I am trying to write this all like it’s a letter to a friend—not to be too precious about my words but also to work on them. In fact, it is a letter to a friend, a friend who's off in India training to be a sherpa. He can't go to the movies, but he can read this instead. Others may read it--I hope they do--but it is with my friend in India in mind that I write.
All cinephiles are auto-didacts. Most have little or no formal education in film, and those who do get the bulk of their education outside the class-room anyways. As a result, conversations about film are often marked by the wounded defensiveness and bullish competitiveness that often characterizes the discourse of auto-didacts. I will try to be a little less self-conscious than that. It’s okay to make mistakes in analysis or in taste. In fact, I am going to try to make a lot of mistakes.