08 Jan 2017
“Fascist” here means anti-humane, anti-nature and pro-power through weapons and money
Regressed (in a fascist way) perception of life (and other people) transforms the world into something like a giant “womb” – the object of unconditional consumption, which is, as if, a property of the man-embryo (the subject of fascist regression). If other people “inhabiting” the world-womb take a disagreeing posture towards the man-embryo’s actions and intentions (based on the ideology of his exceptional worth in comparison with any other people) – the subject of fascist regression treats them as arrogant and criminal enemies and will be inclined to subdue or eliminate them from the picture – from the environment of “his” world-womb.
The fascist regression is a disturbance of, not only perceptual function, it’s affliction of the human soul – the inability of the individual regressed to the fascist condition to accept “not-me”/not-us” – people with different existential tastes, ideas, pictures of the world, customs, different habits and independent will (peaceful freedom to be autonomous). All concerns of the fascist individuals are about power and domination over the world, nature and other people. This yearning for dominant position in the world is not just one obsession among others, but the one that impregnates and colors all human desires and motivations. Another side of this intolerance towards the otherness is heightened, feverish consumerism, the compulsive desire to use and manipulate the world and other people. Such “demanding” and “aggressive” predisposition includes the right to be irritated, furious, hateful and violent towards the world and people if they disappoint “our” expectations and our consumerist needs. People regressed to fascism are dedicated to self-empowering, they pursue power like fire the forest, thunderstorm the soil, like twisters homes, like fossil fuel corporations – American and foreign lands. Today, in an epoch of return of despotic propaganda the idea that it’s possible to live without seeking advantage and power again seems bizarre and even decadent.
Fear, permanently eating the soul, is for sure, an important factor causing the psychological state conditioning fascist regression. It is radical fear of the world and dissimilar others. It is a condition when insecurity is so strong, that even weapons serving panics aren’t enough – you also need money as a weapon – money in a form of permanent, self-sustaining and self-enriching profit feeding the ability to bribe/to buy people whom you want to act according to your wishes. There is nothing mythological and supernatural in fascist regression to primordial panic and obsession with destruction – it is a pathological desire of the absolute centrality in the universe, where nothing unchanging exists. Individuals regressing towards fascist condition want/dream to find absolute protection in their absolute power over the circumstances (although it is ontologically impossible). At the depth of their fascistized souls they know that they are not gods, and they are ready for extremes of hate, destruction and immorality to achieve what contradicts the very basic logic of creation. Their despair is forever undeletably added to their absurd efforts at self-protection through control over situations, and this makes these efforts even more destructive. German Nazis and Soviet Communists found themselves in this very predicament before.
In similarly desperate condition our ancestors’ intuition invented religious systems and religious wars to persuade themselves in the existence of a benevolent upper authority which makes “us”, a particular group and individuals His “heirs”. But, of course, there is a substantial difference between religious fanaticism and fascist fanatic regression. The first is just an organic childish condition of having the need to be selected, supported and protected while living in an environment where it’s more than natural to look for absolute protection. But fascist regression is attempt to get confidence from destruction and elimination of everything that is otherness to our fragile identity.
Fascist regression is the result of the weakening of belief in the reliability of a supernaturally strong and benevolent authority to protect “our” life and future. It is a very moment when fascistized human beings feel the necessity to, so to speak, take protection of their glory into their own hands and rely on themselves – on their own inventing and calculating/manipulative mind. The technology is hijacked and more and more at the service of fascist regression. Today, technology’s goal and task is to protect our global monarchic pretensions. Fascist projections into the world – ideas, feelings and actions are “materially”, not just imaginarily apocalyptic. And our human nature has maneuvered and cornered itself into apocalypse-creating behavior. By dreaming to save the image of their glory and belief in their invincibility, fascist individuals are apocalyptically punishing everybody including themselves.
