Monday, June 11, 2007

Blog Changes

Today I upgraded to 'New Blogger' which has a number of enhanced features and cosmetic changes. I've lost some of the custom features I'd gradually accumulated over time, so bear with me while I tweak things and get them back to normal. Meanwhile I wanted to point out the enhancements, some resulting from the migration to New Blogger and some as a result of 'widgets' I've included.

Subscribing to Melbourne Film Blog
I've added some widgets in the sidebar to make it easier to subscribe to the blog. Clicking on the 'Subscribe' bar will take you to a page that lets you choose your RSS subscription service. For me, that means Bloglines and Google Custom Homepage, but there's a number of services you can select from. If you don't know about RSS subscription services, I won't go into detail here, but it's a way of being alerted when blogs, news and other services have posted new pages, rather than manually checking yourself.

Beneath the 'Subscribe' bar is the 'Bookmark' bar which offers a similar automated adding this blog to your web browser bookmarks or other third-party services. These two widgets are provided by AddThis.

The option to subscribe to 'Post Comments' is a New Blogger enhancement, found at the bottom of a blog post. It enables you to be alerted each time a comment is posted to that particular post on Melbourne Film Blog. This is mighty helpful when you've commented on a post and want an alert to any follow-up comments. I find this really useful when I leave comments elsewhere, as I otherwise struggle to keep track of the online conversations I've been involved in.

If anyone knows of some code that enables me to add this to the sidebar (under the other subscribe bars), I'd be mighty obliged to hear from you about it.

Previous Posts
New Blogger has amalgamated Post Archive and Recent Posts. It's not quite how I would prefer it to be, but it makes it easier to peruse past posts in one place.

Other Widgets
Some may have noticed the appearance of the Babel Fish translator and Google search widgets a couple of weeks ago. The translator seemed appropriate as I write of various film festivals and I noticed that many of my visitors come from non-English speaking countries and some have come via external web translators.

And while Blogger is itself now owned by Google, the Google search widget offers search capability in a familiar format. I find it more useful than the search feature at the top of the page.

New Blogger allows the display of all tags, which I've added to the bottom of the sidebar. I saw Matt from Last Night With Riviera using these creatively. He's currently covering the Sydney Film Festival on his blog using his custom tag, SydneyFilmFestival2007. By clicking this tag, one can see in chronological order all his posts about SFF. This is very useful for me, as I'm using his reliable and informed reviews as research for what to see at MIFF.

A tag I've been using quite a bit this year is France. By clicking this tag, you will see all my posts relevant to France, which includes French films, French directors and news pertaining to France (such as taking up French language classes). And recently I've had a few posts about Isabelle Huppert (with several more to come). So, for the uninitiated, tags are a shortcut to grouping posts that follow a common theme.

If anyone knows of other useful widgets or enhancements, I'm happy to hear your suggestions. Meanwhile, please be patient if things go AWOL or psycho.


trent said...

blog looks great, i like the layout, especially of the text--it's narrow. good job. i can't think of much else you can add to it, the content is the most important part and you have that.

i also just wanted to bring to your attention muff which you most likely know about already but i think it's worth bringing up nonetheless. they might be seen as pretty hit or miss but i know for a fact they have shown some good stuff in the past (to this day i believe their screening of julien donkey-boy was the only one in australia, and last year they showed 2 giuseppe andrews films for which they must be highly praised). cheers.

Paul Martin said...

Thanks, Trent. I don't know that it's any narrower, but the text is slightly larger, so it may give that impression.

I was vaguely aware that MUFF was on the radar, but I'm not sure of the dates, and the website doesn't seem to offer much info at this stage.

I think it's been a while since I went to MUFF, and it was a bit hit-and-miss. It's a pity I missed Julien Donkey-Boy, but that must have been a few years ago. I know nothing of Giuseppe Andrews (other than just a quick look just now on IMDB).

