Saturday, August 21, 2004

Manohla Dargis returns to New York and the Times once again has a film critic I take seriously.
"Rosenstrasse" is far from the most offensive movie made about the Holocaust, but that isn't saying much. The Holocaust need not be immune to fiction, which must have the absolute freedom to be faithless, even to history. But there's something unsettling when fiction exploits this history to such puny, self-interested ends.
From a post earlier this year
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?"

Manohla would get a kick out of that story, 

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