Peter Howell bitching out 54 in the Toronto Star (1998.08.28):
ost of the blame goes to writer/director Mark Christopher, who was a lot less ready to helm his first feature than Miramax had assumed.
Christopher can’t shoot a dance scene to save his life – he keeps cutting away, as if afraid to face the music – and his screenplay lacks focus…. Christopher’s insipid script doesn’t allow him to say much, either. What he does say is laughably stupid….
The weirdest thing about this movie is how tame it is…. It almost seems as if Christopher was trying to make a movie that could be shown as is on airplanes, without a single edit.
In actual fact, Harvey fucking Weinstein et al. hacked the movie for a disastrously misidentified literal bridge-and-tunnel audience and demanded expensive reshoots.
Mark Christopher today: “I was raised on a farm and you always finish the job you begin no matter what happens, even if a tornado goes through. That’s sort of my work ethic. It was painful, but what are you going to do? I mean, what is painful is for the critics to blame you. That’s painful. But what are you going to do?”
(Cf. The Dead Boys’ Club and Alkali, Iowa.)
Adam Curtis uses footage as actual text (severely edited excerpt):
The Internet… has also produced a revenge of the written word, and of those who believe writing is the senior service of media. […] The left, with its tradition of print journalism, […] could be seen as attempt to cut visual mass media down to size. […]
The criticisms of Curtis’ use of archival footage and his editing techniques have some of this spirit. At work here is a misunderstanding of what he is doing. Curtis’ films are histories. Almost all serious written histories are led by the use of archival sources. In practice most of these were produced, and are kept, by institutions of various kinds. So the argument that Curtis is “lost in archives” or or “lost in the BBC archives” is a non-criticism…. This is also the technique of many works of oral history. The statement that Bitter Lake is an “emotional history” is therefore in keeping with this tradition. […]
nlike history writing, Curtis’ films have no footnotes and apparatus: but this is true of all factual films. Having more talking head experts would not solve the problem; it would merely introduce multiple arguments from authority.
Cf. the scenario, which I cannot prove actually happened, in which a documentarian can win an award for writing in a film with no voiceover.
(Samizdat Bitter Lake: YouTubé; Viméo.)
Gender Detective (for it is she):
he entire fucking problem with the queer community… can be summed up in one incredibly self-important and obnoxious quote:
It’s hard to win trust in the trans community, and shockingly easy to lose. Trust can vanish like love spurned, in an instant, with no hope of winning it back.
The fact that this is something someone would say without feeling like an asshole is mind-boggling to me. is is the behavior of an abuser: Set arbitrary rules, keep everyone around you in fear of breaking them, react with fury and shaming the moment they step out of line, and then recast your instability and aggression as a reasonable reaction to the other person’s “failures.” Then repeat, repeat, repeat, until you have control. The relationship between feminism and the queer community is the abuser narrative writ large.
So much is wrong with Tom Bianchi’s ethos, mien, œuvre. And no man his age – gay or not, “We’ve been pretty longer” or not – should have that kind of body. But his reflexive Doug Johnsonson photo and painting are the ne plus ultra of gay narcissism.