The subjects of fascist regression unconsciously do what they feel their god didn’t – didn’t save their self-image of the chosen ones and them themselves in a precarious world. So, they are trying to save themselves with their nimbuses of their noble pretensions to be global rulers. Surrounded by a surge of twisters emanating from their own ill will, they in their despair, as if, demonstrating to their god what is necessary to do, in order to save them. Their weapons including money are part of their policy of military and economic globalism and their robotic indifference towards others – their systematic policy of austerity for and disenfranchisement of others. Transformation of otherness into the enemy is a universal leverage which individuals regressing into fascist condition use in order to guarantee their absolute dominance in the world.
Fascism, it seems, is a “fallen” condition of metaphysical sensibility, the anomalous unconscious fixation on a reality beyond life and death (that explains people’s with fascist regression indifference to human and even planetary life). When they dream about physical yet eternal life for themselves and absolute protection from the world it means, that their unconscious concept of life is beyond human life, and beyond their concept of protection. The subjects of fascist regression worship power as mightier than the very difference between life and death. Their actions are so transgressive that they are pseudo-transcendent. And in the depths of their intuition they don’t understand (understanding is too existential for them) that by destroying the world they are destroying their lives which are already without existence. They sincerely believe that they can be saved by the super-technology. The fascist condition can be defined as existential indifference and metaphysical violence, when consciousness of violence is over-sublimated and de-existentialized. Individuals who have regressed to fascist condition are prematurely – in a “fallen way” – “spiritual”: pseudo-spiritual. And their destiny is demonic, to the horror of us, “regular” human beings. But their phobic sensitivity was there from the beginning of creation, of course, stimulated by extremely insecure condition of the world and today – by extreme population density and over-exposition to otherness, and availability of technology to exploit and abuse life. The ability for compromise between metaphysical sensibility and worthiness of life is chronically and fatally underdeveloped in human history.
03 Jan 2017
“Lola” by Jacques Demy is a comedy of not laughter or mockery (it is very pleasant for the viewers to laugh at somebody or something – it makes them feel superior and great, and that is good for the success of movies and profitable for filmmakers). “Lola” is a comedy of compassionate smile addressed to life and love. It’s the first and already original and refreshingly bold feature of Demy and it’s full of the director’s love for life, for childhood and childishness of the grownups, and for maturity in love and way of life.
Besides being stylistically very articulate (communicating with the viewers not so much through the plot, events and actions, but through the emotional atmosphere and rhythm), the film is also very curious as a sociological research. It depicts a way of life which for us in the 21st century seems unbelievable – nobody in the world of the film, it seems, is worried about “survival”, as we under austerity today are occupied with money, jobs, careers, social success and retirement. Everybody looks satisfied with what they get, and happy to be occupied with something else than dreams and plans about enriching themselves and moving up in the social hierarchy. Even Michel, the father of Lola’s child who left France years ago and at the beginning of the film has just returned – the white knight on white horse (his American car), became rich only for the sake of his relations with Lola (Anouk Aimee). He returned to confess to her about his love, and he is not burdening himself with the matters of business realization/extension of his American success in France. And even Roland, the other relationship of Lola, although he is lost his job because of not paying attention to his working obligations – is not producing visible signs of worry – he is occupied with his amorous problems with Lola. Watching this film you start to feel the heaviness of the mutation in the way of life between the 60s, when people were more relaxed and happy, and today’s US and Europe (is it politics of globalism what created this mutation?)
Another impressive achievement of the film is its depiction of two kinds of love – immature in its naïve and childish perception of love between a man and a woman as a gift from life, and the mature kind, when love is felt as a part of life and shares life’s ordeals and problems. The first type is personified in relations between Lola and Michel (a rich man returned to Lola and their son from US), and the second – in relations between her and Roland (a kind of wavering intellectual). Of course, Demy doesn’t see any “antagonism” between these two types of love, but rather treats them as two phases of general human ability to love. The film suggests the pedagogy of tolerance towards immature love and pedagogy of positive (non-authoritarian) encouragement towards the mature one.
Unfortunately, Demy didn’t reach his 60th birthday, and in him serious cinema lost one of its innovative and sensitive masters.
Demy’s films with their humane and gracious emotional emanation should be insistently and passionately recommended to viewers especially in the age of technological impersonalization of human and cinema’s soul and high-tech fights, killings and wars on the screen and in real life.
