I reread his piece and was relieved. Perhaps I didn’t go far enough!
Saturday, 29 June 2013
I wrote it and then I wondered… Maybe I’d made a mistake. Perhaps I’d got it wrong. Had I been unfair to Noureddine Ghali? After all he does speak about the differences between the Wolof and French languages, and notes that it is the intellectuals who ran post-colonial Senegal. In my desire to smash the idol of politics that mystifies so much of film and literary criticism I wondered if I might have gone too far…
Sunday, 23 June 2013
He’s not Fassbinder. Oh no! Chabrol does not have his feel for left wing politics. He is an outsider in this game, and this film shows it; Nada a cool satire on a subject that is more idea (and other people’s at that) than lived experience. This is a thesis not a movie. Keep to what you know, and make it immaculately… but no! Like all great artists his ambition extends way beyond his reach; his own perspective, limited but exquisite, is not enough for his ambition, which is outrageous. He wants to go beyond the horizon of his own talent! So he walks to the fence at the bottom of his garden, and imagines the metropolis he believes he can glimpse in the hazy distance. He turns the water tower into a thin skyscraper with a protruding restaurant and imagines a political rally, journalists, and the guest speaker whom he crowds out with cabinet ministers, waitresses, and an assassin. Once triggered his imagination follows its own logic producing a gun, a dead body, and three characters clambering along the high roof; while the TV channels report the death of a great liberal hero. He sees a body fall… It is a symbol of futility. He smiles at the quality of his metaphorical mind. Then he looks in a different direction and sees a telegraph pole. He ponders this for a long time before he turns it into a totem; shifting his eye line so that it hides the water tower. He smiles to himself: “The games I play!” Then he stops. He is amazed. Then he laughs out loud. “It’s Alan’s ... Mercy! I’m stealing his film!” Abashed at his foolishness, he remembers Paris, thinks of a local farmhouse, and imagines terrorists breaking into a fancy brothel.