Acting-Out Politics

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


Full of crushing guilt and self-condemnations she decided to visit him in the slum. May be, Ocho (Tomoko Naraoka) believed that to beg her husband, Hei (Hiroshi Akutagawa) to forgive her would start to heal the relationship between them. May be, she wanted to try to clear her own soul after what’s happened. May be, the power of her love for Hei, which was always there in spite of her ghastly mistake, can be able to return him back to life.


Every day Ocho tried hard to share Hei’s life – this time – in the slum – to get him back to a normal life, where they were so happy for many years.


Ocho thought that her sincere and frank confession will reach her husband’s heart, but weeks followed one another and nothing happened. Hei didn’t want even to notice her and never spoke even one word. Here, we see that Ocho is, as if, asking for our, viewers’ compassion in a situation of being refused – not already in a context of love, but as a human being.


But it looks like that the condition of Hei has nothing to do with Ocho anymore. Life, as her husband, perhaps understands it now – is allowed the betrayal of love to take place – not just betrayal – the murder of love. He is outside of this life. No, his soul is dead, he is spiritually dead – a living body without a soul.


In his gaze – the gaze of a person who was alive some time ago – is that of death, not already the betrayal of his love by a woman who was his wife. Now, he sees only one thing – life without soul, life without life.


Ocho feels that the consequences of her moments of weakness are far away from what she did, and she doesn’t know what to do now.


Ocho understands that the point here is already not her betrayal – she redeemed it by her confession to her husband, by her humility and her repentance. And now it is already not between her and him. Now it is after their life. Now it is about death, refutation of life on part of life.

************

Sure, personal betrayal, especially that of such a holistic feeling as love is monadic and as such is limited by the personal relationship. But the betrayal of human holistic identity leads people today to a condition of being and living without souls, and not only by the reason of betrayal of personal love, but of their own humanity by their conformist behaviors and corrupted and vain choices. The point here is not that their factual deeds may or may not be forgiven (which is rather self-centrist perspective), but it’s a matter of irresponsibility of our blind consumerist greed and addiction to entertainment which are changing not only us, but the world – for example, by destroying the condition of the precious natural environment for human, animal and flora’s life, the precious and fragile gift of life.

This segment of Kurosawa’s incredible “Dodesukaden” provides just one among many examples of humankind’s tragic decline. There’re fewer and fewer people like Kurosawa’s Ocho, a woman of rare dignity whose spiritual ability to transcend her own obsessions makes her incomparably superior in comparison with today’s “emancipated” females competing with males for high-salaried jobs and shining careers.

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

Is It Enough For Human Beings Just To Serve Life? Couldn’t It Happen That Just To Serve Everyday Life And Living People Will Eventually Harm Them?


When in the morning children run out to school, as usual, the father starts his working day of making brushes. The father is a craftsman – he needs to provide for his large family – a wife and a handful of children. The wife for most of the time is pregnant. And she hates when her husband is working. Today again his stereotypical movements made her impatient and irritated, until she got tired and again deserted from home for a stroll outside.


Outside their hovel she meets not so much people as butterflies, dragonflies and bees who usually accumulating around the wife of our artisan who is whole-headedly dedicated to his work and their children. By every day waiting for her appearance, the insects even gradually learned how to obtain human form to please her.


The wife’s (of the Buddha-looking craftsman) strolls became the event of the slums. She moved like a model in front of public. She simultaneously excited and satisfied the insects and the bystanders, and she, as if indifferently enjoyed the attention of the both amid the sun and breeze.


The woman and insects’ friendly familiarity with each other, their cheerful crudeness bring smiles to the faces of the onlookers who felt waves of optimism and belief in the future. The poor and marginal also want to enjoy life as much as possible… somehow.


But the most amazing characters of this segment of Kurosawa’s “Dodeskaden” is the husband of the woman attracted to the bees, dragonflies and butterflies of human male gender. He really loved to care about his wife’s children. His readiness to live, to enjoy not only living, but caring about what lives and to share life’s softness and sensitivity makes him a kind of a hero, a kind of a Buddha character, keeper of the hearth.


At the school and yards children of our couple were hearing gossip that they’re not the children of their kind and caring father and that each of them are from another, different fathers. This painful rumors and the laughter usually accompanying it made the kids we see here, insulted and humiliated. They felt themselves worse and inferior in comparison with other – normal children. They couldn’t resist to complain about what’s happened to their only father they had.


Our hero of domestic wisdom invented a semantic trick – probably, the only chance in this situation to pacify children of their age by trying to close their emotional wound and start to heal it. He suggested to them that it’s impossible to make people not to talk about what they want to talk about and that fatherhood in this situation is, practically the matter of children’s belief in who their father is. He explained to his kids that their father is the one about whom they believe that he is their father. So, the issue can be resolved only through – whom they believe – him, who knows that he is their father, or other people who are saying whatever they like. Children were saved by their father’s explanation. Of course, they agreed to believe in father’s love and in having a loving father and being happier than their peers or evil adults inventing dirty stories.

___________

This type of optimistic, hopeful and joyful resolution of people’s doubts, uncertainties and fears is very resourceful and humane. People need hope, because life is so controversial and can be so tormenting, if not our human ability to put our interest in truth aside only to continue to live. The poor and oppressed people or those who are corrupted by the dream about possessing the wells and walls of wealth often never even form the need to be interested in truth. These people don’t have the chance to reach maturity. They stay whole life as kids greedy for self-assertion. Lack of education and excess of superstitions and prejudices are their loyal friends. Even in the so called democracies people can vote for leaders who are super-competent in imitating people’s hopes with their propaganda slogans precluding people’s ability to realize their dreams in real life.

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

Soul Of The Interior As Interior Of Human Soul


Henri Matisse, “Interior with Violin” (1918)

In comparison with other Matisse’s paintings of the interiors (he made more than many) his “Interior with Violin” unexpectedly has a “cargo” quality. The interior looks as a corner of the interior where chaos is intermixed casually with neglect and disorder of cluttered colors and forms. It’s not that the room can be abandoned, but it rather looks neglected because the painter, as if, transformed it into a trajectory of looking, into something like a dressing room for a casual gaze. But on the other side, this section of an interior looking not “warmed” by the human presence, is elevated by the artist into a place for the violin case, and this, may be, because a violin is capable of expressing tribulations of the human soul.

