Day 122: A Third of the Way Through Tonight + Is 2018 a Leap Year?

A Third of the Way Through Tonight

Analysing What I Need, to Finish the Project on Time and on Schedule

It’s time to work out my goal for next year and what it might look like for the coming weeks. I’m comfortable with the fact that I’m on track. I have a bunch of essays to post which I’ve finished on Aguirre: The Wrath of God and a few in various stages on Jean Renoir. I’ve watched ten Renoir films in the last two weeks, including Rules of the Game (1939) twice, and French Cancan (1956) three times. A mammoth effort.

From now on I can pretty much look at 83 of the greatest 120 films, which takes me through to next March but I’m missing seventeen of the great ones which no one I know has.

I spent time after watching Elena and the Men (1956) early this morning working out what the brilliant Criterion Collection has released of them and I can see that almost every single one, of the hard to get ones, is available. Not through them, because they don’t sell outside of the USA.

Like their Chimes at Midnight and F For Fake, L’Avventura and L’Atalante Blu-Rays, I can get them from Amazon, but that’s going to be very expensive. I’ll have to consider the cost which is AUD$44 multiplied by seventeen movies which is around $800. Then factor in postage, which is about $8 on average. That means the total is $936 to finish the project and take me through to June 30 next year. That’s big bikkies.

Is 2018 a Leap Year?

I suddenly thought, OMG, if 2018 is a Leap Year (you know, with 366 days) then 122 days is one third of that – so I’m precisely one-third through the project. If it’s not, then 122 days is slightly over that, but I’d need a calculator to break it down into 33 point something or another %.

Today I spent visiting a friend who recently turned eighty and lives on the very beautiful central coast. It’s about an hour away from Sydney by car. I’ve been very reticent to mention real names other than my wife and two daughters so far. But, I also want this to be the Julie and Julia of blogs, providing a real experience of this careening-out-of-control adventure.

My friend was interested to hear that a hundred and twenty-two days ago I didn’t even know what L’Avventura (1960) meant, let alone that it was the name of a great film I’d never seen.

When I mentioned that this film is on my list of soon-to-see films, he told me that when there was a mass exodus at the Cannes Film Festival during a screening of a film he made, which was in competition, that he thought that was the biggest walk-out in Cannes’ history, but someone corrected him and informed him that L’Avventura held that distinction.

I don’t want what is apocryphal and what is perceived as true. I know that, if you hear any three descriptions of the one event – when tested – they’re all part lies. But this story goes, that at Cannes, only the director and his publicist were in the cinema when L’Avventura ended and the lights came up. My friend’s film, however, was the second best – or worst – walkout in history.

In the old maxim, it says that’s there no such thing as bad publicity. That phrase worked for my friend’s film, and his film became legendary and a major box office success.

Has that phrase been retired since the Harvey Weinstein story of his legendary inappropriate behaviour broke?

Up until yesterday I read the Variety reports and I accepted the news that these mounting allegations, just words from one human being about another – with no trial, judge or jury – but all telling a familiar story – were true about Weinstein, but then so too were other stories.

When the stories circulated yesterday about Kevin Spacey’s alleged behaviour toward a 14-year-old, I thought, this has become a theatre of unsubstantiated accusations and allegations. Someone now accuses someone of something in the light of the Weinstein allegations, and they’re printed as if they were fact. And as long as every journalist or editor writes alleged, they can print the truths, untruths, bile, sadness and anger, expressed by anyone in the world.

It might be true. I can accept that it is true.

I am, in fact, caught up in the whole acceptance that each new accusation is fundamentally true at this stage in the exposé. I, honestly, believe it all.

But it is now in the awful area which Arthur Miller’s The Crucible examined and showed as dubious accusations with a lack of substantial evidence. It is similar to Bresson’s the Trial of Joan of Arc which he recreated from the trial transcripts. And even Stuart Gordon’s The Pit and the Pendulum. But what’s happening now is not amongst zealots and nay-sayers. It’s the popular media who have dive-bombed this story, printing remarks with no confirmation of truth.

It is now open season on everyone who made a single mistake or occasional mistakes, about things which were actually not really a big deal at the time, or even now. There are minor and major mistakes and only an accusation and prosecution can determine the best thing mankind can come up with, which is to give everyone a fair trial. The recent culture that I’ve seen develop in the media made me think – three weeks ago – that these are career-destroying accusations, possibly without substance – but as there are so many similar stories, most likely true. Plus, there’s the evidence of the out-of-court financial settlements he has made previously.

Kids, for instance, are, instinctively, actors who play doctors and nurses. They show their parts and nothing happens. It’s normal. When is something like that going to blow up in someone’s face.

I don’t doubt the veracity of the accusations; but at some point, this is going to turn into a witch-hunt, ala The Crucible.