February 25, 2004
Why I love Martin Freeman.
So you love film and you decide you want to learn more about film and you go to grad school to study film and raise your taste level and you learn to see film differently, to think about film differently, to analyze everything, to move your experience of film from your emotions to your intellect, and you do, you learn to see every detail, to analyze as you watch, to constantly deconstruct, and you become a fearsome analytical beast, your brain a pulsating lethal weapon…
…and then you get burned out on all the thinking and analyzing and critiquing and your brain is fried and you see the lack of joy in what you do and you get tired of tearing everything apart in the name of understanding and you tell your brain to get lost, you abandon it, you find yourself gravitating to musicals and animation and Adam Sandler and sugary-pop movies and anything that does not tempt you to analyze…
…and you realize this was a necessary transformation, you have come full-circle, you had to go through the rigorious intellectualism of grad school to be able to more fully appreciate, viscerally, the movies you used to adore. You had to leave them behind, reject them, disdain them, so that you could come back to them knowing why you loved them so. You went from emotions to intellect and then back to emotions again. You go to a film festival with a friend who is currently embroiled in the rigor of grad school, and he likes the pompous structuralist film that humorously deconstructs the concept of naming, while you fall in love with the playful musical that is light and joyful and in love with movies.
And each of you hates the other’s favorite.
Every month for the past 21 months I have been pasting my T passes to the wall of my alcove. (Stole the idea from the blogless Knigel.) Just now I belatedly added my January pass to the collection, and this time it gave me pause. I’m not sure I like having such a definite marker of the passage of time on my walls. Even though they make a pretty pattern on the wall, it feels a little like I’m crossing off the months in jail. Especially when you live with apes.
This one hits all my buttons and you bet your ass I’ll be there, so should you:
Please join us for Emily Thompson’s Work-in-Progress: “The Projectionist”
Monday, March 1st, 4:00 p.m.
MIT Room E51-275
Visiting Scholar Emily Thompson takes the leap into fiction, reading a draft of a short story that draws upon her historical research on technicians’ experience of the transition to sound in the American film industry circa 1929. Discussion will certainly help her improve the story; it may additionally address more general issues: What opportunities and challenges does fiction offer historians? Can a story be historically true even if the people and events described in it are not real? Is fiction a viable alternative by which to document the experience of historical change? Should we do it anyway?
Being TA for a film class means that I get to skip screenings if need be, as I’ve already had all of the art-film-greatest-hits crammed down my throat numerous times in grad school. Normally I stay for the screenings anyway, but I took the liberty of skipping out last night on Godard’s Weekend. I really wasn’t in the mood to voluntarily sit through a film that intends to do everything possible to insult, attack, offend, and depress me. Yay Godard, your film had the intended effect, but only of turning me off of your movie. That’s the problem with much of the avant-garde–they think if they make us uncomfortable enough they’ll push us to change the world rather than sitting passively in a movie theater watching escapist fluff, but really all they do is make you relish even more the movies that allow you to sit passively. After seeing Weekend, I want nothing more than a slice of old, silvery Hollywood. With pink icing on top.
What planet has Alessandra Stanley been living on? From her article in the New York Times:
“Janet Jackson, 37, has never had much luck being taken seriously as a sex symbol.”
Um, do you know anyone of the male gender Alessandra?
Was recognized from my blog for the first time tonight. And it was the hair that gave me away! I was sitting in the darkened screening room at the Harvard Film Archive waiting for the first shots of Last Year at Marienbad to appear when none other than the Cinetrix slips in behind me and calls me out, introducing herself. Her identity will not be revealed here, but she’s got one helluva blog. I don’t know where she gets the energy to talk about film so much, but bless her for it. Grad school drained me of that.
And I still think Marienbad is as close to a parody of itself as a film can get. You wouldn’t have to change a thing to satirize it. I say this with love, though. The love of a burned out film student who has seen this movie about 17 too many times. But she’s managed to go a full year without seeing it, so she was due.