Notes from Underground (1864) by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Achingly powerful existentialist literature. Somewhat uncharacteristically, Dostoyevsky takes care to qualify at the very start of the story that it represents the point of view of the protagonist, not the author, though that wouldn’t stop the very Christian Dostoyevsky getting labelled nihilist even today. The Underground Man’s analysis of society and humanity are uncomfortable, as…

5 Centimetres Per Second (2007)

A stunningly gorgeous film touching on relatable depictions of love, loss, and the course of time, in achingly earnest yet maturely understated ways. The dialogue is well-written and understated to the extent it feels fitting both of the ages of the characters, and of the realism the film is striving for. The score, mostly on…

The Taming of the Shrew (1967)

Elizabeth Taylor is fantastic in this odd adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s most controversial plays. It certainly doesn’t reach the heights director Franco Zeffirelli reached in his excellent “Romeo and Juliet” adaptation. “The Taming of the Shrew” has such controversial gender politics that I feel hewing closer to the text itself is key. In the…

Edward III (1596) by Thomas Kyd and William Shakespeare

A play written in part by Shakespeare, but not in whole, “Edward III” is rarely found in published Shakespeare collections, even though theoretically it would slot nicely between “Richard II” at the start of the first Henriad histories cycle. But, like “King John”, which as a history chronologically before “Richard II” would hypothetically be a…