First Advisor

Mark Berrettini

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Film and University Honors


Theater Arts




Film criticism -- 21st century -- Technological innovations, Film festivals -- North America, Mass media, Apichatpong Weerasethakul (1970- ) Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives -- Criticism and interpretation, Béla Tarr (1955- ) The Turin horse -- Criticism and interpretation




Film festivals have been major events on the yearly film calendar since the first international festival at Venice in 1938. A handful of events--Cannes, Berlin, Venice, and Rotterdam, among others--have traditionally dominated discussion, although there are several parallel circuits within the festival world that generate different types and degrees of discourse among critics and audiences. Popular film criticism, concurrent with the recent crisis in print journalism, has undergone a broad shift toward the online sphere during the first decade of the twenty-first century, which has engendered new forms of criticism and consensus, such as the review aggregator. This thesis examines online reviews of two festival films--Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2010) and The Turin Horse (Béla Tarr, 2011)--at three North American film festivals: the Toronto International Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, and the Portland International Film Festival. I show that the critical narrative for each film revolves around a few dominant discussion points, but the difference between them also highlights the implicit power structures at play within the festival world. However, in conclusion, I delineate the ways in which these films retain the ability to be read for ideological content, since online discussion has only tended to allow for readings based in narrative and aesthetics.


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