Gareth Higgins (garethhiggins.net) is a writer and broadcaster from Belfast, Northern Ireland, who has worked as an academic and activist. He is the author of Cinematic States: America in 50 Movies and How Movies Helped Save My Soul: Finding Spiritual Fingerprints in Culturally Significant Films. He blogs at www.godisnotelsewhere.wordpress.com and co-presents “The Film Talk” podcast with Jett Loe at www.thefilmtalk.com. He is also a Sojourners contributing editor. Originally from Northern Ireland, he lives in Asheville, North Carolina.
Posts By This Author
Love That Transcends Fear
Preachers in American fiction are usually not to be trusted -- Elmer Gantry might steal from you, the priest in Mystic River might kidnap you, Robert Duvall’s Sonny i
Truth and Storytelling
It's a golden age for documentaries. Michael Moore kick-started the era with crusading films such as Bowling for Columbine and Sicko, fusing serious social commentary with a protagonist who could be identified with by a wider audience than the "God's-eye view" used in magnificent PBS films by Ken Burns, such as The Civil War and Jazz. Burns seeks a resonant "objective" perspective, relating tales of U.S. history as if our lives depended on it (which of course, if you accept that those who forget are doomed to repeat, it does). Moore wants to place us at the story’s center, revealing the insecurities at the heart of American social strife as something that we could all do something about.
Moore and Burns are only the most popular and widely seen of recent documentarians. They stand alongside Errol Morris, whose treatment of the life of Robert McNamara, The Fog of War, may be the best analysis of how political rhetoric can mask horrific action; Michael Apted, whose Up series, following the lives of several people since their seventh birthdays in 1964, constitutes a social history of the past 50 years; and most of all the Maysles Brothers, who were among those who invented the form, with films such as Salesman, an astonishing vision of the corruption of commerce and religion, and Grey Gardens, which serves as a mirror image to the myths of Camelot that surround JFK's presidency. All of these films paved the way for recent works fusing factual cinema with an ethical eye.
Are We Found Yet?
The most significant DVD release of 2010 is America Lost and Found, packaging seven films produced between 1968 and 1972, including Easy Rider and The Last Picture Show.
Claiming Our Power
Gareth Higgins reviews Submarine, Project Nim, and Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.
Star Wars Memorial
Paths to Freedom
Real Life, Real Truth
Bloody Sunday and Telling the Truth
Looking for Revelation
It’s the end of the world for Denzel Washington in The Book of Eli, one of the legion of recent films (including one actually titled Legion) that suggest that while the earth ma
Culture War Cease-Fire
There's evidence that popular cinema is taking real life seriously.
Biden vs. Cheney on Afghanistan, the Unpopularity of Lamentation, and Shutter Island
Cormac McCarthy’s novels are the Ecclesiastes of postmodern American literature—finely wrought chunks of sparseness in which the protagonists struggle to survive a violent or deadening
On Film: Selective Storytelling
Another look at Gone with the Wind.
On Film: Representations of War
Why Clint Eastwood Can be Trusted with Mandela (and Why Glenn Beck Can't be Trusted with MLK)
It's that time of year again -- you know, when Clint Eastwood releases a trailer for a movie that looks fascinating and completely different from the last thing he did, and your trio of reactions run something like this: 1) Hmmm, Clint's got a movie coming out -- didn't we just see 'Gran Torino' five minutes ago?
A Pre-Emptive Peace Prize?
Roman Polanski and the Politics of Remembering
A National Emergency
WE’RE IN A national emergency, and it’s not swine flu.