Dire Straights

Who'd have thought after the debacle of Velvet Goldmine that Todd Haynes' next film would be as clever, meaningful and powerfully resonant as this masterpiece of stylised social commentary? In the 1950s, the expatriate German director Douglas Sirk directed a series of Hollywood films that at the time were sniffily known as "women's pictures", which only later were recognised as brilliantly crafted satires, as sharply observed as novels like Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates' classic dissection of the Eisenhower years.

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Who’d have thought after the debacle of Velvet Goldmine that Todd Haynes’ next film would be as clever, meaningful and powerfully resonant as this masterpiece of stylised social commentary?

In the 1950s, the expatriate German director Douglas Sirk directed a series of Hollywood films that at the time were sniffily known as “women’s pictures”, which only later were recognised as brilliantly crafted satires, as sharply observed as novels like Revolutionary Road, Richard Yates’ classic dissection of the Eisenhower years. Haynes here appropriates Sirk’s uniquely melodramatic template?the heightened emotions, the ravishing colour schemes, soaring music?and subverts the form further than Sirk would’ve dared. The result is a riveting expos

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