My friend Peet Gelderblom at 24 Lies a Second has a dizzying and exciting new article posted there entitled ”Nighthawks: A Celluloid Fantasia”. According to 24 Lies editor Jim Moran, “(it) is a new kind of essay that takes a creative, non-expository approach to critical issues in film spectatorship. Peet's ‘celluloid fantasia’ is an unconventional tale spun to stimulate readers to consider their privileged position and responsibility as spectators—but surprisingly, through the subjectivity of some classic (and some nearly forgotten) movie characters encountering each other in a surreal New York City landscape. Film buffs will be extra rewarded.” (Bold is mine!)
I haven’t made yet all the way through Peet’s lively, dense landscape yet, but I’m enjoying the fact that I’m able to savor it. And I’m also enjoying chewing on a couple of Peet’s central concepts: cinema only exists when it is seen, and the notion that people watch, but they don't see. The chance meeting of Mickey Mouse and a somewhat notorious taxi driver that opens Peet’s essay will grab you, and the deft juggling of his ambitious concept will keep you hooked and seduce you further toward his very entertaining exploration of these ideas. Here’s an excerpt from that opening:
“The rodent gazed at his blood-covered gloves under the gleaming neon light and wondered what the hell just happened. Only moments ago he had been standing on his renowned pinnacle surrounded by roaring ocean, orchestrating stars, comets, clouds and bolts of lightning across the nocturnal sky. Everything after that was a blur, as if a blind rage had taken possession of his body. Now, here he was: Mickey Mouse, standing on a sidewalk of 42nd street, dwarfed by mighty skyscrapers in the City that Never Sleeps. Hello reality, or what passed on for it anyway.
But where had all the residents gone? How did he get here? And most of all: Why was there blood on his hands?”
Keep reading right here. Afterward, you can check into the 24 Lies forum devoted to the discussion of Peet’s work and further explore the work and the ideas within it with other readers, including myself and perhaps even the author. This looks to be yet another fascinating addition to the growing library of excellent, challenging film writing available at 24 Lies a Second. Congratulations to Peet on completing what I know was a very exhausting and exhaustive process in writing it, and congratulations to all of us for the opportunity to read it.