For some inexplicable reason (is there any other kind on the web?), the post I did a month ago about Dario Argento's praise for Red Velvet (2009), a smart, gory, stylish slasher movie produced by my friend Sean Fernald, has vanished.
So I'm reposting it, because hey — you can't just pick up an Argento endorsement at the corner drugstore. To this day I remember how thrilled I was when Argento praised the very first version of Broken Mirrors/Broken Minds, the one I submitted as my Columbia University masters' thesis.
That encounter wss rivaled only by veteran English filmmaker Michael Powell's response to my first published film article, a very formal, academic analysis of his recently rereleased Peeping Tom. I was still an undergraduate, paying for my education by working in the New York City Ballet's press office, and a dance-world friend was involved with one of the earliest attempts to bring The Red Shoes to the New York stage (the end result was the disastrous 1993 production that opened and closed in four days); he slipped Powell a copy and then introduced us at a backers' audition.
I held my breath as Powell, then in his 80s, looked at me for a moment and then said, "You know, I never intended any of those things you wrote about when I made Peeping Tom." My heart sank. "But you saw them," he continued, "so they must be there."
If that's not graciousness incarnate, I don't know what is.