Sunday, June 03, 2007

Spending the last two days (today and yesterday) resting, after a week of concentrated press screenings. Still trying to think about all the films i saw, and also noted that i did watch the DVD of the "For Life, Against the War... Again" collaborative project for the Filmmakers Coop. And i also watched a few movies on TCM this week, such as "Trio" and "Encore", which i remember seeing as a child.

Last night, Larry and i watched "Too Many Crooks". During the 1950s, Brenda De Banzie was one of the treasures of British cinema, and her turn in "Too Many Crooks" is right up there with her comic finesse in "Hobson's Choice". Then we watched "Larceny Inc." which isn't such a long movie, but it does get tedious after about 45 minutes.

On his blog, George Robinson ( mentions that reading as an activity which used to be so central... even among cinephiles, reading helped us to get our bearings. I thought of that this week as well, since i had some time in between screenings, and i spent that time at bookstores: one day, it was the Unoppressive Bookstore on Carmine Street, the other day, it was the Strand. And i picked up (and read) Horace McCoy's "I Should Have Stayed Home" on Friday. McCoy is an interesting writer... but it's easy to see why he's a minor writer. He sticks to the narrow viewpoint of his characters, and there's nothing extra. Absolutely nothing. "They Shoot Horses, Don't They" had the "metaphor" of the dance marathon, but in "I Should Have Stayed Home" there wasn't even that, just Hollywood as the boulevard of broken dreams for dumb hicks. And the character Ralph is such a dumb hick! He doesn't change, he doesn't learn enything... nothing. Just a dumb lug. "I Should Have Stayed Home" is a short book, but it became a slog to read.

At the Unoppressive Bookstore, i picked up "Pavese's "The Devil in the Hills", which i realized i'd read before. But it was nice to read... i love Pavese.

During the week, there are magazines and journals that come in. Post Script had a whole issue devoted the Susan Sontag... there's a famous story about the time Susan Sontag met Mary McCarthy, and McCarthy was reputed to have said, oh, you're the new me. During the 1950s, Pauline sent in a few reviews to Partisan Review, but in the 1960s, Susan wrote film reviews for a variety of journals, such as The Nation, Film Quarterly, and Partisan Review. It was interesting to see what people had to say about her film writing....

But one of the problems (now) with "theory" is that a lot of what (say) Walter Benjamin, Roland Barthes, Deleuze and Guattari wrote was (shall we say) speculative. It was not demonstratively "factual". But for the past few decades, "theory" has assumed a scriptural dimension to the writings of Benjamin, Barthes, et al. And that's a little ridiculous.

What's interesting is that Americans don't seem to have the same assumption for American writers.


Post a Comment

<< Home