Saturday, July 28, 2007

Commenting on Commenting & Film, Part I of Many

First, about the blog: Do I read the comments? Someone asked me this question and the answer is YES! I savor the comments by those kind enough to leave them. I haven't yet replied to the comments as I am not sure how I wish to handle them. For me nothing is simple. Do I answer each comment like I would an email or message (for anyone familiar with how I write when I am focused you may realize why I hesitate to do just this--I tend to be the equivalent of an avalanche)? For those people I correspond with (at this point only friends are commenting), do I reply to them personally off the blog? Or do I read the comment, ponder them and perhaps use them as inspiration or the like for future posts? For instance, I am not sure he is aware of it, but Eric was the impetus of the Public vs. Private post. An "anonymous" commenter posted some suggestions that I may follow in the future. At this point, I am going to mix it up and use my discretion. I did wish to let those who have commented on and off the blog know that I appreciate every word you have written!

Now on to something else: movies. I watch a lot of movies and not all of them are good by even the most liberal of definitions. My philosophy on movies (and books too) is that even by watching lousy movies I am learning to more fully appreciate the better films. At the moment I am trying to catch up on cult films, silent films and foreign films all with the help of one of the best channels on cable: Turner Classic Movies (TCM). I could write an ode here to TCM, but I think the sheer repetition to which I mention it in glowing terms will undoubtedly make apparent the extent to which I am an ardent fan.

Last night I watched a French silent film I had recorded: The Passion of Joan of Arc (or in its original title La Pasion de Jeanne d'Arc). It is a visually beautiful film first of all--stark, haunting, harrowing and naked with music written for the film at a later date, I believe. What most impressed me when watching this film was the commitment and devotion of both Joan of Arc and that depicted by the actual actress. This was the first and last film made by the actress, as I was informed by the ever informed Robert Osborne when he introduced the film, and her performance is considered by many as the best ever captured on film. High praise, but if you ever watch the movie I wonder if you aren't likewise riveted by the raw power of her eyes alone. I contemplated if I had seen another actor invest so much in how their eyes welled up with tears or widened in horror or terror? Something often lost in films since gaining audio is the subtly of movement in as simple as a blinking of the eye, the hardening of a lip or slight slump of the shoulder. We humans betray what we think and feel in those our individual ticks. The motions and expressions in silent films are often larger and more grand than in life, but you begin to realize how important the body is when understanding emotion and a character. I am sure this is not lost on the stage, but I believe in movies (mayhap mostly those from the States) too many other things detract and distract from such simple facts.

The Passion of Joan of Arc is actually the second French silent I have seen in as many months. Both have been surprisingly enjoyable and I must admit to feeling a bit self-congratulatory about how cultured I consider myself after watching such movies. Now, dear reader, do not worry that I will suddenly become a film snob. Keep in mind that I still watch such gems and masterpieces of cinematic art as Waxworks II: Lost in Time and Joe Dirt with glee. My mind may strive for intellectual depth and emotional resonance and it may also be able to determine the level of quality, yet my little heart is an equalitarian. I am a lover of both brilliance and pure crap.


Anonymous said...

You're so lucky to have TCM. My cable provider doesn't have TCM, so my TV has not been turned on for months. If I did have TCM it probably never would be turned off lol.

Ah, The Passion of Joan of Arc. I was so glad to see you writing commentary on this movie! I love reading peoples notes on film, especially such amazingly beautiful and transcendental ones as this one.

I actually bought this on DVD "blind" (this was before I joined NetFlix) because of the description and all the praise. I'm glad I did. I love the composition that was created for it. It's like a little extra gift of beauty along with the movie. The guy who made this also made that Vampyr movie I like.

Great use of screenshots and links as well. You seem like a professional.

Can't wait for more movie entries! LOL.

otr said...

Lights, camara, action. This was one of the best blogs I have read. Now I know your saying come on give me a break. But first I want you think about what this blog has said to at least me. These writtern words take you back and makes you think of how films once were. A motion picture, pictures that moved and broght life and emotion without any words.

A time when they could and did use there whole body to make you feel something. It might make you laugh, it make make you scream in fear, or it might make you cry and feel pain. A simple look or the way the walked, or moved there eye lids or lips.The way they carried themselves.The lighting, the make up, the acting of never saying a sound you could hear, but rather sounds you could see and feel.

This Blog allowed you to remember those golden days and those wonderful actors and film makers from a time long ago.

One of my favorites came from a 1927 film called "it". A comedy romance as they called it then, today a romantic That star was Clara Bow, the looks she gave and the power of her movements.

The funny thing is that in life we all use movements and many times no words are needed. How many of us know when a loved one is upset, or someone is happy or sad? We all have looks and we all know that they speak volumes just as this well done blog has spoken with written words.

I have not seen this film you have talked about here, But I know after reading this I will and I know I will check the gate and enjoy this film of long past.

I also agree TCM is a wonderful Channel. Look forward to seeing your next written words miss texas.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with all of us.

Anonymous said...

I wish I had tcm, too. I'm too cheap so I haven't had cable since late june. I'm going to get joan of arc from Netflix because you praised it so highly...and added those shots of the actress. Truly striking! and, HEY! what are you implying about my buddy JOE DIRT?