I’ve quoted Sophie Calle many times in the last two weeks. During the Q&A she said, ‘We shot 60 hours of film and lived together for a year. This is the movie we made, but this isn’t the only movie we could have made.’ and ‘I never feel like I am truly revealing myself because this is only part of me.’
7/4/17, Small Back Room, w PC, etc
California Split (1974), Robert Altman
7/3/17, at home, w HS
Marie Antoinette (2006), Sofia Coppola
7/1/17, at home, w HS
The Bling Ring (2013), Sofia Coppola
N & I have been talking about Coppola, race, class, and her ability to construct a world smarter than she is (about class) and absolutely blind about race.
6/27/17, at home, w HS
The Duke of Burgundy (2012), Peter Strickland
It was on this list, and I’ve seen most of the others, and it seemed likely I would enjoy it.
I did not. I was bored.
6/25/17, at home, w HS
Agnes Martin Before the Grid (2017)
Her descent and fear or relationships, and isolation but artistic success. I was glad to know that she was also joyful.
It was also a dull and predictable movie.
6/22/17, at PFA, w SF
Double Blind (Sophie Calle & Greg Shepard)
I also saw her at the Trans March and the Dyke March. I pointed and waved and she bowed her head, accepting my adoration.
6/9/17, at home
Kitty (2016) Chloe Sevigny
Unsettling but less precious than expected. I think LW would like it.
6/1/17, at home
Manchurian Candidate (2004), Jonathan Demme
Why did I watch this when I was already scared?
5/28/17, in SF, w SF
Sisters (1973), Brian DePalma, w Margot Kidder
We played our ‘double-feature’ game. ‘The Brood,’ of course. Also, ‘Shock Corridor,’ ‘Safe,’ ‘Secret Ceremony.’
Margo Kidder’s sister, Watta, is a comedian.
5/20/17, at home, w HS
In the Mood for Love (2000), Wang Kar-wai
Do I like highly stylized movies?
What are they saying, what are they rehearsing, when. I can’t tell & I like that.
That’s all I had to say and then I was looking for images, and found this one (below), and this scene wasn’t in the movie I watched. Did I fall asleep? Was it edited out? What else did I miss? What else do I miss?
5/15/17, at the Logan, w N & Dad
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (2017)
I should probably have done more research….since it is about a bad dad, dead mother (from cancer), bad foster-father….
But I just wanted to see Baby Groot.
5/3/17, at the Small Dark Room, w PC
Godfather (1972), Francis Ford Coppola
It turns out that I had never seen it.
Right now, I only want to watch movies that unfurl before me with no indication of when the end is coming. Is it that gun battle? That hospital scene? That explosion? That confrontation? Oh, here it is.
The Lobster, Godfather, Clouds of Sils Maria.
Plus, it’s part of my Sterling Hayden obsession.
4/23/17, at Emery Bay, w KTMC
Logan (2017), James Mangold
Logan thrilled me with his demolished, sacrificed life. The director was wise to keep the girl silent until nearly the end. I’m impressed that he let her be so fierce, but it was a gruesome movie. I was relieved when it ended. Furious that she was being left, again. That her moments of being parented, of having a father, were so brief, that she was the one who had to hold love steady while he was ambivalent, resentful and then pursuing and self-sacrificing. She was still abandoned and still alone.
N collected X-Men comics, briefly, in mid-elementary school. There was a bookstore on the far northwest side of the city that sold science fiction novels and comic books. I didn’t really want to read either one, but Storm – spinning up into the sky, her feelings powerful enough, external enough, controlling the sky and forcing herself, controlling everyone else –
3/ 20? sometime, Bernal Heights, w SF
Clouds of Sils Maria
3/19? sometime, Embarcadero Cinema, w SF
3/6?, in SF, w SF
Puzzle of a Downfall Child (1970), directed by Jerry Schatzberg, written by Carloe Eastman, starring Faye Dunnaway
We became interested in it because of this FilmComment podcast.
The slippery structure, unlikeable characters, her terrifying world.
