CineSavant Column

Saturday December 28, 2019


I have had a fine holiday so far, and some family hasn’t quite arrived for New Years’ yet. In case you’re wondering about the secret to a happy life, it often arrives for Christmas in the form of homemade CARROT CAKE. Raising children has its sterling benefits — it may be a lot of time and effort, but when you’re done you have another person in the family capable of baking such heavenly treats. That’s my totally unselfish thought of the day.

This is the kind of mystery nobody minds. An unexpected disc arrived, from a company that hasn’t been sending me fantastic/sci-fi product for half a year or so. There’s no paperwork and the unfamiliar address on the envelope gives no clue. Is this a mystery gift from a reader, or a stealth bit of generosity from the disc company?  I really want to know, just to give thanks — I very much wanted to review it, and now I have my chance.

Film students from the ’70s were saddened by the passing this week of the fine film critic and author Peter Wollen. Most of us knew him through his book Signs and Meaning in the Cinema, a brilliant but sometimes frustrating serious look at movie analysis. Wollen could be to movies what Noam Chomsky is to linguistics — a brilliant writer whose full analysis I can’t pretend I fully understood. But what a great book series that was. Andrew Tudor’s Theories of Film from the same imprint, was a little more accessible. So if you were in critical studies in the 1970s, consider this a bumper sticker saying ‘honk if you struggle with Wollen!’

And let me sign off with thanks to Bradley Powell with enthusiastic hopes for more Olive Films releases. Guess what made a fine festive shirt for Christmas Day?

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson