ESSAYS

The Confessions of an Unconstructed Film Reviewer

BY STEVEN GRAY


18575223_10154599002163059_1096099025_oI write reviews of films for people who have already seen them, and to let others know a certain film exists, however foreign, old, obscure, or obtuse.

I use a movie as a starting point and free-associate myself into an essay.

I come up with a five or six-page meditation on the automatic sin machine of cinema.

I may give away the plot or not, while questioning the mass psychology of entertainment.

I look at films from the perspective of a Marxist or a literary mammal or a dreamer (an unconscious film director).

I let a movie push me around emotionally and aesthetically, if not politically. Then I push back, having a sword fight with a projector beam. I’m used to wrestling with an angel and getting thrown into the unknown.

I write about my experience of a film as someone who saw Eraserhead while stoned and alone and on the verge of walking out.

I write about the vertigo of celluloid, the horizontal free-fall of an audience projected into someone else’s life while staring at the wall.

A film is the reflection of professional pretenders on a moving stream.

A man or woman on a movie screen is so magnified you see their thoughts passing through their skin. In return my thoughts are passing on the page with a thin-skinned verisimilitude.

Similar to sex and drugs, I don’t have movies every day.

I live in an electric city shot through with eclectic time-warps and I have no sense of boundaries when it comes to when and where a movie was distilled into existence.


Steven Gray has lived in San Francisco since the 1970s.  His most recent book of poetry is Jet Shock and Culture Lag. He writes reviews for www.litseen.com.


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