Wednesday, July 11, 2007




Just got a kick out of this shot, from "Kwaidan". Inching, little by little, through the Japanese films I'd never previously got around to seeing. Allah bless Netflix. Give me three or four years and I should be through my queue. I guess there was no real option to see these in my youth. Wondering now if they were shown at Vassar and I was unaware (I did see a couple things there) or maybe at a theater in Woodstock, where I remember driving up to see Satyricon in '70. But short of having been an extreme cineaste and knowing where to venture to in NYC, not sure how I otherwise could've seen them then.

When we were on W. 105th St., there was a video place on our block, simply called Movie Place, that was reputedly one of the best in the city. I went through a whole helluva lot of their foreign selection which while large, was clearly missing a bunch (maybe many of these weren't available on video?). So making up for lost time now.

4 comments:

Jon said...

I'm pretty sure that's the same store I frequented like a maniac the summer after I graduated Columbia and was living in my frat house on 110th. that was when I thought I wanted to be a film critic, I worked during the day, and hung out with my gal and watched films all night.

I probably watched 200 films in 3 months that summer, I soon realized that there weren't really enough great films to make a lifetime of watching and thinking about them really satisfying, so I moved on...

Alastair said...

I'm sure Pauline Kael, Mark Cousins and Derek Malcolm would beg to differ with you Jon. And a few others.

Jon said...

Jonathan Rosenbaum is actually the best example, but there wasn't the access to films from Iran and Hong Kong and Hungary and numerous other places that there is now back then. he's amazing, though, I highly recommend him to anyone not familiar with his work.

Kael was the reason I quit, actually. I went and saw some Kurosawa films in the theater, came home and busted my ass writing about them, then read Kael's reviews of the same films and decided I could never be that good.

I disagree with your point, though. if you look at Kael's anthology For Keeps, there are very few films after the sixties that truly got her excited. you'd be hardpressed to find a rave anywhere in John Simon's anthology of his seventies reviews, I bet there are less than five in the whole book. I had no interest in a career that was looking for the redeeming parts in mediocrity. even at this point, it's hard for me to make a list of more than maybe 25-30 films that I could totally get behind 100 percent, whereas I could list hundreds of albums in that category.

Otis said...

I think Jonas Mekas was a decent critic for awhile, but then again, he mostly covered video. Penelope Gilliat, before she got a drinking/plagiarism problem, was better than Kael, imo. She was whip-smart and classy without being surgical or glib. Along with the critic/directors (Godard, Truffaut, Wenders, Bogdanovich), she's my favorite.