Lost in the Movies: THE ARCHIVE Chapter 14: Long Goodbyes (November - December 2011)

THE ARCHIVE Chapter 14: Long Goodbyes (November - December 2011)

Still running off the energy generated by my "32 Days of Movies" film clip series, I immediately announced "The Big Ones," a canonical mission to review the most notable titles that I'd overlooked on my site thus far: warhorses like Casablanca, Citizen Kane, Grand Illusion, Seven Samurai, The Seventh Seal, among others. Following a familiar pattern, enthusiastic commitment eventually descended into weary obligation but I finished the project anyway, producing some of my stronger essays in the process. Other ongoing endeavors exhausted themselves too and after a hectic holiday schedule I took another break.

Subjects include a list of 100 favorite films to top off this autumn of all-encompassing cinephilia, impressions of avant-garde classics, my final round-up of other bloggers' work, an interview with an independent filmmaker, and a revealing comparison between Bambi as book and Disney adaptation (among other "animated animals" in November).

My highlight for this period is, perhaps unsurprisingly, an essay on Citizen Kane emphasizing what the film's structure says about individual characters as well as the relationship of form and content.

The Story of the Fox
A vivid stop-motion fable kicks off the Animated Animals Month of my Fixing a Hole series

My #1 noir: Laura
In tribute to the Wonders in the Dark genre countdown from the year before, I reviewed a personal favorite forties mystery

What's your best post this year?
Inviting movie bloggers to pick their favorite posts of 2011

Desert Island Discs
Filling a small case of DVDs for a cross-country move...which ones did I choose?

My #1 musical: Jammin' the Blues
Glorious proto-music video whose visual impact is echoed in many later classics

Introducing "The Big Ones": 32 classic films reviewed over 7 weeks
These were probably the most canonical films that I had not yet covered on my site

It's a Twister!
The Wizard of Oz was not on my "Big Ones" list because I was saving it for a more ambitious analysis (never written); in the meantime, I paid visual tribute to the tornado sequence

Dumbo ("Fixing a Hole")
Linking to guest writer Stephen Gebbett-Russell's entry in my Animated Animals Month series

The Battleship Potemkin
Revisiting Sergei Eisenstein's revolutionary masterpiece in the autumn of Occupy Wall Street to kickstart my series on The Big Ones

Bicycle Thieves
The moral (but not moralistic) vision of neorealism, as The Big Ones series continues

The Big Ones finds a way into Jean-Luc Godard's debut feature through the lengthy bedroom dialogue

Not just a glamorous romance but a fervent expression of antifascist commitment, as I discovered on The Big Ones rewatch

Citizen Kane
Each narrator presents a different viewpoint, style, period, and even genre, investigated in-depth for The Big Ones

Memories, Dreams, and Reflections
Visual tribute to the flashbacks and fantasies in Wild Strawberries

An Open Letter to Toontown
Should the cast of Who Framed Roger Rabbit "Occupy Tinseltown"?

City Lights
What makes the end of Chaplin's poignant comedy so affecting? The Big Ones attempts to answer...

The Decalogue
The Big Ones studies each chapter of Krzysztof Kieslowski's ten-part anthology, loosely riffing on the ten commandments with a unique visual approach for each

La Dolce Vita
Fellini's famous hit didn't resonate with me at first, but for some reason I was compelled to rewatch it a few hours later, and it clicked (I re-visit this process for The Big Ones)

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
Looking at the childhood favorite again for The Big Ones, I'm more taken with the beginning and end than the middle

Disney's ambitious animation characterizes yet another anthology film in The Big Ones line-up

Wandering Across Europe
Visual tribute to Yoshishige Yoshida's dazling riff on Antonioni and Resnais

Bambi, book and movie
Comparing Felix Salten's novel to Walt Disney's adaptation for my Fixing a Hole - Animated Animals Month, I notice their differing treatment of Bambi's parents, Man, and Gobo (who's cut from the film completely)

The General
The Big Ones recognizes Buster Keaton's talent for realism within slapstick (and vice-versa) in his Civil War chase comedy

The Godfather and The Godfather Part II
Considering the Godfathers alone and together as The Big Ones doubles up for the first time

Grand Illusion
What is the illusion, exactly? That ambiguity is part of what makes this one of The Big Ones


It's a Wonderful Life
This multifaceted entry in The Big Ones is like switching the channel from a novelistic communal portrait to an intense psychodrama to an episode of The Twilight Zone (topped off by a Christmas special)

