Monthly Archives: March 2017

En movimiento: The Unfinished Dance of Meaning

A forthcoming “En movimiento” column for Caimán Cuadernos de Cine. This is the original, longer version, before I had to trim it down to suit the magazine’s new design and format — J.R.

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It’s logical and inevitable that the meanings of films change over time. After all, we’re the ones who determine, discover, and/or describe those meanings, and it’s obvious that we and our understandings change over time.  At some point during my first decade, I saw a film in which poisoned biscuits played some role in the plot, and during a trip with my parents soon afterwards, I refused to eat biscuits in a hotel restaurant. I’ve subsequently been unable to remember or otherwise pinpoint the title of this film, even after several Google searches, but I’m sure that if I could resee it today, I wouldn’t take it as a practical warning about consuming biscuits.

I’ve had better luck in finding and revisiting another film that upset me during my early childhood. A protracted search in this case eventually yielded The Unfinished Dance (Henry Koster, 1947), which I most likely saw at a revival in my hometown in Alabama circa 1949 or 1950, when I was six or seven, and didn’t see again until over six decades later, after ordering a DVD.… Read more »

TIH-MINH, OUT 1: On the Nonreception of Two French Serials

From The Velvet Light Trap, spring 1996 (and reprinted in my 1997 collection Movies as Politics). Given all the screenings of Out 1 that are recently taking place on both sides of the Atlantic, with (almost) concurrent Blu-Ray and DVD releases in France, the U.K., and the U.S., this seems like a good time to repost this article. My still lengthier reflections can be found on the Carlotta digital releases in France and the U.S.  — J.R.

On the Issue of Nonreception

What connections can be found between two French serials made almost half a century apart? Aside from the fact that both of them appear on my most recent “top ten” list (1), I’m equally concerned with the issue of why such pleasurable, evocative, enduring, multifaceted, and incontestably beautiful works should remain so resolutely marginal — unseen, unavailable, and virtually written out of most film histories except for occasional guest appearances as the vaguest of reference points. The problem isn’t simply an American or an academic one; although no print of either serial exists in the United States, it can’t be said that either film has received much attention in France either — or elsewhere, for that matter.… Read more »