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January 2007 Archives

January 30, 2007

La Lunga Ombra, 2006

lungaombra.gifOn the surface, Jon Jost's austere, somber, and uncompromisingly caustic improvisational rumination on the pall cast by the aftermath of 9/11 on the European consciousness, La Lunga Ombra seems an uncharacteristic departure from the intractable consciousness of middle America that pervade his early films - a post tragedy portrait that converges more towards claustrophobic, Bergmanesque angst rather than the transformative, post-apocalyptic, loss of innocence grief that its conceptual framework would seem to suggest. Loosely structured around the lives and mundane gestures of a trio of close knit friends - a literary figure (Eliana Miglio) (whose agency appears to be in the process of publishing a photo-essay journal on the faces of colonial-era terrorism) and a television producer (Simonetta Gianfelici) who retreat to a remote, off-season seaside cabin in order to tend to a mutual friend, Anna's (Agnese Nano) emotional crisis and ensuing depression after being unexpectedly abandoned by her cruel (and perhaps abusive) husband - the film is also a provocative, broader exposition on the intangible, often corrosive collateral damage of psychological warfare and demoralization.

Intercutting the quotidian rituals of women in the stasis of their isolation (as they alternately attempt to console Anna by lending a sympathetic ear as she struggles to articulate her sense of loss, distracting her thoughts with idle conversation and whimsical parlor games, and encouraging her to reclaim her identity by returning to youthful pursuits) with textural and increasingly abstract archival footage from acts of terrorism, Jost reinforces an atmosphere of disjunction between characters and context that, in retrospect, perhaps reveals the underlying separation between action and consequence that pervades the film. A videotaped interview with a businessman recounting his experience while working in postwar Afghanistan alludes to this bifurcation when he describes his observation of the absence of everyday interaction between men and women in contemporary, post-Taliban Afghan society, a culturally enabled separation that leads to a certain level displaced intimacy not usually found in patriarchal cultures.

Conversely, the friends' hermetic retreat also becomes a form of artificial segregation - this time, from the community of men - where their interaction is relegated to the margins (represented only as distant photographs hanging from walls or leafed through in books (uncoincidentally, as symbols of warfare or violence), or existing in the periphery as fire wood vendors, technicians, or photographers). However, inasmuch as instinctual regression serves as a defense mechanism against inflicted wounds, it also exposes the myopia of victimization. In a sense, this defensive retreat towards isolation - and in particular, a self-imposed isolation in order to reinforce a sense of solidarity and foster moral support - not only illustrates the core of human nature's response to trauma, but also introduces the idea of the women's private turmoil as a microcosm of post 9/11 consciousness where grief, loss, fear, and confusion have invariably given way, not only to isolationism, self-righteousness, and intransigence, but more importantly, to a self-perpetuating moral contamination and spiritual inertia that continues to fester long after the crisis has subsided. Moreover, by incorporating granular and pixellated images from the World Trade Center attack that appear increasingly impressionistic and decontextualized (paradoxically creating an inverse proportionality between the distance to the image and its resolution), the juxtaposition becomes a potent metaphor for the abstraction inherent in the psychology of terrorism, where effectiveness is measured, not in conveying graphic realism or maximized casualty, but in the manipulation of public sentiment through the global domination of media images. It is this quest for sensationalism and media occupation that is ultimately encapsulated by the controversial inclusion of a gruesome and desensitizing ritual execution footage taken in postwar Iraq that concludes the film - a grim and sobering reminder of society's own implication in the creation of the spectacle, in the systematic corruption of its own soul.

Posted by acquarello on Jan 30, 2007 | | Filed under 2007, Jon Jost

January 26, 2007

2007 Rendez-vous with French Cinema Lineup at WRT


The line-up for this year's Rendez-vous with French Cinema at the Film Society of Lincoln Center's Walter Reade Theater has been finalized. I'm looking forward to several of these, especially Christophe Honoré's new film Dans Paris and the Edith Piaf biopic, La Vie en Rose. The program runs from February 28 to March 11.

