Archive for May 13th, 2017

By Dean Treadway

very nice 3

In this. the first Allan Fish Online Film Festival, devised by the site’s co-founder Sam Juliano after the untimely death of our British co-hort Allan Fish, Sam has asked many of the site’s contributors to throw in on a film festival designed to highlight Fish’s obviously consuming love of cinema. Many of the contributors here have many superlative things to say about Allan, each of them having a long online (and sometimes face-to-face) correspondence with the man. But I feel it’s correct to, at this point, detail my own run-ins with this completely genius-level film lover.

It’s really simple: Allan hated me. He thought I was a complete amateur as a film commentator, and frankly, I think he may have been correct, at least in comparison to himself. There is no way I could compete with Allan as a film expert; he had me beat (though I never realized this was a competition). His curiosity in viewing movies was incomparable. He could casually watch movies from Turkey, Columbia, France, Nambia, New Zealand, Bulgaria, South Korea, Peru, and Vietnam with as much zeal as I could watching films from the United States and Britain. He understood that I have an Ugly American’s view of film: they’re better if they’re in English. He was right there, and it made me slightly angry that he had my number. I could never match his curiosity toward world cinema and, further, I also couldn’t come close to his succinct mastery of the English language detailing that passion. We never shared a conversation, personally or online, leading to detante with one another. He insulted me directly many times in the comments section of this website. These comments did sting, but I never held them against him. I knew he knew more about the subject than I did, so I let it all slide (though I could give an insult back to him that matched the one he lobbed to me–“pretentious gasbag” comes to mind here; and I should say, he was wrong many times).


Still, I admired him greatly. I tried to tell him this, but I don’t think he ever accepted my appreciation of his work. I guess he thought it was disingenuous (he was never one to respond favorably to sentiment, anyway). In the Wonders in the Dark yearly overviews–a project that took nearly two years to complete–I eventually got so fed up with his attempts to shape every year’s cinematic output according to what he thought was notable, I asked Sam if I could throw in some possibilities for each year, in order to make the project more complete and fair. I would add films and performances and artistic contributions to each year’s round up, and many of them were from films Allan had wholly disowned (and yet some of the elements that I added ended up winning the best of their respective year, so many of the people contributing to the site disagreed with him). Allan vehemently disliked my horning in on his well-determined territory, yet I thought this collective project of ours deserved to be completed with all possibilities considered. This did not result in a joyous collaboration. To him, I was a totally dismissible outlier with pedestrian tastes.


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