For a better experience on MUBI, update your browser.

New Lang Syne/Auld Lang Syne

by Mike Spence
New Lang Syne/Auld Lang Syne by Mike Spence
THIS WAS MY OLD PROFILE PAGE NOW I WILL USE IT TO KEEP TRACK OF INTERESTING QUOTES AND THOUGHTS WHEN I ADD A THOUGHT I’LL ADD A FILM 1. “Perfection, which is the passion of so many people, does not interest me. What is important in art is to vibrate oneself and make others vibrate.” - Georges Enescu. Another Girl, Another Planet 2. “Debussy had what Sir Thomas Browne would have called ’ a solitary and retired imagination.’ So, when he essays to depict in his music such things as dawn and noon at sea, sport of the waves, gales and surges and far horizons, he is less the poet and painter than the spiritual mystic. It is not… Read more




1. “Perfection, which is the passion of so many people, does not interest me. What is important in art is to vibrate oneself and make others vibrate.”
- Georges Enescu.

Another Girl, Another Planet

2. “Debussy had what Sir Thomas Browne would have called ’ a solitary and retired imagination.’ So, when he essays to depict in his music such things as dawn and noon at sea, sport of the waves, gales and surges and far horizons, he is less the poet and painter than the spiritual mystic. It is not chiefly of those aspects of winds and waters that he is telling us, but of the changing sea of dreams, a chimerical sea, a thing of strange visions and stranger voices, of fantastic colors and incalculable winds – a phantasmagoria of the spirit, rife with evanescent shapes and presences that are at times sunlit and dazzling. It is a spectacle perceived as in a trance, vaguely yet rhapsodically. Here is a sea which has it’s shifting and lucent surfaces, which even shimmers and traditionally mocks. But it is a sea that is shut away from too curious an inspection, to whose murmurs or imperious command not many have wished or needed to pay heed.
Yet, beneath these elusive and mysterious overtones, the reality of the living sea persists: the immemorial fascination lures and enthralls and terrifies; so that we are almost tempted to fancy that the two are, after all identical – the ocean that seems an actuality of wet winds and tossing spray and inexorable depths and reaches, and that uncharted and haunted and incredible sea which opens before the magic casements of the dreaming mind.”
- Lawrence Gilman on Debussy’s La Mer

Belfast Maine

3. What I did is what was going through my mind…"
-Chris Webber on a game-losing mistake he made during an NCAA championship game


4. And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve;
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind.
- Prospero, in The Tempest


5. The moment of survival is the moment of power. Horror at the sight of death turns into satisfaction that it is someone else who is dead. The dead man lies on the ground while the survivor stands. It is as though there had been a fight and the one had struck down the other. In survival, each man is the enemy of every other, and all grief is insignificant measured against this elemental triumph. Whether the survivor is confronted by one dead man or by many, the essence of the situation is that he feels unique. He sees himself standing there alone and exults in it; and when we speak of the power which this moment gives him, we should never forget that it derives from his sense of uniqueness and from nothing else.
- Elias Canetti, Crowds and Power.

The Cool World

6. In any event, the Symphony # 2 is a magnificent work whose traditional four movements fully reflect the hallmarks of the Sibelian style. It begins with a simple motif that not only suggests native folk music but exemplifies his extraordinarily fluid sense of rhythm. Anyone who knows the work from concerts or recordings would be perplexed to see how the opening is depicted in the score, as the bar lines seem to fall in the middle, rather than at the expected start, of each phrase. Indeed, while the work is strongly rhythmic, Sibelius often adds extra beats and his phrasing often transcends the written meter, instead being indicated through a vast amount of accent markings. Parmet claims that Sibelius meant by this to indicate where the true emphases should occur, not merely at the beginning or end of a phrase, as would commonly be assumed. A further key to this practice is added by his childhood friend Alma Söderhjelm, who recalled that when Sibelius played dance music he kept adding embellishments that broke the rhythm and frustrated the dancers.


7. When atoms move straight down through the void by their own weight, they deflect a bit in space at a quite uncertain time and in uncertain places, just enough that you could say that their motion has changed. But if they were not in the habit of swerving, they would all fall straight down through the depths of the void, like drops of rain, and no collision would occur, nor would any blow be produced among the atoms. In that case, nature would never have produced anything.
- Lucretius




Special Thanks to Apursansar, House of Leaves, M, TwoDeadMagpies, Blue K., Dave A and a few others for their invaluable help with seeing certain films!

Oh, and a huge thank you to David Heslin and another fellow I won’t name out of respect for his wishes!!!

