Dion Kagan

We invited some writers, film critics, and film professionals to nominate their favourite film – not The Greatest Film Ever Sold, but one that matters to them personally.

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In one of my pedagogical fantasies, I design the curriculum for a course called ‘Modern Theories of Desire’. My students read Marx, Beauvoir, Foucault, and Butler. They study Hegel on desire’s organisation of the everyday relationship between the self and the world; some critiques of developmental psychology, a sociology ...

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Happy End (Transmission Films) ★★★★

Dion Kagan
Tuesday, 06 February 2018

The opening sequence of Happy End, the latest film from French director and provocateur Michael Haneke, is a funny–shocking series of domestic events captured via a livestreaming social media platform like Snapchat or Instagram. It shows the bedtime routine of a depressed, emotionally vacant woman. A pet hamster falls ...

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Tom of Finland ★★★1/2

Dion Kagan
Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Tom of Finland is a worthy enshrinement of the life of Finnish artist Touko Laaksonen (1920–91) into the cinematic pantheon of queer historical biographies. The World War II veteran and advertising art director best known as ‘Tom of Finland’ drew thousands of naked and leather-clad men with gigantic nipples and ...

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As long as there have been moving images, people have fretted about cinema’s special dexterity at breaching sexual and social norms. We now have sophisticated tools to help us ...

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In the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, an expat American teacher goes down into the subterranean bathroom beneath the National Palace of Culture, a known beat. There he encounters ...

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Emanuel Levy has had a prestigious career as a senior critic at Variety, professor of film and sociology, and jury member at fifty-four international film festivals. His exhaustive account of the careers of five gay male auteurs is peppered with quotes from his own interviews with them. This awfully titled book may frustrate some readers, including Levy's p ...

Dion Kagan reviews 'The Sex Myth' by Rachel Hills

Dion Kagan
Tuesday, 22 December 2015

The Sex Myth announces some lofty aspirations in its title, which invokes game-changing feminist interventions like Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique (1963) and Naomi Wolf's The Beauty Myth (1991). Saturated as we are now by sex talk of all kinds, it is hard to imagine a critique of sex/gender mores having anything like the same impact. Nonethe ...

Gone Girl

Dion Kagan
Thursday, 09 October 2014

In David Fincher’s slick adaptation of Gone Girl, an attractive white woman, Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike), disappears on her fifth wedding anniversary and her husband, Nick (Ben Affleck), quickly becomes the prime suspect.

Left behind at their Missouri McMansion are signs of a violent struggle – glass coffee ...

Under the Skin

Dion Kagan
Wednesday, 28 May 2014

U nder the Skin is adapted from Michael Faber’s eponymous speculative fiction novel (2000) in which an alien disguised as an attractive woman hunts hitchhikers in the Scottish highlands. Once she has determined that a man is appropriate prey, she drugs him and delivers him to a subterranean abattoir hidden beneath a farm where, in a disturbing allegorisatio ...

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