Friday, October 12, 2007

In Rebuttle...

The long awaited context guide to my aforementioned quotes (Please refer to the posting "Quotes from the Film Division Quotidian"--I recommend you open the blog in two different browser tabs and read them parallel to each other):

Sarris quotes: Being quite wizened and wise--there are many things he says that are tangential and at the same time profound. I am loving the Billy Wilder study because Wilder is one of my ALL TIME favourite directors--even before I knew who he was I adored such films as "Some Like it Hot," "Sunset Boulevard," "The Seven Year Itch," and "The Apartment."

What Sarris has to say often comes from personal experience with multiple directors and critics over time (including those from Cahiers du Cinema and even Wilder himself) and a deep understanding of film history having lived it and experienced it in old attics and movies houses (mostly in New York City) long before the days of Netflix and Tivo. Sarris has written for Village Voice and the New York Observer, and considers himself to be a better writer than a teacher. His wife is famed movie critic Molly Haskell--whom he has been concerned about recently because she was hospitalized inn recent days. Imagine these things pouring from the mouth of an 80-ish gentleman, seated in a chair at the front of the Lifetime Screening Room on the 5th floor of Dodge Hall, with a cane at his side, growling into a wireless microphone that sometimes works and sometimes does not. These are some things he has to say about life and film.

June Stein: She is passionate about her craft--and deeply sensitive to noise (which can get complicated when our classroom window faces the busy traffic of Broadway, and protests, and she wants the window open for more air). She wants us to delve into these characters--whether we like them or not--it's important to take this journey she says. I find the course fascinating, challenging, and entertaining, and June is definitely an interesting character in her own right.

Maggie Greenwald: I feel my desire to achieve better things as a director and storyteller come alive when I am in her class. She has such a clear grasp of what it means to tell a story visually that I envy her level of comprehension (like my friend Jeff Parkin)--but there is much to learn. It is great because although I learned a lot in my undergrad it is never a good idea to get comfortable and say--okay, that's it, i know it--I am ready to go. Do you know what we do in our class? We watch clips--tons of them--and talk about how they succeed in capturing the vision presented--and then we make stuff, and we bring it in--and comments are given like "go back to logic, before you throw it out the window"--(this was about my first exercise). I then recoil, contemplate, and respect the feedback because, yes, I am still a baby in the big bad world of filmmaking--and that is okay--because it is the process. I love it.

Steven Bach: He is one of our lecturers for Producing that did the history section that week (the Lumieres--they invented the moving shot on a barge in Cairo...etc.). He wrote a text that we are using called "Final Cut"--about a film that essentially ruined United Artists. This man is passionate about the work--and not afraid to show his emotion. He produced some of the Rocky films...among others-look him up, and you can look up all these other guys too. If you couldn't guess, he doesn't find the film 300 to be the greatest artistic achievment--and he commented on it in reference to aa question he asked an undergraduate class and the 18-yr-old student who said it was his favourite film.

Janet Roach: I loved this line about "second act saggies" I have to use it in a script sometime. Crit week is where those 2nd year students ( who were once 1st years--yeah, of course)--pour out their guts onto the table for inspection--or in other words, they show the shorts they have been developing for the last year and filmed over summer. Then we go in, and observe the dissection performed by three select faculty in multiple sessions throughout the week. It was an enriching and frightening experience. We don't say anything--we watch, we cringe, we learn. I don't have Janet Roach, but I hear she is a dynamo screenwriting professor.

Richard Brick: I identify with his view of production, living expenses, and the warmth in his heart comment reminded me of my favorite BYU professor (JLP). This man gets it--the glamour that isn't at all glamorous and the grit that is hard to shake off once you are finished production. If anyone has any complaints--too bad--you chose this career--I suffer, you suffer, we suffer together--production soldiers--that about sums it up. During his lectures on producing (he speaks about his experiences in production management and line producing for such films as "Places in the Heart," "Silkwood," and "Sweet and Lowdown"--I feel myself deeply interested and at the same time reminding myself--"no I do not want to be a production manager when I grow up--and this is why...where is that Tammy Munro? We would be great collaborators someday (soon?)--she can manage/produce--and I can be the crazy director/writer whom she has to talk some frantic sense into...and Brecken can sit back and be the voice of reason...yes..."

Todd Haynes: So I went to this screening 'cause I thought---"Brecken likes Bob Dylan--I don't know much about him--let's watch this film!"--then I went to it and found out that one of my favorite actresses of all time--Cate Blanchett--was in it--and that was cool and she was good (and Australian, hence the reference). Then I found out who Todd Haynes actually was, because I still have trouble identifying directors by name--sorry Jeff Parkin, I am trying to get better--but the part of my life where I wanted to be an actor--and only payed attention to who was in it, is hard to share with the part of me that is working at the director thing. So I listened to the Q&A (only through that did I understand the film--that's experimental narrative folks...)--and I snuck a moment with Todd Haynes as I walked toward the gates of Columbia at Broadway and he lit a cigarette and was very nice.

Dan Kleinman: This man is a writer--originally from Kentucky--maybe he was referring to the derby? Well--we watch a million short films (well--only 30 so far)--and then we talk about them. To sum it up, he said it--the example he showed was what made it--and now I can't remember to what film he was referring...hmmm....let me consult my almost full 5 subject notebook (I have become a crazy good note taker)..."Tango"--1980 Oscar nominee for animated short. I thought it went on too long...he thought it built like "Bolero"...but as he racing.

Now..does anyone ever want me to contextualize quotes again? I could write my own blog book if you let me...


Gayle said...

Justin--Quit doing your homework on your blog.

Tammy said...

Yay Justin - you've finally replied to my request! I would like to apologize to all other people who read this blog for asking Justin to post such an essay, but I'm quite excited about it :)

Justin - I'm at work, so I don't have time to go through this properly yet, but I will do so, and post a more substainal reply to your rebutal :)

thanks mate!

PS. Are you the Justin who often comments on brecken's posts? or is that a different justin (if it's you, it's funny that you post replies on the blog when you see her all the time! hehe)