. Louise Banks... Continue Reading →


“In him a bestial cruelty”: Thematic continuity in Ian Fleming’s short stories

Of the twenty-four official James Bond films, seventeen are adapted from Ian Fleming’s original novels and short stories. Many of these are loose adaptations at best, often drawing on material from multiple texts, and as the films were not produced in the... Continue Reading →

Adaptations: The aesthetics of sensation in Lust, Caution

At only 35 pages, Chinese author Eileen Chang’s 1979 short story ‘Lust, Caution’ is structured as a taut spy thriller. Set during the Japanese occupation of China during World War Two, Chang’s prose is direct and efficient, yet evokes well-springs of emotion, historical... Continue Reading →

Adaptations: The Fractured City in The Third Man

A fortuitous mixture of beautiful cinematography, flawless screenplay, and, in Orson Wells, one of the screen’s greatest actors at the top of his game, The Third Man defines the term ‘lightning in a bottle’. Topped off by Anton Karas’ iconic zither music, Carol Reed‘s... Continue Reading →

Friday Update: Edgar Allen Poe, Suntan and It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World

With less than a week to go until the Toronto International Film Festival, it's all systems go at CultCrack towers, while I try to wrangle a viewing schedule that is sitting somewhere at the eleventy-stupid films a day mark. I've... Continue Reading →

Thresholds Feature: ‘A Light Fringe of Snow’: Melancholy Reflection in The Dead

The final piece in James Joyce’s Dublibners, ‘The Dead’, has been described as one of the finest short stories ever written. Set in 1904 Dublin, the story follows Gabriel Conroy as he attends a Christmas party with his wife, Gretta. Juxtaposing... Continue Reading →

Blog at

Up ↑