Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Did I miss Christmas?

Seems like I'm always neglecting this thing, doesn't it? Forgive the reappearing/disappearing/reappearing act, guys; I've been unexpectedly without internet for much of the past month, forced to spend my spare time foraging for free wireless signals and cursing Mother Nature. You see, we've enjoyed some lovely summer storms around here lately, and one of them took out my dad's computer, my sister's computer, and the router that connects my computer to both of theirs. Fixing this has taken much longer than any of us anticipated, but thankfully I'll be back on campus by Sunday. I never thought I'd be in a position to miss Rowan's meager internet, but such is life.

In the meantime, I still need to go through all my film-related notes from Paris, but I'll tell you about a lovely surprise I had in a theater right here in Jersey. Have you seen The Time-Traveler's Wife? I went with my mom and sister last week, and to be honest I wasn't expecting all that much. I was pleasantly surprised in a couple of ways, not least of which was when a clip from this film popped up on-screen. I'll have you know I was quite proud of myself for being able to identify it immediately, although come to think of it after the number of times I've seen that movie, being able to pick it out by one scene is hardly an accomplishment.

Er, for those who haven't seen the movie yet and plan to, the above has absolutely nothing to do with any plot spoilers, but you might not want to click that link if you'd rather be surprised. Also, you might not want to read the rest of this post, which may in fact contain spoilers.

For everyone else: What did you think of the reference? I admit, after my initial "Y HELO THAR I KNOW YOU, MOVIE" buzz wore off, I had to kind of question why the filmmaker chose that particular scene of that particular movie. I mean, okay, I get it, Bette Davis is drunkenly rambling about time and the male protagonist here travels through time and neither of them feels they have enough time. But being so familiar with the film from which that one clip is taken, I can't really divorce it from its original context. On first viewing, I really didn't see a parallel between Henry and Miss Judith Traherne. She, in that clip, has just found out she's going to die; he travels back to, in a sense, relive various parts of his life over and over and over again. As much as I appreciate any opportunity to throw in a Bette Davis reference, I just wasn't sure it fit.

However, after talking to my mom about it a bit as we left the theater, it started to make a little more sense. Now, after typing up all the reasons why it originally confused me, I'm actually starting to see the connections between Henry and Judy. Henry's condition, we're told, is neurological and cannot be cured... just like Judy's. Both Henry and Judy are burdened with the knowledge of when they're going to die, and both movies involve a man keeping that knowledge from the woman he loves (and both deal somewhat with the fallout of that secrecy).

The more I think about it, the more I'm sold on the idea. Anyone want to add another $.02? Or if you have't seen The Time-Traveler's Wife, or Dark Victory, or both, then why don't you tell me about the last time you saw a classic film incorporated into a more modern work, and how you think that was handled?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Bonjour, salut, and âllo...

Hello, all! Sorry for the long absence; my internet connection in France was surprisingly spotty, my free time was unsurprisingly short, and I've been working nonstop since I've been back. That's all over now though, and I have three weeks in which to catch my breath and catch up on everything before I go back to school. I have a whole slew of movies (both old and not-so-much) to ramble about, but first I thought I'd dip my toes back into the proverbial blogging water by sharing a few film-related experiences I had in Paris.

First off, in my after-class wanderings I stumbled upon what might just be my favorite place in the whole city. The Bibliothèque due Cinéma François-Truffaut is an entire library dedicated to film history, with books in both French and English. It's located in the underground shopping mall/cultural center/métro station in Les Halles, right next door to the Forum des Images, a cinema and instructional center with thousands of archived films I unfortunately did not get the chance to peruse. I could have happily camped out here for the entire month, but as there was much else to do I settled for a quick snapshot and a single evening of browsing the stacks. (Apologies for the poor picture quality; my camera was on the wrong setting and I didn't want to make my friend stand there and take it again.)

My second great discovery came in a poster shop in Montmartre. They had stacks and stacks of classic film posters in English and French, but when I saw this French version of Bringing Up Baby I just had to have it. I limited myself to just this one purchase, but I did go back to that shop again to look for more. I would have felt kind of silly coming home from Paris with a suitcase full of English-language movie posters, but I was so, so very tempted.

That's about it for now. There's one more place that gets its own post before I go back to talking about movies, but first I'm going to go watch Notorious and catch up on my blogroll.