Acting-Out Politics

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

Kathe Kollwitz, “A Child Faces War… Again”, 1925, Woodcut

Kathe Kollwitz as an expressionist (in this context it means that she in her works is more expressive and emotionally profound than just a realistic and naturalistic artists) is a master of numerous techniques – printmaking, sculpture, ink and pencil drawing, etching, woodcut, etc.

But what is rather exceptional in Kollwitz’ personality is the dedication of her art to the most terrifying human experiences (which most of the people prefer to detour by their attention when they go to museums or open art magazines). Her art depicts the experiences inflicted on the most helpless people – children and adults, weak and poor – by those with super-prosperous and prosperous lives, those who use wars to make more wealth and conquer more territories.

Kathe Kollwitz has dedicated her work to these monsters with human appearance – no, she didn’t dignify these people by including them into her works of art. She shows us their victims – the hungry, the homeless, the crippled by poverty and wars, and mainly children paralyzed by fear – poverty and hunger, and still appealing for salvation. And she shows those adults who have dedicated their whole life to the desperate attempts to save children in spite of often facing the impossibility of achieving much.

Kathe Kollwitz, (1867 – 1945)

Charles Avery, “Indescribable”, 2013

Charles Avery, “Indescribable”, 2013 (1)

I learned the intellectual lessons of the inevitability of clashes and wars by two international events/situations – US opening the Second front between USA and Nazi Germany, and US deciding to radically enlarge American investment into high-tech weapons including nuclear after the Soviet retard-idealists like Gorbachev offered the Americans drastic mutual reduction of military spending as soon as the Russians had decided to dismantle their version of Socialism together with Communist ideology.

Indeed, why did Americans enter the war? And why didn’t they use the lucky situation to save a lot of money by accepting the Russian proposal and starting to spend the extra means on peaceful investments – in peaceful economy, life, science, culture instead of continuing to spend on high-tech weapons?

The answer to the first question beside the propagandist “good words” of ideological motivations (like anti-Nazi posture and the necessity to defend democracy) is that American leadership became sure that if US will not open the second front the Soviet Russians can swallow up a big chunk of Europe. Besides, closer to the end of war militant conservatives amidst American leadership were very interested in Nazism as an ideology (its ability to despotically rule over the masses while simultaneously keeping them happy because it encouraged their contempt and hate for everybody who is not Arian). In other words, Nazi ideology taught its American disciples how to rule while simultaneously nurturing in masses nationalist megalomania and hate, for example not only for fascists, but also towards anti-fascists, towards “socialists”, minority groups and non-Americans in general and contempt for other countries. Also Americans learned from Nazis scientific sophistication and technological achievements in the area of military needs. It is well known how many Nazi doctors, technical scientists and even intellectuals were transferred from Germany to comfortable abodes of American Democracy.

The answer to the second question is even more amazing. Close to the end of 20th century Soviet Russian leadership became ready to sacrifice their country – the Soviet Union in exchange for collaboration and friendship with US – it liberated itself from the Soviet ideology for the sake of eliminating from the world the danger of nuclear Holocaust. They became a new capitalist country in order to start a new epoch of relations with United States and the world – they offer to mutually destroy nuclear weapons and together proclaim to the world the real possibility of eternal peace on the Planet Earth guaranteed by regular inspections. The miracle was that US declined, simply and quickly, while adding a humorous remark that Russia doesn’t need any more high-tech weapons anyway – US will protect it from any dangers. More, US took course on drastic increase investments of its capital into high-tech and super-nuclear weapon systems. Why not to use the opportunity for a worldwide peace?

What can be the reason for refusing the chance for a future of peace over permanent menace of disastrous wars? Of course, the idolatrous fixation on technology is human obsession. Technology stimulate superstitions because it promises power and wealth, both to a superfluous degree. While life is preferable to the death, but power and wealth, it seems, are… even more preferable than living. Power (weapon systems) and wealth (profit making) were somehow able to psychologically conquer life – to become human life’s twin-gods and transform life into their servant and slave correspondingly. Gaining private power and gaining private wealth became not just meaning of life, but its essence, part of life with a status of being more than life. It gained strength to suffocate life, to become a pseudo-living for the sake of power and wealth, not for living in body, soul and understanding life and world.

Something is rotten, it seems, not just in the human species, but in the very logic of Creation. Of course, it would be too easy to accuse God-Creator and feel ourselves as poor victims. Instead let’s concentrate on Charles Avery’s puzzling Semantic Construction “Indescribable”.

