Fellini Roma / Sternfeld Rome after Rome

Joel Sternfeld (born 1944) is an American photographer I love. He made this book, “American Prospects”, which is maybe the greatest photography book I own!

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His last one is about Rome, he focuses “on the ruins of grand structures”, putting these in relation with… today!

The editor says : “with a clear warning: great civilizations fall, ours may too”. Yeah, but I disagree. What I see is a continuous presence of the past, in ruins of splendid architecture, the today-reality invaded with the ordinary (people and their “things”, who seem to ignore the past). There’s no warning here, though it’s probably a little sarcastic…

Each photography has the “sense of the place”, shows a spotmood, but it’s also like a game : spotting where is the old villa, the aqueduct, weaving an ugly link between the old past and the now…

Here are some examples.

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This one is a masterpiece :

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https://www.moma.org/artists/5656

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I’m French and I can say I’m obsessed with three countries : Russia, Italy, and the USA. I’m currently finishing a long study of Fellini’s work.

Fellini’s Roma (1972) is a strange movie, let’s ask Wiki (I bolded the bold) : “It is a homage to the city, shown in a series of loosely connected episodes set during both Rome’s past and present. The plot is minimal, and the only “character” to develop significantly is Rome herself.”

Kaleidoscopic it is : a traffic jam (one of the most incredible scene I’ve seen in my life!), a guesthouse, brothels, a vaudeville theatre, streets, tunnels, catacombs, a liturgical fashion show, tourists… “The film concludes with a group of young motorcyclists riding into the city and a melancholic shot of actress Anna Magnani, whom the film crew met in the street”.

And again, the constant weaving between the past and the now, the ruins and the typical Italian “energy”, gives an interesting energy. Again, the old stones seem alive, watching us in silence…

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OK you know me : I extract a tool here, which is “In a piece of work, of art, you show two different things and you let the audience weave between both”. Where (poetry, photography, teaching, marketing)? How? What appears? What for? What do you want? Nostalgia? Denunciation? Shock? Thinking?

Have fun! Thanks for reading! Stay home!

JP

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Ze French Coronavirus Chronicles, 2

Ze French Coronavirus Chronicles, 2

Like many of us, I suppose, I read (in French and English) the news every morning. I will have to think about… distancing about it, though. One could easily be overwhelmed by this epidemic mess.

Curiously or not (Twitter is really a mess), I find informations on Reddit :

https://www.reddit.com/r/Coronavirus/new/

I know why : Reddit is a social media made on… topics. Each group is moderated. Thus it’s rich and adult. There’s a sister Subreddit, more professional, here :

https://www.reddit.com/r/COVID19

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I watched Yesterday (2019) : “A struggling musician realizes he’s the only person on Earth who can remember The Beatles after waking up in an alternate timeline where they never existed.” – that’s pretty good!

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It’s too early for real good news, but I watch : China is recovering, Italians sing at the balcony, people try to help the eldest, dolphins visits ports in Mediterranean sea, and Venice waters are clear and transparent for the first time in decades. Dramatic times, but plenty of best things will blossom from all this, I’m sure…

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I know nothing about economics, but I find interesting that some countries ruled by right-wing and conservatism (lower taxes, free market capitalism, deregulation), in a time of crisis, have to begin to think and act like what they call “Socialists”.

Instead of letting the market “decide” (and companies die), they inject billions in the system to “help”. Instead of letting people die home (or letting the “no sick leave” people go to work – and infect colleagues), they talk about free testing for everyone, of taking care of people who need it instead of the eldest and health “insured”, and injecting big money in the system.

Imagine a right-winged president somewhere clinging to his system, watching the collapse of banks, all booksellers and many things, and refusing to take charge of the health of the poors, just because it’s what the Right does? “It’s the invisible hand of the market, only the strongest will survive, good”.