“Keep in mind that there are three forms of learning, and only the third form matters. The first two are almost worthless:

1) Learning new facts, events, information:

Felix Mendelssohn composed Midsummer Night’s Dream at the astonishing age of 17
Women’s return to the workplace largely preceded the feminist movement rather than following it
Cassavetes told me he disliked Minnie and Moskowitz and Gloria and regarded both of them as Hollywood entertainment movies
The impressionist palette lacks black. It favors pastels.
Rembrandt treats his whole canvas with black before painting a stroke.
The carbon molecule can form dozens of different kinds of molecular bonds with oxygen and hydrogen
In the entire amino acid universe only 20 specific acids are synthesized by DNA

2) Learning new systems of knowledge and understanding:

Scherzo movements of symphonies are generally are laid out in the minuet-trio-minuet form: a (repeated)/ b plus a variation (repeated)/ c (repeated) / d plus c variation (repeated) / a plus b plus a variation (da capo)
Economic analysis demonstrates that price is related to scarcity inversely and demand directly
Control of the center of the board must be maintained early in a chess game
Biological systems possess emergent properties. Their complexity can’t be reduced to their atomic building blocks.

3) Experiencing not new ideas and thoughts, but new forms of perception. New ways of thinking. New emotions. This is not a matter of knowing or understanding, but of seeing, feeling, sensing—directly, personally, intimately, immediately.

Not knowing that you should control the center of the chessboard, but actually seeing flows of energy, blockages, powerful beams running up and down the board.
Not knowing that Mendelssohn was young, but actually hearing the youthful innocent idealism and inexperience in Midsummer Night’s Dream
Not knowing Scherzo or Sonata form, but actually hearing the riffs, the explorations, the expansions, the discoveries, the surprises, the joking, the teasing, the flirting, the playfulness, the deep thoughtfulness as the minuet or sonata unfold, unfurl, uncoil, tighten, twist, move. Not thoughts about what a trio is, but a direct perception of how the trio changes the minuet that preceded it."
- Ray Carney

We can with difficulty comprehend the character of a cosmic mind whose purposes are fully revealed by the strange mixture of goods and evils that we find in this actual world’s particulars. Or rather we cannot by any possibility comprehend it. The mere word ‘design’ by itself has, we see, no consequences and explains nothing. It is the barrenest of principles. The old question of whether there is design is idle. The real question is what is the world, whether or not it have a designer – and that can be revealed only by the study of all nature’s particulars.
-William James

Indulging the adolescent fascination with staring into the abyss…

Acknowledging the life-long necessity of plunging into practical waters…

“He said that the functions of the imagination that we normally think of when we use the word–wishes, dreams, fantasies, etc.–were in fact its secondary or subordinate functions. He said the primary function of the imagination was the way we used our senses.”
-Ray Carney on Coleridge

Lies We Cherish
Butterfly Flickers. Part 1
Cinema 21: Andrew Bujalski
Cinema 21: Tom Noonan
Cinema 21: Funny Ha Ha
Cinema 21: Beeswax
Cinema 21: What Happened Was
Cinema 21: The Wife
Mark Rappaport
Straight to the Bone
A Little Stiff

Everything is cinema, but cinema isn’t everything

That smooth-faced gentleman, tickling commodity,
Commodity, the bias of the world,
The world who of itself if peised well,
Made to run even upon even ground,
Till this advantage, this vile-drawing bias,
This sway of motion, this commodity,
Makes it take head from all indifferency,
From all direction, purpose, course, intent
- Bastard, in The Life and Death of King John

Time is a very bankrupt, and owes much more than je’s
worth to season.
Nay, he’s a thief too:have you not heard men say
That Time comes stealing on by night and day?
If a be in debt and theft, and a sergeant in the way,
Hath he not reason to turn back an hour in a day?
- Dromio of Syracuse, in The Comedy of Errors

The difference between stories and pitches

“Dorothea smiled, and Celia looked rather meditative. Presently she said, “I cannot think how it all came about.” Celia thought it would be pleasant to hear the story.
“I daresay not,” said Dorothea, pinching her sister’s chin. “If you knew how it came about, it would not seem wonderful to you.”
“Can’t you tell me?” said Celia, settling her arms cozily.
“No, dear, you would have to feel with me, else you would never know.”
- George Elliot, Middlemarch

Often, when people talk about how films need to have a good story they mean a good pitch. Good or great stories can’t be summed up in two lines on a “Last movie you watched and rate it” thread.

“Some gentlemen have made an amazing figure in literature by general discontent with the universe as a trap of dulness into which their great souls have fallen by mistake; but the sense of a stupendous self and an insignificant world may have it’s consolations.”
- George Elliot, Middlemarch

August 31, 2010 – Jon Jost, one of the great geniuses of cinema, just posted on two threads in the forum and all people want to talk about is prison films and The Expendables. We’ve got a lot of work to do.