La Vie en Rose / La Mome (Olivier Dahan, 2007) – Opening Night
The Valet (Francis Veber, 2006) – Closing Night

Ambitious (Catherine Corsini, 2006)
Blame it on Fidel (Julie Gavras, 2006)
Il sera une fois (Sandrine Veysset, 2007)
Don’t Worry, I'm Fine (Philippe Lioret, 2006)
Flanders (Bruno Dumont, 2006)
Prete-moi ta main (Eric Lartigau, 2006)
Dans Paris (Christophe Honoré, 2006)
The Man of My Life (Zabou Breitman, 2006)
Chacun sa nuit (Pascal Arnold & Jean-Marc Barr, 2006)
La tourneuse de pages (Denis Dercourt, 2006)
Quand j'etais chanteur (Xavier Giannoli, 2006)
Tell No One (Guillaume Canet, 2006)
The Untouchable (Benoît Jacquot, 2006)
Humbert Balsan: Rebel Producer (Anne Andreu, 2006) – Tribute Program

Posted by acquarello on Jan 26, 2007 | | Comments (4) | Filed under 2007, Quick Notes

January 23, 2007

Cravan vs. Cravan, 2002

cravan.gifIn Chris Marker and Yannick Bellon's Remembrance of Things to Come, a thoughtful and illuminating survey of Denis Bellon's photo-reportage between the two world wars, the filmmakers provide a framework for the interpretation of Bellon's artistically rendered, zeitgeist images as prescient, historical documents that, in hindsight, provide an insightful glimpse of the looming, profoundly transformative world events that would unfold at the first half of the twentieth century. However, in this subjective, often arbitrary process of contemporal assignment of the meaning of images, the intersection between logical deduction and extrapolation continues to be amorphous and untenable. In this cognitive processing of "history as prophesy", when does documentation end and mythification begin? This ambiguity lies at the core of Isaki Lacuesta's elegantly conceived essay film Cravan vs. Cravan on the enigma of Arthur Cravan - the legendary poet-boxer, Dadaist, writer, critic, eccentric, provocateur, editor of the notorious Left Bank cultural publication Maintenant (whose readership included such notable personalities as Ezra Pound, Maurice Ravel, Jean Cocteau, and Gertrude Stein), and nephew of famed Irish playwright and novelist Oscar Wilde who, in 1918, set alone on a boat off the coast of Mexico bound for Argentina to reunite with his expectant wife, poet Mina Loy, and disappeared.

Born Fabian Avenarius Lloyd in Lausanne, Switzerland, Cravan's early life would be marked, not only by the abandonment of his father soon after his birth, but also by the family's closely guarded silence over a quietly buried scandal involving the family's famous uncle (Wilde's imprisonment under homosexuality charges of gross indecency). Whether in search of a father figure, or simply fascinated by the sensation caused by the taboo circumstances that led to his uncle's downfall and marginalization during the final years of his life, Cravan would become obsessed with the idea of him, even reporting fabricated sightings and conversations in articles that would be carried by such reputable newspapers as The New York Times. But more importantly, this potent combination of celebrity and scandal may also be seen as a catalyst to Cravan's immersion in the avant-garde community of turn-of-the-century Paris, relishing his role as instigator, provocateur, and cultural critic who equally attracted the attention of Dadaists, Surrealists, Impressionists, Fauvists (most notably, his friendship with Kees Van Dongen), and especially the Futurists, whose aesthetic fascination with the speed and strength of mechanization not correlated favorably with the radicalism and bluntness of Cravan's writing, but in some ways, also personified the physical ideals of industrial machinery with his ruggedly handsome, charismatic, intimidating, and complex persona as a pugilist and intellectual.

Moreover, in filming re-enactments and conducting personal interviews from the perspective of Frank Nicotra whose own unusual career trajectory as boxer turned filmmaker and writer (and occasional poet) bears more than a passing resemblance to that of Cravan, Lacuesta illustrates the often colliding interpenetration of documented reality and subjective memory, between creation and fabrication. This permeability of historical record may be seen in the controversial classification of Cravan as a painter, an attribution that, ironically, evolved from Cravan's practice of publishing under an array of pseudonyms, specifically, in his use of the name Edouard Archinard for an article in Maintenant that links him (whether validly or not) to a series of paintings by an obscure, turn of the century artist, Edouard Archinard (a connection that is dismissed by Cravan scholar and editor, María Luisa Borrás). Similarly, this historical distortion may be seen in Cravan's self-created celebrity, a penchant for fictionalization that is perhaps best exemplified by his instigated exhibition match in Barcelona with heavyweight boxing champion, Jack "Galveston Giant" Johnson (who, then plagued in America by controversy over his interracial relationships, sought refuge in France shortly after his second marriage), claiming several nebulous and unverifiable titles across Europe (including a purported match with an Olympic champion in Greece) in order to position himself as a valid contender. Sustained in the ring for six rounds only by Johnson himself who had consciously tried to prolong the fight as requested by the event's sponsors, Cravan was easily overpowered by the heavyweight champion, a defeat that would inevitably punctuate Cravan's departure from Europe and migration to New York City, once again turning to his cultivated associations with the European avant-gardists - a community increasingly in self-imposed exile from the Great War - this time, hosted by famed artist Marcel Duchamp (that led to his fateful encounter with Futurist muse and poet, Mina Loy).

