I really have to blame Yahoo Messenger for this one.
Ok, ok, I was on the Internet. Which, that night, amounted to closing pop-up windows from names I couldn’t pronounce saying “Hey, wanna see my pics?” and a link.
Then Claude appeared with a simple “Hello.” Very Dave-like, if you know what I mean. “Hello, Claude,” I’m sure I replied. A minute or two passed. Claude was parsing words. “How are you tonight?” “I’m fine, Claude, and you?”
“I see you like Welles.”
And there’s where it started.
Yes, I like Welles, I like what I have seen of Welles very much, and was proud of the fact that my profile listed such an obscure film as “The Third Man” (which wasn’t even directed by Welles, as Claude has pointed out numerous times) as one of my favorites, along with a couple of Kubrick films.
Apparently, that’s what deemed me worthy of eventually ending up at Claude’s apartment with a bottle of rum. The first night, well, we didn’t watch any movies, but after a few visits to Claude’s “lair”, I began to notice the shelves and shelves and shelves of videos, many unmarked, and DVD’s. Soon our conversations became an endless series of “Have you seen (fill in the blank)” and “but have you seen_____???”
I learned that my self-image of someone who was educated about film, hip to film, knowledgeable about film, and maybe even knew a little something about film was completely wrong. Having 2001: A Space Odyssey as your favorite movie does not put you in the Claude crowd.
Soon, conversations were going like this: Claude: “Oh, sure, you LOVE Kubrick – you’ve only seen four of his films! FOUR! And not even his best ones! And what about Bresson? And Kurosawa and Truffaut and BERGMAN, for crissakes, BERGMAN???”
So I agreed to be a pupil in Claude’s version of Film School 101. Whiteboards appeared, and I had to listen to long, wine-fueled (which I was providing the fuel, like an idiot) diatribes about the transcendental yet ethereal oeuvre Bresson and his use of non-actors as actors.
I tied the knot with Claude, for better or for worse, which in the case of film, in the beginning, I often thought meant for worse, but it has actually turned out better. However, now Claude has taken to “sic-ing” his friends on me about film – particularly Steve, who teaches film on the west coast. Steve comes for a visit in 2 weeks, and he has suggested a steady diet of Bresson for me, which I’m hoping, for my sake, he’s kidding about. I’ve procured one of Steve’s all-time favorites (on Criterion, of course) in hopes of steering him away from that tsunami of depression and suicidal endings.
So, Claude, I may make fun of your Bresson and Ikiru, but I love so many other films and directors you’ve intro’d me to. And I’ll stay in 101 until probably the day I die.