Monday, January 30, 2012
Damien Bona, 1955-2012
The recent passing of a dear friend and mentor, Damien Bona, came as a shock. He was the co-author of Inside Oscar and the sole author of its sequel, Inside Oscar 2 (among other books). The stance Damien (and his collaborator Mason Wiley) took toward the Academy Awards is a very instructive one: acknowledging the ridiculousness of the Oscars and yet taking them seriously and enthusiastically as a cultural phenomenon. I first started to correspond with Damien online, twelve years ago, when he was nice enough to supply this greenhorn cinephile with a copy of Man with a Movie Camera. The email correspondence continued from then onwards and continued into "real life" when I went to New York for college. A lot of my own ways of looking at the world, and film, were forged in conversation with him. Damien was an incredibly kind, generous, warm human being. I cannot stress these qualities enough; even those who only met him briefly sensed as much. His commitment to great cinema (favorite directors included Ford, Ozu, Mizoguchi, McCarey, Edwards, Kiarostami, Sirk, etc.), to fighting the good fight politically, to great food and drink, to cats, and to human kindness, serve as an instructive example to all people everywhere. It is no exaggeration to say that my own life would have probably turned out significantly different had I never met him. There is much more that I could say, but I'm afraid I might not stop. He will be deeply missed, and his memory cherished, by myself and many, many others.