Focus On:

Welcome back to my blog in which I just do whatever I want because it’s mine and I can.

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll have seen that I’m starting a new series based on what I’m guessing was a Tumblr list I found many, many years ago that I’ve recently found again. For the coming weeks and only for as long as it doesn’t bore me, we’re going to go through this list of things, and learn. You remember how I wanted to learn everything, right? (Also peep the format of those early posts. If you’re still around from then, you’re a real trooper and yes, I’ll be your only friend).

So for the last week, I’ve been watching European Genre Cinema. I was introduced to many of the European genres and movements throughout history and honestly really love and appreciate the progress of film and storytelling.

I phoned a friend for the login to the Criterion Channel for access to loads of cool films. Honestly, if I weren’t chronically unemployed, I’d buy this subscription. So many cool flicks (thanks Myles ily).

We started off the week in German Expressionist cinema with Nosferatu. So I’ve heard of this movie and the unlimited references throughout pop culture most of my life. Somehow I missed it in film school (for this genre we were watching M by Fritz Lang and The Cabinet of Dr. Calgary and it totally escaped my understanding that it’s just German Dracula. Which is cool. I love Dracula. The movie was creepy and a little hilarious and dramatic.

Soviet Cinema. I watched Strike by Soviet Cinema Godfather, Sergei Eisenstein. It was brutal. They fully show a man dropping a baby from several flights up in a building and it smashing to the ground, and also the full decapitation of a cow. I know the theme and the point of the movie weren’t either of those things, and the point and the theme are important (and dare I say timely?). The movie ends after an hour of brutal harm coming to striking proletariats with a scene of hundreds of dead bodies strewn around a field. A casual Wednesday flick.

Daisies 1966

Did I mention I went to film school? Yes, I went to film school. I spent a whole term studying the movie Daisies, my all time favorite movie. An experimental film from the Czech New wave that was black listed because of its use of excess in a time of famine, amongst other things. Anyway, it’s beautifully done and entertaining and funny and charming and Vera Chytilova was a fashion student so it’s also really stylish. I’ll send you my dissertation. Watch the movie so I feel less pretentious when people ask what my favorite movie is.

I finally watched Breathless, the Jean-Luc Godard film everyone’s twisted up about from the French New Wave. I’ll need to watch it again with a film critic. Or not. And never watch it again. Cause I didn’t love that we made Seberg an American living in France with her distracting American accent while speaking French, and didn’t love that we made her a student studying abroad who, over the course of what, three days (?), decided she liked this absolute loser so much she lied to the police about him and ran off into the fates of criminal life. Also everyone loves her style and the style of the movie, which I also don’t understand. Anyway, shrug. Have you seen Bonnie and Clyde? That’s a tight flick.

And finally I watched Il Posto, from the Italian Neorealism movement. Here’s the truth: Italian Neorealism is boring. There. I said it. I appreciate the portrayal of average people doing everyday things, and find it incredibly valuable to showcase the class gap, shown in this film as a boy leaving home after middle school to get a job where everyone is suffering from the bullshit and monotony of working your way up. This film movement was really about showing working class and poverty level workers, shot on location, often with non-professional actors. So the importance is not lost on me. But damn, have you tried to watch a seven minute scene of a man emptying out his desk. It’s emotional and difficult, but, like, also a good time to go to the bathroom if you need to. Besides, watching normal people do everything things is the last thing I want to be doing right now.

I liked getting to do this. I miss a syllabus, honestly. I miss being shown things I’d never have found myself. If school is good for anything (and, it is I think probably) it’s exposure. I do love that.

Anyway, follow me on Instagram for daily practice of whatever the weird is. And given the series we’re entering, this week we’ll be learning about new photography. Suuuuper vague. I don’t really know what that means, but *spoilers* MoMA in NYC has a “New Photography” exhibit that may or may not be collecting dust in the empty museum. So I’ll just, like, Google the artists or something I don’t know.

Wish me luck this week and lemme know if you know any new photographers, or if you know a good place to start.