Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest film, The Master, tells the story of drifter Joaquin Phoenix’s relationship with the head of a New Age sect, which looks suspiciously like Scientology. The group, called The Cause, aims (like Scientology) to clear its members of the karmic traces of their past lives, and return them to their inherent perfection. Read more…

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Here are some quotes from my favourite living artist, David Lynch, about the creative process. They’re from Chris Rodley’s book, Lynch on Lynch: On turning Mullholland Drive from a failed TV pilot to a successful feature film:  Well, one night I sat down in my chair to meditate and whoosh – the whole thing came Read more…

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I have to start the newsletter this week with congratulations to the CERN scientists for finally finding Higgs. Fancy, all that time, he was right there in the middle of the press conference. He sure fooled them! Anyway, if like me your mind is blown by particle physics, here is an excellent animation of one Read more…

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Over at the Centre for the History of the Emotions blog, we’re holding a Shame Week, in which various historians of the emotions consider shame. Today, Katherine Angel of Warwick University has posted an excellent review of the Steve McQueen film, Shame. She loves the film, but wonders why Steve McQueen and Michael Fassbender have, Read more…

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Yesterday I re-watched for the umpteenth time one of my favourite films – Alan Pakula’s All The President’s Men. It’s one of the great films of the American New Wave of the 1970s, and characterizes the paranoia and claustrophobia of that cinematic movement. The New Wave explored the comedown from baby-boomers’ late 1960s anarchist optimism, Read more…

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