I think that, in history, many social progresses have been made during big recessions, epidemics and wars… I should check this tomorrow.

https://thehill.com/opinion/finance/491302-in-a-crisis-even-conservatives-turn-to-progressive-economic-policies

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I’m definitively not a tourist, and I respect those 10% who visit a country with respect and cultural curiosity. Therefore I can not help being amazed to see Venice and Paris transformed in quiet deserts, and no buses around the Pisa tower and the Taj Mahal. The pollution plummeting is also something…

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Watching Fellini Roma (1972), a necklace of scenes about the city. It’s brilliant, sewed with incredible short pure magic moments (the welders next to a tramway, flashing lights in a street, some priests climbing stairs). The ring road scene begins normally with traffic jams, cars and toll booths, and begins a crescendo with a film crew with a crane, heavy rain, a horse, smoke, an accident, ruins. It’s so good and crazy that I have to stop the movie.

Fellini is complicated and very rich, he fills the viewer with amazement and sounds, symbols and complex structures. It’s brilliant and exhausting. I don’t mind to watch these extraordinary films… in pieces. In between, I read, I think, I smile!

Antonioni/Fellini/Visconti & other trios to operate on…

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Tonight I’ll watch An Officer and a Gentleman (1982 – the best Richard Gere – and with Debra Winger!).

If you want some reading about movies, here’s some in my blog :

https://afrenchtoolbox.wordpress.com/category/movie/

Thanks for reading! Stay safe!

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Antonioni/Fellini/Visconti & other trios to operate on…

Antonioni/Fellini/Visconti & other trios to operate on? I could have added Rosselini but no. Three.

These guys are important Italian directors of the XXth Century. They knew each other, worked for each other, and they have different styles.

Let’s explore Wikipedia… ungingerly, broadly, roughly :

  1. Antonioni : His films have been described as “enigmatic and intricate mood pieces” that feature elusive plots, striking visuals, and a preoccupation with modern landscapes.
  2. Fellini : Fellini’s films are a unique combination of memory, dreams, fantasy and desire. The adjectives “Fellinian” and “Felliniesque” are “synonymous with any kind of extravagant, fanciful, even baroque image in the cinema and in art in general”.
  3. Visconti : wildly decadent, brocaded period melodramas, often so theatrical as to be operatic. “…neorealist tone of common man stories with a sense of avant-garde exploration of interpersonal relations”.

 

When I was in my 20s, I adored Antonioni, “best known for his “trilogy on modernity and its discontents” — L’Avventura(1960), La Notte (1961), and L’Eclisse (1962) – as well as the English-language films Blowup (1966) and The Passenger (1975)”. It was mysterious, enigmatic, and his way to show “incommunicability” were talking to my own disillusions, I suppose.

In my 30-40s, I loved Visconti, his way of growing from neo-realism to big perfect complex movies like The Leopard.

Now in my 50s I explore Fellini in an awe. It’s much more decadent, complex, I have to… dig!

 

If you choose these three, wiki them first, then find your own ways to explore (and to compare). Buy used books (it’s cheaper), read, watch movies, ask and debate in forums, find pages like “Where to begin with”. It can keep you busy for months!

 

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It could be a structure for thinkers/explorers.

How many interesting trios you could explore? In the movies : De Palma/Coppola/Scorcese (again… Italians!?)? In literature : Steinbeck/Hemingway/Faulkner? Proust/Céline/Duras? In music : Ravel/Debussy/Roussel? Politics? Photography (I choose Sternfeld/Eggleston/Shore)? Poetry?

Do we have to choose people from the same time? The same country? The same Art? I think so, it’s probably more fecund. Or else you have to find common structures already, like Basquiat/Shostakovich/Fellini. Hmmm more complicated, n’est-ce pas?

How to explore your trio? Interviews? Finding links? Combine them in Google? One by one, or all at the same time? Influences? Difficulties? End of career?