Avery’s dogs or dog – two headless dogs or one two-body dog, may be have/has the ability to clear for us the very logic of animosity – preference for (totalitarian) domination over (democratic) friendship. The absence of heads underlines the primacy of blind (instinctual) vitality (of alive bodies) over emotional intelligence (which needs head to settle in). Those brainless dogs or dog are/is full of energy to live, to jump, to press or resist pressure, but the intra-bodily contradictory excitements or mutuality of two bodies, rivaling and clashing muscular stresses are full of rivalrous energies and like in the boxing or wrestling are full of intra-bodily “technology” of competition and fight. This pre-soul and pre-thinking vitality is monotonous while versatile and is potentially or actually destructive.

Being bodily connected through a mutual (joint) neck (without any heads) is Avery’s startling image of symbiotic identification in animal and human kingdom(s) – of a totalitarian unity irresistible for people with underdeveloped individualities and limping rationality. Automatically similar or even identical mass ideological views, like the Soviet Communist ideology or American Conservative ideology of domination by financial dealers and billionaires and their political vassals over human life are not saving from mutual hate. One-neck-ness is a term defining the condition of people under ideology of domination which controls the togetherness symbolized by Avery’s headless-brainless dog(s). Similarly thinking people are not less in a situation of rivalry and competition, but even more aggressive with one another – rivalry with similarity even more despotic, like sometimes between brothers, sisters and identical twins. “Socialist” or “Capitalist” countries can engage in even more furious wars with their “doubles” than politically different systems with their opposites. This situation is depicted by Avery’s dog(s). The paradox here is that the American conservative leaders detest post-Communist Russia much more than they did the Soviet Communist system – that’s why they decided to respond to Russian proposal of mutual disarmament by not reducing but over-financing development and production of American arms. Avery’s dog(s) is/are playful with itself/each other, but this playfulness is potentially dangerous, like “Ultimate Fight” is becoming more and more popular among adults and kids alike among athletes and audiences in comparison with the traditional boxing and wrestling.

Countries are not equally aggressive in their militancy, but the problem is, that when one country attacks another, the country-victim is, naturally, prone to defend itself and in the process it becomes, if not equally, but comparably aggressive. That is what can happen with Avery’s dog(s) – their militancy can become exaggerated and equal and as such more natural. They can become even more headless/brainless. And so are people in war – instead of sensing/thinking they develop and apply/deploy a pre-intuitive computer-like manipulative calculation – they push-and-pull like Trump his opponents and himself. Avery’s dog(s) feel itself/each other through its own/their neck(s), as pure brainlessness and soullessness. It/they is/are fighting with mutual/self-anger and self-hate. They perceive themselves/one another as meaningless, as nothing, like it happened and continues to happen with wars for domination – most wars of human history.

May be, the situation with Avery dog(s) and with what this image signify is not so much indescribable, but rather unresolvable. The paradox of war is the ultimate identity of the fighting sides, when indiscriminate murder becomes immanent motivation of both fighting equally with one another and with itself, wounding and killing each other and themselves and are carrying mutuality of insatiable domination and reciprocity of inevitable togetherness dreaming of apocalyptic end.

Charles Avery (1973-)

Nana meets the anonymous gaze of the viewers – she is, as if, semi-consciously appealing to the public either to protect herself from her still unknown ordeals or for us just to know that she exists, she – a unique, an incredible, a kind of existential philosopher, a person who, as if, is close to martyrdom, an impossible beautiful soul. But it’s very risky, almost absurd to look for unique configuration of destiny.


The extraordinary nature of Nana’s personality is marked in front of viewers by the fact that she has abandoned her baby together with her husband and her marriage itself. Oh, no, her marriage wasn’t a “disaster” and her husband wasn’t “monster” or a “cheater”. Conversely, he was much more loving and tender than usual men, and their way of life together was much more refined and prosperous in comparison with the typical upper middle-class families. And yet, Nana has decided to abandon her marriage and her baby. Oh, no again – Nana is quite a normal person, she is an attractive woman, she is without irrational moods or strange capriciousness or particular material calculations. As much as common sense is applied, she loved her husband and child. She loved her life, but…

Nana couldn’t accept the domestic goodness of family life, its plebeian pretentiousness, its silent but permanently felt pride. It’s not that Nana had her own critical perspective of modern society’s standards of proper or not proper life, but she had a problem with today’s life style and child rearing practices or manner of love between the adults. And it’s not that Nana had ideas about what’s wrong with our society. But she doesn’t feel herself normally vis-à-vis our “progressive” “democratic” society. She wanted to discover what she wants, what is the problem with her life? Godard gives her the chance to find for herself an alternative world according to her “ontological” taste. That is the beginning of Godard’s film.

