Saturday, November 16, 2013

Announcing "Riches Upon Riches: A Personal Journey Through French Cinema"

Hello all. Once again, much time has elapsed since I last updated this blog, and for that I apologize. The past few months have been especially busy for me, as my life has undergone quite a few significant changes since the dog days of summer. In late August, I finally broke my spell of unemployment limbo and, fulfilling a long-treasured dream of mine, started living and working in downtown Toronto. I am very happy to finally consider myself a fully-fledged Torontonian and am greatly enjoying this newest chapter of my life.

Even before this latest transition, some may have noticed the dramatic drop in my writing output over the past little while - and indeed, as of this moment I haven't posted or had anything of mine published for some time. Which is not to say I haven't been writing - on the contrary, writing has remained more important to me than ever, especially with the all too precious allotment of time that my busy schedule leaves for it. My efforts have simply been directed toward a personal project of mine I first started in the summer of 2012 that I haven't mentioned to too many people before now. Considering both the point of progress I have reached with it and the place I currently occupy in terms of my life and ambitions, I felt it was a good time to finally share what I've been up to.

Basically, I've been working on a book: a collection of essays on certain French films and filmmakers from various eras of film history that I adore. I have some previous experience studying and writing about French cinema for other publications, not least of all Intellect Books' Directory of World Cinema: France, which includes an essay of mine on the French New Wave. With this newest adventure, I simply wanted to try out a longer, freer form of film writing than the film reviews and blog posts I am so used to, to really explore and put into words what fascinates me about these films and the wider legacy of art and culture they are a part of that has gripped my heart and imagination for so long. As I go along, I'm certainly discussing their historical contexts and special places in cinema history, but I'm also taking a more philosophical approach and reflecting the things about life, love, work, history, travel, and more that they communicate. I hope that, as a result, the essays are appealing to readers who lie beyond the cinephile crowd, perhaps intriguing them to discover some of the films for themselves.

As of right now, five of the essays are more or less complete (the one I'm now in the process of wrapping up is about the life and work of Jean Vigo); I'm expecting to wind up with twelve in total when I'm finished. When that will be, I'm not exactly sure. This is definitely something that I know will take a fair amount of time, which is how I want it to be. I want to make sure each essay reflects the point I am at with my current writing ability, but at the same time, I simply want to have fun with the whole process - researching, thinking, watching, writing, editing. This is very much a labor of love for me, and I intend to enjoy every moment of it. When, one day, I do reach the point where I think this thing is complete and polished enough to put out in the world, I think I'll call it Riches Upon Riches: A Personal Journey Through French Cinema. As of right now, I have absolutely no idea which avenues I'll be taking in terms of publication (if you have any ideas, I'm open to hearing them!), but I'll certainly work towards making something that folks will appreciate and enjoy as they read what I've written.

I have shown some of the pieces in varying states of progress or talked about the overall project to a few of my friends so far - you know who you are, are I am most thankful for the advice and feedback you've given me. And for those who might offer their interest, support, or input further along the road that I'm treading with this thing, I offer in advance my thanks to you as well. And now, as I leave you with these behind-the-curtain shots of the notebooks I've been using to write the essays, please wish me luck as I continue onwards!