Sunday, 30 November 2014

Two Girls Go Crazy

They’re larking about.  This piece could finish now.  The whole movie described by a single word: fun.  

Is there more to this film than two girls going crazy?  An early shot of a psychedelic apple tree suggests that a moral fable exists amongst the wonderfully confusing images of this odd movie.  The two characters, who are both called Marie, themselves say they have gone to the bad, and proceed to indulge - and to delight in indulging - their own and other people’s sin.  Although there is the suspicion that their acts are only anarchic parodies of a life they do not wish to lead. Is it all just a game?  Is nothing for real?

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Reader Against a Black Background

The black is everywhere.  There is a pink table.  A mirror.  A painting.  A vase of flowers bursting out into the room.  There are some sketches.  A woman is sitting on a chair.  She is reading.  Although she could be asleep; her arm and elbow on the table, her fist is resting against her head.

Her black skirt moves as her red legs swing.

The words on the page, invisible to us who can read only a white blank, are revealed by these curious legs.  They look like skittles, and exist half-way between crossed and astride.  The right leg.  In the act of swinging?  Or is it coming to rest on a knee...  Both legs are red with flaming life; as is the face, arms and neck.  This woman is glowing.

Here is movement.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

My Mate Émile

Once again you’ve gone too far.  A few weeks of freedom and look what you’ve got yourself up to.

Well, you know…

We let you out on bail on the condition that you stopped beating up academics.  You were freed on good faith, as you seemed genuinely contrite and…

…and I appeared to have had a good education.  I talk well, don’t I?

No. Not…

Oh, I know you didn't actually say this; but isn't that what you meant?

Ha!  You have too much sauce young man.  And now look what you’ve gone and done: punching that professor in his lower paragraphs and head-butting his sentences. You’re going back inside, you know.

But wait; I…

Look.  It’s no use…

But listen!  Just you listen to this.

Friday, 21 November 2014

The Good Bourgeois

The form of this film is also its meaning.  What is this form?  It is best described by analogy: it is like the interior monologues of Leopold Bloom.  Scenes vividly delineated, so that both the characters and the action take on large elements of caricature - The Cremator more Czech expressionism than Czech surrealism -, suddenly shift to others equally striking; the only connecting link a word, an image or a metaphor they both share.  This is a film constructed out of a complex series of association of ideas.  David Hume the major influence on a movie made under a regime where Karl Marx held the monopoly on thought.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Miracle or Mutation?

New things out of old things.  The artist thinks:
A swarthy boy opened a book and propped it nimbly under the breastwork of his satchel.  He recited jerks of verse with odd glances at the text:
-Weep no more, woful shepherd, weep no more
For Lycidas, your sorrow, is not dead,
Sunk though he be beneath the watery floor…
It must be a movement then, an actuality of the possible as possible.  Aristotle’s phrase formed itself within the gabbled verses and floated out into the studious silence of the library of Saint Genevieve where he had read, sheltered from the sin of Paris, night by night.  By his elbow a delicate Siamese conned a handbook of strategy.  Fed and feeding brains about me: under glowlamps, impaled, with faintly beating feelers: and in my mind’s darkness a sloth of the underworld, reluctant, shy of brightness, shifting her dragon scaly folds.  Thought is the thought of thought.  Tranquil brightness. The soul is in a manner all that is: the soul is the form of forms.  Tranquillity sudden, vast, candescent: form of forms.
A thought enters.  It swims around.  And disturbs the domestic fauna, who shuffling and fluttering kick up the mud and scatter the stones that lie on the mind’s sea-bed. Around and around it goes; almost aimlessly; when suddenly - desire comes like an exclamation mark - it feels the urge to mate.  But…the water is dark and misty.  But what luck!  This intruder - we’ll call him Clive - is too consumed with sexual craving to care about the niceties of the orifice exposed to him.  No matter that it belongs to a different species. Instinct only is left.  He penetrates.  She conceives.  A fluorescent fish swims by to reveal…no, not a whalophin, but a new idea - “thought is the thought of thought….”  After the conception there follows an epiphany - “tranquillity sudden, vast, candescent: form of forms” -; although to less refined ears it sounds like post-coital repose.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Feel the Thought

I am trotting through Professor Radkau’s sentences when suddenly I encounter an idea of mine; one that I conceived only a few weeks ago… There she is!  Standing alone on the grass by the side of the lane.  Young and beautiful, she is wearing a long red skirt, a pink blouse, and a green waistcoat embroidered with flowers.  She holds a parasol high above her head and she smiles mischievously.  “Didn’t we meet last week in the Critic as Clerk?” she asks.  “Yes, we did”, I reply.  We exchange names - “Fanny zu Reventlow, the Countess of Schwabing"; "Paul Schloss, a professional amateur" -; and pay each other compliments; going on to talk about Robbe-Grillet and Edmund Husserl and a few other things.  We end our brief chat with a promise to meet again in the near future.  As I ride off down the lane I laugh to myself, and yet feel somewhat disconcerted - how can such a character exist independently of me?  And then a curious thought enters my mind (along with the smell of manure from a neighbouring field): am I a replica of her own carefully tailored beauty? A mile further on I meet another woman…  And this happens again and again, my journey punctuated with ideas that I have thought up and written down before - in the Critic as Clerk, in The Temperate Zone, in Freedom Against Freedom. Two weeks ago I thought gemütlichkeit a good way to describe the New Left.  Now I read that Max Weber was highly critical of what he regarded as this specifically German characteristic.  A coincidence for sure.  But I doubt the sanity of the world when Weber tells me that the resistance of concrete things to the easy flow of abstract speculation is what makes us think.  How could I have known of these ideas in advance of reading them?