Saturday, December 30, 2006

Yesterday, went in to Manhattan and had lunch with Kathleen Masterson. Last night, watched TCM's rock-and-roll line-up with Richard Lester's "It's Trad, Dad!" and "Don't Knock the Twist" with Chubby Checker. "Don't Knock the Twist" is really Grade-Z filmmaking, very flat, but "It's Trad, Dad!" is very inventive.

We're trying to figure out what to do in the next few weeks. There are a lot of press screenings coming up. Larry's trying to decide if he's going to San Diego for the opening of the new Museum of Contemporary Art there.

Watched "Bubble" last night; i saw it at the NY Film Festival in 2005, but Larry hadn't seen it. He liked it, i think it's a very intriguing film, one of the better Soderberg films.

When is the Netflix queue going to start? Only about ten films were available, there are about 30 waiting in the Saved section... there are a number of films i really want to see, such as "Days of Glory". I don't understand: "The Road to Guantanamo" is nominated as "Best Documentary" but it's a scripted and acted film, yes, it's based on actual events, but most of the film is... it's what used to be called a "docudrama". But it's not a documentary.

But the Independent Spirit Awards ballot finally arrived. Plus the screening schedule. So there are two ways to see the movies: going to the IFP screenings, or waiting for Netflix.

But i'm confused about a number of the movies. "The Lives of Others" (the German movie) is a quandary: some people have included it on their Ten Best list, and the LA Film Critics voted it as "Best Foreign Film", but it's not opening until February. Even in LA. (It was a very impressive movie, quite taut and engrossing even though it's more than two hours.) And it's nominated for an Independent Spirit Award.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

James Brown died on Christmas Eve; Gerald Ford died on Wednesday. At this point in our culture, the Godfather of Soul is more important than the ex-President. There has been more coverage of James Brown than of Gerald Ford.

The world has actually gone topsy-turvy. Bloomingdale's has just done an entire display from the School of the Arts in Harlem, in which the children have painted a portrait of Andy Warhol. Simon Doonan was on the Channel 9 News, explaining what an important influence Warhol was, but what is anyone thinking, using Warhol as a role model for children?

Is there any rationality in the world? Better yet, is there any judgement?

One warhol is funny: someone who took the "seriousness" of the artworld of the 1950s and cheapened it, trashed it (deliberately) and made it into something gaudy and superficial and empty. But to extoll Warhol now is to say that there is no seriousness in the world, that there is no difference between art and commercialism. And that was funny once, but to continue it now, and to indoctrinate children with this view....

What are people thinking?

Of course, people aren't thinking. Not now. There was an interesting article (where did i read it?) about how CBS decided that the death of an ex-President didn't warrant any notice. At all. No interruption of the usual daily programming, nothing. This is CBS, the "Tiffany" network, noted for its news division?

Though the blockage on the news of the war in Iraq is well-known (the ban on pictures of funerals, the ban on pictures of American casualties, the underreporting of Iraqi casualties, etc.) , still, you'd think somebody (aside from a few "independent" producers) would have the guts to try to do some actual reporting about Iraq. But instead, we get endless reams about Britney Spears. Is Nero fiddling while Rome burns? What's happening? Are we so desensitized?

Spent the holidays (Christmas Eve and Christmas) with family, the rest of the time have been mostly rambling around.... doing a lot of e.mail, trying to read stuff online. Mostly it's about the end of the year, and the various lists that are proliferating (various Top Ten polls, etc.), which has caused me to think about this situation of the need for these Top Ten lists.

It's so funny, because i don't think that anyone (now) remembers that the NY Times used to publish a Top Ten list from their critics, and then so did the other daily newspapers. The NY Times lists date back to the 1920s! (Lubitsch was one director whose films frequently were cited in the 1920s, for such silent movies as "Forbidden Paradise" and "The Marriage Circle".) In those days, popular films had a tendency to stick around, so the Top Ten list was a way of alerting people to movies that were worthwhile.

Now, of course, what's the point? Well, one of the points is consensus: it's a way of establishing that there is, in fact, some sort of "critical community". One of the points (for me) is that i always try to list films which other people will either forget about, overlook, or haven't seen. (Who did see Matthew Porterfield's "Hamilton"? When i was at the press screening, there were three people, whom i didn't know, and there was the filmmaker with family and friends! Then when the film opened, Richard Brody wrote a sensitive and discerning blurb in The New Yorker. I also wonder if the film showed in Baltimore, since that's where the film was made: John Waters loved it.) When i went to the press screening of Eugene Green's "Le Pont des Arts", i think there were two people (aside from me), but Olivier Gourmet's mad theatrics as an opera queen (Olivier Gourmet dressed in drag trying to sing an aria has got to be seen to be believed) just had to be seen to be believed, and i still rank it as one of the highlights of the year.

