January 4, 1997

I traveled yesterday to Los Angeles, where I lived for 15 years, for a crowded weekend that includes a wedding and three screenings of my rough edit. This afternoon's screening was exclusively for my old hard-line film buff friends, the ones that used to log 500 movies a year, the ones who don't need me to tell them that the mine fire scene is an homage to Rossellini. I really wanted to see if they would groove on the film more than other audiences have, and I lucked out: for the first time, the film was met with approval and even enthusiasm. A few of the people there told me they would talk the film up to their festival or industry contacts. I was much more pleased by the positive reception than I had a right to be. I've been dealing calmly enough with the fact that the film stupefies most people, but I must have been starving for superlatives--I stayed high all day.

I'm toying with the idea of cutting a few more scenes. It happens that some of my least favorite scenes are the light, chatty, relatively upbeat interludes, which are also some of the most expendable in terms of plot. I'll have to think about it a while - I don't want to turn the story into one continuous howl of pain.

We haven't done a lick of work on the film for over three weeks, what with vacations and holiday obligations. It's been nervewracking to lose so much momentum. The expectation is that Robin and I will be back in the saddle after I return to NYC.

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