Monday, July 31, 2006

French leave

I am just snuggling down to watch Le Rayon Vert, one of the EIGHT Eric Rohmer films in a box set I picked up cheap at HMV in the West End. Rohmer's movies absorb you into a benevolent conspiracy; it's like you're sitting at the next table to those two lovers arguing in a Parisian cafe. I started with L'Ami de mon Amie (My Girlfriend's Boyfriend) last week, which is about nothing more than the title promises, but manages to raise all sorts of subtle moral dilemmas in the way we relate to others. That is Rohmer's genius. I won't review them right now, except to say that I feel like I just rediscovered a great bunch of friends. How on earth did we manage before DVDs?


Blogger hendrix said...

Quite badly, as I seem to recall. Wasn't it a case of either catching the film at the local independent cinema (if we were lucky and it came to that particular movie theatre) or waiting for it to be played on tv - usually in the wee sma hours.

Or, if we had a video recorder the chances were that the local video store didn't stock the film we wanted to watch. If they did have the film the chances were that the person who last borrowed it never brought it back.

Enjoy your dvd's!

11:57 AM  
Blogger Wyndham said...

It seems incredible now, doesn't it. In a few short years we've gone for waiting for all the good films to be shown over Christmas on the two big channels to actually resenting the time it takes for a film to be released on dvd after it's been shown at the cinema, which can be anything up to two whole weeks! Thank god for downloading.

7:16 PM  
Blogger DavetheF said...

Yes, and what is most gratifying is that just as CD did for music, DVD has revived the back catalogue and given studio libraries a lucrative new lease of life. Hence the Rohmer box set, unthinkable in the days of the VCR.

Yet so impatient are the electronics companies to force us to buy a new generation of technology that hard disc storage is growing rapidly. I like LPs and CDs because they are a tangible physical medium that allows me to build extensive libraries of music. I don't resent the space they take up, since I enjoy browsing my collections for something to listen to.

DVDs are a satisfying medium for the same reason (and not forgetting those extras like commentaries for would-be screenwriters and other movie buffs).

I don't mind the hiatus between big-screen release and DVD, since it's a good thing to go to the movies, and audiences are declining already. The experience is much more involving and powerful, and I also subscribe to the notion of film as communal dreamtime.

8:14 PM  
Blogger Pashmina said...

I do like the DVD format. VHSs look so bulky nowadays, don't they?

Also find it quite sad that in but a few short years DVDs will be as antiquated as VHSs are now (or so I'm told by the "experts"). What will happen to all those special features then, eh?

10:08 AM  
Blogger DavetheF said...

I believe DVDs will be around for a long time yet, as long as there's a demand. Videotape is still in use for rental movies even now. And the public is going to be pretty chary of adopting yet another new medium in a hurry. It costs money. As it is, Blu-Ray and High Definition are going to be locked in a death spiral soon. Hard disc storage is the future, but we're a long way off convenience and user-friendly accessibility, as far as I know.

9:17 PM  
Blogger First Nations said...

we owe a debt of gratitude to the younger people who grew up on rentable and re-watchable videos, who know the lexicon inside and out and created a demand for the entire catalogue and not just the hollywood classics.
of course, while the bunch of you are catching up on all those art films you missed, i've got a copy of 'House of 1,000 Corpses' in the machine. Yep, yep yep.

12:52 AM  
Blogger DavetheF said...

Well, when I started watching movies at home, you had to go to the movie shop, rent a 16mm projector and pick your movie. So at least I know how to thread a spool, etc. When I lived in a commune we would rig the projector up to a sound system and set up a large sheet as a screen on the lawn on hot summer nights. Wine and other drugs of choice passed around the throng as the spectral sound and swimming picture produced a kind of trance. It was kind of romantic too.

8:19 PM  

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