- We open with a close-up of a young woman’s face, shot from below. She gazes downward into the camera, her light brown hair hanging so low as to almost touch the lens. Her eyes are wide with what seems a kind of maternal solicitousness. When she speaks, she does so very quietly and softly, with a mild European accent that is difficult to place. “Hey, sweetie,” she says. “Do you feel a little bit better?” She touches the lens—the viewer’s face, your face—with a gentle finger. “Yeah, you’re having a fever, hun. I just have a little bit of a wet towel. I’ll just put it on your cheeks a little bit, and your forehead, okay? Yeah? OK, sweetie?” She turns away from you for a moment, and when she turns back, she has a blue facecloth in her hand; with this she sets about gently dabbing and wiping your poor, fevered little brow. It is no fun being sick, she tells you. But she wants you to know that you, her sweetheart, are going to be okay. For a further 13 minutes or so, these moistly whispered reassurances continue, until finally the screen goes black, and the whispering fades to silence.
- When the 1930s movie studio closes for the night, what do the empty sets dream of?
- What would be your top ten favorite movie reviews of all time? Pauline Kael's 1967 review of Bonnie and Clyde would top my list, but beyond that I don't know, something by Andrew Sarris, David Thomson, Manny Farber, James Agee, A. O. Scott, Anthony Lane, Manohla Dargis, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Roger Ebert, or Andre Bazin? Which reviews specifically?
- This is the simple question: is there a female way of looking at film, and does this lead to a fundamentally different conclusion about film, distinct from those made on the basis of personal interests and sensibilities? Film critics should – no, must – allow the latter two into their work, while at the same time neutralising them. They must, in any event, be acutely aware of these, as film criticism can never, ever even pretend – like science – to be objective; although it must strive for a form of objectivity. This is why it is vastly important that film critics at least ask themselves whether they are looking as a man or as a woman, as a mother or as a childless person, as a fan of horror films or romantic comedies or both – and whether this is relevant. I happen to believe that this is, realistically, the maximum achievable. If you want to really think about film, you must master not only the art of objectifying, but also the logic of emotion and poetic justification. But then again: how do you know that you are looking as a man or as a woman, except through the accidental combination of circumstances that has made you the one or the other?
Personally, I don’t spend much time worrying about this, as it would get in the way of the filmic experience.
- Because Transit wants to pay tribute to the vast universe of the teen movie – a genre that has not enjoyed the critical uptake it deserves – we have decided to embark upon a ‘Teen Moments’ special. It gathers together twenty texts that will be published collectively, in twoblocks, over the coming week.
- I can trace my enduring fascination with teen films back to a specific moment in my personal history: when I moved to the U.S. in my early twenties to go to graduate school. When I arrived here, I had seen almost no teen movies, in any language, but as soon as I encountered my first examples of the genre (Amy Heckerling’s Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Jonathan Kaplan’s Over the Edge, Penelope Spheeris’ Suburbia, Brian De Palma’s Carrie), I was instantly captivated. As a young immigrant fashioning a new life in a land whose strangeness and otherness simultaneously attracted and disoriented me on a daily basis, I resonated deeply with the doubt, anxiety and excitement of teenage life as represented in these films.
- Some actors are only made to play certain parts, revealing something about an age through their own age. Personal chronology becomes cultural chronology, and vice versa. Like John Cusack, another black haired/pale skinned 80s/90s idol, as well as a youth actor whose great, and perhaps only gift, was to enact a different kind of youth (a counter-youth and counter-masculinity) in his youth, Winona Ryder was never timeless, she was of the time. Most especially that brief time in her life, her teenage years and early twenties. Perhaps this is why Jake Gyllenhaal’s light hair was dyed jet-black for the retroactive Donnie Darko, and Christian Slater’s jet-black for Heathers. Something about dark hair showing up in the late 80s and early 90s as a form of retribution for an aesthetically fascistic and representationally narrow decade. These are people who were not kissed by the sun, who were not California Dreamin’, or, as the German writer Heinrich Laube puts it, ‘These pale youths are uncanny, concocting God knows what mischief.’
- Affleck: We came up with this idea of the brilliant kid and his townie friends, where he was special and the government wanted to get their mitts on him. And it had a very Beverly Hills Cop,Midnight Run sensibility, where the kids from Boston were giving the NSA the slip all the time. We would improvise and drink like six or twelve beers or whatever and record it with a tape recorder. At the time we imagined the professor and the shrink would be Morgan Freeman and De Niro, so we’d do our imitations of Freeman and De Niro. It was kind of hopelessly naive and probably really embarrassing in that respect.
- Because, the thing is, until I started to hate it, I really did enjoy blogging. I learned a ton about movies, met a bunch of great people, gained a lot of tech savvy, and even (I think) became a much better writer, if only by giving tic after tic the opportunity to run so rampant over my prose that they could no longer be justified in the name of “style” and finally had to be eradicated. Which is why I never deleted this blog, even after more than a year went by between posts. I always knew I’d be back eventually.