The violin has already awakened – already put aside its densely blew blanket to meet the advancing sea. Soon the violin will make the other half of the shudders opened, the room will be transformed and will look closer to Matisse’s other interiors. The sound of violin: human contemplation in music – a vital suffering of the human soul feeling pain because its sensitivity is pressed by the very existence of the world, will awaken the semi-room of Matisse’s “Interior with Violin” into a full-fledged interior where the world is coming to itself – to the exuberance of its essence.

Sea, sky and light will enter the interior and will be tamed by the violin’s song. The areas of darkness in the room will not completely disappear but will join in the company of the joyful noise of nature with notes of quiet concentration and elegiac analysis of the spirit of life. The violin will become a violinist and will give its hand and voice to the beach, the ebb and clouds as a guarantee of human presence in the world.


Henri Matisse, “La Lecon de piano, Henriette et ses freres”, 1923

The interior in “La Lecon de piano…” is full of harmonious light, and the piano is reciting poems. This interior is very different from the one in the previous Matisse’s painting which wasn’t ready to correspond to the external world as its full blown opposite because it wasn’t “turned on”, like emotionally unawaken human soul in front of the still shuttered out life outside. In “Piano Lesson/La lecon de piano” the interior is in full power of life to be the interior of the outside world – its soul, its organ of contemplation.

If this interior could be more realistic than it is – it would be an extension-with modification of the external world, not its opposition inside collaboration. Then, like comfortable and “overfilled with design” interiors of prosperous private houses today, it would be places of continuation or a variant of entrepreneurial spirit or temporary relaxation intended to prepare humans for the next round of social activities. The design and the psychological atmosphere of Matisse’s interiors and especially in “La Lecon de piano” is so stylized and expressively static and transcends the reality of everyday living, that the viewers have reasons to feel that they have a deal here with a decisive alternative to the norms of real life, which at the same time is somehow congruent with it. It’s like typical interiors, but, as if, two-dimensional, oriented on something else and more beautiful (but not in applied sense – ready to be consumed, but in absolute sense – let’s say, like a human soul in comparison with socio-morphic actions, like human autonomy to human heteronomy or human freedom in relation to necessities of life.

The faces of all three personages are intentionally generalized – the facial expressions are muffled – there are no traces of emotions on the faces. The emotional ties between the personages aren’t emphasized. One of the brothers stands close to Henriette and is interested in her piano work and, perhaps, in her, while the second brother is a bit demonstratively isolating himself from the “couple”: he, may be, sulking at their closeness and, as if, encircling himself with the symbolic aura of his chair and book (with the cover which is by its color and form reminds us a popular universal representation of the heart). The positions of the characters refer to the innocent incestuous triangle. Brothers’ identical shirt-robes with white-black stripes are visual echoes of the piano keyboard – and this emphasizes that relationships between the brothers and sister and between the brothers are not just intra-family ones but emotionally influenced by the presence of art. Composition of the painting is very static – there are no currents of vitality flowing between the characters. Matisse’s personages are not people, but internal objects. In his interiors there is a spirit of internal expressiveness, without exteriorization, projection or appeal. By contrast, the realistic interiors are full of self-advertising designs. They refer not to an alternative to external life, extrovert orientation and recommended sociability. That’s why the interiors of numerous epigones of Matisse look so pompous and self-asserting, imposing and pride-irradiating – the furniture, as if, invites the viewers to try it, and the painted humans look like potential buyers. Matisse’s interiors, on the other hand are goals in itself. All the difference between art and mass art and between culture and mass culture is here!

Henriette and both her brothers are not realistic characters – they’re internal, psychological objects – figures imagined by the artist and represented as free from being consumed by the viewers through identification. To consume the personages of art means to transform it into a part of consumer’s personality – it’s a totalitarian psychological operation. This operation by which mass-cultural art survives on money paid by the consumers in exchange for the pleasure of appropriating/consuming the personage-model, whom they swallow, digest and assimilate into themselves is the basic mechanism of antidemocratic psychology.

Matisse’s “Interior with Violin” and “Henriette and her brothers” is like pure otherness inside today’s world. It’s like spiritual emanation. Our choice when we are in front of Matisse’s interior is not to appropriate its content and form, but to keep it free from colonization through perception, to keep its internal world not consumed – to be in communication with it as with a spiritual substance which is free from us as we are from it, free, and for this reason respected by ourselves and, may be, loved by Matisse’s models. Epigones of serious artist is much more perverted than the thieves of his works of art.

A Universal Cast Of Financial Elites Including People With Genocidal Psyche

Genocidal gene is a metaphor of the motivation – in those decision and policy-makers who wholeheartedly rely on military and financial power to manipulate and dominate those who are under them in the social hierarchy and whom they suspect in carrying desire to subdue and destroy them – the elite. These privileged minorities symbiotically tied to weapons (macro-used in war and war-like operations) and to money-profit, are politically dedicated to pauperize the masses of populations and to aggrandize themselves to the point that the social and financial inequality in their countries will reach the proportion of a gap between heaven and earth.

The people impregnated or touched by genocidal intentionality advertise themselves as patriots, in reality are rather flag-riots or jingoists fighting for the purity and absolute might of their elitist groups. But even as jingoists our genocidists are fake – they perceive “their country” as a military fort for promoting and defending their wealth and influence – a high-tech wall to protect their interests from the plebs. The most of these people, some of which are educated in humanistic sciences only formally (without giving to liberal arts their hearts), are culturally illiterate or near illiterate – have an “exceptionalist” self-image. Of course, their “super-humanity” is without any refinement and civility, with rude and narcissistically self-privileged right to discriminate and humiliate other people – to “fire” them from the pursuit of happiness.

Genocidal logic and way of behavior are almost always masked by juicy, albeit routine political propaganda representing people with genocidal perversion of sensibility as carriers of love for human beings and dedication to humanity, and this is enough for the desperate poor who are generally prone to believe the rich with powerful social positions who talk as simple as pimple could do and who’re confidently intolerant of human dissimilarity. Many among poor people vote for the wealthy and powerful because they learned from political propaganda to dream about power and wealth (so, they – the pauperized poor, identify with possessors of power and wealth and verbally spit at the democratically educated as “arrogant” snobs “belonging to the past”. And they are prone to worship military power based on technical science and technological might. Today, when power and wealth reached almost monarchic power these poor dreamers of becoming powerful and rich hope of becoming the bodyguards of the wealthy and jailers of democrats.