I copy paste an extract of “A New Guide to Italian Cinema” after the pictures. Have fun! Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

Luchino Visconti

In 1960, Visconti made the emigration drama Rocco e i suoi fratelli/Rocco and His Brothers (1960), a film that combined the neorealist tone of common man stories with a sense of avant garde exploration of interpersonal relations. Visconti updates the story of Sicilian fishermen from La terra trema/The Earth Trembles (1948) to a tale of contemporary Lucanian immigrants alienated by industrial Milan in a film that has become a canonical example of Italian art cinema.

Visconti’s next film, Il Gattopardo/The Leopard (1963), is an adaptation of the bestselling novel by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa (1896–57) about a Sicilian Prince who must relinquish power and status after Italian unification. In The Leopard, Visconti shows the dissolution of the aristocracy with sympathy and under- standing for the aesthetic and intellectual qualities that he, as an aristocrat himself, so deeply appreciated. The Prince’s demise is a metaphor for the decline of the aris- tocracy. Death images pervade the film as the Prince stoically witnesses the end of an era. The Prince, played by Burt Lancaster, summarizes the views of the fading aris- tocracy when he dismisses fears of revolution with his belief that the rising middle class is actually interested in becoming part of the system. The Prince offers a perfect definition of the fatalistic concept of trasformismo originally coined by one of the first prime ministers of unified Italy, Depretis, that the more things may change the more they actually remain the same. The film ends with a grand ball for the announcement that the Prince’s nephew (Alain Delon) will marry Angelica (Claudia Cardinale), the beautiful and rich daughter of the nouveau riche social climber Don Calogero. The ball sequences show Visconti’s extreme attention to historical detail and minutely lavish reconstruction of nineteenth-century artifacts. These scenes were reproduced with extravagance and self-indulgence in a complete departure from the neorealist style, and evidence Visconti’s ability to give cinematography the same sort of high artistic power usually identified with painting or opera.

Visconti’s La caduta degli dei-Gotterdammerung/The Damned (1969) with its Italian title referring to a Richard Wagner opera, chronicles the rise of Nazism in Germany through a study of the moral perversity of the Essenbeck clan, modeled after the Krupp family of armaments manufacturers. Visconti connects Nazism and sexual perversion, a point explicitly conveyed through a recreation of the night of the long knives when Hitler’s SS purged the Nazi movement of its SA rivals. Visconti’s Morte a Venezia/Death in Venice (1970) is based on the Thomas Mann short novel about a middle-aged man who remains in Venice during the cholera outbreak that will claim his life in order to ogle a Polish boy at the Lido beach. Death in Venice deals with the decadence of an individual, Whereas Visconti’s next films deal’s with the decadence of an entire family, Gruppo di famiglia in un interno/Conversation Piece (1974) and of an era, L’innocente/The Innocent (1976). Conversation Piece depicts the life of an Italian family in contemporary society and creates a rather bleak view of modern life, plagued by lack of communication, drug addiction, and political terrorism. Visconti’s last film, The Innocent, is an adaptation of a story by Gabriele D’Annunzio in which a nobleman kills his wife’s illegitimate newborn before committing suicide in a study of fin-du-siecle aristocratic society bound to self-destruction.

Federico Fellini

Fellini went from being Aldo Fabrizi’s gagman and a screenwriter on Rossellini’s neorealist film Open City (1945) to become an art cinema director. With its glamor kitsch and emphasis on contemporary consumerism, Fellini’s La dolce vita (1960) is a sociological portrait of 1960s economic boom Italy. The film is divided into episodes that offer a journey through Roman society from the world of the jaded celebrity journalist Marcello, to the decadence of the Roman aristocracy and the banality of late night prostitution. La dolce vita caused scandal due to its striptease sequence, which heightened its box office appeal. In this vein the film is party to the erotic genre of the period, such as the Brigitte Bardot films directed by Roger Vadim in France or Alessandro Blasetti’s Europa di notte/Europe by Night (1959) box office hit, which offered a glimpse into the world of European striptease par- lors. La dolce vita is also remembered for the manner in which the stars Marcello Mastroianni and Swedish bombshell Anita Ekberg communicated a sense of Italian fashion to a world audience. The film contributed ot the English language through the reference to the scandal photographer Paparazzo whose name refers to celebrity photographers to the present day.

