I am changing my approach to The Dancing Image. This mostly means a behind-the-scenes reconfiguration on my part, but what will be its physical manifestations? In other words, how does this affect you, dear reader? Let me delineate:
1. Less is more
Quantity will drop, quality will rise. I will post maybe once a week, maybe more if the spirit moves me, maybe less. But only on a topic that excites me (no more self-imposed commitments; see below), and even when it's a lightning flash rather than a cultivated essay I will revise and improve as need be.
2. No commitments
I am dropping the idea of full-length posts on every film in the following Netflix queues: the Chronological Canon (that's where all the silent films have been coming from), Best of the 21st Century (which at any rate has been abandoned since August), and even The Director's Chair/Auteurs series. In their place, I will offer up capsule reviews of 25 films at a time for the first two queues, and, in the case of The Director's Chair, an analysis and reaction to a director's career once I've watched all of his movies.
3. Termites over elephants
I want to sacrifice comprehensiveness for intensity. Though this may seem to contradict my promise of more worked-over, thought-out essays, it doesn't - after all, Farber's termites connotated an extreme focus on detail over "balance." I will probably start attacking more movies from a certain point, focusing on a given aspect rather than trying to capture the whole. A little more of my old IMDB spirit, where I could be more succinct, pointed, and assertive given the lack of formal restrictions.
4. Whither greatness?
Exploring mostly new movies (new to me), I have not dealt with many masterpieces on The Dancing Image. Nor have I tackled films I feel passionately about. Both shortcomings will be rectified in my upcoming series on Favorite Great Movies - not guilty pleasures, nor Art That Must Be Studied - classics (or should-be classics) which I also happen to love. It may be 120, or 150, and it may take years to get through, because I won't write on a given movie until I can ensure it's the best writing possible. Sometimes I'll crawl inside the picture, at others stand outside and marvel at its formal beauty; I may riff on associations or deal explicitly with what's onscreen - the approach will depend on the movie and my own mood. Even within this goal, no artificial constraints. Except one: I'll unwind the epic list in chronological order...albeit without necessarily knowing what the next film will be. This series will essentially be the central function of The Dancing Image from now on.
5. It's the pictures, stupid.
I don't intend to compete with Jeremy Richey's visual panache (who could?) but since the early days, I've tried to crown my prose with an unusual and appealing still. Till now, this has been limited by what I can Google. But now I promise to offer up hand-picked frames from the movies in question (unless they are unavailable on DVD). The focus will still be on the word, but hell, it's a movie blog, right? I ought to give you something fresh to look at...
While blogging recedes as a personal priority, and as I attempt to move forward in my understanding, appreciation of, and involvement with cinema, this seems to me the best way to reconcile my own responsibilities and desires with my readers’ enjoyment. The Dancing Image will only get better from here on...that's my one last promise.