Welcome to my blog, In a Lonely Place: Cinematic Encounters in the Dark.
I started this blog in 2012 when I realised I spent most of my spare time watching film, reading about film, thinking about film and talking about it. I knew it was time to start writing about it again.
In my former career as an academic in a Women’s Studies department, I wrote a PhD about men and masculinity in American cinema of the 1990s. I’m not afraid to use bits of this, from time to time, but regardless, I hope you find my writing about film not only informed, but passionate, enthusiastic and sometimes a little silly. You won’t find conventional reviews of new films here but pieces that extend from ideas in these new films, reflections on the old films I love, and studies of the magical men and women who make them.
When I go to the cinema – and yes, I still do most of my viewing in an actual cinema – I’m interested in connecting with or encountering the world, not escaping from it. I’m interested in the encounters we have with ourselves, with each other, with experiences and people both unlike us and more like us than we know. And I’m interested in how film can change what we think, how we feel, and how we see the world.
This blog takes its name from Nicholas Ray’s 1950 film In a Lonely Place starring the great Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame. It’s a film about filmmaking, about the complexity of the human experience, and a heartbreaking love story. Three themes I can’t get enough of. ‘In a lonely place’ is also the title of a great Joy Division song – a band whose music, like Ray’s film, looked into our dark, conflicted souls.
I think watching film is both a solitary pursuit and a communal one that connects us across time and space through images and stories. I’m going to explore some of my encounters with film here, new and old, dramatic and comedic, pleasurable and challenging. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the view.
Joanna Di Mattia