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.


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