At times, it seems like

At times, it seems like this web account should be subtitled, “Against my better judgment.” In the application for Director’s Fortnight, there’s a place make a “statement” or “message.” Here’s what I whipped out at the Les Halles Cybercafe:

The fact that I felt compelled to make this film by
the events in my hometown last year is unsettling. I
would normally be wary of any film created under such
personal circumstances of duress; who would want to
see something like that?
Well, in New York, where it was just reported that
tens of thousands of people have exhibited signs of
depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, we must
learn to live and deal with things that once seemed so
remote, foreign, far away, long past. I made a movie
about people living next to a crater for 80 years
because *I* now live next to a crater, and I need to
learn how to do it.
If this little movie can tune the eyes and ears of
anyone (especially my fellow residents of the US)
toward the people who have some experience and
resilience in the wake of horrible violence? I will
count it a success.

New York, Old computer: a

New York, Old computer: a nice combo. After dropping by a North Sea-side resort in the Netherlands (love that place, but the whole country smells like cows. Seriously.) for dinner (my wife’s there for a European Space Agency conference), I came back via Brussels, probably the single lamest airport in Europe. I’m sure there are worse ones in the US, but Brussels just SUCKS. Somehow they combine assaultive commercialism with an utter lack of any useful/convenient shopping (no music, books, electronics, or travel to speak of. As if people at an airport only want liquor, cigarettes, and perfume…); and you have to go through passport control TWICE; maybe one’s Dutch and one’s French. And I thought Canada was bi-culturally ghettoized…That reminded me of a 1999 Tony Judt article in the NY Review of Books that examined why Belgium even exists. At least the euro did away with their annoying Belgian Franc.

I watched Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Dekalog for 6/8 of the flight back to NYC [check for the DVD here](mostly subtitled with the sound off, since I couldn’t find a ((&(*^*&(* pair of headphones in the airport). It’s still brilliant. And remarkably understated, given Kieslowski’s lyrical/poetic leanings. Read Kubrick on Kieslowski. Read Ebert on Decalogue.

At the confluence of the film’s title change (adding “November 2001” to the original “Souvenir” after a dialogue edit left us wrestling with how to communicate the date/setting at the beginning of the film), an admiration for Dekalog, and the increasingly frequent question, “What’s next?” I’ve decided this movie will be the first in a series of “Souvenir” films–shorts of varying lengths, according to the stories–dealing with different aspects of memories, remembering, etc. This turned up first in the press kit, but I’m quite happy/excited/engrossed in it. Stay tuned and/or