According to our knights of money power with their super-automatic weapons – there is not enough soil on earth for so many hungry stomachs and earthly atmosphere is too limited for greedy human lungs. Specialists in history and anthropology inform the wealthy decision-makers that in the previous centuries people were killed in wars in much larger quantity than today (in comparison with the size of general human population). And this in spite of the advanced murderous potentials of modern weapons. So, people with genocidal predisposition began to think that the reason for this reduction of war time extermination already in the 20th century is due to the “rotten democratic ideology transforming people into a kind of fetish and human society into to a kind of farm without the farm’s goal of making profit”. “If life is not translated into profit it is meaningless, it is anti-life or ant-life”. “We don’t need billions of mouths and shit-holes suffocating the whole planet.”

In search of an effective way of “saving the planet” our genocidists try to use the economy as a weapon of getting rid of the “excess of people”. They have reinvented austerity and hired specialists to elaborate the economic justification for austerity policies. They’re trying to destroy not only the Social Security and SSI, but also Medicare and Medicaid and the safety net programs for helping the needy children, elderly and chronically sick. And they try to use private guns to seduce the people to worship automatic weapons as if it is power and wealth incarnated. Through seductive propaganda slogans they weaponized simple people who lost prosperity, existential confidence and self-respect and live by fear – to shoot and kill one another for the sake of cathartic satisfaction in which the combination of despair and megalomania serve as a last resort to feel themselves as somebodies. It’s, as if, the perfect triumphant weapons will make decisions instead of their owners.

The people with genocidal unconscious managed to combine the teenagers with automatic assault weapons. Children always had tendency to clash and fight with one another. Their decision-making is often ahead of their ability to check their impulses with self-critical thinking. The availability of high-tech guns can transform a teenager into effective unconscious agent of genocidal agenda. Without understanding that they’re realizing somebody’s else’s dreams and plans in the very moment they put their fingers on the weapon and believe that shooting other kids they’re really follow their emotions and react on verbal insults or emotional traumas, they are the best civil army the genocidal maniacs could ever dream about.

Recently it’s especially fashionable to interpret motivations of the decision-making elites by reducing their interests to a purely economic ones (triggered by profit-only-profit dreams and desires). Of course, the need to be wealthier than the wealthy is a necessary part of the genocidal phenomenon – the richer a person is, the wider and thicker the space of his possessions that demands protection. With wealth comes the enlarging of personal identity and personality and with it – the poisonous fear of losing what the envious hate of the “losers” from all side wants to appropriate.

Without adequate medical care the population of sick and the elderly people will be reasonably quickly reduced, and so the future populations in general through school-, store- and pop-music concert halls mass-shootings. Cutting back or doing away with food stamps can also serve those with genocidal complex. And, finally, there exists the old and reliable instrument of getting rid from the excess of population which is “oversaturating planetary resources”. This tool is wars, especially today, with full availability of super-weapons of mass destruction. People with genocidal predisposition managed to reduce their own humanity into one function – power/money making, and they impose on people the despair which is very potent destroyer not only of the human lives but of the very structure of human civilization.

The Carriers of Natural Dignity, Master Of Life, Overstressed and Feverish Fighters for Power and Wealth, and Those Who Survive on The Master’s Crumbs

For those of us who came to Chicago from Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama… we found ourselves confronted by the hard realities of a social system in many ways more resistant to change than the rural South.
Martin Luther King


Scene of double revenge

——–

Why Whity and Hanna didn’t move to Industrial North for a better and a more just life, while many people in the South did?

———

Katherine (Ben Nicholson’s new wife about Davy, Ben’s mentally deficient son) – We should have him put to sleep. There’re so many ways today. Injections… just a prickle of a needle… He won’t feel a thing… and fall asleep… forever.
Ben – He is also a Nicholson.

Ben – Whity made a number of suggestions, Katherine. (Ben is looking at his elder son, Frank, as if, encouraging him to react on what he just said)
Frank – blacks should be given more rights. Then they won’t be up to so much mischief.
Katherine – I think so too. We need the blacks to do the work. And if there’re troubles, it wouldn’t be good for the work, I mean, would it?
Frank – I’ve acquainted myself with ideas like that, too.
Ben – I shall implement some of these ideas.

———

The American Westerns (AWs) Fassbinder refers to and transcends in his “Whity”, try to avoid the issue of “really wealthy” land owners (comparable to Ben Nicholson) and how they are supported behind the scene by Federal and State authorities and feared by the (local) Sheriffs. AWs concentrate instead on petti land owners and the good and especially the rogue poor (louts, cheaters, tricksters, sneaks, thieves and murderers). These last ones and fighting them are the very flesh of (entertaining) Western which never addresses the disagreement of the positive characters with highest strata of power. But Fassbinder is not interested in detective stories built on horses and guns and spectacular shooting and falling dawn. For him crime is a structural phenomenon connected with the topic of “dynamic” social hierarchy in a process of establishing itself. The AWs’ anarchic fighters for wealth are not only carriers of hate for their rivals and envy for more successful than they themselves – they commit most of the crimes. But Fassbinder’s film is a Western which is not about the “wild West”, it’s rather about the “guns-based entrepreneurial” West, and the director depicts its human nucleus, face and soul.

The Carriers of natural dignity


Marpessa is Whity’s mother and a servant in Ben Nicholson’s (who is Whity’s father) household. She learned to like her job in master’s mansion, but sometimes she cannot completely hide her resentment for this strange family she works for. Here we see, how Marpessa looks at her son with a disapproving and even reproachful gaze – she thinks that Whity tries too hard to please the masters.


Marpessa’s knife is not sharp enough for doing the kitchen work. It’s torture to have to cut a fish with such a knife, but her bosses don’t want her to have sharp knife, and her own son doesn’t necessarily agree, but silently took it to himself.


Whity again and again tries to explain to his mother that he likes to work qualitatively – to make the masters happy. He doesn’t share her negative energy towards them. He wants them to really need him and his mother. He wants to be for them a perfect, the best possible butler. He wants them to be in love with the food which Marpessa prepares and he serves. In other words he wants that the food could dance and sing for whom it was prepared and radiate the joy of life. He is completely disinterested and disarmingly idealistic.

The universal masters of the local universes


Here he is – an owner, a commander of moods, a man with power, creator of wealth, a person able to make his sons, servants and workers happy by his smile or miserable by his right to punish them for “laziness”, “sloppiness” and “attitudes”.