She refused her husband, because, probably, she wanted human love to be different (but she didn’t know how). She refused her child perhaps because she didn’t want him to become a philistine oriented on competing for a spot in social hierarchy and bragging about the wealth of his family or become vengeful if success didn’t dignified it. She didn’t know for sure, what was the reason of her resistance. Is Nana a mental case or just a spiritually oriented person, feeling disappointed with philistine orientation of her society, with too many wars, with growing terrorism provoked by the West to justify its persistently intensifying politics of domination over the World?

If to consider that at the end of the film Nana was murdered by those who preferred profit to her life, she can be considered being a martyr, but for majority of people Nana could easily avoid the dangerous spots of life had she stayed with her husband and child, so in this sense she herself responsible for her death, etc. But how we, the viewers of Godard film will decide the meaning of Nana’s short life? How will we interpret Godard’s epigraph to the film quoting the proverb by Montagne – “Lend yourself to others but give yourself to yourself”?


The “receptionist” at the police station is registering Nana as a minor offender. His gaze doesn’t belong to a human being but to a system processing humans according to its own logic which human sensibility cannot fully grasp.

Godard opposes Nana to people who take life as it is. He juxtaposes the scene of this touchingly naïve couple (accompanied by the chanson in the style of the epoch) with the scene of terrorist attack Nana is trying to escape from. The song poetically reflects a hopeful view of Parisian life in spite of starting war. There is no place for a person like Nana in a life of innocent philistinism. We see that the guy expects an answer from the girl to his marriage proposal – the situation we see here was elaborated in a couple of years later in Jacques Demy’s lyrical stylization “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” (1964).

The philosopher treats Nana as Artaud’s character in Dreyer’s film treats Jeanne D’ Arc. He addresses the philosophical side of her questions and her confusions but not what in her life and personality produces them. Of course, he is a philosopher, not a psychologist.

Nana’s pre-linguistic, “pre-symbolic” dance in which mute body yearns for gestures and rhythms to produce the first acts of speech. Intuitive living is dominating Nana’s life, and such style of being is not just free, but frivolous. Nana’s dance in reality is an opera without sounds or words.

Becoming “conventional adult” for Nana is overture to self-destruction because today’s money-power competes with traditional psycho-semiotic power ruling through language – an issue Nana never had the time or education to brood about. Money calculation is a new language fighting with the traditional human languages for domination. But human language is human, while money-calculation is the despot from another world.

Nana appears in a situation of being lower than the level of profit for both sides of the deal. It’s like making profit on firing workers and selling the business instead of staying in business. Godard predicted the style of profit making in the beginning of 21st century that sacrifices not only the workers but work itself, not only what is human but humanity itself.

Posted Aug, 15, 2017 –   To Become Ontologically Authentic Personality (Complex Of Sublime Selfhood) Or To Share Life With Others – Jean-Luc Godard’s “Vivre sa vie/My Life To Live” (1962) by Acting-Out Politics

Posed on June/23/2014 –     “Vivre sa vie/My Life to Live” (1962) by Jean-Luc Godard  by Acting-Out Politics

Sep, 28 2012 –     Jean-Luc Godard’s “Vivre sa vie/My Life to Live” (1962) – One Extraordinary Woman’s Path Through Marriage, Motherhood, Search for Job, Prostitution, Romantic Love and Verbal Communication with Others by Acting-Out Politics

When we humans eat something tasty we don’t want the food to fall from the mouth. Conversely, we want to swallow it. But when we have to eat something disgusting we don’t want, we could prefer the food to fall out of our mouths and dream to open them as wide as possible.

We see here how an Administrative Judge (The magistrate – Umberto P. Quintavalle) – one of the four leading fascists presiding over a group of post-adolescent girls and boys they have selected as guinea pigs for their “pedagogic” inspiration – is teaching his victim (Sergio Fascetti) how to eat human excrements (“if something is unbearably unpleasant you must overcome your torment and just do it).

The inability to eat excrements (only one among many ordeals the recruits must go through), according to the fascist libertines in their self-appointed position of master-pedagogues is radical weakness of human nature to reach “freedom“: to overcome the natural – primitive tastes and be able to follow commands of the commanders whatever they are. In this still, the top administrator, after kissing Sergio’s lips and forehead (he himself just swallowed a lot of fecal matter and wants to mark Sergio’s ordeal) is checking how to grade Sergio’s ability for being “liberated” and capable to live with “free will”.

