Notebook's 6th Writers Poll: Fantasy Double Features of 2013
One of my favorite annual events, the publication of the Notebook’s year-end Fantasy Double Features poll. One of my favorite things to write, and read. I wrote a small piece I’m very proud of, which I’m happy to have published in such incredible company.
For this assignment, the brief was: pair an 'old' film and a 'new' film, each seen in 2013. Instead, I offer two old-new films, each rediscovered in their own way for the first time in 2013, and each in their own way the most moving cinematic moment(s) of my year. First, an untitled film, or rather, one whose title I won't share. A fragment, really, just seven seconds long, nearly silent, and certainly without speaking. 'Shot,' if you can call it that, by an app that records video from Skype, and thus far never seen any larger than 320 × 240 pixels. A film I made, accidentally, in 2010, its existence forgotten since then, which somehow arrived in 2013 as new and, importantly, complete. A film that presents at most a single gesture, or maybe two. This fragment has made me smile and cry more than any other in 2013. I've told you nothing of it. Publicly, it has never existed, never been seen except by my own eyes. Privately, it makes sense only as a tiny piece of a much larger history, to which only two people could ever be privy. I wonder if, were this private diary to survive, it could ever be understood. Sappho's poems survive only in fragments. Second, a silent film, lovingly restored by cinematic saint Kevin Brownlow, and projected on 4K at the 2013 TCM Classic Film Festival in front of a crowd much too sparse.The Big Parade(King Vidor, 1925) is the story of a long-distance relationship—begun in tenderness, trampled by circumstance, sustained by faith, and reunited by commitment. It is other things as well; there's tenderness and comedy, both to be found in brotherhood, and the tragedy and revelation of disillusionment's double-edged sword. But most of all, this story is of unfaltering love. To be close, then to be far away, then to draw close again; to hobble and stumble and run to hold your love again.