Incorporating elements of biographic documentary, historical re-enactment, and essay film, Cravan vs. Cravan, too, invariably serves to reinforce the subject's inexhaustible sense of irreconcilable contradiction and self re-invention, in essence, orchestrating an elaborate semblance of real-life performance art that enabled - and continues to inspire - the very transfiguration of personal memory to public mythology. Concluding with the blurry, disintegrating archived footage of Cravan in the midst of his workout - perhaps for a boxing match - unfolding in slow speed, the degraded image encapsulates not only the elusiveness of Cravan's ephemeral (and often veiled) persona, but also the tenuous, often indefinable bounds that exist between the contextualization of a historical image and its signification.

Posted by acquarello on Jan 23, 2007 | | Comments (2) | Filed under 2007, Isaki Lacuesta

January 18, 2007

Film Comment Selects: 2007 at WRT


The program for this year's Film Comment Selects has been posted at the Film Society of Lincoln Center site and it is a beaut. I'm planning to catch these (*) :

*Exterminating Angels (Jean-Claude Brisseau)
Black Book (Paul Verhoeven)
Bardo (Lin Tay-jou)
*Colossal Youth (Pedro Costa)
Exiled (Johnnie To)
*Ten Skies (James Benning)
*13 Lakes (James Benning)
Lights in the Dusk (Aki Kaurismäki)
*Longing (Valeska Grisebach)
*Play It as It Lays (Frank Perry)
*Retribution (Kiyoshi Kurosawa) - oddly, it's not listed in the program, but tickets are available for Sat. 2/17 at 8:15 pm, Sun. 2/18 at 4:30 pm, and Mon. 2/19 at 8:00 pm.
*Summer '04 (Stefan Krohmer)
*Summer Palace (Lou Ye)
*Tachigui: The Amazing Lives of the Fast Food Grifters (Mamoru Oshii)
*These Encounters of Theirs (Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet)
*Twilight’s Last Gleaming (Director's Cut) (Robert Aldrich)
The Wedding Director (Marco Bellocchio)
Yacoubian Building (Marwan Hamed)

Posted by acquarello on Jan 18, 2007 | | Filed under 2007, Quick Notes

January 17, 2007

The Suspended Step of the Stork, 1991

suspendedstep.gifThe first film of what would be loosely considered Theo Angelopoulos' Trilogy of Borders, The Suspended Step of the Stork opens to the tumultuous and disconnected stationary long shot of a helicopter hovering over an indistinguishable, formless, dark mass floating lifelessly in an undulating open sea that has been encircled by a small fleet of recovery boats. The voice of a journalist, Alexandre (Gregory Karr) provides a grim context to the disorienting sight, as a group of Asian stowaway asylum seekers, having been refused entry into the country by the government, chose instead to end their lives by jumping into the hostile, open waters rather than be returned to their native land. The provocative image of adriftness, alienation, and disposability, a recurring theme within Angelopoulos' cinema that is visually anticipated in two iconic sequences in his earlier films - the disembodied sculptural hand towed by helicopter from the sea in Landscape in the Mist, and the aging couple cast out into the sea on a raft in Voyage to Cythera - in turn, serves as a prefiguration of the statelessness, refugeeism, and dispossession created by the institution (and institutionalization) of man-made borders in the film.

