The following is a piece I wrote three weeks before launching the candler blog. It was only circulated among friends, until I rediscovered it in old emails. I am reproducing it here as I found it, including the capitalized and un-italicized styling of the site’s name. This does not represent what the site has become, but it’s not a bad idea for an outlet. Not bad at all.
“Cinema is King”
Welcome to The Candler Blog; a place for makers, viewers, critics, and everyone else.
François Truffaut’s 1973 backstage exposé Day for Night offers audiences an unabashed look at the beautiful, frustrating and oftentimes perilous undertaking of making a single film. Playing Ferrand, the director of a big budget film, Mr. Truffaut tries to hold his crumbling cast and crew together in an effort to finish his film, “je vous presente Pamela”, or as the characters refer to it lovingly, “Pamela.” In one of the film’s most poignant moments, Ferrand speaks in a voice over to the audience of the difficulties of his job. “Making a film is like a stagecoach ride in the old west. When you start, you are hoping for a pleasant trip. By the halfway point, you just hope to survive.”
The film is altogether heartbreaking. Cinema has carried an almost mystical relationship with audiences for over a century. Viewers are led to believe that these stories just happen as they are on the screen, unaware of the incredible process behind it. Even as we move further and further toward exposing the magicians behind the curtain, in the end, it is the films, not their making, that wins audiences over. Mr. Truffaut shares the darkest side of the movie business with viewers in Day for Night, the side that we here at The Candler Blog are all too familiar with.
Making a film completely unravels everything you know about watching them. You will have a newfound understanding of the movies that you once hated, and an even greater respect for those that you love. When you sit down and consider all of the things that must go right for a film to come out the way you expect it to, it’s a wonder that these things we call movies ever get made at all. The Candler Blog is committed to giving voice to those who work in this business. We call ourselves “critical practitioners” because even though we have seen behind the curtain, the mystique has not been lost on us. Rather than give in to the coldness of the process, we will use our experience to find a greater appreciation of the cinema.
Truffaut’s Ferrand goes on in his monologue, deriding the very art form to which he has committed his life, reconciling his frustrations with the end result of his work. In the end, the film comes together, everyone moves on to the next project, and audiences will enjoy seeing another film. In his words “Cinema is King”. We couldn’t have said it better.
—March 1, 2009