I have neglected to thank everyone individually for following my posts. Thanks to all.

“I don’t think you go to a play to forget, or a movie to be distracted. I think life generally is a distraction and that going to a movie is a way to get back, not go away.” – Tom Noonan

“Let the things that happen onstage be just as complex and yet just as simple as they are in life. For instance, people are having a meal, but at the same time, their happiness is being created, or their lives are being smashed up.” – Anton Chekhov

“A work of art is not a mirror but a house of mirrors. It is not a tape recording but an echo-chamber of connected, compared, contrasted feelings and points of view.” – Ray Carney

Ray Carney’s The Path of the Artist
Ray Carney on Woody Allen
An excerpt from one of Ray Carney’s best essays

“Mountain peaks do not float unsupported; they do not even just rest upon the earth. They are the earth in one of it’s manifestations. It is the business of those who are concerned with the theory of the earth, geographers and geologists, to make this fact evident in its various implications. The theorist who would deal philosophically with fine art has a like task to accomplish.” – John Dewey

I love art and some films are art so I love some films.

‘Love seeketh not itself to please,
Nor for itself hath any care,
But for another gives its ease,
And builds a heaven in hell’s despair.’

So sung a little clod of clay,
Trodden with the cattle’s feet,
But a pebble of the brook
Warbled out these metres meet:

‘Love seeketh only Self to please,
To bind another to its delight,
Joys in another’s loss of ease,
And builds a hell in heaven’s despite.’

William Blake’s The Clod and the Pebble, from Songs of Experience

Chebutykin: You said just now Baron, that our age will be called great; but people are small, all the same….[ Gets up. ] Look how small I am. It would be only to console me if you called my life a great, understandable thing.
-The Three Sisters, Anton Chekhov

The bread, the earthly bread, while it is being reaped and grown, it is life. But once it is harvested and stored, it becomes a commodity, it becomes riches. And then it becomes a danger. For men think, if they only possessed the hoard, they need not work; which means, really, they need not live. And that is the real blasphemy. For while we live we must live, we must not wither or rot inert.
- D. H. Lawrence, on The Grand Inquisitor section of The Brothers Karamazov

Henry James: The Art of Fiction

“In the old days, those cartoonists just came out of the soup. It shows in their work, they couldn’t escape it. They were part of that world. Segar never conceived of doing something that wasn’t a part of that world. He drew funny cartoons about those people for those people. There’s a seedy quality to it. You can smell the stale bread and the boiled cabbage when you read that. It’s so think in there.
- R. Crumb on E. C. Segar, creator of Popeye

“I grew up watching for the telling movement, both animals’ and humans’, as I suppose, but have never known for sure, all children do. To see a truth, you also have to spot a lie. I eventually appreciated the artistry of a movement lie – the guilty tail wagging, the overly steady gaze, the phony humility of drooping shoulders and caved-in chest, the decorative-looking little shuffles of pretended pain, the heavy, monumental dances of mock happiness. It is said that the body doesn’t lie, but this is wishful thinking. All earthly creatures do it, only some more artfully than others. It’s just a matter of degree. And although there is much to admire in the beauty of natural movement, much to derive from a pedestrian’s smallest gesture, the most communicative dances, in my opinion, are those based on physical truths that in the making have been transformed for the stage into believability by the artistry of calculated lies.
-Paul Taylor

“On one stave, for a small instrument, the man writes a whole world of the deepest thoughts and most powerful feelings. If I imagined that I could have created, even conceived the piece, I am quite certain that the excess of excitement and earth-shattering experience would have driven me out of my mind.”
- Johannes Brahms, in a letter to Clara Schumann, on the ciaccona

Robert Kramer (Starting Place)
Gordon Eriksen (The Big Dis, Lena’s Dreams, Love Machine)
Mike Gibisser (Finally, Lillian and Dan)
Randy Walker & Jennifer Shanin (Apart From That)
John O’Brien (Vermont is for Lovers, Man with a Plan, Nosey Parker)
Larry Holden (My Father’s House)
Mark Daniels (Enemy Image, Classified X)
Jane Spencer (Little Noises)
David Burton Morris ( Purple Haze)
Rick Schmidt (Emerald Cities)
John Koch (Je Ne Sais Quoi)
Josh Apter (Kaaterskill Falls)
Stuart Burge – film director/Laurence Olivier – stage director (Uncle Vanya)
Jon Jost (Sure Fire)
Stephen Kijak (Never Met Picasso)
Paul Morrissey (Forty Deuce)

News From Nowhere (Paul Morrissey)
First Person Singular (Sam Neave)

Read less