Acting-Out Politics

Weblog opens discussion about the psychology of Bushmerican style of behavior.

Chamber Utopia – A Commune Banished In Advance – A Different Humanity (Real Humanism vs. Vanity)

The English translation of the title of the French film, if to retranslate it into French would be “Destroy, said she” – a formula encouraging us to ask – who is she, whereas “Destroy, she said” as a title is a bit tautological – “she” stays benevolently anonymous because of the two verbs which “overfull” situations with two actions. The direct – literal translation of the title into English – “Destroy, said she” opens the space for trying to define who this “she” is and creates the expectation of an answer to come, suggesting a choice or comparison between two “she-s”.

In the film there are two women who, according to the logic of their characters and behavior can be considered as possible carriers of feelings in tune with some kind of circumstantial destruction. One is Elisabeth Alione (Catherine Sellers), and the other is Alissa (Nicole Hiss) – who have a different relation to destruction (like stubborn and principal disagreement, overcoming, rebellion, refutation without a chance to amend it, absolute change, etc.). Elisabeth carries the desire to destroy something that’s inside her personality, inside her soul (years ago she didn’t want to give birth and she didn’t have the guts to love the person she loved). But Alissa who already loves her husband Max Thor (Henri Garcin) and her lover Stein (Michel Londsdale), and is ready for her love for Elisabeth, and, at the end of the film, even to love Elisabeth’s husband Bernard Alione (Daniel Gelin). It looks like that at this point only having already watched Duras’ film can prevent one from giving oneself to the sense of humor.

It seems, the two women, Elisabeth and Alissa “said” “Destroy”, Elisabeth in a sense of destroying her internal desires – suffocating them, not allowing them to be projected outside, to the world, but Alissa is challenging the repressive position on the part of the world of men or conventional moral code towards women’s spontaneous desires. She is “destructive” in a much more “revolutionary” sense.

“Destroy, said she” is asking and encouraging us to ask – who is she who wants to destroy the obstacles for feeling free to be yourself – the woman, who like Elisabeth Alione is ready to destroy herself to keep following inhumane morality, or woman like Alissa, who is ready to disagree with and to destroy this immoral morality? In other words, with whom of these two women Duras is, even she empathizes with and love both?

Duras is answering Michel Londsdale’s questions about the connection between Stein’s (whom he plays in the film) position in the world and his particular style of self-expressiveness

Duras and Catherine Sellers (Elisabeth Alione) in between takes

Duras shows Michel Londsdale how exactly to move cigarette in a certain moment of a scene. The woman’s hand (with pointing finger between Londsdale’s face and Nicole Hiss’s head is, likely that of Duras’s). To the right we see Max Thor’s (Henri Garcin) profile.

We see the environment where for people it is, somehow, more natural to be interested in each other personalities and lives, not in personal vanities like consumerist obsessions, fixation on entertainment, narcissistic posing in front of one another or mutual identification. It’s, as if, the very atmosphere of the hotel and the park around was filtering out everything that’s not important (that is not existentially spiritual) in order to keep people focused on the essential – on the souls of each other (which are battling the world for meaning using mourning and joy as their weapons).

Alissa and Elisabeth at the beginning of their relationship (Alissa’s first gentle touches of Elisabeth’s frightened soul)

Like Marcel Prousts novel the film is about the relations between rich aristocrats and poor folks during the WWI period as it is about our time, the 21st century, when the contrast in the wealth and life style between the rich and the poor again, as many times in history, grows to extreme. Its a paradox of truth about a concrete historical period that it is applicable to other historical epochs with the same relevancy and revealing power. It happens because in the terms of human life and the problems between the various social strata the differences are always variant of similarity, and by understanding of what was different back then from our own life today we unexpectedly find that we better understand ourselves in our own particular circumstances.

By regaining the time of the life of Prousts characters we restore our understanding of our lives today, which is hurt by our fixation on our problems without help of a wider socio-cultural perspective. The film shows us a complicated, passionate and sometimes twisted relations between the rich and poor people that penetrate their private lives and stimulate psychological mutations, existential experimentations and imbalances in psychological sensitivity, worldviews and sexual life.

The film concentrates on the psycho-sexual maneuvers of Prousts characters, on their self-contradictory feelings and behavior by adding socio-political analysis to Prousts analysis of the peculiarities of characters personalities. Ruizs sociological examination of Baron de Charlus homosexual desire (regressing into masochism) and Marquis de Saint Loups bisexual one (regressing into a shockingly crude jingoism) is elaborate and revealing.

But Ruiz main investment in Proust scholarship is his cinematographic analysis of Proustian writers (PW) aesthetic strategies in relation to his existential self-realization. Ruiz examines the relationship between PWs artistic and existential egos and comes to an amazing conclusion about the psychologically defensive nature of Proustean aestheticized spirituality. Ruiz uses intriguing and inspiring visual images to comment about PWs creative function in relation to his style of going through his life.

