Some novelists, playwrights, and filmmakers (Shaw, Voltaire, Jean-Luc Godard) work closer to the vein of the essayist than the storyteller. They may be able to create memorable characters and powerful scenes, but only for the sake of making ideas as tangible as people.

Among current American moviemakers, Todd Haynes is the best example of a storytelling essayist. His strategy is to score his intellectual points by doing riffs on previous,...

The remainder of this article is only available to paid subscribers.

Print subscribers to Commonweal are entitled to free access to all premium online content. Click here to purchase a print subscription, or if you’re already a print subscriber, register now for premium access.

Online-only subscriptions provide access to all premium online articles for just $34/year or $2.95/month. Click here to subscribe.

Registered users, please log in below:

Or log in with...


About the Author

Richard Alleva has been reviewing movies for Commonweal since 1990.