Solemnity of power (masterful façade of authority or authoritative façade of masterfulness of being masters)


Ben is punishing his mentally backward son for peeping-tom-ing sexual situation between his father and his stepmother. The reason the father became so furious at Davy is that he, the master, had a problem with having an erection and was trying in vain to reignite a spark – it’s in this very moment he was seen by Davy’s “shameless eyes”. Yes, indeed – power dressed in wealth and wealth dressed in power cannot look not representatively. Power/wealth’s fragility should not be noticed by vain curiosity, or people will not respect it, and then even God doesn’t know what can happen.


Whity knows how to satisfy his father-master’s anger when you are being punished by him – to scream as loud as you can. Authoritarians like theatrics because it has a social nature – for the victim to feel pain and shame should not be enough – the victim has to loudly communicate his misery – only then power and everybody around will know that it is recognized as an overwhelming power and respected. Here Whity is being whipped instead of Davy – he volunteered to save his retarded half-brother from the orgy of pain inflicted on him by his father’s fury for losing his genital’s proud face.

The feverishly overstressed fighters for power and wealth


What looks like Katherine’s (Katrin Schaake) touching care for Whity who was whipped by Ben, in reality is a calculated doubly manipulative move on her part. At first, she is not for the first time flirting with Whity seducing him to become her lover, but secondly she wants him to kill her husband – a sort of her obsession. Does she really want her husband killed? Well, yes and no, when “yes” is not denied by “no”, but enriched by it. Her hinted promise to Whity at this point is to marry him after his father’s disappearance from the ranks and to become the owner of Ben’s estate. But it’s quite possible that Katherine doesn’t necessarily want her husband dead. You see, when we are dealing with over-calculating minds it’s necessary to differentiate between a single goal proposal (“I want somebody dead, period”) and an open ended one (dependent on circumstances which can change). But also Katherine may be more interested not in achieving a certain goal but in seeing Whity’s very readiness to kill Ben just because she desperately wants him to get the desire to do it for the sake of her. It is possible that at a certain circumstances she could be willing simultaneously keep Ben (as a husband) and Whity as her lover. Oh, power has its own imaginary logic, like belief. Katherine wants Whity to serve her not only physically but emotionally. Power, like belief, demands from its servant not only service, but sincere excess of fervor to serve, only then it can be really satisfied. In the power’s eyes, sometimes it is even preferable for the hired one to fail, but to be unconditionally dedicated to pleasing the master. That’s how “complicated” the psychology of power-wealth is – it is something like an “expanded-distended” and “dilated-tortured colon”.


Amorous butterfly-ing around Whity doesn’t bring the results Katherine has expected. Whity obviously didn’t become enslaved. It means, that the time came to humiliate him – to show him who he in reality is – “a black cardboard (covering empty bodily)”. Catherine mobilized Ben’s elder son Frank to participate in a séance of showing Whity the truth – that he doesn’t deserve the attention of a “real lady”. His double-refusal of Catherine – to sleep with her and to kill her husband, should, according to her, return him back to his place.


Frank has similar request-order for Whity – to kill his father. Again, it‘s, probably, is not completely the case that he really wanted his father dead, but for him even to think that his father can be killed is such a self-consuming pleasure that Frank can’t resist the urge to verbalize it with the black servant again and again – who knows? – May be, Whity will do it – what a happy idea! This is typical of power in action – it’s ready for various satisfactions – through reality and through imaginary need, and it’s difficult to know exactly at which moment what need is more important – more real or more imaginary. For example, in war pragmatic motivations for using destructive force of maximal power can be weaker than the imaginary side of it. And, of course, human mind is good at inventing, pragmatic justification as a cover for using overwhelming destructive might. History provides ample examples of such magically imaginary/ cognitive equilibristic.


What does Frank (Ulli Lommel) really want from his half-brother Whity – to be willing to kill their father or to be seduced by Frank’s crude and cheaply theatrical homosexual proposal? Or, does he think that through homosexual seduction Whity will be ready even to kill because of Frank’s sexual irresistibility? The baseness of this calculation-manipulation is not surprising – Fassbinder’s film is not about “Spaghetti Western” nor about “Kraut Western”, but about a corny “many-money and my gun-you are gone Western”.


Frank as Katherine before him, both failed with Whity as sexual seducers with obscene business proposal to kill.

Whity’s awkward attempt to be like a white rich gentlemen


Whity never paid Hanna for sex. They loved one another. He was a butler – a servant. She was a prostitute and singer in a saloon. But Hanna had a dream to leave the country life – she was dreaming to go to Chicago. She knew that there she’ll make much more money, and she wanted to go there with Whity who used to his job and even enjoyed serving his family. He, somehow felt, that he shares with his relatives their common belonging to human race. Hanna becomes impatient with him. She couldn’t understand why he is so fixated on his family where he was mistreated and exploited. One time she demonstratively refused to sleep with him. And he, being confused, impulsively, without thinking, offered her money.

Fassbinder’s camera accentuated what for a black man in a white society in US during the last part of the 19th century meant to offer money to a white prostitute. This meant that a black man has money to spend in order to possess what he wants to possess, and this, in its turn, meant that he is already, as if not completely black. Money is not a perfect, but still a whitish makeup. To register Whity in this important for his whole life situation Fassbinder uses special shot which soon became famous – when the camera moves around the character in full circle, as if, making a circle in his honor. This use of camera is extremely ironic, even satiric. Did Whity feel great? Of course, not. But white wealthy people feel proud when they demonstrate their wealth, and it’s this instant of megalomaniacal fever of self-glorying is symbolized by the shot around the person. Whity is an exceptional human being uninterested in playing the role of a wealthy and powerful. He preferred to have a modest job, and he wanted to do his work well.


Let’s follow Fassbinder’s long shot around Whity humorously targeted by the camera as if he is a wealthy and a powerful person – able to buy land and property, love and sex, and many other goodies which can make the majority of the people happy.


This shot around the character, as if it is camera-world dancing around the rich and powerful with servility, as simple people around bill-mills (billionaire-millionaires), Fassbinder used in his other films to emphasize the megalomaniacal nature of the orientation on domination. It emphasizes that circled person, as if, instantly loses his humanity, becomes emptied of human emotions, as if, playing statue. Whity, as if, finds himself in the center, becomes as if proudly mute. He becomes, as if, the magnifying focus of social admiration. He’ll never again will repeat this game of centrality in his life.


In the end of camera circling suspension of narration through injection of meaning Hanna (Hanna Shygulla) didn’t want Whity’s money and angrily demanded from him to leave her room. She was insulted, but her love and her intention to persuade Whity to go together to Chicago didn’t become weaker.

