Here there be monsters (socratic) wrote,
Here there be monsters
socratic

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Poor dope. If only he'd made it to Dayton.

God I love old movies. The black and white makes everything so much more interesting, limited color forcing the cinematographer to use patterns and light and composition and craftsmanship. The women are more beautiful too, there's something about the monochrome that gives their skin a freshness (perhaps makeup that can't be done in a color picture) and most of them can act. It could be the clothes and the hair too, classy, conservative, classic. Feminine forms hinted at beneath layers of silk and cotton, wool and camel-hair. The sound, though, is what really makes the film. Beautiful scores, simply gorgeous. Dialogue that crackles and sizzles. Staccato deliveries, voice over, art that's not afraid to be artistic, instead of trying to sound 'natural.' I've been watching Sunset Boulevard and it's absolutely beautiful. Billy Wilder knew what he was doing, that's for sure. A studio man who managed to make great movies that have held up for decades and have more class and beauty in any ten minute clip than most of the shit made today has in its whole celluloid existence, from title credit to end, deleted scenes and directors' commentaries included. Of course it's not entirely fair to compare the works of Billy Wilder to the work of Dwight H. Little. There were plenty of Dwight H. Littles back in the day too. On the other hand I have to say that a Wilder flick holds me better than most films considered great these days. It's the drama of it. The fact that the black and white allows Wilder to create a movie instead of trying to create a film that somewhat resembles real life. Dead men narrate. Overacting abounds. It's lovely.

And of course Boulevard is about the business too. About people who lose touch with the world outside of the world on the other side of the camera and can't back in touch with it. Everything that I'm afraid of in the life I seem to be seeking. Failure, unreality, being captured by the camera not in celluloid form but mind body and soul. I guess that's one of the advantages to having gone to a liberal arts college rather than a film school. I have an idea of some of the things that are out there in the world, of history and philosophy and poetry and art and sociology and statistics. That provides a certain grounding. It's also one of the reasons I want to stay in New York. New York is a real city. It's focused on finance and politics and publishing. It's a city of brick and mortar and ink-stained fingers.

Of course whenever I think of Hollywood I get caught up in my typical themes of success and failure. Billy Wilder wrote his first film when he was 23. I'm sure it wasn't his best film (it was in German so I've never seen it and I don't even know if it exists anymore, films are terribly maintained for the most part, or at least were before video came around and people learned that old movies still had value even if they're not worth exhibiting in theaters anymore.) but it was his first one. I'm trying not to compare or be jealous, it's a pointless endeavor, we all have different paths. On the other hand I'm...excited. Anything Jew can do I can do better and all that. I'm feeling a little readier now than I have felt in the past. I want to get my camera and get cracking. I'd really love this job too. I really do need somewhere to go during the day right now. I haven't lived enough to write about it yet.

Part of me wants to drop everything and go to Hollywood. The rest of me wants to stay in New York, find work, go to an East Coast film school, and focus with laser-like precision on making worthwhile films, on not getting caught up in producing mercenary crap. Mercenary crap can be a stepping-stone to greater stuff, but too often it is not. One can make a good living making for-video Stephen Seagal flicks. One can get attractive women and a nice house in the hills and a car that can help you get even more attractive women. People do that without ever getting a script made. There are many writers who live on producing scripts just good enough to buy but not good enough to actually produce. That's not what I want. I'd rather have to work a day job and make something beautiful at night. If all I end up is pedestrian then I might as well have become a lawyer or a corporate suit or a monkey-handler. Maybe not, it's important to enjoy your work, and someone has to make bad revenge movies that will be misremembered as great 20 years down the line by aging men from Long Island, but that's not my goal. Stanley Kubrick only made 12 or so feature films. Each is worth watching. He did it right.

I know I shouldn't project into the future, it's time consuming, futile, and paralyzing, but I like to think about how my life will proceed. Of course I'm completely wrong. 10 years from now I might be a doctor living in France (ugh France) and married to a 25 year old Czech girl, an age that would make her 15 right now. Nobody really knows where life will lead, but they say that positive visualization can help you achieve your goals, so maybe this incessant writing about the future could count as that. For now I need a camera and employment. Everything else, for better or worse, will follow that.
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