I think you're more clued up than myself on both the alternative film scene and older films, so I'd be very interested in your recommendations.

trent said...

no i don't think it's any narrower, i'm pretty sure it's always been that way. i am just fond of that style.

muff usually coincides with miff, maybe a little earlier or later. the dates will appear on the site before you know it. julien donkey-boy screened in 2001, a momentous occasion. afterwards i tried to mark the event by conceiving a child but i kept shooting blanks. i believe they also intended to screen pasolini's 'salo' that year but it got pulled by the authorities. giuseppe andrews is the future of cinema.

i'm eager to see their program too. i'll let you know if there's anything i think is worth checking out. if there is something major i will come down, same with miff of course.

i've been going to the chauvel cinematheque and at a screening last night the guy who organises it mentioned he is putting together the next season, and is inviting suggestions for the program. he said we can suggest anything but preferably something from the national film and sound archive. have you ever checked it out? i had a quick look and it seems pretty good, can you imagine going down there and strolling through their archives? i think it would be worth a trip to canberra for this.

Paul Martin said...

Trent, I think it'd be a great opportunity to program for a Cinematheque or festival. Make sure you put your suggestions in. And what would they be?

I haven't had a good look at that site, and don't have time now. Yeah, I'd zip to Canberra on my motorbike for the opportunity (to pick some out, that is).

trent said...

you ride a motorbike? that's really cool, must be the best way to travel. i've got a unicycle, that's about it.

i see there that NFSA has a 35mm print of godard's WEEK END. i'm definitely going to suggest that. programming a festival or cinematheque would be a dream, it would be awesome but pretty crazy too. if i were to program one, as of right now, i would choose a godard retrospective with a focus on his films from 1980 to now. hell, even his 70s films too. i think that's something that needs to be addressed.

i do like the guy who is currently programming the chauvel cinematheque though, he's shown some good stuff so far, so i trust him to choose some good films no matter what.

how about you, is there something you feel needs to be screened? some kieslowski perhaps?

Paul Martin said...

I have a motorbike and a motor-scooter, and no car. The missus has one and I drive it when I must (like picking up the drycleaning), but I feel uneasy in a car now that I ride every day.

As far as repertory films, I don't feel that I have a good enough handle on the history of cinema to answer that authoritatively. I'm going to see Kieslowski's The Double Life of Veronique when it screens soon at the Astor Theatre, and I would like to see his other films that I haven't seen. There's too many other names that I'd like to see, Godard included, but I'm not familiar with his work.

When the programmer at Melbourne Cinémathèque asked for suggestions, this was my reponse:

Roman Polanski
Takeshi Kitano
Alkinos Tsilimidos
Luis Bunuel
Michael Haneke
Wim Wenders
Ingmar Bergman
Wong Kar-wai
Hal Hartley
Francois Ozon
Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Jim Jarmusch
Kim Ki-Duk (and Korean cinema in general)
Gus van Sant
Todd Haynes
Gaspar Noe
Jafar Panahi (and Iranian cinema in general)
PT Anderson
Errol Morris
Paul Schrader
Martin Scorsese (up to and including Bringing Out the Dead)
Michael Winterbottom
Todd Solondz
Terrence Mallick
Ang Lee

Though there's many others.

trent said...

I would have no problem with films from anyone on that list being shown. There's lots I could say about all of them and lots I could add too, but Malick is the one that stands out the most there.

I think I'm going to suggest some films that Cantinflas was in. He was often referred to as the Charlie Chaplin of Mexico, and actually Chaplin once called him the greatest comedian in the world. I've seen a couple of his films but they were in Spanish with no subtitles--you don't necessarily need them but I would prefer it. Some good comedy should be shown, we are starved of that.

Paul Martin said...

Trent, Cantinflas is another name I've never heard of. I agree about comedy. I love comedy but see little of it, because most of what is screened under that label today I find puerile.

It seems the best comedy produced these days is absorbed into drama and manifest as varieties of black comedy, like Donnie Darko or American Beauty.