I told her about 20th Century Women: when Greta Gerwig’s character asks Dorothea (Annette Benning), ‘Was having Jamie the most important thing in your life?’ Dorothea is silent & thoughtful and then says, ‘Yes, it was.’
I told KE, If Greta doesn’t have a baby, then it’s not like nothing important will happen to her — the most important thing will be something else. There will still be an important thing.
And for some women — even if they have babies — having a baby isn’t the most important thing.
3/12/17, all the time
I haven’t watched it again but think about it a lot. I’ve moved toward thinking about it vs me. I still don’t want the longing narrative, but it was an astonishing movie.
3/11/17, at home
Kung Fu Master (1988), Agnes Varda, w Jane Birkin, of course
Aaagh. It’s ridiculous that I have to spend time at a job. I have other things to do. I have essays to write.
Beginning with one about this movie. The essay would include:
- adolescence sexuality and AIDS
- 40 yr olds & sex
- mothers & daughters
- imaginary play
- guilt, remorse, repulsion, longing
3/8/16, at home
Damsels in Distress (2012), Whit Stilman
Of course I love the linguistic formality and bizarre emotional responses.
But ugh, I can’t stand the way it talked about anal sex. The constant joke about how terrible and disgusting it is.
But….tap dancing! I’m warming up to Greta Gerwig.
3/5/17, at Small Back Room, w PC & SF, etc
3/2/17, at home
The Anniversary Party (2001), Jennifer Jason Leigh & Alan Cumming
The ‘featurette’ –or whatever it’s called– was illuminating.
- they were inspired by Dogma 95
- the toasts were improvised, so the responses were real
It is impossible to believe that he was ever attracted to her.
I feel so sorry for both of them, so worried about their future.
Led to a long exchange w SF abt great party scenes, what would be a good double-feature (The Celebration? Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Woman Under the Influence?), and the pleasure of a plot built on tension followed by explosion/relief.
2/20/17, at Oz Family Farm, w ZK
Swing Time (1936), Fred & Ginger
My favorite. They’re so joyful.
2/18/17, at the Cal
I Am Not Your Negro (2016), Raoul Peck [James Baldwin]
Many thoughts. Will watch it again. One thought–which isn’t the point of the movie: Baldwin’s words were read by Samuel L. Jackson, who has the straightest voice ever, which buries Baldwin’s queerness.
a whole series
Top Hat (1935), Shall We Dance (1937)
The character actors/comics are under appreciated, they’re hilarious.
Edward Everette Horton & Helen Broderick
Also, as a source for interior design advice. ZK kept saying, I need that! That’s perfect!
2/6/17, at SF’s, w SF
Toni Erdmann (2016), Maren Ade
I cannot believe this movie exists. This is one of strangest movies I’ve ever seen. I love it so deeply. (Even though I’m not great with parent-movies, let alone father-movies.) I have so many thoughts and questions.
2/6/17, at Small Back Room, w PC, etc
Come and Get It (1936), Frances Farmer, Joel McCrea
A primer on the logging industry & capitalism, plus latent feminism. The son is an environmentalist.
2/4/17, at home
Eat, Drink, Man, Woman (1994), Ang Lee
2/3/17, at home
Gilda (1947), Rita Hayward
How little did I like this movie.
1/25/17, at Noir City (Castro Theater), w ZK, etc
Once a Thief (1966), Alain Delon & Ann-Margaret
He looks exactly like AFG. Which is weird because their book just came out and, although I don’t want it in my actual house, I was glad to see my name in the back. I keep reading chapters whenever I can–the e-flux and Poetry Foundation, etc etc.
The more important thing is that after the movie we went to Twin Peaks, as we do every year. Traditions.
1/22/17, at Small Back Room, w PC, etc
Gold Diggers of ’33 (1933),
Pre-code! Busby Berkeley. Side-boob.
The only/best way to end the horrendous weekend, begin this terrifying reality.
1/11/17, at Embarcadero, w SF
20th Century Women (2016), Mike Mills
I cried. The actual movie-going-experience was absurd — a smelly man next to SF and a long line in the cold ahead of time — but as the film ended, I was crying and buried my head in SF’s shoulder.
