A question that I’ve heard a lot recently (at least 2 or 3 times a year) is how come I stopped blogging?  Was it because I no longer care about films?  Too busy with family or school?  Lack confidence in my rapidly decaying writing abilities? Lost the initial buzz and couldn’t rediscover some motivation?

The answer to all of those questions is yes and no.

I set a high bar for myself.  I wanted to write engaging, thought-provoking and convincing analyses of all sorts of films, from obscure silents to this year’s blockbusters.  I found the process of formulating my thoughts on a film and committing them to writing immensely rewarding but it took an inordinate amount of time and effort to execute.   Watching a film now required much more attention to detail which was difficult to muster while still enjoying the film for what it was.  On top of that, I’d have to watch parts of the film several times, read others’ commentary to see if there were issues that I was missing, grab screenshots and most importantly string it all together into a uniform review that was entertaining to read, even by people less enthusiastic about the film than me.

I often considered writing shorter, simpler more “magazine-friendly” reviews but always ended up deciding against it.  Why bother doing something that doesn’t have much inherent value and is already being done by thousands of people who can probably do it better than you?  My only hope of obtaining relevance is by writing in the genre in between the vacuous commercial reviews and the ivory tower formalistic essays of the high-brow film world.  I’d like to argue that there is another way to watch films.  You can be more serious than the passive blockbuster attendee without recourse to the voluminous and  tenuously relevant world of “film studies.”  There’s room in the world for a cinephile.  If you read Truffaut’s “The Films in My Life” you’ll find he was somewhere in this in-between world.  I don’t intend to hold him up as some gold standard for how things should be done (though that wouldn’t be a bad way to start) but his success demonstrates that a fertile middle ground exists.

In the time since my last blogging I’ve watched many tens of hours of film, learned to appreciate new facets of filmmaking from technique to broader context and reformulated for myself what exactly I’m doing here.  With this added experience,  the next crop of reviews promises to be more entertaining, deeper and more circumspect than the first.

So what’s in store?

  • The long awaited Dark Knight review, incorporating a review of Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman
  • A survey of Japanese cinema based on the late Keiko McDonald’sReading a Japanese Film: Cinema in Context.” Using this book will provide me with an eye-opening path through films I haven’t seen and a new perspective on ones I have.  Also it provides me with a persistent interlocutor for the duration.  The first installment, a review of Mizoguchi’s “Sisters of the Gion” is half-written already.
  • More posts on non-film subjects.  As this is my only soapbox (for the time being), I may as well exploit it for all it’s worth.

I hope that my readers old and new will enjoy accompanying me on this next phase of souls on the road.