On assignment at a military outpost near the Greek-Turkish border (perhaps a documentary on the growing refugee problem, or the inhuman economic and moral conditions of the marginal communities that have developed near the border as a result of the refugees' status in bureaucratic limbo as unwanted, non-legal residents in the country who, for humanitarian reasons, cannot be compelled to return home), Alexander's attention is soon diverted from the project after a chance encounter with an Albanian refugee selling potatoes from a produce market on the riverbank, a handsome and distinguished-looking man (Marcello Mastroianni) who bears a striking resemblance to a well-respected statesman, social philosopher, and author who, at the height of his political and creative popularity, abandoned his beautiful, devoted French wife (Jeanne Moreau), walked away from his cabinet position, and disappeared into complete obscurity. Convinced that the refugee is, indeed, the missing statesman, Alexandre seizes an opportunity to embark on what on the surface appears to be a sensational exposé of the man's strange plight and inscrutable transformation from national leader to marginalized figure, enlisting the aid of his abandoned wife who, despite having moved on with her life, still continues to harbor the wounds of his silence and self-imposed isolation during the final days of their marriage (a profound estrangement that loosely echoes their previous relationship in Michelangelo Antonioni's La Notte). However, as Alexandre continues to search for clues to the refugee's real identity, he becomes increasingly haunted with the underlying reasons that led to the statesman's disappearance itself, a personal quest that would be further intensified by his attraction to an enigmatic young woman (Dora Chrysikou) whose childhood sweetheart remains stranded on the other side of the border, separated by the Evros River.

In examining the psychology of fugue, rootlessness, and self-erasure, Angelopoulos transforms the themes of identity and collective memory into a broader exposition on the absurdity of factionalism, sectarianism, and ethnic cleansing that have not only enabled wide-scale depopulation, migration, and displacement, but more importantly, contributed to an accelerated, selective cultural extinction and disposability (most directly, in Angelopoulos' (then) observation of the protracted Balkan Wars following the break-up of the former Yugoslavia in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union). Juxtaposed against the recurring image of yellow-jacketed telephone technicians installing new service lines along the desolate frontier (figuratively bringing civilization closer, even in the most remote populations), the stranded refugees' plight presciently underscores the unwitting upshot of technology and globalism at the end of the twentieth century. It is this paradox of the information age that inevitably defines Alexandre's unreconciled search for identity and connection in a community of faceless, invisible witnesses of a silent (and silenced) history - a perversion of social ideals that has cultivated, not the intimacy of an egalitarian, interconnected global village, but rather, a culture of exclusion enabled by the creation of artificially constructed borders (a theme of interpenetrating real and metaphysical borders that is similarly woven through Claire Denis' film, L'Intrus), and that, in defining arbitrary bounds of privilege and entitlement, foments its own cultural genocide through systematic isolation, social stratification, marginalization, and xenophobia.

This entry is part of the month-long Contemplative Cinema blog-a-thon, hosted by Harry Tuttle at Unspoken Cinema. Please visit the site for a list of all participants and entries.

Posted by acquarello on Jan 17, 2007 | | Comments (6) | Filed under 2007

January 13, 2007

Le Pont des Arts, 2004

pontdesarts.gifRecalling Robert Bresson (in particular, Une Femme deuce) in its muted gesturality and Manoel de Oliveira in its saturated formalism, and infused with a dose of Raoul Ruiz's puckish, tongue-in-cheek cerebral humor, the prevailing theme of Le Pont des Arts is perhaps best defined by a conversation that occurs early in the film between a computer scientist, Manuel (Alexis Loret) and his girlfriend, Sarah (Natacha Régnier) on defining baroque as the coexistence of two contradictory entities, both of which are simultaneously true. Manuel is quick to admit that the conceptual dichotomy evades him, a juxtaposition that implies the synthesis of bifurcated realities, even as he acknowledges a certain philosophical beauty behind the idea of it. But for the fragile and increasingly insecure Sarah, a talented, young classically trained mezzo-soprano studying the nuances of baroque performance under the tutelage of a cruel and vain, but highly influential impresario named Guigui (Denis Podalydès) (and whose own grotesque affectation and mercurial temperament have earned him the nickname "the unnamable" by his protégés), the silence of Manuel's incomprehension only reinforces the intranscendable distance that separates them. Elsewhere, a similar gulf continues to deepen for another couple, Pascal (Adrien Michaux) an undermotivated graduate student who has grown increasingly uncertain over the desire to finish his prescribed thesis, and his ambitious girlfriend, a philosophy student Christine (Camille Carraz).

