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Year of Yearning

The old were bold in an era of Hollywood mainstream misses

In Manny Farber's just-reissued (and expanded) 1971 collection Negative Space, the most important film publishing milestone of 1998, this scarily lucid critic describes an American world "where whole eras and cultures in different stages of development exist side by side, where history along one route seems to skip over decades only to fly backward over another route and begin over again in still a different period." In 1998 old movies such as The Wizard of Oz and Touch of Evil and new ones like the year's eight best delighted and enthralled me with their graceful light-stepping through that volatile terrain.

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