Those who live on masters’ crumbs


It happens quite often that sincere love comes together with intense calculation – how to get the person who is loved to do what the lover wants. And Hanna who is able to love disinterestedly, simultaneously started to train her calculating ability in order to successfully manipulate the reality to achieve what she wants in life. She was able to get a very solid sum of money by lying as a witness. And, fighting for Whity she gave all of this money to him with the hope that he will eventually agree to leave the place of agrarian limitations for the sake of a future for two human flowers in the middle of Chicago‘s urbanistic conglomerations.


Whity was hesitating whether to go or not to the North with Hanna, and he took money, though very soon lost all of them in a card games with revolting character played by Fassbinder himself (here, he is in the center, smiling/smirking to his unexpected luck). It was the guy, who not long ago has beaten Whity up and out of the saloon, but who, confronted with Whity’s (Hanna’s) money, instantly became a friend, and in five-ten minutes almost all the money were in his pocket. Pay attention to the fact, that Hanna noticed he end of her money, but, amazingly she forgave and never reproached Whity.

Annunciation of the will


For Ben Nicholson the “sacred” ritual of proclaiming his will was just a strategic maneuver – a business calculation, not more than a manipulative exercise – a performance based on lie. But it’s the ritual which was for him of a decisive importance.


Ben invents that he is terminally ill in order to revenge his wife for not being “completely dedicated to him” (he provoked and trapped her in a casual and superficial sexual affair with a person hired by him).


The characters listening to Ben’s announcement of his will are intentionally kept separated by Fassbinder with long distances (which, unfortunately, reduced by the stills we see here). The traveling camera’s horizontal movements emphasize the exaggerated distances between the characters as signs of their alienation from one another, but also in the same time as signs of them being morbidly tied to each other by their symbiotic rivalry.


Especially, distant and closely tied together are Ben’s wife Katherine and his eldest son Frank who besides their mutual hate for the father/husband, hate one another.


Whity is absolutely alien to hateful mutuality of those who are after Ben’s money and don’t want to share any part of the will, who want it all for their own private gain. Whity, on his part is worried for his mother and for his half-brother – Ben’s retarded son.


The patriarch of wealth (Ron Randell) is solemnly finishing his farcical statement letting him to feel full triumph over his wife and to laugh at her in his soul.

The grief and the wisdom of autistic condition


The life of Ben’s mentally underdeveloped younger son gives Whity the feeling that he is in a way similar to Davy. Hanna told him about Ben’s trick with his will and the money he paid her for helping him to get away with killing. Whity felt himself as an incorrigible idiot – deserves punishment for being a sample simpleton.


Davy (Harry Baer) who cannot talk, is able to observe life and think about what he observes. His thinking is a-verbal – it’s thinking by knots of his feelings, without traces of words. But this feeling-thinking includes some essential information about the external world. Looking at the shot above you cannot believe that Davy is close to imbecility. Sometimes Davy looks as an autistic person with intelligent existential sensitivity.


Davy’s mute and shy appeal made Whity feel tragically similar to his half-brother – both were marked by being incurable outsiders. He understands that Davy from his babyhood was ignored by his mother disgusted by his mental defect, and by his father whose megalomania protected him from an inferiority complex of having an inferior son. Whity understands that Davy for whole his life has lived without even being kissed by anyone in his family.


Whity gave Davy a friendly and brotherly care


Their closeness started with Whity teaching Davy how to care for and groom the horses, meticulously and tenderly, and ended with showing him what he deserved from childhood and never got before.

Culmination


Whity (his real name is Samuel King) made a tormenting but inevitable decision – to kill his family except his mother. He doesn’t have an inspiration of boiling righteousness, like Clint Eastwood’s Westerns heroes, for example. Whity’s punishing shots are for him rather prosaic necessity. Hanna’s information about his father and his own impressions from Katherine or Frank transformed his heart which, as if, fell down from his chest never to climb up again. Davy was with his step-brother to the end.


“Two shots for daddy”


One bullet for his father’s predatory wife, and one for his stepbrother Frank

The way out down


Hanna and Whity end in California’s Death Valley, like two flowers whose destiny is to die immediately after flowering. What Whity and Hanna came to is not triumph of life, but triumph of love instead life, maybe it’s the best they could do in their circumstances. Hanna always underestimated Whity. How unjust she was when she said to him while ago – “I don’t understand you. You don’t want to be free. You like it, when they beat you. You swine. Servile and dependent. You don’t deserve any better.” Of course, in this moment Hanna wanted to insult him. She didn’t understand him. But he didn’t overestimate Hanna. Without her he could have never transform so radically. Live long together by loving each other, Hanna and Whity!


Whity (Gunther Kaufmann) was punishing himself for punishing his family. He was punishing Hanna for lying about his father’s crime for the sake of getting reward from Ben Nicholson (Ron Randell). Whity felt that it’s bad for both of them – Hanna and himself, to go to the North, that life in the South and in the North can only be too similar – in an essential, moral sense. Whity felt a little bit like Davy could without words if he were in Whity’s place – that the difference between life in the South and life in the North is a question of small, purely superficial dissimilarities. May be, Whity believed that South could morally invade the North in the 21st century. We, Americans today, cannot be sure that he was wrong.

Holistic morality (an attempt at apology of Whity’s worldview)

Close to the end of the film Whity changed his whole perception of the world where before he was a small screw trying hard not to be out of tune with the macro-mechanism of existing life. Now, he became outside of the common existential logic, according to which people dream to be on top of other people or at least ahead of and above them. He understood that moral criminality of vicious intentions coloring human actions is the principle of this life where real god is power over others and wealth is a leverage to supersede them. How would you feel, if your step-mother is trying to seduce you and asking you to kill your own father who happens to be her husband, or when your step-brother, again, tries to seduce you and, again, commanding you to kill your and his father? Many would say, that this is extremes of immorality. But what about, when people enjoy injustice when it’s for other people because they hate them more feverishly than before?

What about when people are happy to join the military because in the depths of their souls they will be happy to kill those who are defined by their leaders as enemies, including civilians, and are ready to be killed on the far away planetary spots although nobody is trying to invade and occupy their country? Is it really less immoral than the desire to kill your father or your wife or husband? Is to be a slave worse in principle than to be a wage slave? How with feelings like this Whity (Gunther Kaufmann) could be as naïve and morally indifferent as Hanna (Hanna Shygulla) whom he sincerely loves, who looks at life only from one position of her personal happiness, not from the perspective of how decent, noble and moral is the people’s treatment of one another?

