Monday, January 10, 2011

Mark me down for a deuce

by Ryland Walker Knight

Everything does

Though in 2010 I largely strayed from the eat-everything cinephilia that drove a lot of my last decade (as I mentioned here), which makes me fear I'll be outpaced in this little group of us doing the Out of The Past series, I still saw a number of good, older flicks in the past twelve months. You can read my five that mattered most in The Notebook here. It's probably predictable given this, but there's more meat in it.

I should also take the time, here, since I'm up so early, to note my participation in the year-end Fantasy Double Bills, which I'm very happy Danny and I brainstormed last year, and continued this year. We both had a hard time picking this year (for very different reasons) and I love the fact that Danny, closing things out, took such license to not limit himself, to disobey his own rules. His picks are great. I kept mine pretty simple, to be fair, and only divulged one bill. Earlier, in December, Martha'd talked about pairing I Am Love with The Last Picture Show, but I guess time got away from her; in any case I didn't want to "steal" that one. So I wrote about some other forms of love. The kinds on the side of that word associated with mania, I guess, because I find them funnier. I also like the Resnais a lot more than that Tilda zig-zag (though I do love that one, too) and I hadn't written enough on why, though it could be simplified to my preference to favor (not that I always do) the ludicrously hilarious, not the ludicrously affective.

Top to bottom, I liked all the pairs, really, but there were of course stand-outs. Miriam's up top definitely stood apart beyond its placement in the scroll for its audacious pairing—and, it should be noted, her likely-unnecessary, more-than-welcome defense, which invokes Stanley Cavell a little further, is a good thing to read. My other favorite pairing, probably, was R. Emmet Sweeney's, though I've seen neither of the films he chose, because it does what my favorite criticism does: not only does he make connections, elucidating significance, but more importantly his note makes me want to see the movies. Along these lines, I have to thank David Ehrenst​ein for the comments he left, alerting me, non-scholar that I am, to Warren Sonbert and his lasting imprint on collage-like cinema that interests me so. Unimportant declaration: I'll make a mission of seeing his films in 20!! as I largely forgot such missions through most of 2010. Not sure how it'll happen, with my day job and my new image-making projects I'm throwing myself into, but with the help of a friend like Brian Darr—one of the truest cinephiles I've ever had the pleasure to meet and eat pizza with—I'll have a leg up for sure. In any event, please do follow those links! The internet's a wicked game, prone to circled wagon spats, but it's also full of good things.

First Friday Fifty

Oh, and read Steve's 2010 wrap-up at The House why don't you. I'm biased, of course, but there's a unique take, a real individual, a jaunty run-through everybody'd do well to enjoy and not fight with, as many may well attempt.


  1. Hi Ryland --

    Longtime reader, first-time poster. I've been dying to see more of Sonbert since kino21 showed some Canyon prints a couple of years back--let me know if you put anything together! On occasion of that earlier series, I talked with co-presenters Konrad Steiner and Johnny Ray Huston about Sonbert's work. You might be interested:

  2. Max, I've owed you a response for a bit. Not sure how I can put anything together without a hand, but, yes, we will try to get something going one way or another. We should probably shake hands at some point, too, with real hands and not with word-hands. And thanks for the reminder link; I'll likely read it on my lunchbreak tomorrow.

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