I think I cried because it was such a perfect movie. Beautifully shot and the characters, and the filmmaking. And I loved them all.
And despite the cold and the smelly man, I felt perfect there in the theater. I was fully watching the movie.
Afterwards we were spies in a hotel bar and made plans for the future.
1/6/17, in Bernal Heights, w SF
Secret Ceremony (1968) Joseph Losey
Re-watching. Losey is stranger, more compelling and distressing than I remembered.
For the first time in what seems like months, I was excited about the movie afterwards. I have no hesitations about it. I’m not going to recommend it to anyone besides SF, but I’m excited about films again.
“… there is something about people who have become addicted to other people standing by them beyond some outer limit of rejection and yet abandoning them just one minute too soon—well, in all the elaborate fetishism and dragging prose, there is a touching story of people not helping enough.” Renata Alder, NYTimes review, 1968
12/26/16, at home
My Man Godfrey (1936)
She delivers him–like the sheep–to win a scavenger hunt.
12/26/16, at home
And the Band Played On (1993)
12/24/16, at Cinefamily, w NJW & LW, & their friends
I had trouble with the power dynamic between the (white, cisgendered, straight) director and the women at the center of the story. Who gets to decide what the ‘story’ is, who these women are? When the filming is done, whose life has been changed?
It seems meaningful that the only professional actors were white, cisgendered men.
I always have trouble with filmmakers entering communities not their own and using non-professional actors to tell stories not their own. That was part of my problem with Spring Night, Summer Night.
12/23/16, at Archlight, w NJW & LW
Rogue One (2016)
It’s not surprising that the male characters are more interesting that the (one) woman character.
But, it is kind of interesting that these men were driven by guilt and remorse. Those are such adult feelings.
12/18/16, at the Small Back Room, w PC, etc
Den enfaldige mördaren [The Simple Minded Murderer] (1982)
He’s abused. We hear his voice and he barely registers the pain of his own life. The only people to exhibit kindness are punished. Angels visit him.
I want to watch it again, immediately, and, also, never see it again.
It was a lovely print, although I can’t remember if it was 16mm or 35mm. P would be surprised by my forgetfulness.
12/9/16, at the Shattuck
Moonlight (2016) Barry Jenkins
As gorgeous as expected, the plot was perfect. I love how slow it was.
And, it looked at men so lovingly, revealed the complexity of manhood in a way that made it more interesting to me. I feel very tender toward them.
But right now I’m tired of ‘longing’ as a narrative, I’m ready for a different story.
12/3/16, at the Regal, w CL
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016)
We missed Arrival, this was the next best option. We lasted 20 minutes.
There was a moment when CL thought Katherine Waterston had a girlfriend, but it was just an ingenue sister.
I’ve had a crush on Katherine Waterston since Inherent Vice, but I like this outfit better.
We went out for drinks afterwards.
11/27/16, at the Small Back Room, w PC
Pauline at the Beach (1983), Eric Rohmer
‘Old’ men are creepy.
Arielle Dombasle has weird hair and wears insane shirts.
Pauline was content to be a teenager. Through her eyes, adults are ridiculous.
I was aware of how the subtitles kept my eyes busy, more busy than Rohmer wanted.
We watched it on 16mm. P sold the print the next day.
11/4/16, at the California
The Handmaiden (2016), Park Chan-Wook
I’m glad I didn’t go with any of my usual movie companions. S & T also saw it, S is hoping we can talk about it this afternoon.
Again, as with Fingersmith earlier this year, there were things I did and didn’t want to think about.
Bring it On (2000)
I should admit that I like watching certain movies–especially when I’m alone–simply because they were recommended by other people.
10/23/16, at Small Back Room, w PC, etc
Composed entirely of outtakes from the 1992 New Hampshire primary.
The 1992 election is the first one I could vote in, I know I voted but I have no idea where. Was it absentee? I remember voting for the ‘full slate’ in Chicago – push one button and vote for the whole Democratic ticket – but that couldn’t have been the 1992 election, why would I have been in Chicago in mid-November.
