Friday, 7 October 2011


There is something very sincere about going to the movies by yourself.
I know that is a peculiar way to describe it, sincere, but the word surfaces when I think about it. I mean, the venture entails showing up, paying for a ticket, eating that old-fashioned, homemade popcorn (yes, they have it at Cinematheque) and maybe a snickers bar, too, choosing a seat, minding the previews, and, ultimately, observing- all alone.

I did it for the first time tonight, officially lost my alone-at-a-theatre virginity, and I do not believe I would have done it if I did not feel, in some way, committed to what I was about to see; I sincerely wanted to be there.

I treated myself to a double feature; Queen of the Sun: What are the bees telling us? as well as Blank City; both films were thought provoking in entirely different ways.

Queen of the Sun is a documentary film that expresses the routines, concerns, loves, and fears of beekeepers. It provides insight into what is being referred to as Colony Collapse Disorder; essentially, the disappearance of honeybees in America.

I really, really enjoyed watching this film because it conveyed information about everything from pollination to marriage flights and monoculture in a way that was accessible even to me; someone who is not familiar, in any sense of the word, with these concepts. It managed to do so in a manner that was factual, truthful, and rather beautiful. It was sweet to visit with Mother Nature, even if only from Winnipeg, for 83 minutes, on screen. Kind of like seeing an old friend in passing, I guess.

find Debbie Harry on my wall of dreams
Blank City is a documentary film about independent filmmaking in New York City throughout the seventies and early eighties. Such directors as Amos Poe, Beth B and Scott B, and Vivienne Dick were featured, alongside subjects like Debbie Harry and Lydia Lunch.

I feel indifferent towards the film, actually. 
I do not like the fact that many of the independent films discussed in Blank City seemingly lacked content of quality; I suppose this is rooted in my aspiration to become a playwright (or perhaps, more specifically, a genuinely great playwright). It appeared as though many of the films were made hastily and lacked true substance, yet were creative in their own right and some, profound even. 
Another segment of the film was dedicated exclusively to a discussion about shock value as many directors in that era were producing works that they hoped would yield a strong reaction on behalf of audience members. While I agree that shock value does have just that- value, I believe the ‘shock’ itself should be rooted in thought-provoking, relevant content rather than in something that lacks substance and is simply designed to make someone barf after observing it (as one audience member supposedly did after witnessing Black Box by the B’s). I will acknowledge, however, that there are many approaches to filmmaking and an equally diverse array of desired outcomes.
I will have to observe the films discussed in their entirety to form a full thought, though.

I did, on the other hand, enjoy witnessing, to the extent possible, New York City as it was in the seventies. It appeared, surprisingly, minimalistic and it occurred to me that New York as a tourist destination likely developed out of this as it was noted that, at that time, the city neared bankruptcy.  

Both of the films I observed required focus and thought and an open mind; conditions I feel may be more easily obtained when alone. The screenings are on at Cinematheque tomorrow and Sunday, as well as next Wednesday, October 12.

I’d say it’s about time you muster up your courage and ask yourself out on a date.

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