Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Nobody's going to read this, most likely, but it needs to be said anyway. Long time coming, at any rate.

So. The other day (as in, last month) I saw Werner Herzog's Stroszek, a film that gets better every time I think about it. Stroszek is the kind of film whose impact cannot be judged while it unspools in front of you but only in the space that occurs from the moment you finish watching it to the moment you finish reflecting upon it. It famously ends on a shot of a chicken that has been trained to dance to a rudimentary tune whenever someone drops a coin in a slot. The metaphor seems obvious (the best summation I've read, as usual, comes from Roger Ebert, who writes "A force we cannot comprehend puts some money in the slot, and we dance until the money runs out"), yet it avoids didacticism through the force of its poetic potency. It has stuck with me like few movies have, and here's why.

There are a lot of times through the past couple of years that I've felt like that chicken, and folks, I need to stop dancing. I work too much, I drink too much, I watch too much and I expect too much. This was all easy back when I was pulling forty-five hours a week and scribbling whatever came to mind, but as both my responsibilities and my personal standards have risen, I find I can't maintain this little corner any longer. Most nights, it becomes a choice between watching and writing. With my backlog at over 500 films now, I don't want to make that choice. One of the two must fall. So, here it is. We're pulling down the shutters for good. Thanks for having me.