Monday, February 13, 2006

Cullen and all,

My copy of F for Fake awaits, inter-library-loaned, at the local library, closed yesterday for snow! Looking forward to it, especially since you've highlighted the first-person narration question, which, perhaps you remember, is a question I love considering in the context of written essays, all the more since so many of us remembering being "taught never to say 'I' in a school essay." I'm always on the lookout for places where a discussion about the forbidden "I" takes place... Also, thanks for the web resources below...can't wait to check them out.

Haven't yet watched the Vertov (sp?) DVD you loaned me last week, but the snowbound weekend (with a day at a workshop in the city on Saturday--these one-day weekends are just too short) wasn't filmless...came home at 8:15 last night, no West Wing (what happens to it? doesn't "weekly show" mean anything?), but found a fave on Turner Classics, Out of Africa, so watched it as long as my eyes stayed open, till just before Karen (Meryl Streep) and Dennis (Robert Redford) start arguing. So I went to bed able to say what a romance! Love the scene where Dennis shampoos Karen's hair. Love what she does with her voice--endlessly captivating to listen to her, some lines apparently voiceover from Dineson's book--but can't for the life of me figure out what she's simulating...is this what Danish-accented English sounds like? Because of the Danish-cartoons issue in the news, I've heard Danes on NPR all week, and they didn't sound very much like Meryl Streep does in this film. But so what...for me, it's one of the charms of the film.

Among many other aspects to enjoy, including zebras roaming on the horizon, is the thematic issue of freedom (and its satisfactions/frustrations) v. commitment (and its satisfactions/frustrations), played out in Karen's two love relationships, the way each of them and she choose to live, the wild v. her farm, the animals v. the humans, the natives v. the colonialists, early biplanes v. earthbound transport, and more. I guess it's a big-budget feature film (big stars, airplane tickets to Africa, etc.)--does anyone else sink into it and enjoy it the way we do? We also love the book, cite its first sentence ("I once had a farm in Africa") metaphorically the way we do "now hit a hundred more" from McPhee's Levels of the Game, though of course for different metaphorical purposes. A treat to end the weekend, and now tonight I should have F for Fake.

Margaret

Friday, February 10, 2006

Two interesting sites I stumbled upon.

http://www.chicagomediaworks.com/2instructworks/3editing_doc/3editing_docinematicessay.html
A site devoted to "The Essay Film" with lists of "essay films," its history/roots, and theorists that explore the genre.

http://www.essayfilm.net/
Not up yet, but a site that will be dedicated to written essays on "essay films."

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The relationship between F For Fake and My Architect has been on my mind lately--considering their similarities and differences. What is the role that first person narration plays in both films? And how does the presence of the narrator affect the film's journey, so to speak? And how does their job as "narrator" interact with their job as "director"?

In My Architect, there are very much "personal boundaries" drawn between Kahn's two roles. Margaret pointed out the scene when a colleague of his father's reveals that Louis Kahn spent Christmas with him, instead of his own family. For Nathaniel the filmmaker, this is a pertinent fact that helps paint the portrait of Louis Kahn--but for Nathaniel the son, it must have been a shattering revelation.

Too, Nathaniel chooses which role to play in certain scenes. Consider the boat captain--Kahn reveals his identity only at the end of their discussion, and the captain falls to pieces, so emotional he gets.

More on Welles to come. Is everyone able to find the film without too much difficulty?

-Cullen