Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Film Comment reviews "Life as We Show It: Writing on Film"

In its current (May/June 2009) issue, Film Comment has a review by Nicola Evans of Life as We Show It: Writing on Film, co-edited by Brian Pera and Masha Tupitsyn and published by City Lights. The editors were kind enough to include our "Forgotten Movie Screens of Broward County" in the book.

In the review, Evans calls Life as We Show It "an anthology of essays, screenplays, and stories about watching movies that has the virtue of not treating life and cinema as obvious antagonists" and goes on to say
One of the pleasures of this collection is that writing about movie viewing produces a cheerful and salutary indifference to conventional judgements of a film’s “importance.” In Richard Grayson’s charming paean to the suburban cinemas of his youth, Victor/Victoria is remembered not for being a great film, but for marking the first time the author held hands with another man. For me the two highlights in this regard are Wayne Koestenbaum’s essay about the body of Elizabeth Taylor (which might, just might tempt you to look again at Cleopatra), and “Phone Home,” Dodie Bellamy’s story of her preoccupation with E.T. when her mother was dying of lung cancer. . .

I would buy this book for Bellamy’s piece alone. To watch as cinema’s most famous stranded alien becomes by turns a figure for the narrator’s alienation from her mother’s body through illness and age, the alienation of the able bodied from boys like Matthew De Meritt, the boy with no legs who helped bring E.T. to life by walking on his hands, and finally an opportunity to reflect on what alien technologies like cinema can do to repair these rifts—is to have one’s own ideas about how and why films matter to us completely and productively overturned.

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