Whity wanted to be a good and decent person – live modestly, respect others and work honestly and productively. But when he learned about how disgusting his father is and how immoral Whity’s relatives are he understood that to care about his own personal success in a society of indifference, immorality and hate is nothing other than blindness and self-castration – an existential absurd – to dance the dance of your private happiness on the island of egoism, alienation and symbiotic pseudo-unity amidst the ocean of hate towards rivals. Whity is a kind of a philosopher – he cannot live if he cannot believe anymore in the society he lives in. For him it’s like to breath without air of life, to inhale emptiness.

It’s at this point of his philosophical feelings Whity started to think about the Californian Death Valley instead of Chicago – city of buildings, philistines, petti crimes and murders, and tireless and feverish money-making and social success-squeezing by any price. Sometimes death seems to him a savior from life, not because his life was physically unbearable, it wasn’t the case with him, but because it was unbearable morally. Whity is not only a kind of a philosopher, but also a kind of an aesthete – for him moral decency is something which he perceived as beautiful, sublime and natural. Is he a “beautiful soul” from Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, asserting himself by emphasizing in front of himself his moral superiority over the world and living by this “moral megalomania”, or is he especially sensitive exactly towards the predicaments of others who suffer from abuse by their neighbors, and because of these very abusers who are themselves tormented by their sins and vices in the very moment they enjoy following them? How could such people continue to live while transforming themselves into robots of moral crimes? What kind of a society can be made of these successful criminal robots?

But even if a person like Whity thinks that there is no way out of a regrettable world – out of its nasty aspects, yet some openings are… possible, even if temporary, even ephemerally, without guaranteed results, because human mind doesn’t know everything. It’s necessary to be more than your mind, even if this more is not really more than your mind, but just something else, something other. Is it necessary to be able to live in real world even when you’re disgusted by it, even when it means to be sullied by it, which is unavoidable and almost always the case? Is it really necessary to always choose the world? Does existence have a right to be irresistible only because it’s existence?

We’re moving to the end of amazing psychological mutation in the life of son of a black servant mother and the wealthy landowner in California at the end of 19th century, depicted in Fassbinder’s parody on the Western as a part of American mass-culture. This Fassbinder’s parody at the same time is Western’s sublimation and resurrection, its new life beyond itself.

Whity wanted to go with Hanna to the North, but if he could he would feel that he is betraying the holistic morality of his life. His relatives including his father wanted to use him against each other with hope that he because of love for them will participate in their schemes. He refused and when he really understood how ugly they are in their immorality he felt that he must punish them, but pay for it with his own life, because this punishment includes a crime, and in this sense it makes him similar to them. But Whity didn’t want to be similar with them. When he realized that human civilization as it is uses evil to punish evil – for example, in trying to be stronger in destruction during the war than the enemy, or teaching people how to be ahead of one’s rivals in wealth-appropriating, he felt that he cannot be part of this civilization because it’s a form of barbarism. Whity has refused to accept not just the evil, but the very alliance between good and evil – when good uses evil because it believes that it is necessary to keep itself stronger and crueler than the enemies.

Whity understood that North is as poisoned with immorality of its orientation on inequality and injustice as the “South”. His intuition told him, that the spirit of slavery, probably will resurrect in future with anti-equality agenda, obsession with power of wealth and recklessness and cruelty of this power with austerity measures for American population.

We, Whity’s not born children see today what is happening in his country. And we feel, that, may be, he was right to overwrite his and Hanna’s hopes and not to go to the North and instead end their love in the California desert. He knew his American father, he remembered his father’s next generation – his half-brothers, and he decided to act according to what he knew although he also knew that any knowledge is limited. Whity’s experience is not unfinishable because of his untimely death, it’s unfinished.

Of course, nothing exceptional or glamorous about Stalin complex – it’s rather a typical psychological attribute of human race throughout human history. In relation to monarchy and passions of monarchists it is like roots of a tree to the tree. This complex consists of quite ordinary ingredients of human nature – ordinary but sharpened to extraordinary degree by the efforts of too ordinary people.

The psychological soil of Uncle Joe’s complex is an innocent (in its immanence and widespread-ness) megalomania. This naive megalomania as a part of a person’s motivations acts through him – megalomaniacal person is not aware of his motivations. Megalomania is inseparable from self-centeredness of the self-aggrandized person who takes his worldview and opinions as objectively applicable and the ultimate example of “the best possible judgment” on any issue. Self-aggrandizement as a part of Joe Stalin’s complex implies not just personal but a collective dream of presiding over planetary world by those who are naturally smarter, better and righter than everyone else in the world. It’s not surprising that such a predisposition is usually combined with “exceptional and superior” people’s alert suspiciousness twinned with vengefulness towards everybody who could disagree with a megalomaniacal person and group. Millions of people in Soviet Russia deeply suffered from this features in Stalin and his cohort’s psyches.

As we can understand, the variants of Stalin complex can be present in many people who didn’t reach socio-hierarchical level of the country’s leadership – they can be a kind of mini-Stalins in their everyday lives. This complex is so widespread, that this fact only helps the bigger-Stalins to reach higher levels of the influence in their countries. The smaller Stalins support the bigger ones and another way around, and this diffuse identification of self-pride and intolerance makes the totalitarian systems combine mass worship of idolized leaders and simultaneously their imitation by the masses.

This contradiction is a curious psychological phenomenon, as curious as it is ancient – on the one hand people feel unequal to their leaders whom their worship – psychologically getting on their knees in front of them, but at the same time they are identifying with their leaders, trying to imitate them, be them members of Soviet Politburo, administrative authorities, monarchs, commanders, bosses or any incarnated social authority. How is it possible to simultaneously feel your contrast with rulers and to identity with them? Human psyche is really a miraculous machine – it produces unresolvable for a technical mind, paradoxes with ease of blowing bubbles. These irresistible (for the human believing function) paradoxes are alive, living miracles in which logical contradictions are ignored. Human psyche is oriented not on logic, but on… life, and it seems that for human life it’s often impossible to follow logical truths. People are busy living and to live means to jump over the semantic abysses.

People admire, adore and worship their leaders whom they consider to be like themselves and who at the same time have the power to sacrifice their worshippers in war and through austerity policies. And people are ready to be sacrificed. We see that one miracle magically resolving logical contradiction (I am identical to the one who gives me the orders) leads to the next miracle which suspends “me” from fear of death and poverty and makes me to be ready to sacrifice my life and my interests for the sake of my leaders. Of course, these two miracles are not the only ones in the assortment of the human soul under the influence of a totalitarian or moving towards becoming totalitarian society in which humanistic sciences either don’t exist or impregnated and neutralized by political propaganda and mass culture of entertainment.