Parisian cabaret girls dance with American navy sailors
American navy sailors enter the Parisian cabaret and dance with the girls whom they remember from their previous visits. The stylistic suggestion here (the time is post-WWII recovery period in France, when people wanted to live and when this desire was still not poisoned by money/profit obsession) is that the best thing the military sailors can do is dance with cabaret girls – celebrate being healthy and alive.
Lola’s charm is based, it seems, on the contrast between her spontaneous emotional eroticism and her not trivial (intelligent) appearance. She is, as if, “too above” to be perceived as pretty. But it looks that it feels very-very worthy to get her positive attention.
What do we see here? A girl of adolescent age and sailor are walking along the empty narrow street without pedestrians to some secret place in order to do, god knows what (where are those endless American and European detectives?) Oh, no, all of this so far from what Demy’s film is about. It is Cecile (thirteen-year-old) by chance met an American navy sailor and spent with him short time at the amusement park, before he left France for Chicago. They never will meet again, but this brief time will be left in Cecile’s memory forever. The ability for love starts to develop much before love. And, according to Demy’s film, it is necessary to accept (not repress) immature forms of love while educationally encouraging the mature ones.
01 Jan 2017
Death Of Masks As Human Faces’ Psychological Essence
When Gods as personages of human soul, monarchs as decision-makers, and religious and secular intellectuals became outmoded, and regular people took the responsibility for the destiny of humankind by squabbling for success of personal and group survival…
When a king became a flower in a bouquet which itself became a part of a still life of human historical memory, liberated man and emancipated woman (both painted by Nolde with some “pan-mongolistic” hint, above king’s head – alive or a part of king’s corpse), find themselves in close proximity with devil. Of course, regular people were always sinning, but now they found themselves in the friendly company of devil, which stopped to be the prerogative of the kings and dukes.
Only the king in Nolde’s “Masks and Dahlias” has traditional mask (emphasizing, according to the painter, an essence of human soul). The mask-face of the devil Nolde intentionally made under-expressive – let’s not forget that devil is not more than an (over-powerful) robot of human invention, but masks of the man and woman are not expressive at all. These two neo-human (post-monarchic) masks are faces without souls, faces as a tautology – as identical with their surface, with their appearance.
If gods are aggrandized but profound aspects of the human soul, human face is the area where gods meet humans, and then this encounter is registered by the facial expressiveness of the traditional masks. King’s face-mask has a tormented expression. King became a dahlia in the bouquet of dahlias – is transformed into this late summer-middle autumn flower (Nolde intentionally paints dahlias generically, as if they have lost particularity and on the way of being wilted – the human historical memory is prone to dry up).
The self-identity of the two “just human” faces – the man and the woman’s are the faces of the deprived – crumbled and thrown away souls. Whom exactly do these faces without facial expression can belong to? Today’s analogy would be – the nominees for the new Cabinet of Ministers – chosen by the imp-named-trump – this post-demiurge of post-politics. On the other hand, the king’s mask/face is still with emotional code, face pained by his pre- or post-death solitude, with powerlessly maniacal and at the same time – a phobic expression.
Let’s take our hats off before the cruel but human past killed by the present for the sake of future without human facial expression, without non-entertaining/non-advertising/non-propagandizing art, without soul in the permanent tormenting fight with itself, with banal generic robotic faces of Nolde’s dahlias, males and females.
And only alert statuette as part of still life (nature morte) – the punctum of the painting pointing at the alternative to the solemn death of alive history. It is the potential of life in what is still life, a potential, which is all that we today, in the 21st century, can rely on. It is nothing more than a potential of life inside that which is non-life. May be, Nolde’s painting of non-life (nature morte), is saving our vitality by coding it into sign of life.
