Violence at Noon, Jesse & Celine, and more
Over the last few months, I’ve gradually dipped my toes outside of this humble abode and written some posts elsewhere. That will continue, so I’ve added a new section called Essays. This will include links to everything I write or collaborate with elsewhere on the internet. Just recently a few new posts were published, and soon there will be a few more.
I’m a big fan of CriterionCast. As fate would have it, David Blakeslee, who writes and podcasts for CritrionCast and blogs at Criterion Reflections, and I were watching a Nagisha Oshima movie at the same time. David invited me to do a deep, collaborative review. This is an obscure film and I doubt many have seen it, but trust me that it is groundbreaking, visually stunning, and rich in thematic material. There was a lot to talk about, and I had just seen In the Realm of the Senses, so I had a footing to approach his older work. We started with me giving some broad impressions. David responded with larger thoughts, and I followed along with my own, more detailed analysis, and then we both chimed in with conclusions. It was a lot of fun writing and I think it came out well.
I have just recently joined the Writer’s Team for FilmInquiry. My first assignment was an easy and also an enjoyable one — Favorite Couples discussion. This was a group topic for all writers about who was their favorite on screen couple. I touch on why Jesse & Celine have some sentimental value in the article, and I’ll elaborate a little more here as to why.
As a Honeymoon excursion, we followed the footsteps of Jesse & Celine’s journey through the locations of Paris from Before Sunset. This was back in 2006, just a couple years before the world of smartphones took over our lives. We pulled up a map on the internet of locations in the order they appeared in the movie, downloaded the actual movie to my iPod (yes, iPod, that itsy bitsy thing), and used it as our guide. We stopped and had some coffee at La Pure Cafe and hit the majority of the locations. We would have finished the entire movie, but, spoiler alert, you cannot visit all of these locations in 1:30. We were going about it for an entire day, and saw some wondrous, off the beaten path sites. When it started getting dark and we started getting lost, we decided to pack it in. You fooled us, movie magic! We had made it through about 3/4 of the movie, so that was enough for us. The last location was Celine’s apartment, and I doubt they’d want some foreigners hanging around anyway.
Last year my wife was chosen to be a contestant on the Jeopardy game show. The application process was lengthy, and she had to provide a long list of anecdotes that were interesting enough to discuss with Alex Trebek on the show. Long story short, because of the way the taping process went, I knew that the Before Sunset story was going to be her anecdote. Then, Andrea and I were both surprised when Alex asked her one of her other stories. She gave a good, funny answer, and the show continued. I was a little bummed, because that story was special to us and I was hoping it would be shared with the world. Fortunately, SHE WON! So she was able to come on for another day. Her second day anecdote was the Before Sunset story. That made it all the more special. Unfortunately she did not win the second game, coming in second, but we received a nice bonus last year and memories to cherish forever.
Besides, how can you choose anyone other than Jesse & Celine? Seriously, people!
Back to FilmInquiry, I decided to write for them because I could write some thoughtful, longer form essays. These are the types that won’t fit here and are not Criterion specific. The first one will be about the French film movement of Poetic Realism. The timing couldn’t be better, as the next Criterion I’ll be posting here is Jean Renoir’s A Day in the Country, which is the quintessential Poetic Realist film. The first post will be up to 1935, and then there will be a second post that covers until the war.
I’ve done a good bit of scholarship on French Film, so this could become a lengthy series about the entirety of French Film. Eventually I would like to cover the war years, and I have already worked extensively on Resistance Films. And being a Criterion fan, I’ve seen my share of French New Wave films.
This will not be the only topic, but it seems like a good first start. I’ll continue to talk about these postings here and will permanently archive them in the Essays Section.
I also have another something coming out soonish for Rupert Pupkin Speaks. Brian has been working on his 2014 Film Discoveries posts for quite some time, and will shortly be switching to a new series. He has shared his plans with me and I’ve already submitted my first piece. I won’t spoil the surprise, but I’ll say that his plans align very closely with the type of stuff I’m doing, so it is not terribly difficult to contribute for him. I expect to be involved in the entire upcoming series, and not just this next post, so expect more to come. What I like about his site is he simply celebrates film, and looks to highlight the stuff that’s not canonized (like, ahem, here). So I’m excited to see the direction Brian takes.