Saturday, April 08, 2006

Cullen, I read the Bordwell piece, and Barbara Tuchman's definition of "good writing" comes to mind: "clear and interesting" (I think [I'll check and edit this] from "In Search of History" Practicing History 1981). I share Bordwell's interest, and I suppose we're all getting older, in "ideas and information," and when I think about reading art history and/or criticism (two critics in my pantheon are Calvin Tomkins and Adam Gopnik--both always clear and interesting), an example of reading facts that shed light on looking at an artwork that always comes to mind is Pierre Schneider's account of Matisse's painting The Piano Lesson (1916) at MoMA . It doesn't always work this way, but information Schneider provided in his discussion changed it from a painting I felt cool toward into one I happily spend time not only looking at but also thinking about and using as an example. Bordwell's foregrounding of the importance of writing well, since I care about this, is also welcome. And his piece, too, is concise, clear, and interesting (always a relief when one is asking for same). Thanks for sharing this.

Btw, is CinemaScope a journal you regularly read and/or would recommend? Any others?

Also, my only cinemexperience of the past week is Good Night and Good Luck--is there any reason not to be wholeheartedly enthusiastic about it? I saw the first half twice, and it was as edge-of-seat fascinating both times. When the credits rolled, I noted for the first time (where have I been)that Frank Langella had played Bill Paley...I saw FL in Edward Gorey's stage production of Dracula more than twenty-five years ago in Boston, and he was compelling then, so I had to rewind and watch his scenes near the end of GN&GL again, my memories of D (the first half of which I also saw twice...the boyfriend and I had gone way over budget to get the tkts, and a blackout occurred, just a few minutes after the limit that meant the theatre didn't have to give us free tkts to another performance, so of course we went way over budget again to go back and see it all the way through) in mind. All the performances in GN&GL seemed convincing to me...and talk about foreshadowing...from the first appearance of the journalist who ended up committing suicide, I knew. When the phone rang to tell George Clooney/Fred Friendly, while he and the CBS reporters were celebrating the Senate's decision to investigate McCarthy, I knew. Is that the actor's accomplishment? The film made me want to go over to the Museum of Broadcasting and watch some footage of Edward R. Murrow. As always, also love the b&w.

Margaret

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