26 Dec 2016
“Trump makes ‘an inordinate number’ of false claims, according to FactCheck.org. Another website, PolitiFact.com, looked into 158 claims made by Trump since the start of his campaign and found that four out of five were at best ‘mostly false.’…. It is the narrative that is attracting the users, not the content (Quattrociocchi’s most recent study) ….’When people are given a choice, they’re going to choose what’s comforting. They’re going to avoid information that challenges them’ (Ari Rabin-Havt – ‘Lies Incorporated: The World of Post-truth Politics’) …. What the post-truth era allows is for politicians to get away with it with no consequence” (Christ Baraniuk, “Trick Or tweet? Or both?” New Scientist, July 16, 2016, p. 20-21)
The main reason Trump was successful in presidential election is exactly that he is bathing in misinformation (he is exhaling misinformation as aromatic breeze and people wait in line to join him). People prefer misinformation to factual truth. They want to feel well so they prefer pleasure to the sad or boring factual news, they like to be pleased and “flattered” by non-truth rather than “insulted” by truth. Misinformation provides them a little paradise – they consume what is possible to get satisfaction until it’s possible, and what comes after – “can be addressed later”. But later can be too late. Yes, today we continue to be in human history but it looks like with much more drastic consequences. But what if this unpleasant and dangerous “consequences will not come” at all? – suggests philistine belief. “It’s necessary to believe in good powers! It’s necessary to follow the icon-and-banner of hope!” So, Trump, who knows the uneducated mind only too well by his own example quickly found the lucky combination of hope and hate (hop-hate), and this hope-hop-hate became the new fashionable and flashy underwear for his supporters.
19 Dec 2016
Dream is a ready-made (by our imagination) life dressed/wrapped as a present to a child, in a shiny paper with ribbons and bows, while real life is naked and exposed to storms, cold, heat and hate from inside and outside.
Three Lolas* – by Joseph von Sternberg’s film’s “The Blue Angel” (1930), Jacques Demy’s “Lola” (1961) and R.W. Fassbinder’s “Lola” (1981)
La chanson de Lola
Lola’s style of perceiving the world
Lola’s singing/dancing number at the cabaret is a depiction of her self-image – the result of her strenuous contemplations about herself. This young woman, who is a single mother, is a spontaneous and unaware feminist pursuing her particular ideal of womanhood of sublimated attractiveness without pretentiousness, an attractiveness not necessarily for men, but for the sake of herself, in principle.
How to be a woman and a human being in the world is Lola’s (Anouk Aimee) permanent focus. Result of her self-creation is her dancing and singing art – sketch of her feminine identity. Cabaret for her is not just a place for making money, but the space where Lola defines, asserts and shows her position in the world.
From the first glance, Lola’s stage performance is representation of herself to the audience of men, but that’s just surface. In her acting she asserts herself in front of the viewers in general – in front of the witnesses of her existence, in front of the world. In this still we see her representing herself in the gentlemen’s high hat in order to, it seems, underline her difference from men and to assert herself as a woman (in a sense of being a non-male).
Lola and her dream of a sublime and genuine love
The father of Lola’s son suddenly, after many years of being in US, reappeared in France with grand success in his pockets (he became rich just for one purpose – to impress her and their son). His concept of love is similar with Lola’s – it is a dream as a present to human beings from life.
Lola and the young American sailor whom she befriended because by his appearance he reminded her Michel, the father of her child – obviously, very “romantic” motivation on Lola’s part, for whom amorous reward is a culmination of life, like for many recruits – medals are a culmination of war.
Drink for a friend makes it gentler to slide from bonds of souls into blends of flesh. We learn from Demy’s film that chastity doesn’t necessarily contradict eroticism, and soul – flesh. Ties of common humanity are, sometimes, combinable with that of souls and bodies, like innocence can be compatible with sexuality. Eros can be a part of amity and even accentuate the specter of the soul.
Suddenly incarnated in France, after eight years of absence Michel, the father of Lola’s child, is confessing to her about his love and his success – he wanted to deserve her love. For both of them love is a reward for dreaming about love, while life is just an existential settlement. People who hunt after their dreams perceive love as a dream realized – as a present from destiny, not as a part of life.
