Tuesday, January 22, 2013

“A Certain Loss Of Magic”

I have almost nothing for today, but I have a couple of little things. I can’t say exactly why I feel so strongly about them, but these are little things I’ve been giving a lot of thought to recently and this morning—it is Tuesday morning as I type this—I got yelled at [!] (in an internet sort of way) about one of these and that just underscored in my mind that there is something important to me in some way I can’t define about this almost trivial content. So I’m going to do this post even though it is a little unfocused.


Over the years, I think I have singled out four women tennis players as being particularly interesting to me. I’m not going to link to all their posts, but here are examples of each of the four:

Anna Kournikova I have always thought was the prettiest tennis player I’ve ever seen and there is something so interesting about her face that I’ve never been able to look away.

Anna Kournikova’s Face

Elena Dementieva was the most resilient sports figure I’ve ever known. She would get beaten, sometimes very badly, even embarrassingly, but she would keep herself together mentally, and stay in competition and come back and accomplish great victories. I think I admire that resilience more than anything else I’ve ever seen in a sports person.

On Being A (Very) Sad Tennis Fan

Maria Sharapova is very pretty, too, and she is also someone I can’t look away from, but I think of her as someone quite different from Kournikova. I’ve never read an interview that I can remember where Anna Kournikova said anything mean about anyone, but I don’t think I’ve ever read even one Sharapova interview where she didn’t say something abusive to one or more of the press people there just trying to do their job. I admire people who are self-contained, even if their “self” is unpleasant in one way or another. I don’t know what I think about Sharapova. She is pretty and seems self-contained. It makes for an interesting combination to me, even if it is sometimes a frightening combination.

Candy At The End Of The World

Caroline Wozniacki is the most unpleasant woman tennis player I’ve ever been aware of. John McEnroe and others have been very embarrassing on the men’s side, but Wozniacki has created a whole new level on the women’s side. She has accomplished almost nothing in tennis—won no major titles—but by flukes of the rating points system she managed to get to number one in the world. And almost every day she embarrassed herself, her country and the sport with some new stupid comment or action. Just recently she did an idiotic impersonation of Serena Williams during an exhibition match.

Feral Kangaroos And Women

There is one other woman tennis player I want to mention because in many ways she is similar to and at the same time very different from all four of those other players.

This is a picture of Ana Ivanovic. She lost last weekend at the Australian Open.

I think Ana Ivanovic is the most beautiful tennis player I’ve ever seen.

Even though she was once the number one woman in the world, recently her career has wildly fallen off. But even as a young woman she has accomplished a lot. In 2008 she won the French Open, possibly the most difficult tennis tournament in the world.

So Ana Ivanovic has achieved one of the highest honors of the tennis world, becoming a grand slam champion.

When Ana was the number one player in the world, I sometimes heard and read tennis fans wonder if she had a forceful enough game to maintain at number one. But since she had won a grand slam, criticism was always muted. I also heard and read tennis fans wonder if, maybe, Ana was “cashing in” too much by appearing all over the media.

What I admire so much about Ana Ivanovic is that she accomplished so much, winning the French and still she remains focused on tennis even though her beauty is so remarkable she could have gotten all side-tracked the way apparently Kournikova did and, possibly, the way Sharapova still does.

Ana appears “self-contained” in a way quite different from Sharapova. I’ve never read or heard Ana say anything mean about anyone, not even the media types.

She has extraordinary beauty and extraordinary skill on the court and she seems to be comfortable letting it be.

Letting it be enough, I mean. Letting her beauty as a woman and her skill as a tennis player be the focus of her as a public figure.

I haven’t looked closely at her website but there is a feature there that links to all of her magazine covers over the years. During all that publicity, I don’t remember Ana ever becoming, or trying to become, an obnoxious celebrity. Or a business woman. Or a kind of free-floating diva.

It’s so cool. Being what you are. Or trying to be what you are. To try to figure it all out and to try to accept it. It’s so cool.

It’s seems like magic to me.


Dailies, in filmmaking, are the raw, unedited footage shot during the making of a motion picture. They are so called because usually at the end of each day, that day's footage is developed, synced to sound, and printed on film in a batch (and/or telecined onto video tape or disk) for viewing the next day by the director and some members of the film crew. However, the term can be used to refer to any raw footage, regardless of when it is developed or printed.

Another way to describe film dailies is "the first positive prints made by the laboratory from the negative photographed on the previous day". In addition, during filming, the director and some actors may view these dailies as an indication of how the filming and the actors' performances are progressing.

at Wikipedia

Here at the blog, every now and then—I mean once or twice a year—I will type up a post but then, before I actually go into Blogger and post it, I will change my mind for one reason or another and not use the post.

A couple of months ago I was going to do a post about a British film director talking about changes in the filmmaking process as digital technology replaces film. But it occurred to me that it was a pretty obscure point and the context around the director’s quote was a James Bond movie and I don’t really like James Bond so I never put up the quote or the post.

But I’ve always remembered the quote.

In so many ways so many things about the modern world are vastly, almost infinitely, better than they ever have been in the past. But at the same time so much seems to be getting lost. And the stuff that’s getting lost often seems to be the magical kind of stuff.

Ana Ivanovic lost at the Australian Open last weekend.

Reduction Of The Muse

Jeanne Hébuterne — Art As A Grail

Here is the quote I almost used before. It is an excerpt from American Cinematographer magazine talking about how being able to instantly see exactly what you filmed is different from having to wait until the next day to see what you created and captured:

Other aspects of digital acquisition, however, pleased Mendes far less. “With a lot of big monitors on set, there’s a slight sense of a spread of focus, which is not what I’m used to,” he observes. “There is also a certain loss of magic in the process of transformation that happens between shooting an image on film and first seeing it on the big screen. It gives you a huge lift to see what you shot the previous day projected large, if it has been properly timed. On Skyfall, it was the other way around, because we could look at the image on a very good monitor on set and see it exactly as Roger intended, and when we saw dailies the next day, they were lower-resolution images and wouldn’t look quite as good. So there wasn’t that wonderful sense of surprise.”

“MI6 Under Siege”
at American Cinematographer, 12/12

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