Of course, today’s American Stalins are slightly different from Soviet-Russian ones because for them it’s not enough just to live in luxury (like it was for the leading Soviet Communists) – they have to have the feeling that they’re expanding their private wealth: becoming richer than they were a day ago. Here a curious bifurcation took place in the very identity of Stalins, between the Stalins of direct power (power through privileged decision-making) and Stalins of money-power. The mixed types of those combining these types of power are clearly discernible today – American pluralism of 21st century starts with this need to possess social power (by being an influential decision-maker) and simultaneously the power to possess more and more money. So, democratic reciprocity of having both psychological needs to dominate others is satisfied. For example, American Stalins’ dream about global domination is in a process of being realized not only through ruling by command and pressure by military means, but also through money in the form of strategic investment and bribery of the local power elites in various countries. Even in crude Soviet concept of global domination money and industrial and technological investments in other countries were a typical behavior.

But how on Earth could Stalin complex pop up in a democracy? It seems that the need for extra- and ultra-power is directly proportional to the growing fear of being violated by other people and the world in general. History is all too full of provocatively traumatizing events stimulating in people the psychotic sharpening of these events when they start to concentrate on them. Just to carry on and live without massive psychological defenses – god, religious structures, absolutized ideologies, high-tech weapons, money/profit or suspiciousness/hate is very difficult, almost impossible. It happens that with American Stalins the fear of otherness and animosity on part of others developed around 21st century in a degree of a fear of similar intensity which had overwhelmed Joseph Stalin in the beginning of the 30s – a situation leading to the Soviet GULAG. There are multiple of interwoven reasons as to why the psychological and behavioral Stalinism periodically in history jumps on its paws.

One is excess of wealth. For example, in US at the beginning of 21st century new soft wares opened up new horizons in what is possible to do in the area of making money/profit. So, people with wealth-worshiping complex could feel retarded if they weren’t jump on the new strategies of money-making. Wealthy identify with their millions/billions as believers with god-the protector and/or with political leaders and with weapon systems. Rudely speaking, the wealthier you are the stronger feeling you have of the danger of being robbed of your money and your money power. The more wealth you have – the more you are afraid to lose what you have – what you are. So, you need to protect your money – yourself much more than before. Private wealth is like an enlarged identity of a wealthy person. It’s, as if, the whole human personality swells up to include in itself the wealthy person’s financial success and social prestige connected with it. Correspondingly, the bigger and wealthier country (with fear internalized by human psyches) need more nuclear warheads and the more suspicion and hate for other countries to feel itself safe.

The absolute psychological identity between the totalitarian or close to totalitarian masses and the completely or partially totalitarian leaders and the, simultaneously, drastic social inequality between these two strata is a combination having miraculously stabilizing effect on life, in spite of existential deprivations, risks-and-worries and deadly dangers totalitarianism brings. It’s very difficult to hate people with whom “we” identify with. Who can without the “tormenting”, “boring” humanistic education that constantly challenges our complacency, resist being an ephemeral drop equal to the eternal ocean? Totalitarianism confirms our human dream about immortality without naming it as such – but just by basing human psyche on our identification with the stronger and the richer people and with the group of people with the same (totalitarian) ideology, while democracy in the perception of the not-educated people is just a pervert kingdom of rolling relativity.

The film is about how spiritual experience of gentleness, genuineness and sophistication is slipping away from human life into moments of disinterested meditation in musical form, which the talented and more than talented professionals provide us because of their love of music and for financial reward.

The film provides for viewers endless impressions of the absence of spiritual meaning and spontaneity in everyday life of the people we observe. Straub and Huillet while depicting the life of the intelligent people (connected with Protestant Church and with art) in the 17-18th century – don’t find in them any emotional spark or any impulsive smile. The directors emphasize that the reason for these people’s existential misery is not just the conditions of their lives, but their life style, their very manner of existing.

Especially for the American movie-audiences it seems necessary to add that the impression from the life of Bach and Anna Magdalena and other musicians or the children in the church music schools is as bleak as American life today if it wasn’t for the noisily pompous athletic events, pop-rock-rap…etc. music, the joys of consumerist shopping, TV-sitcoms or animation cartoons for children and adults and Hollywood entertainment magically lifting us up and out. Bach and his colleagues in the music world didn’t work (and searched for work) less than Americans today, but they look and move like people who don’t know anything except their everyday work. It takes some time for us the viewers to understand that for them having a job wasn’t so much a matter of survival through their profession but – salvation from a meaningless life. For them it was an ontological way out from the absurdity of a life.

Johann Sebastian, Anna Magdalena, their children or their colleagues didn’t know today’s demonic structure of mass consumerism and entertainment – so, for them the choice was between a crude nudity of just living and sublime challenges of spiritual creativity (available to them in the measure of one’s talent). For these people the way of indulging into Marcuse’s “repressive de-sublimation” was, thank god, historically absent – not created yet. So, for them the channel of making living and searching for meaning was the same – from everyday life to meaning and sublimation, from meaninglessness to a sublime world of (musical) meditation. But the problem of this situation is that the way back from spiritual creativity elaborated as profession to life again is not effective because of structural incompatibility of professional competence and craft (with particular emotional sensitivity) and existential matrix itself. On its way back to life the trembling artistic inspiration blended with spiritual experiences, like in serious music, is unable to become part of life (sensitivity to spiritual music continues to exist as a special isolated part of the psyche not only in artists but in the music lovers as well). In other words, the artists and admirers of the serious music are continue to live according to a not attractive existential logic – no matter how strong influence the emanations of spiritual music may have on their souls. When even the most sensitive listeners of spiritual music feel the dissonance between “rudeness” of life and the “beauty” of music they will tend to continue to live according to the laws of factuality and necessity. Here, we are getting close to the “nucleus” of Straub and Huillet’s concept of their film. Even a musical genius like Johann Sebastian Bach lived a typical life and even his music wasn’t able to “change the world” – the “moral dirt” of everyday survival and rivalry is as intact in front of a genius as it is in front of the messiah.

