Saturday, October 8, 2011

Wherein I chew over the idea that it's actually possible for a movie studio to be a century old.

It has been scientifically proven that adding snow to any action scene increases its badassitude, or sweetness level, by a measure of 10-12 mifunes, or 26.4-31.56 eastwoods, as in this example from Seijun Suzuki's 1966 Tokyo Drifter.
(Image: Nikkatsu and Nihon Cine Art)

For several years after moving to New York City in 1996, I attended the New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center every fall religiously. I pored over the schedule ahead of time, joined the first wave of blinking, pasty-skinned shut-ins who lined up early in the morning to await the noon opening of the box office for the first day of ticket sales, and cleared my (of course, always bursting) social calendar for a couple of weeks.

That habit has gradually fallen off - the ticket prices have gone up dramatically, and I'm afraid I've grown a tad jaded after fifteen years in a place where I can devour rare and obscure cinema all year long as casually as I flip popcorn into my mouth. This might end up being the first year when I don't see any of the movies in the official main slate (it's even more true than usual that most of them have U.S. distributors already and will be hitting NYC screens in the near future, for less money).

But the sidebar events at the NYFF have only gotten more numerous and ambitious in recent years, and those tend to excite me more than the main slate now. Even my shriveled little soul shimmered and glowed inside my aging body at the prospect of "Velvet Bullets and Steel Kisses," a retrospective series that I would want to check out based on that title alone. Even better, it screens thirty-six movies, spanning the 1920s to this year, from Japan's oldest studio, Nikkatsu, as their 100th anniversary in 2012 approaches. Please notify the Film Society of Lincoln Center I will accept this offering as atonement for the fact that for the first time since I've been going (I think), the main slate includes no East Asian films.

I'm already finding, as usual, that I can't see as many of them as I'd like because of the exigencies of having to conduct a life outside of moviegoing, a circumstance which proves, by the way, that there is no God. But you can watch this space to see how I deal with that sobering yet freeing knowledge over the rest of the series.

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