When You Get Really Close to a Movie Screen, Film Emulsion Looks like…
Boiling Sand

So this is ATLAS SHRUGGED. I have to confess that I never read Ayn Rand’s epic tome on selfishness:  I’m a glacially-slow reader, so a commitment to wading through a 1,000+ page book (whose prose style has been given just qualified praise by even her most devout acolytes) would last longer than some of my […]

Back in high school, did you ever take a test for which you hadn’t studied and had absolutely no preparation?  Let’s say for example a history teacher gave you a fifty-point question asking to explain the effects of the Hundred Years’ War.  You open up your response with a generic cover-your-ass statement such as, “First […]

There’s one obsession I’ve long pursued, while another obsession — for decades — has followed me around.  They finally collided. Artwork influenced by movies has been a personal obsession:  in the days before home video, I searched eight years for a public screening of Joseph Cornell’s ROSE HOBART; I spent last Christmas Eve at the […]

The ultimate spoiled rich kid, Kim Jong-il, is also a wannabe movie maker. In addition to being the national movie critic, he has written a Marxist book on the art of cinema.  Yet his personal tastes in cinema have been anything but Marxist:  the sketchy information gleaned from the other side of the Bamboo Curtain […]

[This post was written in conjunction with the For the Love of Film:  The Film Preservation Blogathon this week.  Please DONATE to the National Film Preservation Foundation.] The need for film preservation eventually reduces to a discussion of film stock.  It’s the effects of age and the unstable chemicals in the physical elements of film […]

On December 30th, 2009, the Library of Congress announced the next twenty-five films chosen for preservation in the National Film Registry, merited on their “enduring importance to American culture.”  On the list was the 1975 animated short QUASI AT THE QUACKADERO by Sally Cruikshank. As the Library of Congress announced: “Quasi at the Quackadero” has […]

When Francis Coppola’s RUMBLE FISH was released in the early 1980s, I read a report that throughout the production the director would repeat, “This is my student film.” I’m a former film student and ex-professor to film students, so I understand how that phrase crystallizes a unique aesthetic and precious experience in film viewing:  the […]

The second most surprising animation I’ve seen during this stay in China was a blast from my childhood:  the “Silly Rabbit” hawking TRIX cereal is now a primetime bunny on China’s Saturday night commercial slots. But the strangest cartoon in Sino-world has been an ‘educational’ video on the H1N1 virus, shown as part of the […]

In a true case of (to quote a friend) “Hollywood Timing” I’m in Shanghai during the week when TCM is screening Orson Welles’ THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI twice. In order to heighten the pleasure of its viewing, here’s a link to an essay I wrote on this blog’s parent site, PostModern Joan.com:  THE LADY FROM […]

I’M NOT A FILM ARCHIVIST but the three-headed monster known as my career (making media, writing and assessing media, managing media) has always kept me one or two degrees away from the field.  So I’m happy to report that I’ll be blogging from the conference of the Association of Moving Image Archivists, held this year […]

When I was a young pup working in the film/tv production industry, I was flipping through the Lowel lighting equipment catalog during a break and read that the company invented Gaffer’s Tape in 1959. No, way!! — I thought — How could GONE WITH THE WIND have been made without Gaffer’s Tape?!?!?   How could […]

I set the DVR for this morning’s cablecast of Frank Borzage’s MAN’S CASTLE, a lyrical pre-Code film that represents the American version of Jean Vigo’s L’ATALANTE in its feathered duality of lusty reality and ethereal transcendence. Early in the film, after Tracy takes in a starving and homeless Loretta Young, he brings her back to […]

At her excellent website Ferdy on Films, etc. Marilyn Ferdinand has called for film bloggers to list their 15 favorite dancers.   CLICK HERE TO READ MY LIST. Doug / PoMo Joan

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I was talking with a teller at my bank where I was withdrawing money to go on a getaway.  “Where to?” she asked.  “San Francisco.”  “Oh!” she replied, “Something very interesting happened to me in San Francisco.  I was on a subway train that made an unexpected stop, and then it started moving backwards.”  I […]

I saw BRÜNO last month. The film’s duality of performance and cultural observation, documentary and manipulation, agent provocateur and farcical comedy led me to think about its relationship to certain aspects of the Warhol / Morrissey output in the late 1960s such as BIKE BOY. The camera of 1967’s BIKE BOY recorded the codes of […]

The Fourth of July weekend was the epicenter of the new film releases: major studio films are timed to be released in June, July and December. Lots to choose from but, for me and a friend, the agreed-upon movie to catch during the holiday was Michael Mann’s PUBLIC ENEMIES. I once heard the great experimental […]

We recently got cable. I seem to go through four-year periods of having cable and four years of just using my TV for viewing home video.  It makes for interesting observations, since this way I don’t have the ‘frog in the beaker’ syndrome with the medium of TV.  I can see how some cable channels […]

[OK, so I fibbed last month when I said no more posts about Australia.] Back in November I was at Manly Beach near Sydney, Australia. It was named Manly because when Captain Cook saw the indigenous males on the beach, he thought them ‘manly.’ So, at Manly Beach, all things are Manly: Manly Italian Restaurant, […]

Back in Austin, Texas, now with my last posting on Australia. Final thoughts: If you’re ever on a bus ride in the Australian bush, I’ve got the perfect soundtrack for you.  Load your mp3 player with tracks by Melbourne-based Dead Can Dance.  I loved them in the 1980s and 1990s, but hadn’t thought about them […]

Over fifty years ago, native Atlantan Jane Withers (along with Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean and Rock Hudson) arrived in Marfa, Texas, to shoot George Stevens’ film, GIANT. Over the last weekend, this native Atlantan arrived in Marfa to follow in Withers’ footsteps. In addition to being a movie location for works such as GIANT, THERE […]



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