Fellini followed La dolce vita with one of his most autobiographical films, 81⁄2 (1963). Fellini had previously made six feature length films and had contributed “half ” segments to three others, so he considered 81⁄2 as his eighth-and-a-half film. The protagonist is a film director who can no longer decide what films to make, a crisis connected to his problematic relationships with three different women: his wife, his mistress, and an angelic fantasy figure played by Claudia Cardinale. The story jumps rapidly from present to past, from reality to dream and fantasy as Fellini addresses the authoritarianism of the Roman Catholic Church and its effects on adolescents, the absurdity of the world of film production, and the par- adox of living between reality and illusion. The film ends where it began; with a parade of characters performing at the director’s whims.

Similar themes are present in Fellini’s Giulietta degli spiriti/Juliet of the Spirits (1965), a film that puts the themes of middle-class alienation from Rossellini’s Europa ’51 and Antonioni’s L’Avventura into the style of spaghetti nightmare hor- ror films. Giulietta is a middle-aged married woman faced with her husband’s extramarital affair. She undergoes a series of traumatic experiences: spiritual séances, encounters with phony oriental prophets, outings with her oversexed, stunningly beautiful neighbor, and haunting by her inner ghosts. These latter include an overpowering mother figure, a beloved, rebellious grandfather, archaic figures, and Catholic martyr nightmares. Eventually, Giulietta chases away her ghosts to face the outside world.2 Though Giulietta arrives at a certain sense of wisdom, there is a fatalistic realization that little will change for her.

Toby Dammit (1967) is Fellini’s short film based upon Edgar Allan Poe’s short story Never Bet the Devil Your Head, which appeared in the multi-director effort Spirits of the Dead. Fellini’s contribution is a parody of many of the currents in film in the 1960s: horror, pornography, westerns, and art cinema. Fellini had already parodied the Italian film industry’s reliance on the maggiorata fisica actresses such as Anita Ekberg and the Hercules series peplums starring American strongman Steve Reeves in La dolce vita. In Toby Dammit, Terrence Stamp plays a dipsomaniac English actor suffering from visions of the Devil as a little blond girl chasing a large white ball. Toby has been cast as Jesus in the first Catholic western in which the Savior returns to the desolate, violent plains of the American west with a plot reminiscent of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s short story, The Grand Inquisitor. Fellini takes aim at the world of film theory influential in the mid-1960s in the sequence when the producers’ representative, Father Spagna (many so-called spaghetti westerns were filmed in Spain), introduces Toby to the directors who explain the theoreti- cal basis for their film project as Fellini’s camera scans his artificially re-created Roman streets. Fellini parodies film theory when the directors offer a quick syn- opsis of the theoretical grounding of their film: Roland Barthes’s textual analysis, Georg Lukac’s Marxist social determinism, the Hollywood montage style of Fred Zinneman—the director of the Gary Cooper western High Noon (1952). Toby finally performs the nihilistic soliloquy “Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow” from MacBeth at Fellini’s surrealistic re-creation of an Italian film award banquet.3

Fellini extended his parodies of popular genres to the peplum with Satirycon (1969), a disturbing, dreamlike vision of the fragmentary classical tale by classical author Petronius, which Fellini turns into a cautionary tale about the decline of ancient Roman society with the expressionistic style of a horror film. Clowns (1970) is a semi-documentary that discusses the disappearance of the clown as an entertainment phenomenon. With Roma (1971), Fellini repeated the autobio- graphical themes he had explored in 81/2 with an episodic film about the Italian capital that contrasts Fellini’s memories of the city when he first arrived in the Fascist period with his impressions as a middle-aged director. For Fellini, Rome is not just a city, but a second home, a mother, a depository of ancient mysteries and current decadence, of filth, life, death, and renewal. After an enigmatic cameo of Anna Magnani, the film ends with an apocalyptic and ironic sequence about a new horde of scooter riding barbarians returning as if to sack Rome one more time.

