For quite some time now, I’ve been posting brief and largely superficial film reviews on Amazon as well as Facebook.  Since I would ultimately like to comprehend films on a deeper level and to be able to express that comprehension, I’ve decided to take advantage of the new democratization of media and create a platform for myself.

The truth is that I have a secret agenda: I really want to direct films.  Unfortunately, I have no training in filmmaking and I can’t exactly start over and pursue a film degree.  So I’m laying the groundwork for a ‘New New Wave,’ waiting for the day when a person who has proven himself capable of watching a film, of understanding it and expressing that understanding to others might be trusted with a camera and a budget.  And if that day never comes, at least I will have watched a few more films and appreciated them more.

The films that I review will be the films that I’ve chosen to watch–at least, until someone starts paying me to watch other films.  As such there will be a lot of classic cinema, especially Japanese cinema.

The reviews will be the best I can muster.  They will focus less on my personal feelings and more on “readings” of the film that are based on some set of cogent arguments.  Yes, I know that the last sentence is deeply problematic and yes I will contravene it quite frequently.  And yet, at least in my opinion, that is the ideal to which criticism of a film should strive and it implies the ideal to which great film should strive–namely, to be worthy of such readings.  As such the reviews may seem longer than the reader might be used to.  I’ll try to keep them at their shortest.  I don’t like fluff either.

The title of the blog is taken from a 1921 Japanese silent film directed by Minoru Murata and Kaoru Osanai.  It is considered the first great Japanese film (Anderson and Richie, p. 107) and its very title evokes a spirit that I would like to embrace in this blog.  I wanted to begin by reviewing Souls on the Road but the only copy of it that I can find has no subtitles.  Though it has a lot of  purely cinematic sequences whose elegance and clarity need no translation I find it to be unpropitious to begin my labor of understanding films with a film that I cannot hope to fully understand.  Hopefully, the translations of the inter-titles will show up someday (or better,  a subtitled benshi track) and I’ll be able to weigh in on that special and historically significant film.  I may just as well have chosen Intolerance, but it would have unavoidable connotations to less savory ideas.

Previous generations could blame their failure on an inability to be heard, that nobody bought their book because nobody knew about it, the decks were stacked etc.  The internet has disqualified, or at the very least weakened a lot of those excuses.  In the absence of established media outlets, we must answer ourselves: Is this blog worth your time to read?  Will it be worth my time to write?

I hope so.

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