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In Transit

traveling salesman tc small

Apologies to all for the Garbo act I’ve been pulling this past week. It’s been a very hectic time, as I wrap up my obligations at one job and begin the process of starting another. I see Robert Garrick has done a frighteningly good job of tracking my press clippings, but in case anyone has missed them, here’s a Variety piece by Scott Foundas that lays out the story: I’ll be leaving my column at the New York Times on November 10, and starting at the Museum of Modern Art as a curator in the Department of Film beginning December 1. (Don’t know who that crazy looking guy in the picture is, though.)

As rewarding as I’ve found my fourteen years at the Times, I’m looking forward to moving on to new challenges on a new playing field. My goal remains the same — a hope to expand the conversation into the vast areas of our beloved art form, domestic and foreign, that remain largely unexplored — but at MoMA I hope I’ll be able to work toward that end in ways other than the purely reactive, working with the wonderful staff of scholars, enthusiasts and and technicians at that unique institution to get more movies out in the world where people can actually see them. It’s a campaign that needs to be pursued on several fronts — publication, restoration, exhibition — and MoMA has long been a leader in all of them. I can’t imagine a better place to be.

There’s going to be a lot of work to do — too much, I think, to continue this blog in a responsible manner. In the last couple of years I’ve already been finding it difficult to participate in the discussion as much as I’d like to, and I’m afraid it will only become more problematic in the future. I hope there’s someone out there who knows a little bit about blogging software and is willing to take over the discussion; interested parties, if any, are welcome to contact me, and I’ll share whatever knowledge I have. But my plan for the moment is to keep this site up at least for the next few weeks, in case anyone wants to archive what’s up here, and then close it down, probably by the new year.

I’m deeply grateful for all of the kind words that have appeared here. I’ll try not to disappoint you as I move into new areas. I value all of the friends I’ve made here and I’m sure we will remain in touch, one way or another.

With fondness, regret and no small degree of excitement and anticipation, I remain

Your obedient servant

Dave Kehr

57 comments to In Transit

  • Yes, the French Naruse DVDs only had French subs (there were also some Spanish DVDs with Spanish-only subs). As to unsubbed Japanese DVDs, I think Toho decided it didn’t need to release any more of these once it allowed TV broadcasts of everything.

    I hadn’t really used French in decades, until I started my pursuit of classic Japanese cinema in 2000. Once you brush up on French, there is also Hasumi’s Ozu book (translated into French).

  • Mike Grost,

    Does Sallit provide any names if these great recent narrative films or — Hallelujah! — new auteurs that you might pass on.

    What better way to ward off antiquarianism, the lure of the Boobtube, masterpiece-discovery pipe dreams, and accellerated aging of one’ s DVDs?

  • Alex,

    Please see “Dan Sallitt’s Favorite Films, by International Release Date” at:

    This lists every film he likes, by year.
    It is full of films I’ve never seen and barely heard of.

  • MG, Thanks. Looks like Sallit ‘s lists offer a few viewing tips!

  • Robert Cashill, thank you for the link! I hope there will be a John Ford at Columbia chain!

  • Lawrence Chadbourne

    Daniel F: The Film Center of the School Of The Art Institute Of Chicago published a nice 32 page catalog on their 1984 25 film Naruse series, “Mikio Naruse: A Master Of The Japanese Cinema.” The series traveled through 1985 to New York’s MOMA and Japan Film Center, where I saw most, to Berkeley’s PFA and 5 other locations. There is a 5 page essay by translator Audie Bock, 2 interviews, credits and a writeup on each film by Bock, and a 1 page bibliography. Still a useful monograph, if you can find it.