by Ryland Walker Knight
Over at CARGO's site, there's a slew of trios from the writers and friends of the magazine, just like last year, about what mattered in 2010. You have to allow google to translate most of them (if you don't read German), but you can read mine in my version of English (google will still play with it after you hit 'translate' FYI). But, still, I thought it'd be good to cross-post the list here since I'm sure EK et al would enjoy the link-back and because these things do matter to me so. And because I will be writing a bit more for these fine gentlemen as we move through the year.
1. Pressing pause
Slowing my intake of cinema and output of criticism has proven a boon. Though I wish I'd seen a few films from the rep circuit that I missed on purpose (eg, those two Oliveira films), I am confident that the choices I made those nights lead to more fulfilling engagement with this mad world we're in. Besides, it has lead to different creative writing projects — to say nothing of the new lessons learned about living a better life, which is what we're supposed to do, I'm fairly certain. In the cinephile department, though, it also lead to fully embracing…
2. Blu-Ray discs
I'm certainly lucky to have had access to Blu-Rays for a while yet, but it wasn't until this year, and late within it, that a player entered my home. Perhaps against my better judgment, I already owned some BRs, but the new device gave me a more legitimate opportunity to buy The Red Shoes and that Brakhage set (both put out by Criterion Collection). The BR image can't quite ever be expected to approximate the flicker of celluloid, but these films have their own, new, sometimes-bizarre shimmer. The crisp lines and erupting colors make a new vision of what images are capable of, and what their purpose may be now, which I'd like to believe is closer to affect than representation, given these don't look real or hyper-real (whatever that means) but rather some fancy, new interpretation of light. There is likely an entire book of theory to be written on this new phenomenology, but I won't try any harder (get started) here. I'll just say, try to see something big and bright and colorful. Be sure to have the right HDMI cables. And let it wash your face in luster.
3. Tim & Eric
Back to lo-fi for a second. These weirdos make me laugh more than just about anybody, and they did an especially great job in 2010. Not only did they give us two shows full of goofs and spoofs only film nerd assholes in love with VHS and closed circuit cables could make, they went on tour with their brand of disorienting lunacy. They brought it to our backyards. On certain days in the second half of our late year, in fact, you could hear me tell my friends that I thought their announcement for the Tim and Eric Awesome Tour Great Job 2010 (as well as their inimitable Chrimbus Special) was the single best piece of filmmaking (and comedy) that I saw all year long. You can watch it and judge for yourself right here, below.