 

Michelangelo Antonioni

Michelangelo Antonioni began as a critic in the Italian professional cinema of the 1940s and made neorealist style documentaries in the late 1940s including Nettezze Urbane/N.U. (1948), a faithful account of a day in the life of city garbage collectors. Antonioni brought the documentary long-shot camera style to his early feature films Story of a Love Affair (1950) and his docudrama about troubled youth in Europe I vinti/The Vanquished (1952). He gained international acclaim with L’Avventura (1959), the story of a group of wealthy vacationers who cannot find one of their party, Anna.4 L’Avventura was censored in several countries and its projection suspended for six months in Milan for “obscenity” because of scenes of actresses undressing in front of the camera. In the film the only information that spectators have about Anna before her mysterious disappearance is that she is involved romantically with Sandro, and hers is the first female body seen undress- ing on screen. Otherwise she remains an enigmatic character whose disappearance offers an unanswerable philosophical parable regarding existence. The film became

104 GUIDE TO ITALIAN CINEMA

emblematic of art cinema for the manner in which Antonioni challenged the stylistic and narrative conventions of commercial cinema. His extended long shots and narrative without closure were in opposition to the Hollywood model.

Other Antonioni films include La Notte/The Night (1960), the story of a novel- ist suffering from writer’s block who is also dissatisfied in his marriage. Antonioni expertly employs the setting of an all night party against the anonymous backdrop of industrial Milan as a metaphor for the estrangement between the film’s protag- onists. L’Eclissi/The Eclipse (1961) examines themes of alienation and separation from the natural world, a theme continued in Deserto rosso/Red Desert (1964). Antonioni has a reputation for being more sensitive to women’s issues than Visconti or Fellini. His trilogy of solitude, however, and especially L’Avventura and The Eclipse, reveals an equally male-dominated handling of the female image. Yet Antonioni also made films that questioned the essence of reality with Blow-Up (1966) set in the London of the swinging 1960s, which features a cameo of rock guitarist Jimmy Page playing with rock group the Yardbirds. The film is a murder mystery in which the existence of a chance photograph of the murder scene by a callow English fashion photographer begs questions about the perception of real- ity. Antonioni continued to experiment with new narrative approaches with his film on youth rebellion in the Sam Shepard scripted Zabrieskie Point (1970) and the Peter Wollen scripted Professione: Reporter/The Passenger (1975) starring Jack Nicholson in an enigmatic story about a man who assumes the identity of another, filmed in a style that was the height of the long-shot art cinema style to reach commercial theaters. Antonioni has remained sporadically active in later years with the historical film Il mistero di Oberwald/The Oberwald Mystery (1980) as well as Identificazione di una donna/Identification of a Woman (1982) and Beyond the Clouds/Al di là delle nuvole (1995).

“Here’s a window in the walls of cloth I’ve torn” – Efforts & Arts : watching Fellini’s movies

I’m in the process of watching all Fellini‘s movies, therefore, like in every great artist’s career, I detect “eras”, changes, evolution, attempts.

Of course I keep piling books and articles about the guy’s work, which needs to be explored, explained, viewed, considered…

I finished La Dolce Vita – I admit I had to cut it in three parts; the movie is very long (3 hours), very unusual. It becomes too long, or too Italianistically talkative.

Themes : quitting travelings, sisters, corteges, seashores, the sound of the wind, camera stares, but also invisible frontiers between the dreams and reality, hidden coincidences (Mastroianni “can’t hear” from the helicopter at the beginning, and can’t hear the young lady’s message, on the beach at the end – it’s a double door), artificialism, the use of light, the “choreographic” movements at key moments…

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It’s enthralling to read about these movies, from interpretations to replacing this one in a path-career, to how it’s been received at the time. Deciphering (or not).

