Tacita Dean’s bewitching eulogy to film (and capturing of the ‘green ray’ – do you see it?).
The text below is from this interview with Jeffrey Eugenides
This is really interesting, because I filmed it on this beach in Madagascar, and there was this couple who were hanging around. They didn’t see the green ray, and they’d videotaped the sunset to document it. Then they replayed their video to me for proof that it wasn’t there. But I was absolutely convinced that I had seen it, so it had to be on my film, which was optical and analog. When I got the film back, it was very, very faint, and I had to really push it to get more color in the film, to bring out the green ray. But it’s definitely there. It’s not a fiction. Some people think the green ray is an illusion, but it’s not.
I suddenly realised we are just about to lose this really beautiful medium we created 125 years ago [..] Digital is also a fantastic medium. It’s got massive potential [..] But I love film and I don’t want to lose my ability to make film and it looks like I probably will.
At Bellow’s memorial meeting, held in the Young Men’s Hebrew Association at Lexington Avenue and 92nd Street, two years ago, the main speakers were Ian McEwan, Jeffrey Eugenides, Martin Amis, William Kennedy, and James Wood. Had it not been for an especially vapid speech by some forgettable rabbi, the platform would have been exclusively composed on non-Jews, many of them non-American. How had Bellow managed to exert such an effect on writers almost half his age, from another tradition and another continent? Putting this question to the speakers later on, I received two particularly memorable responses. Ian McEwan related his impression that Bellow, alone among American writers of his generation, had seemed to assimilate the whole European classical inheritance. And Martin Amis vividly remembered something Bellow had once said to him, which is that if you are born in the ghetto, the very conditions compel you to look skyward, and thus to hunger for the universal.
From Christopher Hitchens’s review (2007) of two Library of America collections of Bellow’s fiction. In Arguably this easy is entitled Saul Bellow: The Great Assimilator (pages 62-63).
Though I’d agree with the central premise of McEwan’s position, I’d couple Bellow and Philip Roth as heirs to European classicism.