13 February 2007
The Lovesick Blog-a-Thon Starts...Now
Ok, actually it starts tomorrow, but if you want, send it now (either email me the link or post it in the comments section) and I'll start the list. To remind you, here's the description I gave way back when:
As long as cinema has existed as an art form, filmmakers have been using it to figure out their love lives. Whether it's Charlie Chaplin or Jean-Pierre Léaud or Ethan Hawke, there's a long history of characters struggling in their pursuit of a romantic ideal. At times, it almost seems as if a film exists solely as a form of relationship therapy, as a futile attempt to figure out women.
Or, as Thom once wrote, "Maybe that's why we invented cinema: to share our complete lack of understanding with each other?"
Part of what makes the Blog-a-Thon interesting (at least to me), is the various odd turns a topic takes in the recesses of people's minds, but the general idea is how filmmakers use the medium to relate to their love lives (or, better yet, justify them), or even love in general. If that means a discourse on Tom Hanks romantic comedies sneaks in, so be it.
Keep checking back for a wealth of posts...
A Note: Some have mentioned concern for not getting a post done in time. I'll keep adding links as long as people keep writing them. Hell, if you send me a link in April, I'll add it.
Our Contributions So Far (updated 22 Feb, 11.39am)
++ First up, Dan Eisenberg at Cinemathematics takes a good look at Woody Allen’s Manhattan (1979) in a post titled Not Everybody Gets Corrupted, focusing on Woody’s dual love affair with both two women and the city he loves, with a few accolades for Gordon Willis thrown in for good effect. The film is likely based on Woody’s love life, meaning that Dan has gotten us off to a fantastic start.
++ Over at Edward Copeland on Film, the titular Edward weighs in with his post An unrequited love triangle. It turns out that James L. Brooks has been secretly writing about Edward’s love life, specifically in Broadcast News (1987), which he explains in a great post about what I imagine we’ll see a lot in this Blog-a-thon–the realization that somehow filmmakers are writing about us, about our lives, only sometimes our characters are more clever on screen than we are in real life.
++ Adam Ross at DVD Panache, home of the Friday Screen Tests, talks about that most romantic of films, Sam Peckinpah's Straw Dogs (1971) in his post Peckinpah's Valentine. Like you I was intrigued and, well, a little bit skeptical at first, but Adam makes the connection. To quote Adam, "Peckinpah shows...that to co-exist for most of a lifetime, two people must sometimes treat each other like enemies." Works for me.
++ Can a "buddy film" contain a love story without being, you know, gay? I think so, as does pacheco over at Bohemian Cinema. His post buddy love takes a look at Kevin Smith's Chasing Amy (1997) and Clerks II (2007) and the two types of love stories contained within.
++ If a picture is worth a thousand words, than Peter Nellhaus from coffee, coffee...and more coffee has the longest post of anyone with Happy Valentine's Day - Ten Favorite Actresses!, photos of his ten favorite actresses. Kim Novak, Barbara Stanwyck, and Julie Christie...you can't go wrong with that.
++ Do you remember the love story in The Shawshank Redemption (1994)? Yeah, me either. But Damian from Windmills of My Mind does. His post The Rarest Love of All uses the film as sort of a starting point to discuss the role of deep, abiding friendships in society, and even gives us some C.S. Lewis. Good stuff.
++ I'll let That Little Round-Headed Boy hype his own post: "As we gather on Valentine's Day for the Lovesick Blog-A-Thon, TLRHB asks you to consider: What happens when we can only express our deepest feelings for the person we love when that person is dying a rapid, highly contagious death and is separated from us by a wall of glass?" What indeed? The post is titled Lovesick blog-a-thon: Kirk and Spock in 'Wrath of Khan', and if that isn't enough to get your attention, I don't know what will.
++ Noel Vera at Critic After Dark tackles Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos (Three Years Without God, Mario O'Hara, 1976). I've not seen this film, but this quote makes me want to: "...if you can't betray your country, your friends, your own self for the sake of the one you love, then your love means nothing, your love is worthless."
++ I'd hoped Thom from the wonderful Film of the Year would join in, seeing as he's the one responsible for sparking this idea, and here he is with a Lovesick Cinema Sampler. He even talks about one of my favorite films, Krzysztof Kieslowski's Trois couleurs: Blanc (1994). Also, there's a love story about a car.
++ Flickhead begs off a new contribution, due to his schedule, but that's ok, we'll take his reprint of his 2006 review of Lina Wertmüller's Travolti da un insolito destino nell'azzurro mare d'agosto (1974), better known as Swept Away. Turns out we Always love the one that hurts you.
++ Emma from All About My Movies does the reprint thing as well, giving us Happy Valentines Day, Sweethearts!, a look at her two favorite romance films, Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet (1996) and Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain (2005). I wondered how long it would take us to get to "the gay cowboy movie" (and, for the record, I agree with Emma's feelings that it's a "horrendously cruel oversimplification", but it is easy to remember).
