December 20, 2011
December 5, 2011
*I am traveling right now, and am uneasy and anxious. Interestingly, in the past few days I’ve found myself yearning for the comfort of Juliette Binoche’s breasts in Certified Copy, and so I am reposting*
I watched Certified Copy on a plane. I watched it on my laptop sitting between an older man and an older woman, and so the three of us watched the film together. They in secret glances here and there, and I, aware of their curiosity, in varying states of self consciousness. This is the inevitable consequence of personal movie viewing in public spaces, but as we three watched, these lines appeared and to my horror, I began to cry.
“Look at your wife, who has made herself pretty for you.”
Bearing witness to a stranger’s unexpected emotional vulnerability results in an uncomfortable domino effect of exposure. And so, because my sniffles betrayed me, our whole row became connected in a strange and awkward way. Apart from violence, nothing changes the air more instantaneously than tears shed amongst strangers.
All is ripe for speculation.
And as I did small things to feign non-crying casualness, like coughing and rustling in my bag, I was reminded of a story. Many years ago a friend of my parents needed to phone them following an emotionally upsetting fight with her husband. This was in the age of pay phones and she could not call from home. Dreading being spotted sobbing in a phone booth, she decided to make the call the only place her tears would be perceived as appropriate: The hospital. This story was relayed to me and I have always regarded it as a brilliantly heroic manipulation of perception. This is the same subjectivity of reality that Certified Copy explores.
December 2, 2011
How can I communicate the importance of a film without one dimensionalizing it and destroying its magic? I don’t know.
I never want to discuss cinema in a leaden and academic way, but what other way is taken seriously? Emotional discussion of film is often dismissed as juvenile, and this is unfortunate, but also strange. I have no interest in seeking objectivity through art, and since our idea of the objective in regards to art criticism means “from a white, male perspective”, it has no interest in me either.
Now, let me make this very clear, because there seems to be a little confusion:
This is not a blog about race, and it is not a blog about gender. It is a blog about film.
But because I am a woman, and because I am a woman of color, it will of course be about those things in the same way that a white male writing about a film, whether he knows it or not, cannot divorce his experience as a white male from any essay. Since “white male” is the world’s (and Hollywood’s) default setting, he believes that he moves through life race-less and gender-less, and so quite naturally, many of his reviews will not include mentions of gender or race. So deeply rooted is the white-male default viewpoint, even I find it hard to escape this thinking. When I think about script ideas, very often times I realize that the character I’ve been imagining is unconsciously a white man. From the moment he is born the way a white male sees the world, the way he forms sentences, the angles that catch his eye, will be different from a woman’s or a person of color’s. Of course this is the case for every person, but race and gender, along with class, are the largest dictators of how the world interacts with us, yet speaking explicitly from these experiences (as opposed to the implicit white male speech) has long been diminished or dismissed as a niche. When you write about a film, you write about yourself, and if you are not, it is bullshit.
November 12, 2011
October 5, 2011
I am an extremely quiet person, and since quiet constitutions are often regarded with suspicion, I appreciate films with extremely quiet heroes.
The quiet is what I admired most about Drive, at first. There is restraint in dialogue, and stillness in composition. Even Ryan Gosling’s facial features, unusually petite, restrain themselves from reaching a size better fitting the large plane of his face (it takes one big face to know another).
September 15, 2011
On Saturday nights in 1993, the TNT television channel played science fiction movies back to back beginning at midnight. They called this the TNT “Monster Movie Marathon.” As my parents had recently divorced, my sister and I now spent weekends at my father’s house and the Saturday night Monster Movie Marathon quickly became our tradition. We made our bed on the living room floor and taped each movie on the VCR. Them! was a favorite, as was The Day the Earth Stood Still. The Thing, both the 1951 version and John Carpenter’s became beloved, as did The Day of the Triffids and Cronenberg’s The Fly. When I think of great science fiction now, these are a few of the films that come immediately to mind. When my five future children watch sci-fi movies I wonder if my list of favorites will be on their’s. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t but one thing I know is this: they will love Attack the Block with the fervor of their dear mama.
June 20, 2011
Discussing Martin Scorsese’s first feature film while standing in a kitchen.
June 3, 2011
I became aware of my mortality before we had a dining room table. I don’t recall the exact age, I only know the arrangement of furniture, and the dining room then was just an empty space to play in. I can tell you that I was five or six and no older than that. Six however is a world apart from five when you’ve only existed on earth for that many years. And this must have had something to do with it; the realization of how long I had existed. To realize your existence is to also become suddenly aware of how long you have not existed. Of course I had not existed for billions of years before my birth, but that’s too much time to handle, so my brain measures things the way it can. It makes do. I measure time against my parents, my mother most exactly, so for five years I had existed, but for twenty seven years before my mother gave birth to me, I did not exist.