Thursday, May 22, 2008

FlickPicker in the Dark

Are you an academic? Does your school run on the quarter system? Is work raining from the sky every day? Yesterday, I thought all I had to worry about were my two classes to teach (about Children of Men and the egregiously out-of-print The Portrait of a Lady, so no complaints there), and the two stacks of essays I had to grade and return, and the senior theses I needed to read and write reports about, and the 25-page report I have to write for Friday, and the separate public talks I have to write and give next Wednesday and Thursday, and the packing of my apartment that needs to be finished by next week in order to move on May 31... Who knew I would leave the office with a new talk to write for next Friday, and another batch of prize-contender essays to judge (and write reports about), and a new batch of late-breaking admissions files to read (and write reports about)? Everyone who has ever wondered what your professors do when they aren't teaching or answering (or not answering) e-mails, or everyone who hopes to be a professor and wonders what that's like: smell the roses!

At least I love my job. (Cue Emily Blunt: "I love my job... I love my job...")

But, I must say, till the quarter's over in early June, it's still going to be slow going at this blog, which means I haven't gotten to say anything about my annual springtime obsession, the Cannes Film Festival, presided over this year with a steely glare and a messy haircut by my life partner. I am addicted to all the news flowing from the Croisette. As ever, the mainline for buzz, news, and early reviews is GreenCine Daily, which has assembled this index to all the Cannes-related articles, most of them updated as the days pass and more responses trickle in. Sounds like my gal Lucrecia and my buddy James hit a few snags, and Steven and Clint prompted responses all over the board, too. (No one even knows what Clint's movie is called anymore, or how Steven's will be released.) I'm a lot more interested in that Israeli animated doc than I had thought I'd be, and Arnaud Desplechin hit a home-run with every critic and audience member I've read, but I can't say it sounds like Sean's kind of thing. (I'm guessing it's headed for a Director or Screenplay citation, or maybe a Jury Prize, even if it's the movie lots of people like the best. See Volver, etc.) I'd be a little frustrated if the Dardennes copped another trophy, though their film sounds quite good (surprise!); I've somehow never seen a Jia Zhangke film; and I'm somewhere between indifferent to openly mistrustful of Walter Salles, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, and mob movies. Out of the Competition, I'm most excited about the triumphant Terence Davies film, this coruscating film about Liberian child soldiers, and the Carax segment of the odd-sounding Tokyo!. And I love that the trailer for the upcoming Spike Lee Joint, Miracle at St. Anna, apparently wowed a lot of people.

You can use this schedule to see what's still coming up in Competition; I'm probably most eager to hear about the Kaufman and the Cantet at this point. Since I haven't seen any of it or been able to write more thorough posts as we go along, I can at least direct you back to two full reviews of two of my all-time favorite Palme winners, and shorter reviews of two others.

There's MUCH more to say, too. I still need to follow up on my exploits and juror deliberations at the Indianapolis Film Festival, which I promise I will not pass over; it'll just be a sort of Film Comment-style dossier on a festival that's a month or two in the past by press time. But I won't forget. I wanted to offer a sweet, properly worshipful elegy for the retired Modern Fabulousity, and a delirious description of getting to join Goatdog as he screened the first of only ten Best Picture nominees he has left to see from Oscar's entire back-catalogue. We both feel confident that things'll only get better from here. I was tagged for this book meme that I still haven't answered, I have the Best of 2007 to finish and the Favorites Countdown to resume, and more Best Actress races to judge and performers to profile. Keep your ear to the ground, dear reader, and pray for mid-June, when I Shall Be Released. And Relocated. And Resplendent in All Things Movie.

Photos © 2000 Zentropa Entertainment/Fine Line Features; © 2008 Aqua Films/El Deseo; and © 1967 20th Century Fox Film Corporation

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Blogger NATHANIEL R said...

if even half of those things happen in June, myself and your other devoted readers will have one of the best months ever! ;)

10:37 AM, May 24, 2008  
Blogger keep showing up said...

I swung by your blog today to high-five the end of the year, but crashed into the List. Daaa-aamn, bro. Where's the senior faculty to protect you from the avalanche of these obligations? Can you just say, No? You could count on me to delegate were I around. Yes you could.

Do forward your new contact info after your move this weekend. While postage stamps still cost less than $0.50 cents, I'd like to send you an update letter - including a short meet-up with Angela in NOLA!

Take care,

3:52 PM, May 31, 2008  

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