Here we go again…the same way that I wrote diaries in fits and starts as a child, I’ve previously attempted to maintain a blog as an adult with mixed results. Thus, it is with a warning that I begin my latest venture in semi-daily contributions to a web-based log: this may not last, and if it does, it may not feature up-to-the-minute coverage on all of my latest ponderings.
What I can promise is some thoughtful reflections on all things film related. About a year ago, I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a master’s in radio-tv-film–no, I am not a director or screenwriter. My degree focused on the criticism of film. I tell people that it’s like an English degree, but instead of reading books, I read films and research about them. My master’s thesis examined horror films with groups of women as protagonists. I analyzed Haute Tension, The Descent, Death Proof, and Hostel: Part II, along with several episodes from the Masters of Horror series and a few entries from the Three…Extremes anthology. Theoretically, I drew from psychoanalytic, queer, and feminist theories to produce readings that examined character development, narrative structure, and formal qualities of the films at hand. It was an exciting project, and I had the pleasure of reading such amazing books as Men, Women, and Chainsaws and The Monstrous-Feminine, among others. I continue to be grateful for this amazing academic experience, even as I’ve found my master’s degree to be of little use in the currently soggy economy.
I come to this blog partially as an attempt to put my ideas to use. Bringing these readings of film to a public forum will allow me to get some feedback on projects in early stages. I hope this feedback will inform my work as it enters the drafting stage. More than this, I’m hoping this blog will motivate me to continually engage with the films that I watch on a deeper level.
With all these goals in mind, I plan to explore a variety of films in terms of genre, commercial success, and distribution. That said, I tend to be drawn to foreign and independent films, particularly those exploring dark themes, so this blog will not be for the faint of heart. This doesn’t mean that comedies and mainstream fare will be entirely off the radar, but they certainly won’t be the norm. The blog entries themselves will vary in terms of format—they may contain fully-fleshed out readings, but they will just as likely be vague sketches of ideas still in gestation. Either way, I invite responses from readers!
Before I end this launch, I must thank my good friend Alyx, whose terrific blog heavily inspired me to give my own another go! Thanks for insisting that I get this thing going! I will do my best to keep this thing breathing.
A few words on the blog’s current title: I’m not married to it, but the idea of “Dark Room” came to me for several reasons. Most obviously, darkrooms are places where photographic images develop, and while the film industry rapidly goes digital, the darkroom remains in use as a space for processing films. This works nicely as a metaphor for my blog as space for developing ideas and readings of cinematic texts. Furthermore, I like that the word “dark” describes the themes that interest me most and will must likely occupy the space of this blog. Finally, it can’t be avoided that “dark rooms” are often the spaces where one views films–I would like to make the reception experience part of this blog’s exploration, and the title nicely acknowledges this.
On that note, thanks reader for stopping in–please don’t leave without contributing your thoughts on the way out.