This is the tragedy of Johann Sebastian’s being as that of an artistic genius, according to Straub and Huillet. We see Gustav Leonhardt playing Bach with a combination of modesty and ambition. He always shows Bach as being much more “solid” than everybody around without making him look, as if, on emotional stilts, and still his Bach is part of dreadfully despondent life. It’s almost the inevitable paradox of artistic genius locked in a desolated ordinary life. And we today who have unexpectedly found ourselves under a twofaced monarchy – a military power with a face of profit-money and a profit-money with a face of military power – are especially sensitive to Straub and Huillet’s portrait of Bach’s life – in their film about how spiritual experience of gentleness, genuineness and sophistication is sliding away from human life into spiritual moments of disinterested meditation in musical form which exceptionally talented professionals provide us for the sake of love for music stronger than their love for life.


Gustav Leonhardt impersonating Bach


Jean-Marie Straub and Daniele Huillet in the beginning of their cinematic life


Jean-Marie Straub almost a decade after the death of his wife and creative collaborator Daniele Huillet


Usually in Straub/Huillet’s film the scenes where Johann Sebastian and Anna Magdalena are together, depict their playing music or rehearsing with each other. Here, we see Bach and his wife in a moment of intimate touch.


In this still we see Straub/Huillet’s satiric representation of two kinds of children according to the worldview dominating in Germany amongst the church music circles during Bach’s life time. The first type consists of the little angels supporting the heaven from falling, as a part of church architecture. But the second are real kids as a choristers boys in a church music school. According to John Eliot Gardner, a recent Bach scholar, Johan Sebastian in his childhood was mentally and physically abused exactly in several church music schools, which Straub/Huillet depict in their film.

Posted on Jan, 15 2018 –   Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet – “The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach” (1968) – How Creative Genius Can Triumph Over Life-As-Work And Work-As-Professional Specialization by Acting-Out Politics

When Humanistic Sciences and Serious Art Are Underfunded For The Sake Of One-dimensional Technological Development and Financial Calculations

When Social Conformism Is Rewarded While Creative And Critical Worldviews Are Discouraged

Images left by Anna in her diary after her suicide


Maria and Anna are sisters – one is of a pragmatic orientation, while the other is a “dreamer” and a thinker in a critical and artistic way. For people like Maria the doors of education and a professional future are widely and promisingly opened – business and technical sciences are solidly financed and school kids plan well in advance to fill in the reliable and generously paid future jobs. But for people like Anna the situation is much more difficult – humanistic sciences and not entertaining arts are more and more deprived of investments. Human soul as an existential phenomenon (as a participant in everyday life) is neglected. Anna couldn’t continue to stay financially independent from Maria. She became more desperately frustrated – she felt abandoned by a modern society where entertainment functions instead of artistry and consumerism instead of spiritual intellectualism. Eventually her feeling of not being needed in societal life led her to suicide. The balance of happiness in today’s democracies is broken (and von Trotta was one of the first among serious film directors to notice and react on this abnormal situation when only “instrumental” – worldview is supported, not a contemplative and rationally critical).

The image above (from Anna’s diary) represents combination of subject and object, of external and internal perspectives on life – it simultaneously depicts angry, condemning world and a person horrified by the world. It focuses on how a human being internalizes what s/he observes, the condition of life outside the individual and the state of her/his internal world. This monstrous face irradiates a terrifying, monstrous grief for being psychologically banished by the world. While life outside individual perception grows more despotic, severe and rude, the human internal world became more and more impregnated with worries, dread and fears.


The image of this lizard-like creature is, it seems, representation of a human being as if degraded into a lizard by human despair bleeding with suffering. “Human lizards” are emotionally thirsty – they need to be “warmed up”. Their pained spiritual needs appeal to be attended. For human beings it’s not enough to make a living, to “survive” and to “outcompete” fellow men. They have a need for an existentially spiritual space around. Psychologically reduced to the condition of lizard-ness, people like Anna will only suffer, will no try to survive.


Finally, Maria sees in Anna’s diary the relief representation of semi-human bird, held and protected by the hands of death.

Maria’s nightmarish vision after her younger sister’s suicide


Using the idea from Renee Magritte‘s famous painting, von Trotta modifies it for semantic context of her film – she lets us see Maria who in her night dream is approaching the mirror (to look at herself), but instead…


Instead of seeing her reflection in the mirror Maria sees her own back.


Her head in the mirror slowly turns and Maria instead of her own profile sees Anna’s profile. Maria understands that the figure in the mirror is her dead sister Anna dressed in Maria’s clothes and having Maria’s hairdo (ironic reference to the fact that when Anna was alive Maria desperately tried to help her to become successful by, as if expecting her to behave like herself – like Maria-the elder sister).


Suddenly Maria sees how Anna slowly but not hesitantly turns away from Maria


Maria is starting to feel that her irrational, crazy dream of contact with Anna after her death (dream motivated by Maria’s guilt for not being able to really help Anna to respect herself amidst the despotic world) is impossible, that their spiritual separation is inevitable because it reflects their difference which they both have a right to. Shouldn’t the existence of similar inequality between humanistic and technical sciences or entertaining and serious art today be amended? The balance of human happiness should be restored.


Maria’s night dream is interpretable as a metaphor of her basic mistake in relation to Anna, when she was trying to help her, forgetting about the difference between people, about the naturalness of personal and cultural dissimilarities. Anna had a right to have her own ideas about her life, her own ontological taste and her critical position towards a dominant life style. Anna was never meant to be like Maria – a pragmatic extrovert having a matter-of-factly chance in modern society because the minority of decision-makers are trying to make whole population oriented on technology, “rivalry and survival” and on consumption and entertainment while being indifferent to cultural interests, humanistic sciences and serious art – to the needs of human soul.

Giorgio de Chirico’s painting


Giorgio de Chirico, “Two Heads” (1918)

De Chirico’s two heads remind us of Von Trotta’s sisters, Maria (to the left) and Anna. In the painting Maria’s head has streamlined forms and absent eyes, while Anna’s tragic destiny is emphasized by the dark abysses of her gaze directed at the world. The fact that the both figures are stylized as mannequins is hinting that the condition of human beings today is preliminary, even hypothetical – that history (if to take into consideration cosmic time) is just began or even only beginning.

Posted on 22 Jul 2013 – Margarethe von Trotta’s “Sisters, Or the Balance of Happiness” (1979) – Being Oneself and “Keeping Another Persons, As If, Inside” – The Task of Identification Based On Difference by Acting-Out Politics

Posted ON Sep 3, 2014 – “Sisters or the Balance of Happiness” (1979) By Margarethe von Trotta by Acting-Out Politics

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