My name is Melina, and I write on and around film, media, television, literature, history, social and political justice, and whatever else moves me. I also work as a teacher, copywriter, editor, translator, and publicist.
The White Balloon was the first film I remember seeing in theaters, and it stuck to my bones and eventually made its way to my brain. Other early film-going experiences that changed me include seeing Roots in the yellow-lit auditorium of my Brooklyn elementary school, Kids at my best friend’s house in middle school, Taxi Driver jaw to the ground in my living room, and Eraserhead in a freshman college dorm to the sound of snores that harmonized beautifully with the hum of the American wasteland.
Stanley Kubrick was my first filmmaker obsession, so much so that I recommended A Clockwork Orange left and right without realizing it disgusted most people. Hamlet had been my bible until The Godfather came along and suddenly Leave the gun, take the cannoli could explain everything. De Niro making his way down a crowded street with fruit in hand, Caan beating his abusive brother-in-law with a bat in the middle of a fire hydrant shower, and Brando falling to his death amidst plump, ripening tomatoes. (A sweaty, glistening and dirty Brando walking home in a wife beater in A Streetcar Named Desire — back when I used the word “wife beater.”)
I love Black Girl and Night of the Living Dead in equal parts, which is why I never give a genre preference. Just don’t invite me to see a romantic comedy. I reserve those for when I’m ever home alone and remember Jake Gyllenhaal is in some charming B movie as the love interest. Also: TV does it much better. Crashing. Insecure. Master of None. Louie. Louie.
I’ll admit it. I like to argue, gently but not quietly. Steve McQueen, Lars von Trier, P.T. Anderson, Lucrecia Martel — for me, these are the filmmakers of the day whom I am first in line to both witness and defend. Donald Glover, too.