Lola and Roland
Lola’s relations with Roland is something completely different than her relations with Michel (a white knight on a white horse-his big white American car) who has just returned to Paris from US. Roland and Lola’s souls are autonomous inside their relationship – they are not transforming one another into presents for each other (don’t play with one another as with fascinating toys). They feel the existential heaviness of each other, and their psychological touches of one another are not always easy for both of them to sustain.
Between Lola and Roland everything is serious, even playfulness, even humor. They feel responsible for each their word or gesture when they are together. With each other the both feel themselves as too much of adults.
Again and again Lola and Roland are trying, as if, to persuade each other in this or that. May be, they both just can’t yet accept the adultness of their relationship. May be, this adultness is too burdensome for them both?
Love turns to both halves of the couple only when it has ripen, not any sooner (when it‘s challengingly sour) and not later (when it smoothly bitter). Love as a dream is easier – it monitors its own time, while love as a part of life can be as demanding as life.
For Cecile love is a dream, and in this very moment dream is incarnating itself into amusement park, where Cecile by chance met Frankie for couple of hours before his departure to Chicago. Cecile and Frankie use one attraction after another. Demy represents their togetherness in amusement park as a gift, as a realization of child’s dream.
Demy loves human childhood and thinks that both – the society and the adults, should nurture in children the ability to live through dreams, because only through satisfying them – through satisfied dreams, it is possible to come to adulthood – to love as existential seriousness.
Cecile and Frankie soon will separate and, may be, never see each other again. But the memory of this several hours with an American sailor will stay in Cecile’s memory like a precious present from life. She is having it, she got it, she had it, she will have it forever, and for this reason one day she will be able to go through love’s tormenting demands and rewards.
Demy’s film as object of perception and understanding looks easy, but it’s far from trying to entertain us or influence our reactions by deploying pointed and emotionally seductive stimuluses. “Lola” includes complicated characters with a rather contradictory motivations and it’s full of stylistic nuances serving as metaphors characterizing what’s going on in the souls of the main personages. Take, for example, Lola’s cabaret dance, sensual and sexy, but, as if, a little isolating her from the public’s attention because of her mental self-occupation, or take the “lyrics” of her song, or her seeming inability to make a decision about her preference between the men she is emotionally connected with. In spite of her work at the cabaret, her love life and her everyday life are enigmatic for viewers. Is she dancing just for money? Is she a harlot? Does she have a French equivalent of the American dream (today, almost a universal phenomenon)? She seems not interested in money or career or social success. In spite of her orientation on marriage, it cannot be said that she “wants” to marry or that she is dependent on men. She, obviously, doesn’t need marriage to respect herself. Rather, she is somehow almost free from or, may be, for love, even though her dreams moves around the question of a personal love and serious amorous relationship. We don’t see her appealing to men or flirting with any of them. Her soul is assertively autonomous and, as if, not limited by her amorous dream about exceptional relationship.
Lola is emotionally very sensitive and “too much” for a chanteuse of a small cabaret, and the split between the refinement of her responsiveness and the relative simplicity of her amorous dream is impressive and puzzling. It is, as if the childish structure of her concept of love was almost exclusively based on her love dream, which is oriented on and expects realization of love in a form of a generous gift from the destiny, like a child waits for the Christmas tree with a multicolored sky of ornaments.
It is curious that if “Lola” from the first glance looks like an entertaining movie, while it doesn’t entertain the viewers at all, something similar “inconsistency” is traceable in the character of the heroine. On the surface level she follows the obvious – simplistic idea of love (as based on amorous dream and not on the perception of love as a part of life), still her behavior with Roland shows again and again her alternative proclivity – feeling of love as inseparable from the responsibility of choice and decision, demanding distance of autonomy from (symbiotic) amorous object despotically dictating us its irresistibility. In a way, it may be that Lola refuses Roland to protect him from her own immaturity. But although Lola isn’t able yet to accept love as an existential phenomenon (and poor Roland, the existential hero and not imaginary phantom, like her White Knight hero – Michel, will wander until Demy’s “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” ), may be, she is already closer to overcoming the dreamlife of love.