The manner of acting in TR is part of its scholarly achievements. Its not a situation when we learn about the characters from their reactions on circumstances. In TR the characters, as if, create the circumstances inside which they express and realize themselves. Their existential situations are, as if, a kind of a cloth on their psychology the characters always precede the situations always deeper and more creative than its implied by circumstantial acting.

Pascal Gregory (de Saint Loup), John Malkovich (de Charlus), Marcello Mazzarella (Marcel), Emmanuelle Beart (Gilberte) and the other actors bring us to the beginning of the 20th century and then take us back to our own times, following Proustian and Ruizian magic of regaining the particularistic universality of the human souls.

That’s how Marcel Proust in his childhood, when taken to pompous parties and often left (by the adults entertaining themselves with gossiping) on his own in luxurious mansions, indulged in a games of photographic tricks by imagining the guests at lavish events – he saw them as they were – not real people, but as a kind of hybrids between sculptures and mannequins dressed up in gowns and tuxedos and holding the gala glasses with Champaign

Posted Oct/4/’17 –   Marcel-the Writer And Marcel-the Boy During WWI – From Raul Ruiz’s “Time Regained” (1999) by Acting-Out Politics

Posted Oct/1/’17 –  Three Phases Of Human Relationship With Death – From “Time Regained” (1999) By Raul Ruiz (Film Based On Marcel Proust’s Novel) by Acting-Out Politics

Posted on 6/29/’12 –   Raul Ruiz’s “Time Regained” (1999) – Five Marcel Prousts (The Psychology of Existential Understanding) by Acting-Out Politics

We, Americans of the 21st century live in a country with a mass-cultural ideology that people must fight with their aging to death, while at the same time more and more people find themselves in a situation, when it is more and more difficult to survive and be attended by adequate medical care. They simultaneously have to be mobilized to resist death and agree with slow deterioration of their everyday life. But one of the nameless/anonymous characters of Bergman’s film – the hotel room service waiter (Hakan Jahnberg) is, obviously not encouraged to treat his old age as an enemy and at the same time is not in danger of becoming fodder for austerity policies.

Being saved from the contrast depicted above, this human being, an old man, has the existential luxury to look at death (itself already looking at him from the narrow opening of draperies on his window) immanently philosophically (it’s not by chance that he even looks a little like Bertrand Russell). Yes, this “simple” person lives with nobility of soul, with dignity of his self-awareness. His position towards non-violent death is as natural as it’s sophisticated.

His ephemeral but “immortal” friendship with little Johan (Jorgen Lindstrom) has an amazing pedagogical sense – he indirectly (existentially) transfers to the child his respect for natural death and for this reason for life, while we indirectly – ideologically are prevented from getting that what is friendly to our mortality can be friendly to our vitality. But we’re so afraid of and hate our mortality, and therefore lost the ability to live – to allow ourselves to live we need to justify our life with our “successes” – wealth, profits, career, high place in the social hierarchy.

The old man shares with Johan the old photos of himself when he was about Johan’s age and when he was middle-aged, as, probably “Johan’s father today”. He shows to the boy nothing more “interesting” than several photos (whole life in several photos). May be, today’s kid of Johan age, spoiled by the “high tech” toys, will not even look at them.

The old porter is pointing at himself in the photo, near the coffin of his grandmother or mother

He is pointing at himself standing with, probably, his wife in front of their house

In some moment, the old man identifies with Johan’s gaze, and then he feels himself living again – through saying farewell to people he loved and to his own life

After giving away to Johan his photos – a gesture of, as if giving his past life to the future in the hands of new generations (Johan automatically took these photos with himself when he left), the old man is overtaken by the feeling of his destiny. Friends by a common existence, as if met by chance in time, run into each other again several times – the room service attendant is “always” inside the hotel and he is ready to entertain Johan with improvised puppets. His performances are always full of enigmatic meanings, but Johan will have enough time in his life to remember and understand them.