But the problem of release date is really kind of crazy. If i had remembered that "L'Enfant" had been released this year (though i saw it two years ago), would i have included it? The same with "Clean", and that was three years ago. It's hard to say. I don't apologize for including "Army of Shadows" because it really was released here for the first time, and it was also popular (relatively speaking). It was able to run for quite a long time in the cities where it found a release, people actually liked it.

I did like "Pan's Labyrinth", i have to catch up with "Children of Men", and there were movies which i felt were very well-done, even if i had doubts: "Battle in Heaven", "Perfume", "4" as examples.

Yesterday, went to the press screening for the Quay Brothers animated shorts. The first half (the program was divided into two, with a little intermission) was exquisite, and a little sloggy. Their first films seemed slow (Michael Rush, who was at the screening, remarked on this). But after the intermission, with "Street of Crocodiles", things picked up. It's like the editing was more precise, faster and sharper, and the films came into focus and really moved. "Street of Crocodiles" and "In Absentia" were really marvellous. And i'd seen these films before but it was interesting to see them all together.

So why, if all the elements seem to be the same, does one film work ("Street of Crocodiles") and another film not ("Rehearsals for Extinct Anatomies")?

One thing i watched was the doc on Showtime, "Life After Tomorrow"... another one of those docs that have been made because of a particular perspective, i.e., Julie Stevens (who'd been in the cast of the Brodaway show "Annie") wanted to find out how the experience affected other women who'd been in the show. It actually turned out to be more interesting than it sounds, because it brings up all sorts of issues, such as: What is success in our society? Once you've had it, but it goes away (in this case, all the girls had to leave the show by the time they were about 13), how do you deal with it? Martha Byrne and Sarah Jessica Parker are two examples of girls whose careers continued. Dara Brown is on MSNBC. Alyssa Milano (who wouldn't participate; she's really very adamant about distancing herself from her childhood career) has also continued acting.

But is there a fetishizing of success at a certain point? There are so many actors who have had some notable success at one point, and then they get stuck. There are some people who don't get stuck, but that's hard.

When people talk about movie stars, most of those people couldn't act or were very limited actors. (Clark Gable, Robert Taylor, Joan Crawford, Lana Turner, Elizabeth Taylor.) Because they could only do one thing, that's what people think a movie star is. The other thing is that those theater-trained actors who (once they were movie stars) tried to do different characters (Paul Muni is the big example) were initially revered, but were soon derided when critics tried to assert a cinematic aesthetic. What's interesting is that both Humphrey Bogart and Cary Grant (both of whom are now considered the epitome of cinematic acting) took a long time to develop their "persona"; of course, once it was established, they stayed within the boundaries, but it's not like this was immediate. It took time for Cary Grant to become "Cary Grant", it took time for Humphrey Bogart to become "Humphrey Bogart".

The horrifying thing is that so many of the people who write about movies don't seem to have any common sense. They seem to think that people's careers can develop logically. But why would Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt (both of whom were very limited actors) become stars?

There's a question that was raised in "Life After Tomorrow": should children be allowed to participate in "adult" activities, such as a Broadway show? And as more and more "indie" movies use children (cf. "Little Miss Sunshine", "Mysterious Skin"), what's appropriate, and what's not?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Spent all night last night making out my ballot for DVD Beaver. Missed the press screening for the three documentaries by Ellen Bruno at Film Forum because i was so exhausted. Nevertheless, did make it in to Joe's Dairy on Sullivan Street to get the cheese for Sunday and Monday. After i got home, then went to Foodtown... the first time in almost a year. Last year, there was a real selection of smoked salmon (almost as good as Gourmet Garage) but this year, not so much. Last two days, i cooked dinner.

Got a really great Christmas e.mail from Jeff Lunger. Larry made a holiday e.card.

Went to dinner on Tuesday with Rico Martinez. He told me about the projects he's working on. He's now trying to create a program for MTV... he's already worked for them on "The Real World/Road Rules Challenge".

Talked to Brett. He's taken off his ads, he's thinking of studying for a real estate license. His mother died a few weeks ago: she was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and within a month, she was gone. Very sad. But Brett didn't go off the deep end. Nevertheless, he decided that he had to make some changes in his life. He's really thinking of starting a dog breeding/dog boarding business.

