Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Tuesday, June 3rd, and it's after midnight, and every news outlet has been proclaiming a historic day: today, by official delegate count, Barack Obama has the numbers needed to secure the nomination as the Democratic candidate for US president.

All sorts of things went into this moment. John McCain took the opportunity to attack Obama in a speech tonight, so there is the presumption on the Republican side that it's a done deal.

Watching CNN, Anderson Cooper was talking to the usual suspects (Carl Bernstein, Jeffrey Toobin, Susanne Malveaux, etc.) and that was also interesting. How is the news media spinning this?

The day started off so strangely, because on "The View", Whoopi Goldberg was handed an announcement from Associated Press, which she read on air, which claimed that Hillary Clinton was going to concede tonight after the South Dakota and Montana primary results were in. (Clinton won South Dakota, Obama won Montana.) Then there was a break for commercial, and then Goldberg read another announcement, this one from Clinton's campaign, which stated that Clinton had not conceded, and would await the results.

Clinton actually (prior to the polls closing) gave the first speech, in which she rallied her supporters. Then McCain gave his speech. Then Obama spoke.

The whole day has been in some sort of turmoil. And it's not over: Clinton actually didn't concede, she is simply delaying...

Got an e.mail from Sonjia Hyon asking if i'd write about Tom Tam for Cinevue. Somehow, the events of today and Tom's death are intertwined for me, because the mantra today seemed to be about "change" and how the country wanted change, and so many people (on CNN and other news outlets) spoke about how unlikely this moment was... how even in December of last year, it was inconceivable to many that an African-American could create such a successful campaign. Of course, it is pointed out that there are many obstacles to come.

The thing that is important about Obama is that he is not a "black" man: he has no "inner city" experience in his childhood. He was raised by whites, i.e., his mother's family. And they were not poor whites. And so Obama does not go around (the way Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton did) talking about the grievances of black folks, and how the African-American community is hampered by generations of oppression. Because that has not been his experience. (And that wouldn't have been his experience if he had been raised by his father, who was an African who went back to Africa.)

A lot to think about, can't wait to see what all the newspapers (Times, Sun, etc.) say about the presidential race tomorrow.

On the movie front: TCM started its series on Asians in American films. Tonight, some silents ("The Cheat", "Broken Blossoms", "The Dragon Painter", "Mr. Wu"), all of which i've seen (many times). Peter Feng was with Robert Osborne, doing the introductions. TCM also showed "The Slanted Screen".

Saw "Monsieur Verdoux", "The President's Analyst" and Werner Herzog's "Encounters at the End of the World", press screenings at Film Forum. "Verdoux" has its longeurs, but there's something quite amazing about it... "The President's Analyst" wasn't really funny (was it ever?) but it was interesting to see in conjunction with "Duffy" (which was on TCM), because this kind of hip late 1960s humor... actually, "Duffy" was more interesting... read some of the reviews of the time, and everyone treated "Duffy" as if it were a disease. But (of course) it was: Donald Cammell, who wrote the script of "Duffy", would go on to write and codirect "Performance" and write and direct "Demon Seed". There are scummy, crummy undercurrents (especially between James Fox, James Coburn and Susannah York)... but Fox, Coburn and York are photographed so (literally) glowingly, that it's obscene.

On Friday, there was the final press screening for the Human Rights Watch Film Festival... but there was also a screening of the Werner Herzog... decided i wasn't virtuous enough to see another good-for-me documentary at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, so i went to the Herzog instead. Glad i did. It's one of his best films (i think)... sure, it's full of his blather, but it's also astonishing, with moments of incredible, eerie beauty (after all, what would you expect in Antarctica?) mixed with amazing eccentricities (the people who want to live there... well, it takes a certain kind, and Herzog is both sympathetic and skeptical, the way he was in "Grizzly Man"). Besides, i had a nice time at the screening: ran into Ronnie Scheib, and had a conversation about Cannes with Jim Hoberman.

Also watched the French-Canadian movie "C.R.A.Z.Y." That was a Netflix choice.

I also spent the weekend making up photo albums for my Facebook page. Except they're not personal pictures (i don't have any; i don't own a camera, and i never take pictures of anything), but movie stills. Over the last week, i've made photo albums of stills from the movies of Jean-Luc Godard (this in honor of the series of Godard films at Film Forum), Antonioni (i used my own stills, which Larry helped me to scan), Jacques Demy, Agnes Varda, Alain Resnais, Wong Kar-Wai, and Frank Borzage. In a few days, i think i'd like to make an Otto Preminger album, and a Josef von Sternberg album (i still have those stills).

But also: the last few days, the deaths of several notable people. Anne d'Harnoncourt (director fo the Philadelphia Museum). Bo Diddley. Paul Sills (of Story Theater fame). And Yves Saint-Laurent. (Wasn't Paul Sills married to Barbara Harris at one time?)


Blogger Tor Hershman said...

There's no ism like Showism

6:30 PM


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