On Wednesday I looked forward to the opening of a most welcome show of graphic art by R. Crumb later this month.
Otherwise it’s been mostly a slog, but I’ve been trying to keep up on my reading; whether my current choices testify to either my admirably broad range of interests or my pathetic inability to focus is an open question. Charles Drazin’s In Search of the Third Man came down off the shelf this week after Marilyn and I enjoyed a beautiful restoration of the film — for which Robert Krasker won the Best Black-and-White Cinematography Oscar, the only Oscar The Third Man won — at Metrograph on Saturday night as a pre-Valentine’s Day gift to ourselves. (That showing of The Third Man was sold out; and Metrograph has extended the run of the film through February 21. Run, don’t walk, to 7 Ludlow Street for the next screening.) I’ve been trying to recommend The Third Man to others with little success. Among other things, it’s still a wry comment on the naive innocence of post-war Americans in the midst of a corrupt, cynical Central Europe devastated by a violence unimaginable to Americans, the America/Europe divide still as wide as it was when Mark Twain published The Innocents Abroad in 1868. Drazin’s book is a fine, comprehensive look at the making of Carol Reed’s film and sets it in historical context.
On my Kindle, on the other hand, is Gary Shteyngart’s memoir Little Failure; Shteyngart may be the most able satirist of both pre-Soviet and post-Soviet Russia, as well as the absurdities of the West, since Vladimir Voinovich, and that’s saying something. Why I should be interested in Gary Shteyngart’s life at all is a mystery to me, but I can say that about so many things.
I’ll lift a glass to The Third Man at Cafe Katja this afternoon. See you there. And below, a “trailer” for Little Failure from 2013, featuring a discussion between Shteyngart and his husband James Franco as they look forward to the publication of the book (with a special appearance by Jonathan Franzen). It’s worth a peek.