Saturday, September 16, 2006
The Gold Tooth In God's Crooked Smile

I kind of got forced into a night off tonight -- I'd hoped to go into the Co-op and get some work done, but the internet connection was down (that's been happening a lot lately), and at the moment everything I need to do requires an internet connection. So there wasn't much for it but to go on home. And I suppose that's not a bad thing. I've been working 6-10 hours a day, every day, for the last two weeks on this video; this is the second day off I've taken in three weeks. So I guess it's okay.

It's getting hard to do good work now anyway -- I have officially arrived at the point on this project where I'm blind to it. Editing has become detached from inspiration and has become a technical, mechanical exercise. The ideal thing now would be to take a couple of weeks away from it, but I'm trying to get it done by next weekend, so I don't have that luxury. At this point, it'll probably be a good year before I can honestly appraise the quality of my work -- I think, basically, it has some good bits, and there are a number of things I'd change if I could. The learning curve was steep, and if I could do it all over again I think I'd produce a better film -- but I'd still be sitting here, filled with ambivalence, thinking that it could be better. My films are never "good enough." But I think it's respectable for my first effort in the form, and I think it's as good a piece as I could possibly assemble from the footage I have. I'm still toying with the idea of taking a whole new pass at it -- that is to say, once I have everything in place, going over it and trying to develop it one step further. But I think to do that really would require more time than I've got. Anyway, I'll put some other people's fresh eyes in front of it tomorrow, and maybe then I'll have a better idea how well I've done.

So rather than sitting at the Co-op waiting for files to download/convert/render, reading and whistling to myself and doing laps of the theater in the Co-op's wheelchair-dolly, I stopped by the hipster video store and rented my first movie in months. Specifically, I got Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus, which after a gap of several years on the festival circuit finally appeared on DVD recently.

If god existed and intervened in human affairs, I'd beg him to let me someday make a film like this one. It's a BBC-produced music doc loosely based on the music of Jim White, and I first saw it in 2004 at the documentary film festival where I spent a few seasons working in print traffic. Mostly, though, it's about the south. Some complain that this film is unrealistic, a little too Flannery O'Connor southern-gothic -- it's full of swamps and water-borne shacks and people with big hair and missing teeth playing gospel songs on banjos and saws. Some people seem to hate it. For me, while it's not a replica of the south I know, it feels exactly right. It's definitely not a straightforward doc, but the blurry edge where documentary ends and fiction begins is one of my favorite cinematic terrorities. It's my absolute favorite film about the south, and certainly among my favorite documentaries. And it's unspeakably beautiful. You should watch it.
12:19 AM ::
Amy :: permalink