A understated, alternating point-of-view framing of a repeated near encounter between Pascal and a demoralized Sarah at a café (featuring another cameo appearance by Eugène Green as a bartender that the filmmaker first introduced in Toutes des nuits) provides a insightful glimpse of their interconnected destinies, an ephemeral kinship that is also reinforced in Pascal's affinity for Michelangelo Buonarroti's lesser known works of poetry that is paralleled in Sarah's receipt of a similar book of poems as a Christmas gift from Manuel. It is interesting to note that Green's illustration of the profound connection between Sarah and Pascal, alluded through the evocation of Michelangelo's "lost art", is also implicitly suggested in the placement of a Death in Venice soundtrack record album next to Sarah's recording of Monteverdi's Lamento della Ninfa during Pascal's transformative moment of crisis (Thomas Mann's novella contextually alludes to Michelangelo's apparent obsession with the young man, "David" - who is generally considered to have served as the model and muse for his eponymous statue - that is reinforced in the image of young Tadzio's iconic gesture against the seascape that is witnessed by Aschenbach). Moreover, in indirectly evoking Death in Venice - and, in particular, the image of an accomplished artist brought to self-destructive obsession over a desire for the unattainable (and elusive) - Green provides a framework, not only to introduce the idea of the liebestod (love and death), but also to illustrate the implicit moral corruption innate in leading a life of cerebrality and empty intellectualism (and more directly, abstract philosophy) without corporeality or creative instinctuality - a visceral intuitiveness towards the aesthetic beauty of a work of art without the arbitration (and obscurantism) of rote academic theory - a perversion of the Socratic method as a path of inquiry towards enlightenment represented by Guigui (a dysfunctional incarnation of a Socrates figure) in his exploitation of his obliging, young steward, Cédric (Jérémie Renier) that is similarly reflected in his colleague, Jean-Astolphe Méréville's (Olivier Gourmet) nefarious, in-house "auditions" of young men, often street hustlers, whom he "discovers" by cruising the evening streets of Paris. It is this transparency and directness between the heart and mind in attaining enlightened beauty - the ideal of reaching the sublime by breaking free from the laws of logical thought - that is ultimately encapsulated in the transcendent and rapturous encounter between the star-crossed lovers on the momentous Bridge of Arts: an Orphic transfiguration that exists beyond the metaphysical realities of time and space, a convergence towards the unfathomable infinity of the human soul.

Posted by acquarello on Jan 13, 2007 | | Filed under 2007, Eugène Green

January 8, 2007

La Doble Vida del Faquir (The Magicians), 2005

magicians.gifIn 1937, when Spain was in the midst of a devastating civil war between the Nationalists (led by Franco) and the Republican loyalists, an unlikely sanctuary from the austerity and violence came in the form of Sant Julià de Vilatorta, a charity boarding school for orphaned boys established at the turn of the century by a wealthy family who had, presumably (as postulated by a family heir), undertaken such an ambitious project as a result of their perceived obligation to the church after their religious conversion to Catholicism. That year, a wealthy businessman, cinephile, and amateur magician and filmmaker named Felip Sagués, having retreated to the rural village with his family to seek refuge from the violence of war, decided to make his own fiction film after having previously entertained the schoolboys with an eclectic assortment of Chaplin comedies and German expressionist cinema. Casting several students from the school as well as local girls from the village, Sagués would create a whimsical, if unremarkable Arabian adventure "homegrown film" called Imitating the Faquir. Now, nearly 70 years since the shooting of the film, filmmakers Elizabet Cabeza (whose own late father appears in a supporting role as band leader in the Sagués film) and Esteve Riambau assemble several surviving members of the cast for a reunion screening and interview on the grounds of the boarding school. Ostensibly a documentary on the experience of making Imitating the Faquir as "disenfranchised", naïve children during the turmoil and economic severity of the civil war, the referential double life of the title alludes, not only to the rediscovery of Sagués' amateur film by a new generation of young viewers (whose abstract conceptions of war and death seem so disconnected from the everyday reality faced by the children in the film), but also a deeper examination into social implications of filmmaking itself, not only in its archival role as civil war-era escapist cinema, but more importantly, in its contemporary role as facilitators - if not, re-enactors - of an invariably altered national history. Evoking Miklòs Gimes' Mutter in its probative re-evaluation of a country's collective history in the aftermath of a repressive, political landscape that engendered constant and systematic revisionism to suit current policy, The Magicians is an incisive and bracingly lucid exposition into the irreconcilable disjunctions between official history and individual testament - a penetrating reconstruction of historical authenticity through the discrete, often ephemeral fragments of personal memory and human experience.

