21 October 2008

An Introduction to Dark Eye Socket

I wanted to create this blog as a place where I could write about film. A place where I can collect together all the things I've written over the last five-or-so years - whether for festivals, for other blogs, or for print - and to continue to explore my thoughts about the films I watch. At the risk of having it sound sappy, I've essentially written for myself: to somehow attempt to relay back in words the experience of what I see, to create some kind of understanding about how incredible the sensation of watching, exploring and thinking about a film can be.

People who love cinema often do this, and there are a lot of passionate writers out there. I'm merely joining the long list of course, but each one of us might be able to offer up something different, something that might just add to the experience of film-watching. Cinema being my chief passion, I always seek out new writers and new reviews or articles just as much as I like to seek out new films. I find that any piece, whether a healthy celebration or a constructive dismissal, has the possibility of enhancing the film it's written about. I'm all for debate, expansion of thought and reappraisal, as long as it's written with vigour, respect and love for the medium. With Dark Eye Socket, this is what I'm attempting to do.

In the past I've written for the Cambridge Film Festival, in 2005 & 2006 (I reviewed films for the Festival Daily Newspaper and for their online site) and I completed a Graduate course in Film Journalism in 2006, run by the BFI with Sight & Sound - the pieces from which will be included here, as and when, and will probably be expanded upon from what I originally wrote. (One of the blessings of maintaining a self-edited blog is the freedom to simply write more. Well, with one eye on a blog's limitless capacity for more and one eye on a concise word count)

Having bits and pieces all over the place was just too unorganised for me (ever the tidy soul), so this blog will act as a home, a dropping-off point for everything I think about and ponder on regarding film. Some of the pieces will be reviews of both new-release films (seen on the big screen) and older films (caught up with on DVD), whether they are short or long in length; some will possibly be stand-alone observations or general thoughts on a given film or filmmaker, or, indeed, one particular moment in a film, in an attempt to mull over and elaborate what the film/filmmaker means to me; other pieces will simply be lists of what I thought were the best theatrical releases of the year.

I don't want to limit the content to just reviews, as sometimes there's a lot more to be said than a simple assessment of merit. Also, I'll include images, where possible/applicable, to alleviate the word flow and give examples of what the films I'm talking about actually look like (cinema being primarily a visual medium and all). Whatever the pieces are, I hope to convey my passion and enthusiasm for the medium that means more than any other.

Craig Bloomfield, October 2008.

A note on the title. I wanted give this blog a name to suggestively sum up something about the kinds of films that essentially mean the very most to me: world and horror cinema. I called it Dark Eye Socket for a couple of reasons:

Firstly, it was the working title for Tsai Ming-Liang's 2005 film I Don't Want to Sleep Alone/Tian bian yi duo yun. As a fan of his films, I liked this title and was sad to see it unused for the finished film, so I "borrowed" it for here.

Secondly, throughout my (mis-spent?) youth, the one thing I did more than any other was watch films, often when they appeared on television late at night. It was in my teens when I started to get more enthusiastic about what cinema had to offer, that it was much, much more than what was topping the box office. Staying up late to catch one of Alex Cox's MovieDrome horror double-bills I'd videotaped earlier, or aiming to catch a one-off showing of an Ingmar Bergman, Derek Jarman, Akira Kurosawa or Otto Preminger flick, relegated to the graveyard slot, started to become more of a nightly, than a weekly, occurrence. All this was to the detriment of sleep. Indeed, I didn't want to sleep alone; I wanted film to weave its way into my dreams, too. The dark circles appearing around my eyes the day after a night spent drinking in a variety of cinematic concoctions may have betrayed an unhealthy obsession, but the reason for doing it, the wonderful outcome, made me more invigorated, movie-wise, in the long run. This title, in a round-about way, also somehow conjures up to me images from one of my very favourite films of all time - and the photo in the header of the blog comes from that film: George A. Romero's splendid masterpiece Dawn of the Dead (1978).

I'm glad for all those sleepless nights.

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