Jesse McCloskey got back from Art Basel Miami, very enthused.

Charles and Anthony flew off to Europe for vacation, but the day before they left, Charles received the news that his grandmother died. Very traumatic for Charles, but he'd spent time with her this summer. But what is a proper good-bye?

The last two days, have been consumed with this whole idea of critical consensus. At one point in his essay about this year's IndieWire Critics' Poll, Dennis Lim mentions that there were certain "passion" votes, which caused some movies (which might have languished in obscurity) to leap to the forefront. One movie he mentions is Pat O'Neill's "The Decay of Fiction"; of course, that was one of my top choices. Isn't that why i was invited, so that i would make sure that titles such as "The Decay of Fiction" (or Jennifer Reeves's "The Time We Killed" last year) are represented (and so that Jim Hoberman or Ed Halter don't feel so alone when they mention these films)? I'm glad that Godfrey Chesire was included: he's always on the lookout for a certain type of pictorial regionalism, this year represented by Ali Salem's "Sweetland" (which i enjoyed; it got my vote for David Tumblety's cinematography). I wonder if Godfrey got a chance to see Matthew Porterfield's "Hamilton", which was another example this year (it got my vote as Best First Feature). In his Ten Best list for Artforum, John Waters (of all people) included "Hamilton".

That's what's interesting... but one problem (which is getting more acute) is that there is always a backlog, and when a film (indie or foreign) finally gets released, it's often way past the due date. (This year's classic is Melville's "Army of Shadows", which was made in 1969.) some movies that i had forgotten were released this year included the Dardenne Brothers' "L'Enfant" and Olivier Assayas's "Clean". I mean, "Clean" i saw more than two years ago initially. I'm glad that Ed Halter liked "CSA: The Confederate States of America"... i thought the script was so clever, it would have been my second choice for Best Screenplay (if you weren't restricted to just one title).

But it's making me think about these polls, and about this idea of trying to find a critical consensus. I think that, because film has never had a defined classical aesthetic, there's something that makes us want to congregate around those films we like, and which we elevate to classic status.

Haven't had time to check into the new Blogger format. Anyway, the indieWire critics poll is no online: my surprise is that many of my choices actually made it into the Top Five. The Number One film was "The Death of Mr. Lazarescu". Anyway, to check out the poll, here's the link: and hopefully it will be fun to see what some other people (such as Jim Hoberman, Amy Taubin, Ed Halter, Berenice Reynaud, Godfrey Chesire, Armond White, Nathan Lee, et al) were thinking about this year in movies.

Just e.mailed off my DVD Beaver poll of the Best DVD Releases of 2006. Ok, here's my list: 1) "Star Spangled to Death" (Ken Jacobs; self-distributed; Region 1 USA); 2) The John Wayne-John Ford Collection (eight films) and The John Ford Collection (five films) (John Ford; Warner Home Video; Region 1 USA); 3) Max Ophuls: "Letter From an Unknown Woman"; "The Reckless Moment"; "Le Plaisir"; "The Earrings of Madame De..." (Max Ophuls; Second Sight; Region 2 UK); 4) Mikio Naruse: Three Films, and "Toni" (Jean Renoir) (Mikio Naruse and Jean Renoir; Masters of Cinema/Eureka; Region 2 UK); 5) "Wintersoldier" (The Wintersoldier Collective; Milliarium Zero/New Yorker; Region 1 USA); 6) "The Other Cinema Collection" (fifteen titles by Craig Baldwin, Mike Kuchar, Lewis Klahr, Janie Geiser, et al) (The Other Cinema; Region 1 USA); 7) "Marlene Dietrich: The Glamour Collection" (five films) (Josef von Sternberg, Rene Clair, Mitchell Leisen; Universal; Region 1 USA); 8) "The Complete Mr. Arkadin" (Orson Welles; The Criterion Collection; Region 1 USA); 9) "Wanda" (Barbara Loden; Parlour Pictures; Region 1 USA); 10) "El Doctor, Joy Street & Asparagus" (Suzan Pitt; First Run Features; Region 1 USA).

So that's done....

