Thursday, March 10, 2005
Nipples Like Organ Pegs

I'll be away from the blog for a few days -- yep, it's spring break, and I'm heading back down to Memphis to shake off some of this winter chill. I'll be posting while I'm there, but it might be light... I've got a lot of people I want to see, a lot of stuff I want to do, and a lot of film-related books I want to ignore. It'll be a busy couple of weeks.

Speaking of film-related books to ignore, my old arch-nemesis* and former film school instructor Barry Salt has surfaced in my life once again, this time in the form of his rather oblique book of film theory. What do you get when a gay Australian one-time would-be ballet dancer and hard, rationalist science and philosophy student decides to write about film? If you guessed "nearly unreadable contrarian film theory that focuses exclusively on why everyone else in the history of film theory is wrong for the first four chapters," you're right! Not that Baz doesn't have some good points -- he does, and for all I know his approach will prove to be exactly correct, although I think the section where he goes off on a long tangent about why the French educational system sucks might be the kind of thing that could be, y'know, weeded out of the text. But having mostly forgotten those excrutiating three-hour lectures where his Aussie-accented monotone expounded at length about the failure of modern film to develop until the advent of a flexible transparent medium that could withstand the rigors of projection (which is admittedly true) and similar obscure issues in the history of film technology, reading this book is bring it all back to me. It's like I'm back in Cinema A all over again.

My own most vivid memory of Barry is having him sit and explain to me after a screening of rushes during my fourth term that I didn't intend to create a lighting effect that I did very consciously intend to create. Whether it was a good idea, or whether I did a good job of it, were both points that were open to discussion, but his insistence that I didn't mean to do it when I had discussed it at length with the director (who liked how it turned out, as it happens) and had requested special filters to create the effect was vaguely annoying. Not that I didn't learn a lot from him, just that sometimes he thinks he knows more than he actually knows. Just like most former philosophy students.

I won't mention the other thing I pointedly (ahem) remember about Barry Salt... it would be a bit rude, and Barry doesn't deserve that.

PS: Yes, I got my paper done, I had it turned in by noon today. So you see, I'm still an academic goody-goody at my core. Some traits never vanish entirely.

*not really
5:17 PM ::
Amy :: permalink
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