And then : watching how Fellini pushes levers, shifts and sticks. Going further. 8 1/2 looks like a maze, a game : spleen, creation, disillusions. You don’t understand anything, and yet it’s dazzling, sumptuous!

If you go further, you can be lost. But you can try though…

Fellini hated the character of Casanova. Thus he chose D. Sutherland (which is not the idea of Casanova you have), and makes a movie like a terrible necklace of weird scenes. It’s exaggerated, seedy, outrageous, artificial, decadent. This it’s not easy AT ALL to watch it!

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Three examples as a path into… difficulties, but pleasure. Films complicated, fascinating, which make you think and wonder, or fight – and let your full of questions.

Like after important dreams, right?

 

That leads to the idea of “Efforts & Art”. Why should one make an effort to watch a movie? Why not? Do we have to be seduced, or not? At what level? What do we dig here?

What’s that pair, dancing : Brilliant / Complex? Why contradictory?

If Fellini is a Picasso of movies, who’s the writer? Proust? And the poet? Mallarmé?

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Here are 2 Picasso portraits, for no reason :

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The Clown Chastised

Eyes, lakes of my simple passion to be reborn
Other than as the actor who gestures with his hand
As with a pen, and evokes the foul soot of the lamps,
Here’s a window in the walls of cloth I’ve torn.

With legs and arms a limpid treacherous swimmer
With endless leaps, disowning the sickness
Hamlet! It’s as if I began to build in the ocean depths
A thousand tombs: to vanish still virgin there.

Mirthful gold of a cymbal beaten with fists,
The sun all at once strikes the pure nakedness
That breathed itself out of my coolness of nacre,

Rancid night of the skin, when you swept over me,
Not knowing, ungrateful one, that it was, this make-up,
My whole anointing, drowned in ice-water perfidy.

LE PITRE CHATIÉ

Yeux, lacs avec ma simple ivresse de renaître
Autre que l’histrion qui du geste évoquais
Comme plume la suie ignoble des quinquets,
J’ai troué dans le mur de toile une fenêtre.

De ma jambe et des bras limpide nageur traître,
À bonds multipliés, reniant le mauvais
Hamlet! c’est comme si dans l’onde j’innovais
Mille sépulcres pour y vierge disparaître.

Hilare or de cymbale à des poings irrité,
Tout à coup le soleil frappe la nudité
Qui pure s’exhala dans ma fraîcheur de nacre,

Rance nuit de la peau quand sur moi vous passiez,
Ne sachant pas, ingrat! que c’était tout mon sacre,
Ce fard noyé dans l’eau perfide des glaciers.

(Mallarmé)

The 2 Circus Clown Archetypes are fraternal enemies

As I was exploring F. Fellini’s movies, I met this one : The Clowns.

The 2 mains circus clown Archetypes are Whiteface and Auguste :

  1. Whiteface is the leader, vain, dignified, often stiff and pompous, but also sweet, good-natured. He laughed, but maybe cries inside…
  2. Auguste is the one “who get the pies in the face” and gets hit in the pants. He’s the fool, the humble, the loser…

 

Now here’s a little Shakespeare :

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts

So you see me coming, right? The world’s a circus and humans are clowns. The master and the slave, the rich and the poor, the reasonable and the fool, the obedient and the rebel.

 

What does Fellini say? :

  • Whiteface is mum, dad, the master, the artist, the beautiful : what one “has to do”.
  • Auguste could be fascinated by this perfection, but it’s spread with such rigor and severity that he revolts and hosts a perpetual contestation…

 

Now we could play with examples. We can see Freud as Whiteface and Jung as Auguste. Who else do you see?

Of course you can use this for a single person : ourselves, for example. Like in old cartoons, the white angel and the red little devil with his pointy fork are arguing over one character’s head, it is a great metaphor for the clownery of life : we have inside fraternal enemies, we have two or more facets who want to exist.

