Author Spotlight

Jonathan Lethem

Jonathan Lethem is the author of twelve novels, including Chronic City and The Arrest. His thirteenth, Brooklyn Crime Novel, will be published in October 2023. His writings on film include the monograph They Live; liner notes for releases of Robert Siodmak’s The Killers, Thom Andersen’s Red Hollywood, and Preston Sturges’s Unfaithfully Yours; and contributions to box sets devoted to John Cassavetes, Wong Kar Wai, and Orson Welles’s The Magnificent Ambersons.

6 Results
The Trial: Crime of the Century

In the film he once called his best, Orson Welles found a cinematic language equal to Franz Kafka’s distinctive effects, creating a vertiginous experience that accentuates the writer’s subterranean perversity.

By Jonathan Lethem

First Person

Empty Theaters

The author of The Fortress of Solitude considers the meditative, “brain-rinsing” effects of the solo moviegoing experience.

By Jonathan Lethem

The Magnificent Ambersons

Loving the Ruins; or, Does The Magnificent Ambersons Exist?

The holiest of holies for lovers of ruined and neglected cinema, Orson Welles’s 1942 masterpiece haunts us with its voids and absences, which echo its tale of a family’s destruction.

By Jonathan Lethem

Boyhood: The Moment Seizes You

Filmed over the course of twelve years, Richard Linklater’s coming-of-age portrait is an astonishing experiment in cinematic time.

By Jonathan Lethem

The Killers: The Citizen Kane of Noir
The Killers (1946) is exemplary film noir from Robert Siodmak, who, on the strength of three films—this, Phantom Lady (1944), and Criss Cross (1949)—stands beside his fellow European exiles Fritz Lang and Otto Preminger as one of noir’s crucial…

By Jonathan Lethem

Unfaithfully Yours: Zeno, Achilles, and Sir Alfred
Unfaithfully Yours is the outlier among Sturges's masterpieces. The first seven were unveiled in an improbable stretch, from 1940 to 1943, when he seemed incapable of doing wrong, and they were to varying degrees hits, while Unfaithfully Yours bled t…

By Jonathan Lethem