++ Bob Westal from Forward to Yesterday (great title, by the way) looks at a couple of different types of love in Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men (2006) in his post What Keeps Mankind Alive?, using all sorts of Latin words I only vaguely remember from my school days. The noble self-sacrifice is indeed one of the greatest forms of love (I remember that from Sunday School).
++ Regular reader Johanna at The Lone Revue brings a female perspective to all this in her post Love & Loss, Jane Campion-Style. To quote Johanna's discussion of The Piano (1993), "...people who have no way of communicating and who may not even know about love from lack of experience can find true happiness under even the most grotesque or bizarre of circumstances." Indeed.
++ John Hughes alert!! Piper at LAZY EYE THEATRE looks at the man who's films defined so many of our formative years in Damn You John Hughes. Piper talks about his Hughes complex as it relates to his own love life, how the lack of Hollywood perfect moments doesn't mean his life doesn't have different, equally valid "perfect moments poorly lit and slightly botched by mediocre dialogue by a less than photogenic man who must be the nephew of the director because why the hell else would he be cast in this. But perfect moments, nonetheless."
++ About two weeks ago, I was going to watch Hsiao-hsien Hou's
Zui hao de shi guang (2005) (a.k.a. Three Times) based largely on the recommendation of Dennis Cozzalio at Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule, home of some of the best film surveys on the entire internet. Alas, I didn't because I couldn't find time. Likewise, Dennis is snowed under at work (although, I suspect he's too busy dreaming of Jason Schmidt in Dodger Blue), but he offers the reprint Movie of the Moment: Three Times
++ Your humble host and narrator focuses on the relationship of cinema to real life. Also, I spill the beans on My Love Affair With Julie Delpy.
++ Matt Zoller Seitz of The House Next Door and, occasionally, The New York Times, devotes one of his recurring posts to the cause with 5 for the Day: Sensual Pleasures, devoted to "moments that are powerful, pleasurable and memorable regardless of the presence or absence of nudity and/or actual sex onscreen." Two of them involve Jimmy Stewart. Read it without feeling all warm and fuzzy inside, I dare you.
++ Introducing it as "the proper panacea for those feeling antagonistically unromantic while the rest of the world is sizzling with love.", law student Oggs Cruz of Oggs' Movie Thoughts asks us to spend a little time this Valentine's Day with Deliverance (1972). Yes, John Boorman's Deliverance. You remember, the one with Jon Voight, a film that, as Oggs says, "is totally devoid of any depiction of romantic love." A good remedy for those of us not under the spell of Hallmark.
++ Joseph from itsamadmadblog2 asks how many of us have seen a film by Julio Medem (oh, oh, I have. I have a copy of the wonderful Lucía y el sexo (2001) somewhere in my apartment). Joseph's post, The Most Romantic Film You've Never Seen raises the point that what's often most valuable about a blog-a-thon such as this is how it introduces us to films that might have otherwise gone ignored. This time we discover Medem's Los Amantes del Círculo Polar (1998)--the newest addition to my Netflix queue.
++ Simon Crowe from Mostly Movies divulges on his own romantic trepidations in Obstacles, by a Chicken and segues that into a discussion of the various obstacles a romantic comedy protagonist must overcome in films like Brad Anderson's Next Stop Wonderland (1998), another forgotten gem.
++ I was smitten with Barbara Stanwyck for a couple of days after I first saw Baby Face (1933). Turns out I wasn't alone. Jim Emerson of scanners has an entire shrine dedicated to the woman he's "long adored". And who can blame him? There's even a Foot Fetish Page. Jim's own Contrarianism Blog-a-Thon runs all weekend. Whatever you do, don't miss it.
++ Bradley Gardner from The Kingdom of Shadows: A Film Notebook treats us to not one, but two of his reprints. First, a love-death proposal in that quintisential romance, Karl Freund's The Mummy (1932). The other, more conventional one, concerns Michelangelo Antonioni's L'eclisse (1962). Bradley finishes the post with these wonderful words: "The end of the film merely shows you things that exist. Things that are beautiful because they exist. Things that exist for a short while, giving some sort of worth to the world. Things that exist, but will eventually pass away. Like the love affair of two people who don't really love each other."
++ Oggs Cruz from Oggs' Movie Thoughts felt bad about "ruining the romantic mood" with his first post, so he digs into his archives for this review of John Torres' Todo Todo Teros (2006).
++ Fellow Muriel Award voter Steven Carlson from the aptly-named The Ongoing Cinematic Education of Steven Carlson joins in (albeit a bit late) with a look at Gabrielle (2006), which he starts by calling it "the latest in my line of perverse Valentine's Day viewing picks -- on a day set aside to celebrate love in all its forms, there's something delightful about taking a look at a film that orbits around the absence of love."