If life is a play and we wear masks, it’s a whiteface mask. The genuine person is the Auguste, who wants and needs to exist! But it’s masked also, in the end…

It leads to this : what if there was an Auguste under a Whiteface you know? And the contrary, isn’t he frightening?

We can watch circus and see how the clowns are interacting. Whiteface is reason, but he’s sweet. Auguste is mocking, but he falls in every trap. Everyone has pros and cons, and they exist on the scene because they’re a couple, they’re together…

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

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“My little wallet of enthusiams” : How to fight Anhedonia?

Jim Harrison says somewhere that with the years our “wallet of enthusiasms” becomes thinner.

Well, this speaks to everyone, right? From a truckload to a wheelbarrow (“une brouette”), then to a small briefcase, to a wallet, that’s it. At 50 you don’t jump around screaming in joy about whatever new comes to you, like at 20!

“The moment when things you do become absurd” is probably something I should wonder about more. A kind of “inverse epiphany”, the sudden WTF moment

There’s this moment when you watch in an awe the others keeping being happy and goat-jumping at anything new. Are you becoming just grey?

So I just learned about Anhedonia, reduced motivation or ability to experience pleasure, and I think it’s about it.

There’s the good old temptation of getting “stoned”, or to being “entertained” until death, Netflix like, or trying weed or booze, or worse : become workaholically busy like a running headless chicken. Put a lit on enlarging boredom…

You can also FOCUS on your little wallet. Think about it : what makes you enthusiastic, the “like a kid” state? Art exploration? Creativity? Writing (about what?)?

Could one find a new thin paper, in their wallet? One activity you never tried?

Of course I feel this! Therefore what?

What puts me in the “happy child” state? I thought about it and found two things :

  1. Taking pictures, walking outside the-nose-in-the-wind.
  2. Exploring geniuses (I’m with Fellini and Schubert these days).

Someone told me recently (he’s a bit older than me) that he for now focuses on geniuses only. What would be YOUR list of geniuses?

Proust, Welles, Picasso?

These days I’m with two geniuses. Fellini for cinema, and Schubert for music. Both need organization and efforts.

  1. Fellini comes from realism to crazy surreal monster films. It’s complex, evolving, multi-layered, a whole exploration is needed to understand : films, bonuses, interviews, biography and many books. At THIS level on invention, it becomes almost toxic. It haunts you (like when you explore Proust, Mahler’s music or Manet’s paintings). And it’s so much fun too!
  2. Schubert is complicated : he died young, but composed many many musics, chamber music, piano and 9 symphonies! As usual, for a composer you don’t know, you have to listen to many things almost randomly – to discover if you’ll like it, to sponge it into your head. I bought books, a huge biography, and found my entry : the Great Symphony, his last, which obsesses me so much that I listen to different versions all day long. They I read pages of classical music fan forum (in French : http://classik.forumactif.com), smiling at all the passion people put into this…

Anhedonia’s here, but I fight, and it works! If you see me mimicking an orchestra director in front of my Macintosh : I’m good.

What’s next? What about you ?

A field you don’t know, and you’ll explore it. What is it? A language? A painter? A country? An author? Who?

Thanks for reading!

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Freud, Jung, Symbolism and Fellini

I read some Freud and Jung a lonnng time ago, and I kept ideas from both brains, how sex energy climbs into action, politics, arts – or whatever – from one, and synchronicity from the other, for example

These days I read a lot about Fellini’s movies, and in an interview I read what he said about symbolism in Freud and Jung – so I imagined I could offer it to you now; here it is :

  1. For Jung, symbolism is a way, a medium likely to express an intuition for which one can not find a better expression. Therefore, for Jung, the symbol is a way to express the inexpressible, even though ambiguously.
  2. For Freud, a symbol is used to replace something which is likely to change, which is therefore impossible to express, and which one has, consequently, to forget. The symbol is a way to hide what is forbidden to tell.

