Monday, October 11


Because films no longer contain the clues to life they once did, I barely watch them now, and when I do I find myself distracted, as in life, by what's in the background, as though that were the real, immutable subject of the film, the equivalent to the invisible cities of which Calvino wrote, its hidden meaning: the importance of the way a street looks, the furniture in a room, the way the extras have been organized, rather than what the actors are saying or doing. It's partly a legacy of the childhood desire to inhabit movies, partly inattentiveness and the wish to let the mind and eyes wander (and wonder). Most films are designed to counter two key modern impulses, boredom and drift, the point at which I usually become interested. Out of this idle fascination I started to take photographs of films but only of the background landscapes or details, because it seemed to me that a view in a film is just as valid a part of a personal landscape as those from life.

-- Chris Petit