Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Long View: Being, in no particular order, 25 things I've bumped into along the way and have not forgotten. Yet.

18. Filmmaking
Film is the best way yet invented to tell the truth and tell lies at the same time. What appears to be real life is nothing more than a trick -- still, dead, sequential photos strung together in a long strip and projected in such a way as to convince the viewer they are seeing reality. Truth, as Godard put it, 24 times a second. I worked in films for a decade or so, in Hollywood. The work is rigorous, though, at the time (late '70s, early '80s), the plentiful cocaine helped keep one going. The part of the process I loved was editing. Sitting in a darkened room at a Steenbeck editing machine and watching a scene turn into reality as the montage of pictures, voices, music becomes convincing and, with luck and skill, compelling. As I mentioned earlier, Velazquez invented cinema in 1656 when he painted Las Meninas, though the Lumiere Bros. created the technology that made film the worldwide phenomena it still is. Film reached its most evolved state in the silent era. As someone suggested, it's development happened backwards. Movies should have begun in color with sound, then progressed to black and white, silent. In Sunset Boulevard, when William Holden recognizes the faded silent film star played by Gloria Swanson and asks, "You used to be big in the movies, didn't you?" She replies disdainfully, "I'm still big, the movies got small."

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