Can't believe it's been more than a week since i've blogged. Anyway, have been seeing a lot lately. Shall just list the screenings: "The Secret Life of Words"; "Venus"; "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer"; "My Mexican Shiva"; "Sonia"; "The Lives of Others"; "The Wind That Shakes the Barley"; "Our Children"; "White Terror"... plus social events such as Barry's investiture as New Jesey Professor of the Year, and Ludwig's wedding to Gabriele. Plus the Independent Spirit Award free Netflix offer kicked in, and so i've already started to look at the various nominated films. One disc didn't work, was sent back and another copy was sent. That was "Thank You for Smoking" which haven't looked at yet. However, seen: "A Prairie Home Companion", "Friends With Money", "Little Miss Sunshine", "American Gun".

Actually, i've already sent in my Top Ten ballot for 2006, but there are still many well-directed films (no matter what i felt about the subject matter). I felt that way about "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer". "The Wind That Shakes the Barley" was such a well-done film, and it was quite powerful and moving. If Peter O'Toole's performance in "Venus" wasn't a star-turn, i don't know what is, but it was extraordinary.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Had to change my ballot for the indieWire poll: turns out that "The Troubles We've Seen" didn't play out a full week at Anthology. So i had to make a substitution for my Best Documentary: "The War Tapes". I also made a mistake with a name: the cinematographer of "Sweetland" is David (not Daniel) Tumblety. I wish i could have listed second and third choices in the other fields. For example: though i was really knocked out by Lajos Koltai's direction of "Fateless", i was similarly impressed by Carlos Reygadas's direction of "Battle in Heaven" and by John Hillcoat's direction of "The Proposition".

Also got my notice to join Netflix as part of my IFP membership, so i can see the nominees for the Independent Spirit Awards. So i've just joined... there's a time limit, which is February 15. After that, the free membership (it's actually not "free", it's part of the IFP membership) is over. But the queue is pre-selected: it's the Independent Spirit nominees. Right now, a lot of the films aren't (yet) available, but will be soon (i hope) but i went through the queue and removed those films i've already seen, such as "The Road to Guantanamo" or "Half Nelson" or "Conversations With Other Women"... i didn't even remember "Conversations With Other Women" until i looked at the "queue" page, and saw that it was the split-screen film with Helena Bonham Carter and Aaron Eckhardt. The title didn't ring any bells, but once i saw the poster art, i remember the experience of seeing that movie, and the gimmick of the split-screen. Wim Wenders's "Land of Plenty" is the first film in the queue, so i should be getting the DVD in the mail soon. But that had such a short run at the IFC Center, and i missed the (one) press screening. So i'm glad i'll finally get to see it. (I wish that there was a category for best music in the indieWire poll and the Independent Spirit Awards, because the absolute best score this year was Ernst Reijsiger's majestic score for Werner Herzog's "The Wild Blue Yonder".)

Omigod, speak of "the dead"! Larry and i went to Rutgers today because Larry's brother Barry received an award as the New Jersey CASE Educator of the Year. There was actually a ceremony in Washington DC where the teachers from each state were presented with their citations. But this was a Rutgers reception, so we went....

Prior to that, Larry woke me up so i could rush to Circuit City to try to get the just-released DVD of "The Devil Wears Prada", a movie which my niece Jessica (as well as Barry) loved. I thought that would be a good present. But when i got there (there's a new Circuit City on 86th Street, right near us), it turned out that, today, the shipment was Full Screen only! Who wants that? Hopefully, there will be another shipment before the sale price ends, and there'll be the Wide Screen edition.

The reception was a lot of fun, there were a lot of people there, and we wound up taking home some of the poinsettas which the English Department had bought from the Rutgers nursery in order to decorate the Student Center. The English Department is now inundated with poinsettas! We helped bring some of them over to the offices!

When we got home... here's the freaky thing. When we were at Barry's investiture, we were joking about the fact that it was like his life passing before his eyes, because there were colleagues and students from his 35 years of teaching at Rutgers! So what happens when Larry and i get home? We have a message on our machine: it's from Michael!

Michael. Who is now in Hawaii. (We had been wondering why no one had seem to hear from him in San Diego.) Who was our first "son".

How old is he now? I can't remember. It's been over 20 years, so if he was 15 when we first met him... he must be in his mid-30s now. The message is simply that he wonders what our new address is, because he'll be sending us a Christmas card.

If that isn't our life passing before our eyes, i don't know what else would qualify!