The stylistic atmosphere of the film is amazingly, celebratively positive even when inevitable sadness is a part of the personages’ life. We see the American Navy sailors entering Parisian cabaret and immediately starting to dance with the “girls”, many of whom they know from their previous visits. The innocence of the dancing couples and sexual overtones of the situation are stylistically delivered as socially unproblematic. The scene is unexpectedly perceived as suggesting that the best thing the military sailors can do is to dance with cabaret girls! The film reconciles what is habitually perceived as irreconcilable. Pureness of intentions is embraced with eroticism and this embrace is perceived as chaste – the magic of an indirect (stylistic) directorial suggestion. Demy welcomes not only the childhood personified by the girl Cecile, but the childishness of the adults (personified by Lola and Michel’s picture of love). He differentiates immature and mature love, but he doesn’t devaluate Lola’s immaturity – the director in “Lola” (stylistically) welcomes life and believes that immaturity will find its way to maturity, if not to traumatize still immature souls with violent refutation and mocking which create a resistance to development.
Jacques Demy’s feature is a film about psychological development, but without reproaching, scolding and condemning underdeveloped condition. His humanity teaches us to promote maturity in a mature way tolerant of immaturity. Unexpectedly, amorous immaturity and maturity find themselves as belonging to different phases of the same human life which is depicted as sublime through the joyfully gentle style of Demy’s film.
* Lola-the basic (in Joseph von Sternberg’s film which emphasizes the irreducible gap of antagonism in Weimar Germany between the upper-middle class mentality with authoritarian roots and the masses of lumpen proletarians and petti-bourgeois whose morbid vitality to survive by any price is impregnated with fascist hopes).
Lola-the awakening to the very dignity of emotional sophistication (in Jacques Demy’s film joyfully and playfully emphasizing the benevolent condition of psychological flowering in the post-WWII in France).
Lola-personifying the tragic maturity of neo-democratic/post-democratic cultural structuration in Germany at the end of the 20th century (in Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s elegantly crystallized cinematic elaboration).
Posted on Jan, 3 2017 – “Lola” by Jacques Demy (1961) by Acting-Out Politics
07 Dec 2016
Posted by Victor-Katia as Discussion and Mind-Probing, Good News and New Goods For The One Percent Of American Population, Sociological essays
“Blood plasma from young people has rejuvenated old mice, boosting their memory, cognition and physical activity. The method shows promise for use in people… Earlier research found that injecting old mice with plasma – the liquid part of blood – from young mice can invigorate the brain and muscle… After receiving two human plasma injections a week, for three weeks, the middle age mice ran around like young mice. Their memories seemed to improve, and they were much better at remembering the route around the maze than untreated mice.
Young human plasma improves cognition… The blood of young people must have something in it that’s important for keeping them young… some factors in young blood might be responsible for these benefits. Anti-aging treatment [can benefit from it].”
(New Scientist, 19 November 2016, p. 10)
Observing the perspectives of our country’s development in the 21st century and juxtaposing it with the discovery of the human blood plasma’s value for prolonging life of the aging, we can deduce how much free space in time the successes of anti-aging treatment by the blood of the young will open for the members of financial elite.
It can be only imagined how young people from the poor segments of the population will be desperately happy to sell their blood for the sake of longevity of 1–2%. Blood banks will become as commercially savvy as commercial banks. The necessity to separate plasma from blood on the mass scale may start a growing industry with millionaires and billionaires on top. May be, intensification of blood trade inside US will raise GDP to unseen heights. Interesting, how availability of multinational blood plasma will intensify international trade and what will be the price difference, for example, between the plasma of white and colored youth. And, of course, numerous other questions will pop up, which will be successfully answered by the honorable practitioners of anti-aging blood industry in our promising future.
05 Dec 2016
According to the literally thinking movie-critics (who survive on advertising movies to the consumers), the main character of the film is a “wandering criminal”, “a smalltime thief”, “a young hoodlum”, etc., and this characterizations are pettily true (for these people to be “right” is be literally, tautologically right). Of course, Michel Poiccard is also what they say he is, but something in him made Truffaut write a story about him, made Godard create a movie dedicated to his predicaments, and Godard and Truffaut are not Quentin Tarantino. Something in Michel makes Patricia Franchini, the American girl, working hard for her future in the realm of journalism, in France, let him to live in her tiny hotel room, be in love with him, betray him to police because of her love, and after he was murdered by police, make an oath of loyalty to his memory.