I love documentaries that don’t have narration. I like knowing that there is an eye but being left to figure it out on my own.
I had forgotten about Paul Tsongos. He was charming.
Again, I was distracted. Social life, emotional life, overriding the movie, making it difficult to concentrate.
Sometime the week of 10/10/16, maybe at my house, maybe at PC’s
I’m expanding my imagination and filling in the gaps in my education.
Just to be clear that I don’t need anyone else’s influence to miss screenings, including unique ones that I’ve bought tickets to….
9/23/16, at the New Nothing w/K & C
Bruce Baille in person
Got distracted, thought I had the wrong day, was mixed up about the location, went for a long walk.
9/14/16, at the PFA
Surname Viet Given Name Nam (1989), Trinh T. Minha in person
Decided writing poetry was more important.
9/19/16, at Small Back Room, w PC, etc
Point of Order (1964)
This non-narrative “documentary” makes no claim to being “a precise record” of the legendary 188 hours of “Army/McCarthy” Senate hearings. One of the earliest television “events” found Senator Joseph McCarthy attempting to reveal Communist infiltration of the U.S. Army, all broadcast live to a spellbound television audience and recorded on “kinescope” film, in one of the lowest points in the Communist witch hunts of the twentieth century (and also McCarthy’s undoing).
Some of my thoughts:
The Army/McCarthy hearings began because Roy Cohn tried to get better military assignments for G. David Schine. Watching ‘Point of Order’ I was so uncomfortable–the homophobia behind the proceedings, the ‘pixie’ question, Cohn’s smirk. Cohn was a bad man–we’re still living his influence with Trump–but I felt sorry for him.
And I wanted to be watching the movie with someone similarly uncomfortable, I wanted someone to talk with about what it means that homophobia is what undid McCarthy.
I’m not being as smart as I could be about this. I want to think it through with someone else.
9/10/16, at home
A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
Growing up, our other favorite movies were Star Wars, Harold and Maude, and Eating Raoul.
I remember playing a game: start with one line from Star Wars and go back and forth, line by line, until one of us didn’t know the next line.
Watching this, I realized (1) I bet we could play that game with this movie, even now, (2) John Lennon was insufferable, and (3) the filmmaking is much more interesting than I understood.
I also realize that my memories are only mine, the memories of the big sister. I don’t know which movies he loved, if he remembers that game, what he thinks about John Lennon.
9/5/16, at Metreon, w KT
Star Trek: Beyond (2016)
The point was to see Katie, and it was perfect for that.
Also, I’ve been less able to settle into movies than normal. Restless.
9/4/16, at Alley Cat Books, w SF
SF claims that we don’t fail to go to the movies, we succeed at conversation.
But, we did make it to see Pariah. It still enchanted me, Adepero Oduye’s smile. And the queer coming-of-age story. But the filmmaking (all the off-center framing, all the out-of-focus backgrounds, all the twinkling lights) and plot were clunkier than I remembered. Irwin asked a good question: Which character is suffering the effects of heteronormativity the most?
8/29/16, at home
The Last Days of Disco (1998), Whit Stilman
Stillman’s formality can be a balm.
8/28/16, w SF
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
We haven’t actually managed to watch a movie, despite many plans. This was the our most recent, failed, plan. Instead we talked about poetry, astrology and punctuation, and then searched for It’s Its.
8/26/16, at the California, w CL
Captain Fantastic (2016)
I wanted it to be a different movie, or at least I wanted to ask different questions.
8/24/16, at home
SF pointed out that they’re all trying, every one of them is trying to do better. (Except maybe Stanley’s dad.)
Rose’s life is almost more than I can think about.
Returning to my point about watching movies at home: it wasn’t until the film was almost over that I really noticed how PTA framed the shots. And when Stanley peed, I turned off the movie and went to bed. I finished the next night, but I broke PTA’s movie.
8/18/16, at home
I had specific things I did and didn’t want to think about.
8/16/16, at the UA Berkley, w CL
Jason Bourne (2016)
SWAT truck smashing. But also good spy story. But also, seriously, Julia Stiles gets killed right away?