Posted om May 26, 2016 – Ingmar Bergman’s “The Silence” (1963) – Silence of the Human Soul and Noise of Technology Versus Meaningful Communication: The Last Part of Bergman’s Religious Trilogy (“Through Glass Darkly” – 1960, “Winter Light” – 1961-1962, And “The Silence” – 1962) by Acting-Out Politics

Posted on June 9, 2016 – “The Silence” by Ingmar Bergman (1963) by Acting-Out Politics

David Mendelsohn is a rich man with international connections living in Switzerland prior and during WWII. He is a leader of secret anti-Nazi organization where his son Robert is one of the active members. Robert often travels to Germany with a fictitious passports. On one of his trips he by chance meets a young German woman – vital, naïve, emotional, irresistible, who was trying to make a pop-singing career. Their love was sudden, spontaneous and wholehearted. Robert’s trips were always dangerous and Willie was always worried about him. Once he was absent for much longer than usual, and Willie became really afraid for him. Eventually she decided to do something rather eccentric – they already discussed with Robert plans of their wedding, she knew the address of his family in Switzerland and she decided to go there to ask his father is everything ok. It’s this moment of meeting between Willie and David, very brief in fact, because the patriarch who obviously knew very well who Willie is, refused to discuss with her anything and even didn’t invite her into the house, is registered in the still above.

The composition of this shot is very impressive. David spoke to Willie from the top of the staircase, standing on the upper floor, while we see Willie down in her coat. On the left we see a solid column which at least visually is connected with a massive windows reinforced with thick bars. It is, as if, the world of Mendelsohn’s interior is “imprisoned” within the style of a strict social hierarchy – there is no way for the person below to talk on equal with the person above. The prisoners of social hierarchization is the definition of many who lived during these times when Nazi Germany was starting its global conquest, spreading the ugliness of inequality and arrogance of hierarchical tops.

Posted on July/25/2017 – Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s “Lili Marleen” (1981) – The Young People and Nazism: Private Love Archetype and Socio-political and Family Structures Manipulating and Even Parasitizing on It by Acting-Out Politics

Posted on 9/27/2017 – “Lili Marleen” by Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1981) by Acting-Out Politics

In this shot Ruiz shows how curiosity of Marcel-the boy for technological toys (here -visual media-technology), and creative dedications of Marcel-the writer learning about the war through private letters, help both of them to feel distant from and above the cruelty and tragedy of war-making. Voyeuristic posture of a quiet contemplation on war prevails in them over more existentially mature and active stance towards the issues of peace and war or life and violent death. Ruize emphasizes here the childishness of a voyeuristic (spectator) position of just looking at war that majority of philistines of various nations do share with one another.

While Marcel-the adult reads about war, Marcel-the child is able to look at war through the new then cinematic technology. In both cases to look at war through mediation of perceptional technology distorts the nature and the essence of war. It normalizes war regardless of the film-makers’ intentions. Media make war acceptable to our unconscious – by the very fact that it’s possible to see it without being physically hurt. Representation of war through media technology becomes on the level of its very form – propaganda of war.

In this shot we see how military and civilian targets being hit by bombs and how our distance from the military actions psychologically removes the viewers from the reality of the destruction on the ground. The physical comfort and psychological tranquility of Marcel-the writer over the cinematic panorama of war symbolizes the imperturbability of the human soul perceiving war through media technology making people too inert to protest against the war or to protest against it without due intensity and passion.

By juxtaposing documentary clips with fictional elements Ruiz indignantly criticizing the role of “cinema verite” reports as an adequate source of information about war-making. By having Marcel Proust represented at once at two different ages over the background of the screen of war newsreel, Raul Ruiz, as if, makes him, one of the greatest writers, an ally of a reportage on war, which while informing people simultaneously, as if, normalizing war-making as a “natural” and acceptable way of addressing international conflicts. Even the exceptionally intellectually sensitive people like Proust can be “bluntly blind” in certain areas (or outside certain areas).

Posted on Oct/7/’17 –   Time Regained (TR) by Raoul Ruiz (1999) by Acting-Out Politics

Posted Oct/1/’17 – Three Phases Of Human Relationship With Death – From “Time Regained” (1999) By Raul Ruiz (Film Based On Marcel Proust’s Novel) by Acting-Out Politics

Posted on 6/29/’12 – Raul Ruiz’s “Time Regained” (1999) – Five Marcel Prousts (The Psychology of Existential Understanding) by Acting-Out Politics

That’s how the mentally deranged Rokkuchan every morning looks at the passing cars. That’s how we the inhabitants of today’s world look at the technical toys we can buy and lay our hands on. In this shot we see Rokkuchan welcoming the new day of work and sense, and his dedication to his occupation of driving (the imaginary) streetcar is sincere and heroic.

That’s how scientists and engineers look at technical tools they are hired to create and use. See, how much disinterested curiosity and creative concentration is on Rokkuchan’s face? For him, as it is for high professionals too, to understand the heart of the mechanism is inseparable from independent contemplation about it. He loves technical tools not only practically, but also philosophically, as it’s supposed to be in serious technical science.

That’s how we every day serve our technological fetishes – these seductive and despotic automatons which distract us from our real needs and our moral potentials. This shot registered the solemn moment – when Rokkuchan is ready to start to drive what he thinks is his streetcar (himself impersonating the streetcar). His posture is that of a young soldier reporting his readiness for duty to the higher rank.