(Just like the crazy thing about Annette Michelson, even after knowing her animosity towards me, was that i saved her life, not once, but three times, so the insane thing is that, after Larry's business in San Diego stopped and he moved back full-time to New York City, Michael didn't want to move with us, because his father was still living in San Diego, and his older sister, so Larry went with him and Michael declared himself an emancipated minor... he was 17 at the time... the insane thing is that, within the year of moving back to NYC fuill-time, we took in Kenny! That was the reason that Gregg Araki screamed at me in Japan: he couldn't believe my stupidity in taking in these children. And just before Kenny died, he said that Larry was replacing him with Carmen. Kenny knew he was dying, and he knew that Larry doesn't deal with grief, he simply makes a substitution and moves on. Gregg said, nothing is more important than making a movie! And of course, i've always wanted to make a movie, it was, for me, the logical next step after my performance work, but my rationale is that, if Larry and i can save one child, maybe that's what we're supposed to do. The thing is: Larry hates children! Of course, Michael and Kenny were teenagers when we met them, but they were still not adults.)

And that's why when i had that conversation with Armond White after the screening of "Rules of the Game", i said that i seriously doubt if anyone that we know really would respect the kinds of choices that Larry and i have made in our lives. And it was a choice.

As Gregg Araki said, if it's a choice between making my movie and letting a kid live, the kid can die for all i care.

And that's the attitude that's respected, not just in Hollywood, but in the indie field. And as that Edith Ann character that Lily Tomlin used to play would say, "and that's the truth."

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Shock. In the NY Times, there's an obit about Robert Rosenblum. Wrote a condolence letter to Jane Kaplowitz. Don't have her e.mail.

Went to the MJM Christmas party last night, ran into Rea Tajiri.

Hadn't checked the website of AMMI, so i didn't realize that the screening of "Out One" was sold-out. Oh, well: there's another screening in the spring, so maybe i'll catch it then. Or it may be the phantom movie forever. But then i ran into Ira Hozinsky and George Robinson at the press screening for "The Case of the Grinning Cat", and they informed me of the sell-out.

Seeing "The Case of the Grinning Cat" was disconcerting: the narration had been translated into English. At the Tribeca Film Festival, the film was narrated in French, with English subtitles. But Chris Marker likes to make language-specific editions. The DVD of "La Jetee" and "Sans Soleil" has an English-language track, which Marker supervised himself. I still think it's a brilliant work, but i missed hearing French.

At the screening, talked with Jim Hoberman and Tony Pipolo; we discussed movies of the year, since it's that time again, i.e., the year-end "Ten Best" polls. One question that so many people have is about Melville's "Army of Shadows": that really was a film that never had any regular screenings prior to this year. It truly was a "discovery" of this year.

Even though i knew Robert Rosenblum had been ill, death is always a surprise.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Stopped by Entertainment Outlet to get a few more DVDs for gifts; was glad that i had told Richard Kostelanetz about "Music in My Heart", the 1939 Columbia Pictures musical starring Rita Hayworth and Tony Martin, with a special appearance by Andre kostelanetz. There were still a bunch of copies for $4.99. Anyway, ran into Margo Jefferson while walking after the screening of the doc "Matthew Barney: No Restraint" at the IFC Center.

Larry and i went to Modell's to get the lined-jeans on sale when i got back home. Watched the TCM "Private Screenings: Stanley Donen". Larry and i tried to watch "3 Needles" on one of the Showtime stations, but it was so earnest and draggy. Stockard Channing was very good, though. Decided might as well just get it over with, so filled out my ballot for the indieWire film critics poll (this used to be the Village Voice poll). For the record, my top ten this year (as of December 6, 2006): 1) "Army of Shadows"; 2) "The Decay of Fiction"; 3) "The Case of the Grinning Cat"; 4) "Inland Empire"; 5) "Iraq in Fragments"; 6) "Heading South"; 7) "Fratricide"; 8) "4"; 9) "Lunacy"; 10) "The Death of Mr. Lazarescu". Best Director: Lajos Koltai, "Fateless". Best Screenplay: Daniel Burman, "Family Law". Best First Feature: "Hamilton" (directed by Matthew Porterfield). Best Documentary: "The Times We've Seen" (by Marcel Ophuls). Best Cinematography: Daniel Tumblety, "Sweetland".

Oh, well... i wonder where some of my selections will wind up.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

My foot hurts... could be the onset of a gout attack. Taking it easy: wrapping presents. Left a message with my sister: will she be sending a package to Karyn? If not, then i'll mail her my stuff myself. Will try to mail stuff off tomorrow.

We didn't get the city section of the Times this morning. Home delivery is not as reliable as it's supposed to be.

Watched "Le Jour se leve" on IFC.