Something in Michel’s character is much more existentially “polyphonic” than it’s possible for a petty criminal. For example, in spite of the obvious absence of liberal arts education background in his past, he is much more refined, than Patricia’s friend – the licensed journalist. Michel is modest. With Patricia he is sensitive and acts with genuine humility. He doesn’t put up the macho defenses of either overconfidence or indifference. In spite of the shadow of independence he desperately needs Patricia’s love – for him it’s not enough to be sexually successful with her. It is, as if, his future and more, his identity depends on their love. It looks that Michel has a dream not just about a great love with Patricia outside France, but about alternative life outside the competitive and consumerist seductions and addiction to entertainment. Whatever he is, he is internally other for our stressful and chaotic environment. For Godard, he is, it seems, the personification of fundamental otherness, which in him exist on the level of almost unconscious sensibility, not yet fully incarnated neither in his personality, nor in his thinking. Can it be, that Michel Poiccard is the personification of a still embryonic genuinely democratic potential of our pompous and corrupted (by megalomania and cruelty) democracy?
Michel is an image of human potential for an alternative life. For what kind of alternative? It seems that it’s not completely specified even for Michel himself. We observe him in love with Patricia and see, that he is free from the need to manipulate her even unconsciously (as is the case in many “proper” spouses) to make her do and feel what he wants. We see how “democratically” he met her confession about betraying him to the police, without any narcissistic shock, not only without anger-and-fury at her, but without a trace of panic and losing himself in desperate situation. And he didn’t lose himself by trying to resist police – he didn’t try to shoot at the policeman or really run away. He slowly followed his final path towards freedom – until his death from the police bullet to his spine.
Michel’s last communication with the world took place when lying on the ground while dying, he, unable to speak, reproduced his mimic formula of conformism which only Patricia has understood. With Patricia Michel was confident but without any bravado. In a way, he is a big child, but a wunderkind. He is like an existentially spiritual potential in democracy, which in 21st century, when people are in a process of being reduced into rivals/fighters with others for financial success, has even less chances to develop.
“Breathless” belongs to the rarest kind of films which communicate not so much by its content, but through its form (by semantic tonalities and by narrative and visual metaphors) and address viewers’ mental sensations and non-circumstantial experiences-oriented intuitions. Such bizarre films’ communications are pedagogical, not authoritarian or seductive or provoking. In comparison with them the images of Hollywood-made or any entertaining movies are, in essence, slogans, authoritarian suggestions. Michel, on the other hand, can open himself to the soul of the viewers only through not-obvious (and non-habitual), because the realm of the obvious in perception is built on accepting propaganda and advertisement as truth and is congruent with viewers’ tendency to react in conformist way (in a conformist or blindly anti-conformist manner). To accept the obvious means not to think but to compulsively appropriate – things, ideas, emotions, or to refuse/destroy them without understanding. It means to live by blindly loving and equally blindly hating, with symbiotic immediacy.
The tree in the depth we see at the distance between Patricia and “her friend” (who is helping her with her career) is the image of the very importance of social success in modern life. This makes the tree not only a tree of knowledge, but tree of life.
01 Dec 2016
In “Masken III” we encounter three masks (which are easily identifiable as masks). All three, it seems, signify the three groups of population classified according to their place in the social hierarchy and/or degree of influence in socio-economic affairs during Nolde’s times in Germany and, surprisingly, in US today, after the Congressional and Presidential Election of 2016.
The mask in lower left corner of the canvass represents, it seems, the national and behavioral minorities. This mask is without any facial expression – without internality. It is not expressing the essence of the face, as Nolde’s masks usually are. The face which is normally coded by the mask, is blocked, eliminated – this is exactly what it means to belong to the minority group in a society of inequality – to wear face like mask. The human face in the depth of the mask is blocked from the perception as the unwelcome otherness.
