Tony McKibbin writes for various magazines and journals in the UK and elsewhere. The website is a work in progress.

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Recent articles

Philippe Garrel

A Sorrow Beyond Self

It has become a truism that we recover from a break-up as we might recover from drugs, and science proves it: that the level of oxytocin flooding the brain resembles the pleasure principle of a good fix. The removal of the loved one, or the drug, leaves us bodily distraught. Is there any filmmaker who has coincided with this idle scientific fact and turned it into an aesthetic ongoing first princi…

Additional Pieces

The Comedic Frame

Between the Jocular and the Tearful  

Few filmmakers challenged the idea of comedy more than Jacques Tati, and especially in Playtime. He wondered what would happen if a joke wasn’t telegraphed but observed; that the comedian’s purpose wasn’t to signal the gag but to create a frame of such visual complexity that the humour could be hidden within it, with the viewer scanning the image, capturing the joke the way an an…


The Ravishing of Lol Stein

The Tangling of Tenses

To understand the complexity of Marguerite Duras's The Ravishing of Lol Stein, let us see it as a menage a trois story twice told, with a ten-year gap. To tell one story of a complicated threesome is usually enough for a novel, but Duras wants to dislocate the temporal coordinates of one moment of time all the better to bring forth Time itself. We use time here as Proust utilises it at the end…




1 She and I were sitting outside in a cafe up in Hyndlands. It was early September, about five in the afternoon, and the modest sun warmed our face without the threat of burning our visage. I had been waiting for Cass to finish work in the bookshop on Byres Rd and had been there an hour before she arrived, the luxury of an academic post which allowed me to work from home or at another place that p…


A Romantic Weekend


If Ann Beattie brought a new sensibility to chaos, finding a form to incorporate the messiness of people’s lives in the 70s, without quite allowing the story to lose its parameters, and Jayne Anne Phillips then came along at the end of the decade and brought in added sexual desire to this drift, Mary Gaitskill in the late eighties added a high level of perversity to the mix. Her story collec…

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