Joined: 26 Jun 2003
Location: West Bend, WI
|Posted: 06.22.2004 9:15 pm Post subject: Assigning Dates
|I had this post saved on my hard drive:
Assigning ?dates? to movies is rather slippery, and I?m unwilling to use the arbitrary NY-LA release schedule as the default calendar. For a decade I tried to keep in step with the coasts, but I?ve finally acknowledged that it?s a hopeless?and, more importantly, utterly immaterial?endeavor.
Let?s examine the case of Im Kwon-taek?s Chihwaseon. It was first released in May 2002, in its native South Korea. It then played at the Cannes and Toronto festivals before making its American debut, in October 2002 at a Chicago festival. Its ?proper? New York release did not occur until February 2003. And Milwaukeeans didn?t have a chance to see it until 2004.
So we have three dates from which to choose: 2002, 2003, 2004. Which is it? For me, the New York date has about as much relevance as the Korean date?they both are equally foreign to my actual filmgoing choices. Why is the New York date routinely considered the ?proper? date?what is so special about NY-LA that makes their release dates somehow less arbitrary than the Korean, Chicago, or Milwaukee dates? Worst of all, assigning ?2003? status to Chihwaseon just because that?s when New Yorkers saw it turns a blind eye to its entire 2002 domestic run in South Korea?as if it never happened, or, at least, never mattered. (As a Midwesterner?part of the flyover audience?I feel a stronger connection to those marginalized South Koreans than I do the privileged NY-LA release calendar.)
As far as I?m concerned, a movie?s date must coincide with its initial commercial screening?in New York or elsewhere in the world?but its eligibility for a personal list must instead be linked to when it first becomes accessible to me. In other words, Chihwaseon is a 2002 movie eligible for my 2004 list.
Let?s also consider Jafar Panahi?s Crimson Gold, which debuted at Cannes in May 2003. I caught the picture at the Milwaukee festival in November 2003. However, it did not receive ?proper? New York release?and apparently, therefore, did not officially exist?until January 2004. Since coastal critics hadn?t yet seen it when I drew up my 2003 list, should I have pretended that Gold wasn?t part of my 2003 experience at the movies?
This seems to be the only method that?s entirely inclusionary; other systems will always allow certain titles to slip through the cracks. For example, there was no way for me to see Monster in 2003; disqualifying it from my 2004 list simply because it played in New York last year amounts to excluding it from consideration all together.
That's all I can restore. Anyone else have anything backed up?
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