April 1st, 2012 § § permalink
PAUL SCHMIDT ON A WORD RIMBAUD USED OFTEN: SEASON — SAISON
All periods of time have ends to them, and these fatal endings we anticipate. A period of time–a day, an hour, a year–and this will end, we say; all this will end, the season will turn, and all will be over. We look in vain for some eternal moment, for happiness, felicity, that state of bliss that will go on for ever and ever. Is not happiness defined only when no term to its extent is imagined? So Rimbaud thought, it seems to me. His seasons are those stretches of time that open unawares and close painfully in our lives. That summer, those two years in the city, this love affair, that month in the country–these are the true, the organic epochs of our lives; the dates that mark their endings are our true anniversaries. Are not these the seasons Rimbaud wrote of: the implacable turning of season, and the denial of happiness implicit in their movement?
Aptly, spring has begun. The sun is hurting. And I have just turned in my thesis.
LIST ONE: BOOKS PURCHASED IN MARCH
First set: Works by Beverly Dahlen, my latest, and certainly an, enduring obsession
» Read the rest of this entry «
March 11th, 2012 § § permalink
RELIGION. I have taken to reading the Bible again, and by that I mean Pessoa‘s The Book of Disquiet. It is a monumental work and, in Richard Zenith‘s curation, rather a mammoth one too. So I read it on and off, though I ideally I tell myself I should read a passage every day as one does, if devout, a Bible. But maybe I am more devout in spirit than in practice, and therefore a true Catholic towards this book.
Pessoa: So why do I keep writing?
Pessoa: Because I still haven’t learned to practise completely the renunciation that I preach.
(A Factless Autobiography 231)
DIVERS. For three years I have written monthly posts about the books and movies I read and watched in that time. I’ve become more and more lax about the writing of these, being both late and unhelpfully brief about them. The point was to force myself to think carefully about what gives me pleasure and what doesn’t. Laziness is bad for thinking.
Now that I’ve become less invested in writing a blog that is read and more interested in having a place that keeps track of my interests and complaints and confusion, I’ve decided to switch to this format for my blog writing: a (hopefully) fortnightly gathering of my thoughts and readings. This first divers post of 2012 will have to summarise two months instead of just two weeks, so bear with me.
Street art in Prague: Kafka's Metamorphosis (via Flavorwire)
MUSIC. I don’t ‘follow’ music. » Read the rest of this entry «
March 3rd, 2012 § § permalink
Lots of movies, not all of them bad.
Robert Altman: 3 Women (1977, USA)
An utterly strange movie, as I’m sure the still above suggests. I love Altman’s work, but I’m not sure about this one. The first half is excellent: Pinky (Sissy Spacek) is a young girl, seemingly from nowhere, who moves to California and starts to work at a spa for the elderly. She’s awkward and childish and starts looking to older, wiser Millie (Shelley Duvall) for her social education. Eventually she moves in with Millie, but it quickly becomes apparent that for all her talk, no one really likes or even notices Millie. There’s something . . . ill about these two women. After an accident, things get worse as their identities begin to blur. The third woman is Willie, the wife of the Millie’s landlord. She’s pregnant and paints these amazing, weird images (see still).
The bit about identities blurring sounds a lot like Bergman’s Persona, which was, I think, an inspiration for Altman. I really like Altman’s version, especially the first half, and also where the film lands as its final point. Between the middle and the end, there’s something that needs resolution. I think it might be that the film falls into fantasy more so than psychosis, and that troubles me. Still, this is very worth watching, just for Sissy and Shelley. They don’t make ‘em like that anymore in Hollywood.
Wes Anderson: Rushmore (1998, USA)
Brian de Palma: Blow Out (1981, USA)
John motherfucking Travolta at his best. » Read the rest of this entry «
January 22nd, 2012 § § permalink
I really should be getting done with these posts.
Carl Th. Dreyer: The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928, France)
A few months ago I was reading Theresa Cha’s Dictee for a class and there was a still of this film in her book. There was so title or note in the back to say where the image came from, but it was not unlike the still above (without the crown and . . . sceptre?). With a face upturned like that, a mouth half open and eyes glazed over, it was hard not to read martyrhood into the image and slowly arrive at the possibility that this was in fact a representation of Joan of Arc. So you know, science.
Anyway, I watched the movie shortly after reading the book and thought it was quite lovely and moving. I still want to see Bresson’s rendering of the story as its likely superior. Still, recommended.
Jacques Rivette: Ne touchez pas la hache (2007, France)
Rewatching an old favourite. The French really fucking know what they’re doing, don’t they? This is stunning beyond words, though I did then write a poem about it. An ekphrastic of some kind I suppose. I hope I still like it a year from now. The film, on the other hand, is unwaveringly spectacular. I don’t even need to tell you what it’s about: just watch it already.
Herbert Ross: Footloose (1984, USA)
This, of course, feeds my obsession of dance movies. Rather shocking that I’ve waiting so long to watch this one, actually, but I think all the buzz about the remake of this movie made me do it. It’s a fun movie, carried entirely by Kevin Bacon. I mean, look that that, will you:
Given the above, it makes me wonder what would the point of watching a remake would be? The new guy hardly seems anywhere near as charismatic, or you know, drop dead gorgeous/tight-jeans-worthy/heaven.
December 19th, 2011 § § permalink
Michelangelo Antonioni: The Passenger (1975, Italy)
A fun movie with Jack Nicholson back when he was handsome and still highly talented.
Lisa Cholodenko: The Kids Are All Right (2010, USA)
Er, light viewing, shall we say?
Adriane Lyne: Flashdance (1983, USA)
Cult dance movie that I’ve wanted to see for the longest time. It has great music, but is otherwise rubbish. I also don’t appreciate it when dance movies don’t celebrate the actual dancers, in this case, the main character’s dancing double. Anyway, it’s all patchy and pieced together. Basic filmmaking techniques are shoddy, so what can you say, right?
Dominik Moll: With a Friend Like Harry (2000, France)
I have no notes on this movie and I watched a very long time ago, but I can say that I enjoyed it, and that Harry (on your left, in the picture above) is creepy as fuck and eats a raw egg every time he orgasms. » Read the rest of this entry «
November 11th, 2011 § § permalink
Catherine Breillat: Une Vielle Maitresse (2007, France)
This was fine. Not her best movie.
Benoît Jacquot: La Désenchantée (1990, France)
I had a hard time remembering what this was about or who was in it. I ended up googling images to remember, so that’s not a very godo sign.
Martin Scorsese: The Age of Innocence (1993, USA)
I really should stick to my rule of not watching any more Scorsese movies.
October 22nd, 2011 § § permalink
Hal Ashby: Harold and Maude (1971, USA)
I loved this.
It took me a long time to figure out how to explain this, but I have a list A and a list B for movies. List A is for art and greatness and exceptional beauty and pain and deliverance of some kind. List A is hard to get into. List B is for movies that are good for where they’re at, for their own smaller ambitions. It’s important to me that any artistic creation be judged on its own terms and I am not going to compare Billy Elliot to Mouchette, or Harold and Maude to La nuit chez Maude. In both pairs, the former belong to my list B and the latter to list A.
I get pleasure from both these kinds of movies, but they’re of different kinds. It’s not a big deal, but if we aren’t into wondering about how different kinds of pleasure work, what is the point?
So Harold and Maude is a lovely, quirky, dark, funny and sad movie about a boy of seventeen-year-old boy who falls in love with an eighty-year-old woman. The boy is obsessed with death; the woman with life. Somehow things work out.
I’d love to go as either one for Halloween. » Read the rest of this entry «