Among the numerous characters of the film Rokkuchan personifies the autistic nature of any blind belief and primitive and idolatrous fundamentalism of our fatalistic dedication to technology

Posted on May 26, 2012 – Akira Kurosawa’s “Dodes’kaden” (1970) As Anthropological “Map” of Human Psychological Condition (Kurosawa’s Contemplation on the Living Art of Archetypal Crystallization) by Acting-Out Politics

Posted on Sep/4/’14 – “Dodes’kaden” (1970) by Akira Kurosawa by Acting-Out Politics

In societies where fight for status, wealth and power is intense, rivalrous and competitive obsessiveness especially amongst men, can also intensify the sexual drive. In such societies men sometimes can behave, as if, they perceive the “whole world” not only as rival for land and wealth, but also for possession of sexual objects. In history wars were almost never acted out without rape and enslavement including sexual one.

When Oedipus was just about several years old his parents king Laius and queen Jocasta heard the prophesy that their son, when he’ll grow up, will kill his father and marry his mother (not too unusual idea, if to remember the bloody intra-family rivalry for the throne in our past). This rumor made Laius suspiciously alert towards his son and… predatorily sexually insatiable with his wife. The shot above belongs to the “realistic”, not the mythological part of the film, to the time when Italian fascism was polishing its boots in preparation for future victories. No symbolic prophecies were in the air, but diffused blind aggressiveness was worming up in the unconscious of Oedipus’ father Laius, the young military man. And it already was targeting the vulnerable, weak, the helpless, the dissimilar.

In the still above we see Jocasta at a time when Oedipus just started to walk, who cannot believe in the sudden intensity of her husband’s sexual need – in his desire to make love to her again and again. But the hint of Pasolini’s images is that Laius’ sexual tirelessness has nothing to do with love and even sex. By feeling aggression towards the innocent happiness of his son Laius, as if, wanted to overpower all the real and imaginary competitors, to impose himself on the world, to blindly grab, mark and enlarge the “territory” of his unconditional power. Yes, unleashed sexuality is like a loose cannon – it has quite a large motivational field, and quite an absurd spots and pits.

Look attentively at Jocasta’s facial expression – she is smiling at her husband’s eccentric behavior, as if, she is full of a motherly loving condescension towards a capricious child. But looking at her face longer we see a painful grimace impregnating her smile – she barely can endure the necessity to put up with Laos’ despotic need to assert his power through immediate and narcissistically solar sexual release.

Posted on Apr, 28 2012 – Pier Paolo Pasolini’s “Edipo Re”/”Oedipus Rex” (1967) – Knowledge without Explanation Is Directed Against Those Who Need Knowledge The Most by Acting-Out Politics

Posted on Aug, 6 2014 – “Oedipus Rex” (1967) By Pier Paolo Pasolini by Acting-Out Politics

Three phases of Marcel’s (as the Hero of Ruiz’s film) relationship with his own mortality (with his life vis-a-vie his death) is metaphorized through the multifaceted image of the ocean “with its plenitude and fertility and its swallowing emptiness”, the ocean “from which we came and to which we’ll return”.

Three ages of Marcel as the main character of the film are depicted in this still. Faraway, near the waters of the ocean we see the tiny figure of Marcel-the boy running along the coastal waves. We see Marcel of the mature years – Marcel-the writer, near the low and right margins of the still, the margin which, as if, cutting his head (his intelligence) from his body with the indifference of death. We learn to live with this indifference while being (mostly unconsciously) obsessed with our death. Finally, in the very center of the still we see Marcel right before his death – on his very way to the ocean, from which he and all of us came to the world as our phylogenetic ancestors.

As we see, Marcel the writer is represented as the world-observing head – as a personification of extraordinary intellectual sublimation. We see him having as an observer a vantage point – he contemplatively presides over his childhood (the figure of Marcel-the boy) and over his future death (Marcel moving to his close death). It is, as if, Marcel-the head is living together with his past (carrying his childhood inside itself) and with his future (in his very mortality).

While Ruiz shows Marcel-on his last steps only through his head-and-torso, only Marcel-the boy running away from the waves and pursuing them is shown with complete body, as death, probably prefers to take us back as she has released us into the world through her first miraculous trick – our birth.

Posted on Oct/7/’17 – Time Regained (TR) by Raoul Ruiz (1999) by Acting-Out Politics

Posted Oct/4/’17 – Marcel-the Writer And Marcel-the Boy During WWI – From Raul Ruiz’s “Time Regained” (1999) by Acting-Out Politics

Posted on 6/29/’12 – Raul Ruiz’s “Time Regained” (1999) – Five Marcel Prousts (The Psychology of Existential Understanding) by Acting-Out Politics

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