Tuesday, May 03, 2016


Here's a heads-up that the coverage of my experience at the 2016 TCM Classic Film Festival, which concluded this past Sunday, is now up and running at Slate magazine's blog The House Next Door.

The official theme of this year's festival was "Moving Pictures" which, according to the festival Web site, meant the festival would be dedicated to exploring films “that bring us to tears, rouse us to action, inspire us, even project us to a higher plane…the big-time emotions of big screen stories, from coming-of-age pictures to terminal tearjerkers, from powerful sports dramas we feel in our bones to religious epics that elevate our spirits.”

That theme always seemed a little too amorphously defined to promise much in the way of creative curation, but as I dug into the movies I'd scheduled for myself a theme of my own spelunking began to emerge, spurred on by a Saturday night screening of Band of Outsiders:

"Early on, our heroes sit for an English class in which their teacher, readying them for a lesson in Romeo and Juliet, emphasizes T.S. Eliot's observation that 'Everything that is new is thereby automatically traditional' as a way of softening her students' resistance to material that might seem musty or forbidding in any language. The quote suggests not only the teacher's belief that new texts can reorganize tradition, but also ways in which classic texts can achieve modernity, not just through themselves, but through constant recontextualization over time. Always one to recognize a movie convention, Godard uses the classroom scene to establish his modus operandi in much the same way as hundreds of films before and since have done. The teacher even spells it out on the chalkboard: to be classic is to be modern."

Read more of my account of the 2016 TCM Classic Film Festival now playing at The House Next Door.


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