Friday, June 22, 2012

    Everything I know about film, which isn't much, I learned from a course I took with Andrew Sarris at Columbia University when I was working on my MFA.  He died this week, and there's a good obituary in the New York Times.
    At that time, you could take any courses at the graduate level you wanted, along with your writing seminars.  So I took painting, film, and tried to make myself take a little literature too-- I did Chaucer and 18th c. lit, which I'd skipped as an undergrad.  I didn't work very hard, and took them as Pass courses.  I can't remember what else I took, but rotund Sarris at the lectern looking down at us really did change my mind about movies.  Until then, I had always, without thinking, just dismissed film as bad imitations of novels.  He showed us the art in Left-Handed Gun and Hitchcock, especially Strangers on a Train.

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