Feature Friday: “Vagabond” (1985)

My favorite film of the 1980s? It’s probably either this or Blade Runner, depending on which one I’ve seen last.

Or My Neighbor Totoro, or Bad Timing. Hm. Well, that’s the company Vagabond keeps.

If I ever meet Agnès Varda (and here’s hoping), I’m going to ask her why she dedicated this movie to Nathalie Sarraute.

(For more of my thoughts on this great film, see this post. See also this short and well-made Film Art video essay on Varda’s use of elliptical editing.)

Continue reading


DIY Geek Cinema

“Blade Runner replicants” (2007). Photo by comiquero (Flickr). Reposted in accordance with Creative Commons Licensing.

For a long time I’ve held an ambiguous attitude toward geek culture, and ultra-fandom. On the one hand, it’s painfully disturbing how much time some people lavish over recreating their favorite fantasy franchises, whether they while away the hours writing fan-fiction, painting fan-art, sewing cosplay costumes, compiling guides to their favorite shows and films and comics, or attending cons (or all of the above). On the other—color me naive, but these selfsame individuals often display genuine creativity, acquiring and utilizing practical skills (writing, painting, sewing, editing, socializing) in order to express their fanaticism. They admirably distinguish themselves from other, more passive consumers—and sometimes they make truly wonderful things.

Fan-fiction, and fan-art, and cosplay, and conventions, are understood to be deceptively complex, and worthwhile subjects of scholarship. Now we’ve finally reached a point, I’d like to argue, where fan-made cinema has become genuinely interesting, and deserving of critical attention.

Continue reading