A QUESTION AND A REQUEST
My posting has been admittedly sparse as of late. I could explain why, but I doubt anybody cares all that much, as this is a blog about film, and not about me! Regardless, I've encountered something recently that warrants thought.
Part of the reason that I haven't posted much lately (here I go again...) is that I've been throwing myself into contemporary critical theory. I find it fascinating, and aside from inspiring a number of ideas for my many creative endeavors, it's becoming a lot easier for me to discuss concepts that before I had to spend paragraphs trying to explain. In fact, it's raised a sort of problem.
In terms of the reviews that I post here/will be posting when the website is launched (more about this below), one of my main goals is to translate the idea of no-brow culture into criticism. What I mean by this is that I want to talk about and discuss the films that I'm writing about in a manner that isn't obtuse and utterly academic, but I also don't want to ignore the "academic" elements in the films reviewed, as for me that is part of their major fun.
Of course, I should clarify the way I'm differentiating between academic and "academic." By academic (without quotes) I'm obviously implying writing on film written for the academic world, academic journals, etc. While a lot of this specific strand of writing is enlightening, most of it (in my mind, I may eventually re-evaluate my ideas about this) serves only to perpetuate ideas within the academic realm itself; almost intentionally refusing something that a non-academic would have any comprehension or interest in reading-- and this isn't meant to be condescending, oftentimes I myself find these essays and articles obtuse; there is a point where ideas can get lost or obscured by too much jargon and academic wankery (if you'll pardon the somewhat vulgar term).
By "academic" I mean to imply the elements of these films that are ostensibly more "intellectual" than a reductive cinema incorporates. Take, for example, the films of Alain Robbe-Grillet. Traditionally there have been two opposing ways to read his films (and very rarely do these readings overlap). The first way is to ignore the "intellectual" elements of the film and focus on the genre elements; vampirism, eroticism, le fantastique. The second method seems to ignore or pay little attention to the genre elements and their contextual implications, choosing rather to focus solely on ideas of critical theory; narratology, structuralist construction, montage. Alain Robbe-Grillet is probably the most blatant example of this cross-pollination of readings, but obviously there are many other films and directors that fall into this divide.
My goal, which has hopefully become clear, is to read the films from BOTH perspectives, allowing the "low-brow" and "high-brow" readings to play off each other in order to create a much stronger way to think about the film. The reason for this introduction is that by engrossing myself within critical theory recently, I've encountered a lot of terms that specifically refer to a specific concept/idea, and this word/signifier serves to short-cut the paragraph long explanation that would normally otherwise follow.
So the question that I've come up with is this: would a more regular use of a critical theory lexicon alienate readers? Or is it condescending to directly avoid certain terms especially for this reason? If I start using this specific language, and I ignoring my original ideas of establishing a no-brow criticism?
The conclusion I've come to is that if the articles don't go overboard with a reliance on academic language, there's not a problem. Ideally the context of the term/word would reveal at least something it implies, and if it's something that's really unfamiliar, the internet allows virtually instant access to a plethora of knowledge. I'm not totally sure though. I mean, obviously the point of establishing this no-brow criteria is a desire to appeal to as large an audience as possible, to get people from ALL areas of film-love to start thinking about these often neglected films.
So what do you think? I'd really like to hear. If this is a stupid question that I've spent far too much time thinking about, also tell me that.
As I mentioned above, I am planning to launch the ESOTIKA website on January 1st, 2008. While it would be interesting, to say the least, if I ended up writing absolutely everything for the site itself, I feel I'd be limiting that information that could be there. The site would become more about MY opinions on film, and less about the FILMS themselves. This is not what I want.
I believe that there is a large community of individuals who love this specific, indescribable sort of film that I am personally obsessed with. I've never been able to come up with a term for it, but hopefully the idea is clear through the selection of films that I've written about throughout the 11 months I've been keeping this film blog. The point is, of course, I want ESOTIKA EROTICA PSYCHOTICA, as a website, as opposed to as a blog, to become a COMMUNITY and an extensive source of information. Most of the films I obsess over I've found very little about in the ways of information (most of the time, not always) either in books, or on the internet, or at least in English.
What I'm driving at here is that I'd love to have some help. The point is, if you feel passionate about the sort of films that I've obsessed over in this blog, to the point where you want to share this passion with readers all over the world, I would love your assistance.
I'd like to get a bit more content generated to debut with the website in the beginning of January, which is why I'm putting out this "call for entries" now-- it gives potential authors about a month to pull something together. So if you'd be interested in helping out either in writing, providing promotional images (poster scans/ press books / etc), please email me at
Also, if there is anybody who is bilingual and wants to help out by means of translation that would also be much appreciated! There are many great articles on the internet and in books that are in French, German, Italian, Japanese, etc. that could gain a much larger audience, and I've found that in many cases original authors are more than willing to have their writing exposed to a larger audience. So if
you'd like to help out in any way, please let me know!
Just to clarify--since Tim brought it up in the comments--I got permission from the author to translate the only article that is currently in the process of translation, and I wasn't intending on publishing any translations where I didn't have permission. Just wanted to clear that up!