October 3, 2010

The Moving Picture Writes

As soon as I've familiarized myself with the system enough so that I can set up new content steadily and reliably, I'll be inaugurating a movie/tv appreciation website. Under the above title I'll be offering, from time to time, memoirs of m...y encounters over the years with film and, increasingly, tv. Under other headings I'll be doing film reviews, background studies, film commentary reviews (the first of these for The Ruling Class, since I planned when I was writing the review to comment on the Criterion Edition Extras, but discovered that, besides making the piece of unwieldy length (particularly for an online essay), it combined two pieces that might best be considered in tandem (independently of each other). I took the same approach with Performance, discussing the principals' reactions to the film and its place in their careers under the heading 'Background', tackling the film in the mimetic, synergistic style I hope soon to be famous for in a second short essay, 'All the Way'.)

I won't be attempting to keep au courant with new movies, still less with the daily, hourly, minutely stream of movie gossip. I was advised by the woman who originally suggested developing this website that a number of others failed simply because of the need to keep up to date. There are two excellent reasons to take the desultory approach I have, filling in patches from the history of film here and there as it may be, not necessarily ignoring current releases but not trying to deal with them exhaustively. The first is that I'm at a disadvantage, compared to the days when I used to see four films in a slow week, having neither the time, energy nor money to keep up a comparable pace while working at a physically demanding full time job that pays broken bits of peanuts. I have to be selective even when it comes to seeing historically important films I've missed or would like to see again, when they play at Cinematheque or the new TIFF facility. If I were seeing films at the old pace--and I'm hopeful the website might prove a means of enabling me to--I still wouldn't want to chain myself to the routine of a daily, weekly or monthly reviewer making consumer reports instead of studies and evaluations, obliged to find something to say aout a slew of films the great majority of which (especially when they're hugely popular) would best be passed over in silence. Not long ago at the opening of TIFF's lightbox I looked over their list of the 100 essential films. Apart from violently disagreeing with some of their choices (goes without saying, de gustibus furio disputandam), I knew I could easily come up with a rival list of a hundred films as important as the (85 or so) choices they'd made that I didn't dispute, and that wouldn't begin to exhaust the number worth writing about. Why waste time, with no hint from the cosmos that I'll violate the norms of existence and prove imortal, writing about the inessentials?

Independently of its worth (I hope) as an artistic venture, there's a commercial motive to developing this website--to generate a steady stream of income that will (at least) replace what I can make as a courier, so that I can make this and other writing projects (of which more later) my fulltime occupation in future. That'll depend on income from advertising, revenue streaming, generating interest in a book project perhaps, essays and lectures? perhaps, but that'll depend on building a solid readership. For which reason once the site's up, I'd appreciate if any of you who like my weekly offerings not only visit regularly but spread the word to friends you think might be interested. With any luck it'll be awesome. We'll talk.