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various film stills provided by the speaker

Making Audiovisual Essays: A Film Critic’s Tale

A talk from Adrian Martin

January 26, 2023
6:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Structural & Materials Engineering Building, SME 149, UC San Diego

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Sponsored by UC San Diego's Department of Visual Arts and Film Studies Program.

Since 2012, I have been heavily involved with making audiovisual essays – you may also see them referred to variously as video essays, online essays or videographic criticism – in close collaboration with my partner, montage wizard Cristina Álvarez López. In fact, we do at least one every month, thanks to our online series The Thinking Machine running since 2016 in the Dutch magazine de Filmkrant – we have just made our 65th installment there. An audiovisual essay, put very simply, is a way for Cristina & I to reflect – playfully, poetically, sometimes analytically, sometimes cryptically – on our ongoing experience of cinema: a film, a moment, a group or genre of movies, an idea, an echo across screens … You might think we are part of a ‘video essay movement’ right now in many parts of the world but, in general, we keep to ourselves. For me as for Cristina, this audiovisual practice is a tributary experience flowing away from and back into what we each did for years before 2012, and what we still do all the time: writing film criticism, whether in journalistic, essayistic or academic modes. So, where do audiovisuality and writing sit in relation to each other for us today?

Adrian Martin is a freelance film/arts critic and audiovisual essayist based in Malgrat de Mar (Spain). He is the author of ten books on cinema and popular culture, including Mysteries of Cinema (University of Western Australia Publishing, 2020), Mise en scène and Film Style (Palgrave, 2014) and the forthcoming Filmmakers Thinking (San Sebastián: EQZE, 2023). He is Adjunct Professor of Film and Media Studies at Monash University (Australia), and gives an annual seminar at EQZE film school (Spain). His ongoing archive website, covering 45 years of writing, is at