Jules and Jim
For my Big Ones review, I reflect the way I've seesawed back and forth on one of Francois Truffaut's most beloved films

Farewell, My Lovely...
Pictures from Murder, My Sweet, one of the most dazzling noirs (and my favorite Raymond Chandler adaptation)

Avant-Garde: The Silents ("Fixing a Hole")
Linking to guest writer Maurizio Roca's entry to launch my Avant Garde Month

Long transcript of interview
The full version of my conversation with a young filmmaker

The Killer, the Filmmaker, and Their Modus Operandi: A Conversation with Mitch Rouse, director of "M.O."
Talking to a director deep in pre-production

Announcements - The Movie Timeline & other stuff
Adding a chronological directory of films to my site

Highlights for the holidays
Highlighting my work from the late fall of 2011

Avant-Garde: THE LEGENDS
Maya Deren, Kenneth Anger, and Stan Brakhage - a look at mid-twentieth century American avant-garde cinema as Fixing a Hole resumes

Celebrating the work of Amos Vogel and the international experimental films he promoted (an entry in Fixing a Hole)

Blog 11
My fourth and final round-up of the movie blogosophere, with bloggers once again choosing their favorites of their own work

Metropolis ("The Tower of Babel")
Resuming The Big Ones series by focusing on a specific sequence in Fritz Lang's classic

The Passion of Joan of Arc
There's nothing quite like the phenomenon of experiencing the Dreyer/Falconetti collaboration (an entry for The Big Ones)

What does The Big Ones series see in Ingmar Bergman's ink blot?

Getting lost in the Where's Waldo world of Jacques Tati for The Big Ones

Raging Bull, the Last of the Consensus Classics
One of the more recent Big Ones exists at several crossroads, between Hollywood and neorealism, postwar "bigness" and post-sixties edge

The Big Ones looks at a kaleidoscopic narrative where the only real variable is the woman - the accounts of rape/murder are less about different variations of truth than about a single truth covered up for different reasons

Rear Window (& thoughts on Dial M for Murder)
Two 1954 Alfred Hitchcock films about marital murder, shot in color, and starring Grace Kelly; one is one of the Big Ones, the other an interesting companion

Discussing The Rules of the Game
An unusual Big Ones entry, composed of various responses to my forum post on why I didn't "get" Jean Renoir's most acclaimed film

Schindler's List and Munich
Although I originally intended to include just one of these titles in The Big Ones, they make a compelling pair by playing off one another's genre, maturity, and point of view

The Searchers
The world of this Big Ones western entry stretches beyond the frame and even the narrative, as if it existed long before the onscreen story begins

Avant-Garde: WHAT'S IN A NAME?
Three experimental films that play with language in different ways: The Girl Chewing Gum, Rabbit, A Walk Through H - wrapping up Avant-Garde Month and my Fixing a Hole series

Merry Christmas from Monika and Yoko ("32 Days of Movies")
Updating my 32 Days of Movies clip series with a few additions

The Seven Samurai
The Big Ones asks if Akira Kurosawa's most celebrated film is individualist or communitarian

The Seventh Seal
Although for many this was Ingmar Bergman's first famous film (a no-brainer for inclusion in The Big Ones), it was also his nineteenth - a culmination of his early work as well as a breakthrough

Taxi Driver
One of my earliest reviews, written when I was fifteen, provides insight into what first drew me to one of The Big Ones

The Third Man
The Big Ones applies an existentialist lens to the British noir

Tokyo Story
Yasujiro Ozu's most celebrated film - landing it in The Big Ones series - is also one of his most atypical

The penultimate entry in The Big Ones is characterized by an omniscient, observational style often used playfully, but here reserved for tragedy

Last Call
Highlights from a very busy back half of December as I prepare to say goodbye - for now

100 of My Favorite Movies
After months devoted to surveying cinema history, I listed a hundred favorites; now the titles all link to my subsequent Favorites series exploring each in turn

Vertigo, Vertigo Variations, and Watching Movies While Blogging
The final entry in The Big Ones morphs into a meta-essay about blogger burnout while also touching on a recent video essay about Vertigo

Explore The Dancing Image - TOP POSTS
Highlights from three and a half years of the site, as I prepare for another long break

(I covered this period on Episode 14 of my Patreon podcast)

Next: Slow-Motion Restart (May - October 2012)
(in which I build up my site again after a long pause)

Previous: Video Dreams (September - November 2011)

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