Wow — it’s feeling like “the good old days” here at Looking Closer.

I’ve just had two new essays published in the span of one week, and I’m delighted that they are out in the world ready and waiting for readers.

One is an essay I’ve been working on for almost two years: “I’ve Seen Things You Wouldn’t Believe: Death-Sentence Testimonies in Blade Runner, Wings of Desire, and Nomadland. 

This essay begins as a meditation on aging and learning to accept one’s mortality. But it very quickly becomes something else: a deep dive into three very different films that share, I’ve been delighted to discover, a strange commonality. They all feature scenes in which someone is dying, and that character chooses to spend their final moments reflecting on transcendent moments of vision, moments when they saw something unforgettable.

The second is a reflection on my history with what is often celebrated as Disney’s greatest masterpiece: their 1940 animated feature Pinocchio — not to be confused with that awful new “live-action” version from Robert Zemeckis. In this film, too, I find profound meditations on what freedom really means.

I hope you enjoy these pieces. They represent a lot of work during a season of overwhelming responsibilities. I’m so glad I managed to finish them and hit “SEND.”