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Our Daily Bread #1

A man from 1980 shoots a man from 1917, and a man from 1917 shoots a man from 1980 in images from _Straight Shooting_ & _Heaven's Gate_.

Our Daily Bread is a column on not necessarily beautiful images, nor similar images, but images that when brought together interact in meaningful ways.

Nearly 70 years passed between John Ford's Straight Shooting (1917) and Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate (1980), during which sound had been added, color had been added, and the dimensions of the screen had changed. Yet, within those years, the central idea stayed the same; America as a vast landscape, but where trespassers are not allowed refuge. Killers turn to look at us, and then ride off into the river, the footsteps of their steeds corrupting nature as they leave. Therefore, a man from 1980 shoots a man from 1917, and a man from 1917 shoots a man from 1980.

This is great! Really looking forward to more entries in this new series.
Putting together vaguely similar images from two different films is not criticism, it’s collage. You can play pretend you’re Godard all you want, but Neil Bahadur lacks both the wit and the intelligence of JLG. Stuff like this is to Histoire(s) du cinema what High Anxiety was to Hitchcock. As Bahadur himself might so tediously put it… nahhhhh.
I would much rather look at these shots and read Bahadur’s thoughts on them than looking at those damn Von Trier posters.
Thanks everybody! And to dear Pierrot, this isn’t criticism at all, it’s two films I adore, so collage is a much better descriptor. Or, in shorter form: nahhh
Didn’t we just see that “Heaven’s Gate” hole in the fabric image in another recent collage in Notebook? More critical articles, less Tumblr scrolls, please.
Thanks for your comments, everyone. We’re really excited to have Neil’s unique perspective as part of the Notebook with this ongoing column. If you haven’t seen his tumblr, do check it out (Bobby, it may have you rethink reductively ascribing a derogatory connotation to “Tumblr scroll”!): As for the the reappearance of the “Heaven’s Gate” images I used not long ago in an “Echoes” piece, surely it is obvious that the appropriation in effect is distinct enough to merit such recycling—and besides, the incredible images in question clearly deserve more than one interpretation, and certainly more than one look! Contrary to both Pierrot and the author himself, I wouldn’t simply call this collage, and nor would I compare it to the work of JLG (what standards!!) but instead this is for me an interesting and kind of new way to track a cinephile’s cataloging of meaning found in the interactions between images made possible only by a subjective viewer’s specific context. This is why Neil has moved on from “Echoes” to his own column: these aren’t mirrors, these are windows. Can’t wait for the next entry, Neil!
One shudders at the thought of what Bobby Wise considers “critical articles”.
All fine and well, but these various branded Notebook visual columns start to blend into each other. Not enough frequency. Using the same images probably doesn’t help. Deserving more than one interpretation is fine, but can we cast our net just a bit wider (not only in regards to that image, but also in regards to John Ford too)?
But cinema IS John Ford ;)
In all seriousness though, Bobby, perhaps let’s see how “Our Daily Bread” unfolds over time before making such a call.
Cast a wider net? So, he writes about a lesser-seen, silent Ford, and you accuse him of casting too small a net? Or are you saying that we should move on from Ford? What’s your proposition here, exactly? How can you even feel comfortable proposing anything when you’re so frustratingly incomprehensible? Just when should we be finished with a director, or even a single image? Man, your the last guy who should have any say on that. If you’re unwilling to keep digging, keep peeling back, why the hell are you bothering with cinema? Jesus Christ, Wise, you pingpong from half-formed stance to half-formed stance so rapidly it’s bewildering. Do you have a center? What could possibly be your driving force?
Of course. We’ll let it unfold. Give us this next day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
To be fair, Hitchcock sent Mel Brooks six magnums of wine after seeing High Anxiety, so certainly the comparison can’t be that bad!
ey bOB, I liked when you quoted spider-man (Raimi- 2000’s)
what does this have to do with bread

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