Spent the first half of the day dutifully studying dive manual and watching short YouTube films about positive buoyancy, proper fin selection, and how to clear a flooded mask. In the afternoon I attended two movies: Museum Hours at the Royal and Cutie and the Boxer at the Nuart with my dear friend Helen. Both were great–Cutie and the Boxer is a documentary about two married artists—Ushio and Noriko Shinohara–and depicts the art life with all its perils, poverty and messy devotion. At one point, Ushio and Noriko are eating supper in their chaotic loft, talking about “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” and 80-year-old Ushio, an action-pop artist who paints with boxing gloves, notes that “Jaws” was Spielberg’s best film. While Noriko chastises her husband for his reactionary early work=best work credo, I had to agree with Ushio that Spielberg never topped “Jaws.”
Museum Hours is a meditation. It’s a movie about loneliness, life, death and relatable to anyone who has wandered around a strange city with very little money and become privy to all the ordinary alien miracles of empty urban spaces, the detritus of street markets, the odd beauty of trains at certain hours and the sanctuary of museums that both reflect and heighten the ordinary world. I loved seeing paintings fill an entire movie screen–scenes from Brueghel, beheaded Medusas, ancient statues with sheared off noses.
I started imagining a new kind of shark movie–not a documentary or a silly exploitation film, but an art movie with winter light, museums and coffee. Maybe a story about two dedicated shark researchers who lived together like artists, each with their own particular obsession–one devoted to lantern sharks and the other only caring about charismatic “man eaters” and their love threatens to illuminate or devour them at different points in the film. But in my art house picture, the sharks wouldn’t exist as convenient metaphors for human frailty, beauty or power. They would exist as subjects in their own right, filling the screen, so we might contemplate their mystery and gravity, as we gaze upon the statues of Gods with missing heads or wings.