 

Hmmm?What do you think, and where to apply this distinction? In a poem? A painting? A story? What are the archetypes, here? Is it a matter of choice? What about the “symbols effectiveness”? To whom?

 

Thanks for reading!

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Chekhov, Fellini and Sisyphus’ lesson : “Slide, mortals, don’t bear down”

Our need of consolation and comfort is huge, but you know, we all have to stand up and go on living. The Sisyphus myth is a great one to help us :

He was punished by gods by being forced to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it come back to hit him, repeating this action for eternity. Camus, the French philosopher, wrote an entire book about this, as a metaphor of the absurdity of human life, but he wrote also :

“one must imagine Sisyphus happy”

There’s another sentence I like, in French it’s : “Glissez mortels, n’appuyez pas” – “Slide, mortals, don’t bear down”. It’s maybe a way to say “Don’t be so serious”, but also “Taste life as it comes”, or maybe “Smile, whatever happens”, and also “Dance with what you get (the ice), and stop WANTING this or that”. Slide means also : light and fast. Casual ? Oh, you knoooowww, I’m French, so I fancy to add this one too 🙂

It’s so short and great :

“Slide, mortals, don’t bear down”

In Fellini’s movies, it’s the way Mastroianni wanders into life and interact with people. Elegant, but casual too. In Chekhov, it’s a way of saying without really saying “we all fail, that’s life, we do what we can”, maybe we should have, but we did not. In Tennessee William’s work, it’s in the style and the way he constructs stories : he DARES, he’s cool, he’s almost dangerous. I found it also in the way you can examine some complex Art pieces, from opera to modern music : if you’re too serious, you’re bored. Have a drink, smile and maybe add a little frenchiness to it. Slide, mortals, don’t bear down…

Tool : Find yours. It’s an elegant way to be there without being there really. A casualness, a lightness, a way to smile, a way to dare, also, a way to say “no” to be totally serious. This is not THAT important…

In a way, Sisyphus tells many things : smile, breathe, dance, adapt, be flexible, listen, stand up, be a dolphin. And get up and push and roll your rock up. Move forward too.

Sorry for my English, good people. If you find strong mistakes, just let me know, OK ?

#streetphotography #streetart

The 25% Casualness of Movie Masters

Three-quarter Strength.  A work that is meant to give an impression of health should be produced with three-quarters, at the most, of the strength of its creator.  If he has gone to his farthest limit, the work excites the observer and disconcerts him by its tension.  All good things have something lazy about them and lie like cows in the meadow.

Nietzsche – Human, All Too Human

If you understand Nietzsche and you push this concept on the movies-area, you’ll find that there are many “too much tension” (and too many ideas) movies in the world. They are great, but only real masters manage to reach what I could call the Three-Quarter Strength Quality, merci Nietzsche. Casualness or nonchalance ? What is it exactly ?

Intention of effect kills the effect. When all levers (virtuosity, music, speed, invention, scénario, whatever) are pulled, it’s interesting, fascinating, intense, but you miss something. It’s exhausting

You find the Three-Quarter Strength Quality in some movies of Fellini (oh these lights moving on the walls in 8 1/2), in Godard (are these really “errors” in Breathless ?), even in Spike Lee’s work. There are useless dialogs in some Wes Anderson’s movies. The cheap budget of Serenity is totally accepted. Think also about all the oblique explanations in Twin Peaks. John Ford has his own way of “to not insist” on a good scene. Add John Huston’s Prizzi’s Honor. Grifters (Frears). Etc…

It’s a easyness, a casualness, an actor taking his time, a scenario which does not explain everything, a flaw in a camera movement, some rules not really followed at times…

When you know, you’ll notice this in many great movies. It’s powerful !

Tools & Levers : My, it’s easy to understand. Apply this Nietzsche thought to your work, your invention, your writing. Be smart, 25% casual, breathe, and you go girl !

(and OK I’m french, I wrote this with a little more than 25% of nonchalance, sorry)

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