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November 3, 2004

It's really cold today, which usually makes me happy. I did the best thing I could do this morning: I went to see a French film that was virulently anti-war. Granted, Jeunet's A Very Long Engagement is a US co-production, but hey, any unity between nations is a good thing. The movie, while good, is no Amelie -- but its politics warmed my heart when the romance did not. Review forthcoming.

When I finally got tired of looking at polls last night, I watched Citizen Kane (and was going to have a Joseph Cotten/Orson Welles double feature by following it up with The Third Man, but the morning was drawing near). Kane impressed me again, this time not just by living up to its legend but by surprising me with its narrative economy. I think on past viewings, I've been so dazzled by the technical virtuosity that I've neglected to pay attention to how simple the film really is, structurally, and how well Welles picks and chooses what parts of this man's life we get to see. I think if this movie were to be made today, it would push on the three hour mark. But Welles manages to select all the right moments, zipping through years without giving us the sense that we're getting the short end of this man's life story. I think this is because, throughout the whole film, Kane's political and business ambitions take second stage, narratively, to his personal relationships -- through which those ambitions still shine, more subtly but just as pertinently as if there had been an equal number of scenes devoted solely to them.

Anyway, back to business. As I wait for an important phone call/e-mail (or lack thereof), here are some things I've been reading:

-- Fimoculous Rex's interview with the maker of a documentary I really want to see: Chuck Olsen's Blogumentary.

-- The Guardian's interview with The Yes Men, in which they discuss not only the political stunts shown in the movie but a few more they've pulled off since then which sound even more wonderful.

-- The Onion's interview with Brad Bird, whose unparalleled masterpiece, The Iron Giant, feels like something I really want to revisit right now.

-- Harper's Guide To Expatriation, also pointed at by Fimouclous Rex (no mention of New Zealand, though, my destination of choice).

Posted by David Lowery at November 3, 2004 5:30 PM


I'm opting for the imaginary nation. Haven't thought of a name yet....

Hopefully, by the time you're able to see it, Blogumentary will be as good as it sounds in print. :-)

Posted by: Chuck Olsen at November 4, 2004 12:11 AM