Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

LA-DI-DAH - Vertigo... Figuratively


From time to time, I have days like this when I lack the drive to post entries on my blog.

I have my usual routine, which includes, reading through all my blog subscriptions, via Google Reader, looking for any worthwhile news to mention and/or comment on.

I'm not sure what it's like for the rest of you out there, especially those who manage similar niche blogs; but, for me, everything I read just starts to look and sound the same - the same group of 10 or so names involved in the same often unoriginal retreads of films I've already seen countless times. Or it's the op-ed piece by John/Jane Smith on some race-related aspect of the industry, whether positive or negative. Or it's the rantings of a minority actor/actress/director/writer/producer, expressing their unhappiness with certain industry inequities.

I get bored with it all. I feel like I've seen and heard it all before, and I'm inturn left uninspired, even as I try to beef up each entry with as much substance as I possibly can.

What's the point of it all, I ask myself?

What's there to really look forward to?

Quite frankly, there are moments when I'd love to shut it all down and invest my time in more personal ventures - something I've done at least once previously, only to return months later to reboot it all over again, as some of you will recall; however, I have to admit that there is something addicting about the act of blogging, especially as you witness your audience's continuous rapid growth. My site is certainly not as popular as some others, but I've seen my daily number of visitors (as have my subscribers) grow tenfold what they were about a year ago, when I first started blogging actively. So, I feel obligated to keep my content fresh, to satisfy my readers so that they inturn return, and my numbers continue to climb.

But maybe taking a break is OK once in awhile, and I shouldn't allow doing so to feel like a letdown.

I've toyed with the idea of a consolidation of sorts with other bloggers - essentially, those of us who blog about black cinema combine our blogs into a single massive portal - but I have yet to act on the idea. It's still something that I think would be beneficial to all of us - the bloggers as well as the readers.

Doing so distributes the task of keeping the site's content updated, so that it isn't entirely in the hands of a single editor, as it currently is for many of us.

I'd love to hear your individual thoughts on that.

Regardless, as I've said previously on my podcast, and probably on this blog as well, cinema just doesn't move me as much as it once did - specifically the cinema that I consume. Over the last 5 or so years, there've been so few films that have left much of an impression on me - both mainstream and independent. I go to the theatre, pay my $12, sit through 2 hours of uninspired, mostly generic work.

Filmmaker Peter Greenaway said about 2 years ago that cinema is dead, and his solution thus far has been to incorporate other kinds of media into his process, turning the movie-watching experience from a mostly passive one to an active one - getting the audience involved by creating a more challenging, albeit unnecessarily convoluted (IMHO) experience.

His last project, The
Tulse Luper Suitcases is a perfect example - a film that's even more unorthodox compared to the already contrarian Greenaway's previous projects. The end result is more of an extended art installation piece than anything we would traditionally refer to as cinema.

But, I say, maybe what we need to do is the opposite - strip cinema down to its barest essentials, and start all over again (a reinvention we could say), returning to a time when story is what really mattered - no gimmicks, no adornments; just compelling characters in equally compelling situations that speak to the proverbial human condition, whether in humorous, dramatic, or scientific ways.

Or maybe it's just me, and I need to work through whatever hurdles are in my path.

Or, maybe I should heed Gandhi's famous quote, and be the change that I want to see; essentially, shut the fuck up and make some movies - the kinds of movies that I believe the industry severely lacks.

Well, I'm certainly making an effort to do so, as are many other filmmakers I know.

Obviously, the process is much easier spoken about than completed.

However, I'm sure that by tomorrow, I'll be back to blogging about whatever is in the ether - maybe even by this evening, after I've watched a film or two from yesteryear that reinvigorates me.

I often download and watch movies on my 3.5-inch iPod Touch screen. It's certainly not the most ideal way to watch a movie, but it keeps me occupied during my daily New York city subway commute. I would read instead, but it's difficult for me to focus on print on the subway, so I read when I'm at home. On my iPod Touch is certainly not how I usually screen films; it's just another tool I use, thanks to Apple. I prefer the theatrical experience over all others. Interestingly, I rarely watch films at home - whether on cable TV or rentals.

When I'm writing, I tend to watch films that I think could inspire what I'm writing in some way - whether in story, or style, or both. For the past few days, I've been reacaquanting myself with Hitchcock's magnificent works. I've never really grown tired of them, and watch each with the same anticipation and thrill as I did upon initially seeing them.

So, this weekend, we'll see another new crop of 10 to 20 films in theatres across the country, whether in very limited or very wide release, and I just might be present for 1 or two of them, if I can muster up the required enthusiasm to do so.

If not, I'll instead be at home, or in some hole-in-the-wall cafe in New York city, working on my own hopefully worthwhile contribution to the marketplace.

So it goes...



  1. Anonymous said...

    So jazzed to read that you are still writing and contemplating future film projects. Your posting brought to mind a quote that I'm sure I've shared before:

    "It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat." - T.R.


  2. Aziza said...

    Yeah, we all have our days. Welcome to the party LOL!

    I think your idea for a combined black film site is a good one. I subscribe to yours, Invisible Woman's, Black Box Office, and at least 2 others, and it does seem like you folks post a lot of the same material. So why not?

    I love Hitchcock too. I've seen all his films more than once. He's definitely one of the greatest!

    Good luck with your writing. I'm looking forward to what you've been up to.

  3. SolShine7 said...

    A combined blogging portal for all things black film related could be cool. Perhaps something like The Huffington Post could work.

    Good films aren't dead for me. I'm constantly stumbling upon new films I want to watch. Someone just gave me a long list of essential Bollywood films I need to check out. And another person gave me a similar list for Malaysian films. I honestly don't have enough time to view everything I want to! And when I'm not watching movies I'm working on my own scripts. I try not to focus on the films & filmmakers that I don't like and instead embrace those who's work inspires me.

    But yeah, I get what you're saying. Keep pressing on though! I greatly enjoy your cinema commentary and look forward to your films.

  4. Invisible Woman said...

    Ready when you are TAO--lol!

    There has been more than one occasion when I've thought about posting something and slacked on it (as usual) and then you post about it (always doing a great job, btw). Seriously, let's round some heads up and do it together, yes? I'm sure Sergio would appreciate condensing his work too :-)

    Thanks Aziza for subscribing to my blog....

  5. Anonymous said...

    i thought it was just me
    i know i try to keep my site different from yours and iw's

    i'm always trying new things but i kinda look forward to comparing people and giving short reviews. yea man sometimes i think how long will this go on. as long as it does.

  6. Anonymous said...

    ob can i get your thoughts on roger smith and harry lennix

  7. Black Film Academy said...


    I usually find myself irritated with black film in general, but not with film as a whole which is why I recently decided to work two blogs. One to profile black film and film opportunities and one where I could just talk about film in general.

    I'm down as a clown.

  8. The Sujewa said...

    Well, your first creative love may have been filmmaking, with blogging as an in between thing, so, maybe working on a new movie - trying to create a movie that you would be excited to see - is a good way to get excited about both film (&filmmaking) & blogging again.

  9. The Black Box Office said...

    Three Tyler Perry stories in 2 weeks got ya down, huh?

    Count me in for a "Justice League of Black Cinema". The collaborative site idea is great. Just replied to your email.

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