"we think we pay such fleeting visual proteins little attention, but in actuality it might be what we remember most from a movie: the close-up with the unconscious eyelash flutter, the dawn light falling on a wet street, the woman’s hand moving to her mouth in a moment of panic, the fuzzy back-projection image of a city block long forgotten, the naked technicolor foolishness of a movie star’s open mouth singing a sheer idiocy in a musical, the way an actor’s body might move a touch too beautifully amidst a minor action (like christopher walken’s, a dancer’s body impersonating a steel worker’s, as he teasingly grabs for meryl streep’s dress as she runs out of the bar in the wedding scene from 1978’s the deer hunter), the ubiquitous setup when a man comes home from work, hangs up his hat and places his newspaper on the foyer table, before realizing, as he slows, that something’s terribly wrong."
(from anna karina and the american night by michael atkinson)



above, a screen capture from down by law--though in truth, the better image for me would be one of tom waits exiting shoeless from his apartment building, having just been thrown out by ellen barkin, plopping down among all his possessions strewn about the street, and putting his boots on again, rubbing the leather into his ankles--it's the rubbing that i love the best. i have no image of this moment except for that which i remember, and might always remember, which i suppose just reinforces the point that atkinson is making. there is no still image that could capture what it's like to watch a movie, to observe this detail and every movement towards and away from it, and describing it, in the end, does the moment little justice. there really is no medium like film. and isn't that wonderful?

atkinson's article can be found in last month's issue of the believer.