8/7/16, at Small Dark Room, w PC, etc
40 Guns (1957)
It was PC‘s birthday.
High Ridin’ Woman
by Harold Adamson and Harry Sukman
She’s a high ridin’ woman with a whip,
She’s a woman that all men desire,
But there’s no man can tame her
That’s why they name her
The high ridin’ woman with a whip.
She commands and men obey
They’re just putty in her hands, so they say,
When she rides and the wind is in her hair,
She has eyes full of life, full of fire.
But if someone could break her
And take her whip away,
Someone big, someone strong, someone tall,
You may find that the woman with a whip
Is only a woman after all.
But if someone could break her
And take her whip away,
Someone big, someone strong, someone tall,
You may find that the woman with a whip
Is only a woman after all.
Only a woman after all,
Only a woman after all.
I keep trying to like Westerns….but I just don’t. (Except Johnny Guitar, which shouldn’t even count for one tiny second as a Western.)
7/17/16, at Jack London, w CL
A surprise (delightful) outing.
7/15/16, at the PFA, w SF
Chimes at Midnight (1966)
Madcap with show-off shots: glad I saw it, glad when it was over.
7/3/16, at the Albany Twin
Love and Friendship (2016)
Jane Austen & Whit Stillman, of course I saw it.
I’ve been sad and this made me laugh.
It’s always easier to get a good seat when you go alone.
6/26/16, at home
The Headless Woman (2008)
‘I think what I do is really “false.” For me, a film is not just storytelling but an attempt for me to share some perceptions with the viewer. A film for me is a mechanism to show thought, but I interpret thought as a mix of perception and emotion.’ Lucrecia Martel, Film Comment, 2009
Camera as present, class and race conflict, anachronisms to reflect that this process hasn’t ended, it matters whether she kills a child or a dog, but mainly, she should have stopped the car to check.
With this new life-style, I’m going to try watching movies at home. That will give me the flexibility to watch the films I really want.
6/25/16, at the PFA, w PC & MR
Spring Night, Summer Night (1967)
I’m not quite sure why this film is so exciting to PC, there were beautiful shots and the story was so human and sad, but it didn’t consume me.
6/18/16, at the California Theater
The Lobster (2016)
SF recommended it, otherwise I would never have made the effort. It was one of the most intense movie-going experiences of my life. People got up and left, a man had a panic attack and an ambulance was called.
But more: I was anxious. I couldn’t predict the plot. I didn’t understand that eyesight was so important. I didn’t know that people would actually die. I related to his confusion — what are the rules, should I follow them, what does following them mean.
Even at the last moment, I squirmed, covered my eyes, and then laughed.
5/28/16, at PFA
La Noche Avanza (Night Falls) 1952
more Mexican Noir
“It’s better to have 1/5th of a first rate man than all of a 5th rate man.”
5/27/16, at YBCA, w SPM
Eva Hesse (2016)
SPM & I went out for drinks afterwards. Friendships everywhere. Plus, do we know how to do this? What happens next?
5/23/16, at PFA
Que Dios me perdone (May God Forgive Me) 1948
At one point it was implied that the villain (the one leering above) was going to rape Maria Felix and an audience member laughed — it was played for laughs — and a woman yelled, ‘Sexual assault isn’t funny!’
A man in my row spent the first half of the movie loudly rustling a candy bag. I was angry. At the end of the film I said, ‘This is a no-eating theater.’ He grabbed my arm so tightly it left a bruise and stood right in front of me, ‘I’m a 20 year survivor of AIDS, you don’t know anything, I have permission from the theater manager, you don’t know anything, suppose someone’s father had died this morning.’ I just kept saying, ‘Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me.’
Why did I say something? I’m embarrassed that I said something.
[All these missing years. I’ve been keeping track in other ways.]
2/3/2012, PFA, w PC & TF
La Prisonniere (1968)
Standing on a cliff with the tide cutting off your connection to land is one thing, but looking in the mirror is perfect. Makes me squirm.
1/25/12, Albany Twin, w SR
A Dangerous Method (2011)
Did I waste all those years with Dori? If, as we say now, there is good infrastructure, what is possible?