A movie log formerly known as Bookishness / By Charles Matthews

"Dazzled by so many and such marvelous inventions, the people of Macondo ... became indignant over the living images that the prosperous merchant Bruno Crespi projected in the theater with the lion-head ticket windows, for a character who had died and was buried in one film and for whose misfortune tears had been shed would reappear alive and transformed into an Arab in the next one. The audience, who had paid two cents apiece to share the difficulties of the actors, would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats. The mayor, at the urging of Bruno Crespi, explained in a proclamation that the cinema was a machine of illusions that did not merit the emotional outbursts of the audience. With that discouraging explanation many ... decided not to return to the movies, considering that they already had too many troubles of their own to weep over the acted-out misfortunes of imaginary beings."
--Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Saturday, September 5, 2009

What I'm Watching

Howl's Moving Castle
What is it about the Japanese imagination? I'm thinking not only about Hayao Miyazaki but also about Haruki Murakami, whose stories have that same random brilliance, that ability to take the story in unforeseen directions. Americans fret about coherence and continuity, about setting up gags and delivering the payoff, but there's something more free and unfettered about Miyazaki's narrative and visualizations. And the characters -- Howl, the Witch of the Waste, even Sophie -- have an unpredictability about them, an ambiguity in their motives and attitudes that would have been edited out of them in an American story conference.

How Google Screwed Up Book Search

Geoff Nunberg on how Google fumbled its grand project:
Google has taken a group of the world's great research collections and returned them in the form of a suburban-mall bookstore.