Friday, January 30, 2004

For no one reason in particular, but for a few: Louis Feuillade.
I've seen only Barrabas, in one long -six hour- afternoon, at MoMA. It was astonishing.

I spent a lot of time in Tom Gunning's classes, though I was never one of his students. Once we were at a lecture by his old teacher Jay Leyda, at the opening of a series of early silent films at the Whitney. I think this was about 1987. My girlfriend worked for the Whitney's film curator, and at the same time I had gone back to Purchase to finish my degree. Leyda was old and frail, and spoke with a knowledge and affection for the history of film that seemed odd for a man his age. He spoke like someone who had discovered his life's work in childhood, and who not only loved movies but understood their importance, and had done so from the first. In the car going back up to Westchester I mentioned this to Tom.
"But what's Leyda's degree in?"
"Film Studies"
"At his age, where did he get a degree in Film Studies?"
"Who'd he study with?"

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