It is a characteristic criticism of Emerson to say that he lacks a sense of tragedy; for otherwise how can he seem so persistently to preach cheerfulness? But suppose that what Emerson perceives, when he speaks of his fellow citizens as existing in a state of secret melancholy, is that in a democracy, which depends upon a state of willingness to act for the common good, despair is a political emotion, discouraging both participation and patience. So when Emerson asks of the American Scholar that he and she raise and cheer us, he is asking for a step of political encouragement, one that assures us that we are not alone in our sense of compromise with justice, that our sense of an unattained self is not an escape from, it is rather an index of, our commitment to the unattained city, one within the one we sustain, one we know there is no good reason we perpetually fail to attain.
-- Stanley Cavell, Cities of Words: Pedagogical Letters on a Register of the Moral Life
Go to The House to read a kinda-lengthy wrap up of what tickled me in 2007. While it's got pretty much the same format as what I used last year, this time I actually made a list at the end. Still can't rank anything, though, so it's an alphabetical list. I figure that most of the year-end lists and awards are redundant and silly to start with so why not throw my lot in with them? I guess the impetus to not make a list is because it's the same tired grammar most of film criticism continues to use. Not that I think a Better-Than List is worth much; it's still a posture. Not that my awards aren't a posture; my argument is with overbearing seriousness. (For example: I think it's awesome that my buddy Keith lists the Aqua Teen movie-film alongside The Horse.) Not that I'm not serious, but I like some levity; I like to laugh. Every film on my list, even the Reygadas, gave me a chuckle. But there's more of this over there so click this link if you didn't click that link at the beginning.
Also worth reading is Brian Darr's terrific Bay Area rep round up at Hell On Frisco Bay. It helps me to realize that as cool as New York City is (and it's definitely cool), San Francisco and the greater Bay Area have a lot to brag about. It helps to have a blogging buddy like Brian, too, with his calendar-scouring acumen pointing at things I don't always think to check up on. However, during this, my final, semester, I will probably only find time to attend screenings at the PFA. Thankfully, though, their newest calendar is pure dope: on Friday I got to go see Andrei Rublev on a big screen for the first time and during the afternoon of February the 17th I will see Out 1: Spectre, the shorter version (240 minutes) of the best film I saw and hardly wrote a thing about in 2007, Out 1: Noli me tangre (773 minutes). Plus: La Chinoise on my mom's birthday and a mini Terrence Davies retrospective (with the auteur in person at almost every screening, including a shot-by-shot discussion of Distant Voices, Still Lives). On to more merry movie watching and illuminating film writing in 2008.