Posted by acquarello on Jan 08, 2007 | | Filed under 2007

The Education of Fairies, 2006

education_fairies.gifPart whimsical fable and part affectionate human comedy, José Luis Cuerda's The Education of Fairies is a slight and effervescent, but charming and thoughtful demythification of a "happily ever after" romantic ideal. The opening transition from a graphically illustrated title sequence to a live action shot of a father recounting a bedtime story on the magical powers and elusive nature of fairies to his young son (an abstraction that he would later explain as the result of a fairy's amnesia before coming into her powers) - sets the bifurcated, yet oddly cohesive tone for the film, as the seemingly idyllic, fairytale portrait of the family - the doting father, loving wife, precocious child - proves to be the result of a mundane fusion of divine chance and human intervention from the resourceful imagination of the endearing and good natured toy inventor, Nicolás (Ricardo Darín). Two years earlier, having spotted the attractive, young widow, an ornithologist named Ingrid (Irène Jacob) traveling with her son Raúl (Víctor Valdivia), Nicolás had appropriated a reserved, chauffeur-driven private car from the airport in order to ingratiate himself into their company, an audacious and impulsive act that would eventually succeed in winning the affections of both mother and son. Settling into an inherited country estate for a life of domestic bliss with his new family, Nicolás' life is turned to upheaval when one day, Ingrid enigmatically asks that he sleep in another room under the ruse of being kept awake by his distractive snoring, a request that soon becomes a palpable harbinger to his realized fear of her increasing estrangement from him. With his "natural" father and mother withdrawing further into the silent grief of their self-imposed separation, young Raúl decides to invoke his own fairy in the form of a troubled supermarket checkout clerk named Sezar (Bebe) in order to educate her into developing her powers and, consequently, reconcile his parents. Based on the contemporary novel by French author, Didier Van Cauwelaert, the film's pervasive eccentric humor and compassionate treatment of its characters provide an incisive framework for Cuerda's seamless exposition on the bounds of fairytale, enduring love, and the transformative power of the imagination.

Posted by acquarello on Jan 08, 2007 | | Filed under 2007

January 2, 2007

Le Révélateur, 1968

revelateur.gifOne of the experimental works created from the cadre of radical, emerging artists financed under the rubric of Zanzibar films that captured the spirit of May 68 and the counter culture revolution, Philippe Garrel's silent film Le Révélateur is a fractured and elliptical, but instinctive, elemental, and haunting rumination on the process of awakening, maturation, psychological trauma, and transformation of childhood memory. As the film begins, the révélateur - the processor of the images - is embodied through the isolated, spotlighted shot of a young boy (Stanislas Robiolles) in the corner of the frame, looking on as his father (Laurent Terzieff), apparently unaware of his presence in the room, struggles to connect with his abstracted mother (Bernadette Lafont) in an act of implied intimacy through the (iconic) sharing of a cigarette before fading into the proverbial background through a doorway suffused in a halo of light. But despite the physical act of transitory connection, what is ultimately retained in the child's camera/eye is not the residual image of tenderness and affection, but rather, a pattern of codependency, manipulation, madness, isolation, and perhaps even violence - an estrangement that is prefigured in the Freudian, reverse pietà image of the child emerging from a long, dark passageway towards his kneeling mother held in (apparently) resigned captivity tied to a cross at the end of the tunnel - a sense of pervasive emotional alienation and moral bondage that is further reinforced by the austerity and desolation of a seemingly godless, post-apocalyptic landscape. Pursued by an unseen, anonymous, but ubiquitous enemy (perhaps an allusion to the faceless nature of the embedded, guerrilla warfare tactics of the Vietnam War), the young family is compelled to leave the comfort of their dysfunctional home life and embark on an interminable journey to nowhere. Reduced to a life of perpetual exile and transience, the child begins to rebel, a defiance of parental control that is manifested in an act of literal repellance through his directed, repeated triggering of an aerosol can (in an elegantly composed, superimposed traveling shot) that further underscores his willful, symbolic act of distanciation from his parents. Reinforced by the subsequent shot of his parents posed as seeming trophy heads displayed on the corners of his headboard, the macabre image serves, not only to illustrate their role as trophic figures that he is weaning away from, but also represent their figurative impotence in his inevitable process of autonomy and independence. Concluding with the child donning his makeshift armor as he heads towards the sea, the image evokes a more primal Antoine Doinel (the adolescent alterego of François Truffaut's The 400 Blows) facing an alien and inalterable horizon - a silent and quixotic defiance against the oppressive and implacable forces of a cruel and inhuman human nature.

Posted by acquarello on Jan 02, 2007 | | Comments (3) | Filed under 2007, Philippe Garrel