Above the first mask we see the other two (both with facial expressions) signifying two main categories of the population by how they treat the minorities of their countries. The mask in the center is yellow and the one next above it is green with the red hair and beard. The yellow mask-face is expressing kindness and pity towards, as if, the empty mask (of the dark-pink color metaphorizing the accumulation of shame by those who are treated as inferiors). The yellow mask’s expression is love and compassion, yet simultaneously, condescension. This kind of love is blended with inequality – it asserts the equality of love together with inequality of patronage. Look at the mask-face of this lover of the inferior people (the middle mask-face), it… kisses the representative of the refused minority, kisses tenderly and softly. On the other hand, the red-green mask-face with opened teeth cannot hide its fierce-and-furious expression. The green-red man behind this mask obviously hates the minorities of his home country. His slightly opened mouth cannot be taken for a smile because of the deep vertical wrinkles over his nose, reinforced by the aggressive configuration of his eyebrows.
The two universal positions towards the national-behavioral minorities taken by the two dominant groups of the population, we in US can define as conservative and liberal. People with liberal-democratic sensibility are prone to defend the hated minorities from people with conservative sensibility, by asserting the equal right to be treated fairly, justly, as equals. Depicting the two contrasting positions (liberal and conservative) towards the minorities in historical perspective, Nolde added to liberal “humanism” Madonna-like compassion and to conservative intolerance – stern and pompous pagan militancy. “Masken III” contrasts the both, liberal and conservative positions with neo-modern-post-modern posture towards minorities which recently has developed in the West as a result of the cultural mutation in Western countries. It is this new posture, it seems, that inspired Nolde to add mask-hands into his pantheon of masks-faces as an aesthetic tools (of understanding societal life) at the disposal of his talent. It is this new position is the main point of the painting.
This new kind of a mask in Nolde’s pantheon of masks doesn’t look like a mask. It looks like two hands in gloves. Yes, these hands in antiseptic gloves is, indeed, a mask corresponding to a new, changing position of treating the national and/or behavioral minorities. “Traditional” masks are masks-faces. They are the essence of human facial expressions – of the life of human soul. But this new mask – a mask-hands, is the essence of human manipulative mind.
Masks for Nolde were the expression of the human internal world, but in future, according to him (which we today are occupying with such bombastic noise), masks already don’t express human internal world. Today, the human beings are manipulating the environment including other human beings. Today, human interaction is in a much lesser degree exchange of human emotions and minds or confrontation of human individualities. It is rather instrumental contact – between rivals or between allies, between bosses and employees, consumers and sellers, consumers and producers manipulating consumers in order to stimulate their consumption, between entertainers and the entertained, and between achievements of various achievers, etc. Today we permanently measure and calculate our success in society and with each other. This high degree of calculation in what we are doing creates a psychological situation that our manipulating hands (in the gloves of effectiveness) moved by our calculating minds (our proto-hands) occupy the place of human soul – the naïve, often disinterested, passionate and now more and more superfluous as an instrument of our growing domination over the world. Like mask-face reflects human soul, mask-hands reflect our manipulative – handling position towards the world including other people. Mask-hands point at the soul which has transformed into manipulating hands-tools operating with technology and soft-wares in order to dominate.
Today, the masks of the inhabitants of the 21st century are masks of manipulative hands – of their mental prototypes inside our minds. Hands in the hygienic gloves is a metaphor of a functional, manipulative position of what before was the human soul, towards the world.
The problem of national/behavioral minorities is one of the basic problems in human societies, as it was in Germany of 20s and even much more so in Western societies of the 21st century. The point here is the question of new strategies of handling the minorities, besides two traditional one – liberal and conservative. The new position which Nolde depicts in his painting is that of a perfected manipulation. The fourth type of mask reflects the recent over-development of a technical reason at the price of losing humanness. Fight for domination is more effective when it is done not with hate as such but with hate’s derivative – robotic indifference of coldly and methodically planned repressive and eliminative behavior.