Saturday, May 23, 2009

Venice Canals

While I'm at it, I might as well fill in this other obvious gap in my photo collection of my favorite places. I love the Venice canals. This photo doesn't really do them justice. They're particularly charming at night around Christmas time, when everyone's houses are lit up with Christmas lights. I still haven't seen the annual boat "race" that they have.

Garfield Park Conservatory

I was making a list of my favorite places in Chicago, so I consulted my general list of favorite places, and I realized that I had never posted any pictures of the Garfield Park Conservatory. It still is my favorite conservatory in the world.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Top Six Books About Movies

These are my favorite books about movies. These are the only books I'd actually recommend to others.

1. Robin Wood, Hitchcock's Films Revisited (Revised Edition)
2. Stanley Cavell, Pursuits of Happiness
3. James Sanders, Celluloid Skyline
4. David Thompson, A Biographical Dictionary of Film
5. Erik Barnouw, Documentary
6. Hitchcock/Truffaut

It's kind of a depressing list, because I intentionally left out so many of the great "film theorists". I can't say reading Arnheim, Bazin, or Kracauer actually informed my experience or enhanced my appreciation of any movies.

I've also intentionally left off Robert Warshow's "The Immediate Experience" and Victor Perkins' "Film as Film". Perkins because the main value of it is that it critiques the classic film theorists listed above and it would probably be best if we just ignored them altogether. Warshow just because I never got into it. But I should probably give the Warshow another try.

I like reading Pauline Kael but I can't say I find her particularly insightful. Perhaps more importantly, I don't trust her judgment enough to rethink my own attitudes in light of it. With David Thompson, on the other hand, it troubles me when I disagree with something he says.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Shoe (Postcard)

This postcard is from the Bata shoe museum in Toronto (Bata is the main shoe company in Kenya, actually, and where I used to get my safari shoes from). The caption on the back simply says "Clog with iron spikes for crushing chestnuts, France, XIX century".