by Ryland Walker Knight
—Pascale can't lose though we lost her
Among so many dream projects, I've been meaning to get to know Rohmer's movies for some time now. Funny how news like yesterday's can make you want to jump so much quicker into such an endeavor. But, as it stands, I'm going to stick to my guns and, despite my love of words and pretty ladies, keep M. Schérer on the shelf for now. For now, among the standard rep-house coverage and viewing logs you've come to expect from me, I'm going to begin two other overdue re-acquaintance projects.
First off, thanks to Danny I've got now those two Eclipse box sets of Ozu (silent + late) as well as Early Summer at my disposal, not to mention my own copy of Tokyo Story, and I plan on making a biweekly habit of watching one of these films and writing about it. What's more, I'll get a bonus on Feb. 19th, when PFA screens That Night’s Wife, a 1930 silent crime melodrama. So, stay tuned for a newly christened series I hope to expand beyond just these discs as the year carries on, via Netflix and other, um, subterranean means: I'm going to start crafting An Ozu Zone. I think I'll get cracking at it as soon as next week, or as soon as I get a few other writing assignments completed. (Gotta have priorities, even in the blog life.)
Next month I'd like to start a participatory series. As I proposed on the new Facebook page for VINYL IS HEAVY (become a fan why don't you!), I was thinking it might be fun to set up a little reading and watching group structured by one of my favorite Stanley Cavell books, Cities of Words. There are a lot of things motivating this idea. First, as I said, I think it'd be fun. Second, this book (along with Pursuits of Happiness) kind of changed my life when I met it and read it for the first time three years ago in my first seminar back at Berkeley. Third, I love the movies and texts that Cavell converses with and highlights for us. Fourth, the book is structured like a semester, as Cavell writes in his preface, which will provide a good structure for our eventual discussions—as I envision the comments section exploding with thoughtful parries and volleys—about such topics as Freud and The Lady Eve (to say snakes and sharks and moms and dads and sex) or Aristotle and The Awful Truth (to say questions of audience and appeal and sameness and difference) or—get this—Shakespeare and Rohmer and their respective winter tales, which I, no doubt, will try my best to link to Desplechin's, which, clearly, tells me I may well wind up jumping into some Rohmer before long after all.
I say "next month" above because that kind of lag time not only allows me a head start but also gives you enough time to go out and buy the Cavell book, or borrow it from a local library, and maybe even get cracking on some of the films, too—though I would by all means stress the fun of watching the films strictly in tandem with the chapters written about them. In any case, here you have it: I'm giving you two full weeks to get ready to play your part. Now, don't get me wrong, I can't presume that many of my readers out there will actually follow me on this silly little autodidact trip but, believe me, I think it'd be worth everybody's time. And we all might learn a few extra things along the way with a lively comments conversation. Even if you don't read and watch along with me and wind up just reading the write-ups here, I do hope you join me for some fun filosofy lip flappin below the fold/s.
And if all that fails to generate some talk, I'll tell you right now: I'm also planning on recapping/analyzing Lost every week of its final season. That I don't have to worry about people joining in on, do I?