Coincidences. The day i posted my comments after attending the Kiki Smith preview, i got an e.mail from Coleen Fitzgibbon! Just as i heard from Roddy Bogawa and Rico Martinez within a week, and then Larry told me about Helen Molesworth getting the new job at Harvard. Art in America came with an article about the Louise Lawler retrospective that was held at the Wexner, which Helen curated. So many coincidences....

Of course, when i mentioned this to Larry, he couldn't understand my point. Coleen was the person who started Colab, and she's married to Tom Otterness, and one of the pieces in the Kiki Smith exhibition is one which Coleen and Tom have in their collection. Helen Molesworth was Roddy Bogawa's girlfriend when they were at UCSD, and Rico was one of their friends from UCSD. So i've known Helen since she was in school, and i met Louise when she had just graduated and was working for Leo Castelli. So if Helen had ever called me, i could have introduced her to Louise decades ago. I've known Coleen since 1973; i met Louise soon after that; i met Roddy and Helen in 1987, and Rico the year after. Then there are the associations: i met Coleen through Carolee Schneemann, Carolee had a guest teaching job at the Art Institute of Chicago, and Coleen and Margie Keller were two of the students there. They were coming to NYC, and Carolee told them to look me up. Which they did. They also came with Christa Maiwald, but Christa had a hot date and so it was just Coleen and Margie who came to dinner. When i was hanging out with Dione Hemberger, Louise was her friend, and so when i'd go to openings at the Leo Castelli Gallery, i'd hang out with Louise in the front, watching everyone else trying to position themselves in this artworld constellation. Bob Harris started working as the assistant in what was the video program at Anthology which was started by Shigeko Kubota, but he eventually went to UCSD to get his Masters so he could get a teaching job. While there, he'd tell some of the other people in the program to get in touch with me, especially the Asian-American filmmakers. That's where Roddy came in, and Rico. But when the video program started, i was working at Anthology, as the managing editor of Film Culture Magazine, and my office was in the basement, where George Macuinas lived. And yesterday, we got the annual Christmas letter from Geoff Hendricks and Sur Rodney Sur, with the little descriptions of the various Flux events which they participated in during the year.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Slowly making my way back to normal. Didn't go to the doc on Ralph Nader ("An Unreasonable Man") on Tuesday, but went to the Brooklyn Public Library for the opening of the exhibits... a much shorter subway ride. On Wednesday went to Shu Lea Cheang's press preview at the Chelsea Art Museum, then went to the press screening of the Argentine film "Family Law"; have seen Daniel Burman's other films, so was glad to see this one. On Thursday, went to the press screening of "Memoirs of My Nervous Illness"... handled by Wellington Love. The impression (from the initial press relase) was that it might be "precious" but it turned out to be rather scrupulous, and actually engaging. Much more than i thought it would be. It was lovely in terms of its costume/set design and (oddly enough) charming in its low-key consistency.

If i make it today, i'm going to try to make the screening of Rossellini's "Fear" at MoMA. I've seen all of the Rossellini-Bergman films, i quite liked "Fear" when i saw it years ago (the opening, for example, is very similar to the opening of Chabrol's "Les Bonnes Femmes" in its night scene of cars driving around a city square at night), and want to check it out. It's the only one i haven't seen several times. (Unless i'm mistaken, the German version is different than the English-language version; that much i know, because i did see the German version once, and i've seen the English-language version once.)

George Robinson's blog has a piece about the Czech Modernism film series at BAM; this is almost the same bunch of films which played at Anthology a while ago. But that whole period of filmmaking (1928-1934) is my favorite: i love that period of the changeover to sound, because it's one of the most inventive periods ever.

On Matt Zoller Seitz's blog, there's been links to other sites... there have been some interesting articles about Rossellini and Rivette because of the respective retrospectives. Interesting? There was a link to a recent interview with Rivette which was published online at Sense of Cinema, and it was... why do i expect people to be any better? The Rivette interview is horrifying! It points to a xenophobia, a narrowmindedness, a crotchety-old-man mentality, which is depressing. But then again, what did i expect? Rivette is now about 80, and there's no reason why he should keep up with the times. But the Eurocentric racism is really disgusting, followed closely by a hideous sexism.

Bill Jones says (on his MySpace page) that he has no heroes. And i know what he means. When i was young, and i met people (say, Rossellini) and they seemed so much bigger-than-life... but then, it was witnessing people really pigging out, being total creeps (say, Jean-Luc Godard circa 1970). So i became wary about meeting people, because some of them can be utterly charming (say, King Vidor) and others can be disgraceful (say, John Ford).

Does that change what one thinks about their work?