Sunday, May 17, 2009

Social Olympics

Social Olympics from Craig Keller on Vimeo.

SOCIAL OLYMPICS - a new small-movie I made - 2009. SD / 15 frames per second / 1.33. Currently hosted at Vimeo. And currently the compression and blocky artifacts are pretty shit, which'll be remedied upon my upgrading to Vimeo Plus in the next few days, at which point the current version will be replaced with a less digi-blocky version — please be patient, and enjoy this at least as a preview version. The (slight) interlacing will be vanquished once I finesse the export settings, too.


For the time being, I'm extremely tired of writing here about movies. They're not saying anything to me right now, and I don't know whom I'm writing for — all I know is I've got no zealous compulsion (anymore? ever had?) to communicate via this blog with the Movie-Cultists, the Cinephiles, or the Aesthetico-Plastico-Dogmatists, who in spite of all sincerely good intentions describe one face of a pyramid I can no longer comprehend. This is not the fault of my readers, but of myself — and the fact that my readership is probably 96% male (again, nobody's fault but my own) makes me, theoretically, puke. The fact that I can describe the nuances of a Jerry Lewis movie that I find very beautiful (Lewis who, by the way, has been appropriated, like Ford, by the aforebrushstroked Aesthetico-Plastico-Dogmatists of Political/Moralistic Ordure) does not, never does, and I-don't-know-why-it-even-should, feed back into my actual non-virtual life. At the present, I only want to write for close friends and farther strangers — and write what? I don't know today. I have a good mind to devote myself purely to comic sketches and madrigals. Writing here about cinema exaggerates (in my own mind) a divide between my inner-life and that of those I'm near to — which divide, in all actuality, is a negligible, purely nominal chasm, — because the cinema is something I want (and need) to carry inside more than to proselytize, and does not regulate connections "as [with] a credit card, yes," or so once said Godard. If anything, when friends visit this blog, or pick up something I've written about a movie elsewhere, it's — all postures aside — as exciting for them to read as if they were thumbing through a copy of the fucking tax-code. Though a movie is direct communication, the writing about it's the obfuscation, — is that which precisely inhibits communication.

I reserve the right to think about, and to write here about, a film, films, etc., of course — and it's part of my job, which I care deeply about and which trumps this space — but the present fact is that the same-old-same broadcasts here at Cinemasparagus seem to me to parley in an echo-chamber, and this distresses me, and their reverberation sounds like "Rename it 'My Nebbish Hobby'."

This does not edify. Or, at least, does not bring as much comfort as Murmur, Fables of the Reconstruction, Automatic for the People, or The Reminder — which is a problem.

That said, here are some song lyrics from a notebook of mine I found. Enjoy. —


Oak Tapped-Barrel Song

The guests have walked in.
It's time for me to leave.
They're reading Bakhtin.
Really time for me to leave.
I'm leaving early —
I'm leaving old —
I'm leaving with a girl on my soul.

Square-jawed vacationers,
And it's time for me to leave.
Outlaw sensations
Or just time for me to leave?
If they're leaving confused —
Or if they're leaving on time —
They can't leave those abuses behind.

"It's just a Category 2," they said in a huff.
I know storms well — I've smelled them enough.

Someone mentions that payola talks,
And it's time for me to leave.
Cigarettes in the Crayola box —
Now it's time for me to leave.
I'll leave by myself —
I'll leave with a friend —
I'll get left on the shelf till the end.

Boston prick's got a charter,
Claims it's time for me to leave.
Can't tell if he said "Carter" or "Cotter,"
But it's time for me to leave.
I'll leave here alive —
I'll feel fortified —
There's not one man alive with God on his side.

A hundred percent of emotion's invisible.
The atoms between us have proven divisible.

I've been waiting for hours.
Now it's time for me to leave.
Been drained of my powers,
So it's time for me to leave.
But I'll leave you something —
I'll leave it inside.
I'll leave you something about breadbox-size.

The onslaught of arrows
Says it's time for me to leave.
And Inês de Medeiros
Says it's time for me to leave.
I'll leave in a dust-cloud
The way some leave in a Hearse,
But I'll make sure I'm loud when I curse you.



  1. Although I don't know if I may be a part of the Movie-Cultists, the Cinephiles or even the Aesthetico-Plastico-Dogmatists (I would only feel at ease myself in the second group)which so bother you, I'm sorry to learn that you seem to be considering not going on with this blog, which I take a look every day to check whether you have added something new. It worries me the increasing early deserion rate I observe in blogs, coincidentally with the supression or diminishing of criticism in print media: you're not the first, won't be the last. I would only understand your discouragement (after all, to fight that feeling of uselessness seems to me one of the requirements of criticism) if you simply preferred to make films yourself. I like, by the way, "Social Olympics", which shows, despite obvious lack of means, an adventurous use of light much missed in recent American movies, although I have the feeling I wwould have liked it better with direct sound and the girls talking. Wish you luck, anyhow.
    Miguel Marías

  2. Hello Craig,

    Nobody really knows why or who we write blogs for. I've been writing Serge Daney in English since 2005 and have considered stopping it several times, only to find that there's a core group of people who actually follow, read and use it. Just about 150 to 200 people. Some "Movie-Cultists, the Cinephiles or even the Aesthetico-Plastico-Dogmatists" for sure but not just them.

    For what it's worth, I'd be sorry not to read your blog anymore

  3. You make a good case for leaving, as you've made good cases before. For Swanberg, most recently, which became the introduction to those films for me. For Godard, in the past.

    My role here has been to learn from you, but in secret. Who knows how many others are in this role. And it's not enough, because it gives the sense of talking in an empty room.

    Now the comment from Lauren, who runs 'Serge Daney in English': I fill the same role there. So, I want to say, these sites are essential. If they petrified tomorrow I suppose it would be the same, but I await the updates like little else on the internet. To a point where I'm looking at 'Social Olympics' - like 'Hannah Takes The Stairs' - as some sort of direction forward. And maybe it is, and the direction goes away from all this.

    Belated thank you, Craig. Sorry for the silence.

  4. the fucking video doesn't play!!! :(

    looking-around-in-anxiety-like-anna-karina-does-at-the-end-of-madison. (with no Arthur to call, sadly.)

  5. ok, so thats:

    (bad day!)

  6. Craig, Kate Bush is calling to you: 'don't give up'!

    99% male ADRIAN

  7. Filming in low light with high gain is beautiful! It's the opposite of everything we've been told.

    I like your film because that image is beautiful and you know it.

    I'm having my own movie-writing crisis, seemingly different from yours. Movies are still speaking to me, but sometimes I feel as if people are so naturally, intrinsically different that they can't use each other's aesthetic structures, no matter how well thought out. Then I lie down until the feeling goes away....


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