Derik Badman's Journal

2021-09-16 08:18

Yesterday's Ozu commentary track theater was David Desser (whose Tokyo Story book I recently read) on Tokyo Story. I found it less interesting than Bordwell's mostly, I think, because Desser does a lot more talking about the plot and less about the formal aspects (which maybe makes sense, I don't know his other work, but Bordwell at least is always focused on film as film). As a kind of partway rewatch of Tokyo Story it reminded how it is just not one of my favorites of Ozu's. Desser talks about how it is the most popular/well regarded outside of Japan (not clear what the Japanese consider his best) perhaps because it is a little more melodramatic than most of his later films, and, in that I see why I find it less satisfying than say An Autumn Afternoon or Late Autumn. Now that I'm in the groove of these commentaries and Lianne doesn't seem to mind them going on while she's doing other things nearby, I'm going to watch Donald Ritchie on Early Summer today. I think he will be pretty interesting, and I don't think I've listened to the commentary before (I do have the dvd but it was a more recent acquisition).

Reread Kawabata's Snow Country over the past few nights. Still not one of my favorites of his, perhaps because it is his earlier work (I think I prefer the later work), and because I feel like there is a lot going on so far beneath the surface that I can't detect it. The protagonist is a bit of an ass, almost completely uninteresting, and the geisha he is involved with often acts in ways that make her seem like a trope of a "crazy woman." I should have brought Sound of the Mountain which I really love.

Also started rereading Gibson's Neuromancer which I haven't read since I took a cyberpunk lit class back in... I guess the really early 2000s. I still have the mass market paperback I bought way back in... the late 80s, or maybe really early 90s when I first learned about cyberpunk. It's one of those books that is so much about style and it's evocation of a near future is hard not to now read in reaction to the actual future. While it's easy to find Gibson's vision of cyberspace a little passe, a lot of his world building has a real sense of the future (like corporate monolyths, rising income equality, vat grown fake meat). So far, the plot is still mostly thriller-esque, but Gibson always writes with a cool, descriptive style that it is hard not to get wrapped up into.

Saw a few small dolphins leaping out of the water in the ocean the other day. I just happened to turn and look out to the ocean from where I was writing and there they were. We usually get at least one sighting of a bunch of dolphin fins surfacing as they head south (I've only ever seen them heading south), but this was the first time I saw any leap out of the water like that. It was really beautiful and cool to see.