One of the things I have always enjoyed most about the annual University Film and Video Association Conference is talking with colleagues. I become reinvigorated about teaching and filmmaking, learn so much, and just enjoy socializing.
During the conference I tweeted something about the plenary speaker – Peter Debruge, features editor and senior film critic for Variety – and composed my first post on my phone. Those are likely to be infrequent! The screen is so small! The WordPress app can be a little wonky!
The talk was generally good, but Debruge said several things that irritated me. One of them was that he didn’t like Fruitvale Station because it didn’t seem like a narrative to him. I looked online but can’t access his initial review since I’m not a Variety subscriber. I wish he had explained the remark, but he didn’t.
Curiously, later on, Debruge said that the most important function of film is to make us feel something. Hmmmmm… I cannot reconcile these two comments. But, you already know how I feel about Ryan Coogler’s feature debut. It satisfies me as a narrative, and I most definitely felt something when I saw it.
After the plenary session, I was chatting with my friend Linda Brown, USC Cinematography professor. She told me about meeting Coogler when he joined her class and following his progress as a film student through graduation.
I won’t repeat what she said because they are personal stories, but I hope he remains as focused and humble in the wake of this film as he was as a student. Time will tell, I suppose, about those attributes, but his talent, from my perspective, is intact.