In comparison with the previous libertine pedagogue – the specialist in justice, a person moved by the direct logic of violence and hate for people, the President (Aldo Valetti) is full of wit and verbal playfulness of his own style. He is ordering to one of the guards watching the victims – who is also going through the fascist guru’s lessons and is exemplarily obedient young men – to say loudly (while stretching his mouth wide open) – “I cannot eat rice with my fingers like this”, hinting at famous Italian joke of that time, masking itself as a pop-wisdom.

The clip illustrating this joke of fascist times.

The guard, trying sincerely enjoying the mouthful of excremental meal just because his master wants him to feel positive about it, repeats exactly what the President told him to say.

And here the president as if in response solemnly pronounces “smart“ and “wise“ “pedagogical wisdom”: “Then eat merda!“ (“Excrements” in Italian). Of course, even fascists don’t think that excrements are tasty. But the joke indirectly refers to the general fascist orientation on becoming completely artificial as a part of technological mechanicalness of social behavior. Fascism expects from its recruits not just to become constructed with technological efficiency, but be super-efficient and unconditionally dominate over nature outside and inside themselves. Absolute domination over people and nature by any price is the ultimate slogan in all the variants of fascism.

An ascetic poster of Pasolini’s film (in a style reflecting the essence of human history according to Pasolini)

The wealthy family of the owner of the factory Paolo before the start of their ordeal

The existentially spiritual ordeal of the family has begun. The family members are already no longer what these people were before

Pasolini’s symbolic view of the human path towards the future, from the beginning of human history to modernity

It was not understandable to the family members (and the film viewers) idea (which “strange” visitor temporarily living with the family had) that the reason for the father’s illness is a result of an incredible burden based on the necessity to make many unnatural decisions during his life of a person who moved towards wealthy and responsible position and high social status. According to the “guest” of the family, he will try to symbolically take away the burden from the soul-body of the father and, may be, this support on a part of not a therapist, but just another human being will help.

Of course, the point here is not only to put the sick father’s legs exhausted from his long tireless moving through wilderness and civilization to our times – on the shoulders of another human being, but to project, to transfer to the one who is morally exhausted and disappointed and even shocked – the energy of vitality and the power of truth.

These words belong to Paolo (Massimo Girotti), the head of the wealthy family and they addressed to their guest (Terence Stamp) who helped Paolo to be cured from his spiritual exhaustion. But the success of this and other actions of the visitor in relation to the other family members doesn’t mean resolving their many tormenting problems. Conversely, it brought other difficulties, although simultaneously, somehow made these people to feel the incredible power in their souls, combined with no less incredible humility.

Paolo’s ability to recover the seriousness and responsibility of his decisions and actions became enriched with his capability to question his own positions and way of life. He felt stronger and more sublime, less self-centered and more self-critical, less self-motivated and more world-attentive. He became more and at the same time – less than a human being occupied with his aggressive projects and plans and making him proud as somebody like the master of the world around.

Now, Paolo (Massimo Girotti) is questioning the world including himself, the world creation including his personal participation in its co-creation, the world in its habitual ways.

Paolo (Massimo Girotti) is questioning the Past of Creation including his own life in his past. He demands answers. He demands explanations. He, a human being, demands dialogue with what is the absolute. He questions what he always thought is the absolute that demands silence from everything. He questions what is absolute.

Paolo demands from Creator new – alive words. He wants to hear from Him new concepts. He wants to answer Him. He wants to think together. He wants to learn what he doesn’t know. And, may be, he wants to participate in Re-Creation – in renewal of life, in renovation of the world.

Through love the house guest, “the visitor” gave to every person he attended while living in Paolo and Lucia’s (Silvana Mangano) family, intuitive knowledge which they now became aware inside themselves, tells them that they lived in a too conformist manner, too passively, too routinely, too inertly and at the same time – too arrogantly. They were appendixes to their impulses. They were slaves of their own capriciousness, a kind of drones nesting in the material comforts. They implied that they are like gods. The text on this still is their words to “the visitor” (Terence Stamp). We see him in this still – he will remember these words… forever. Now he is proud of these people. No, not proud – he loves them, in a new way.

Emil Nolde, “Courtship”, 1919

According to the Nolde’s painting there are at least three keys to earthly happiness – two of them belong to the seductively behaving young man and one to the woman in the moment of being seduced. The first opener of earthly happiness is the man’s eyes shining with blueness brighter than the sky itself. Second is the optimistically blue and energetically crafty fingers of his right hand – suggesting to the woman heavenly (but on the earth) happiness. The confident movements of his fingers suggest that his seductive intention is directly connected with the promise of money in exchange for the woman’s sexual favors. The third magic key to the success of the business of courtship is the heavenly blue sparkle in the woman’s eyes (in a justified contrast to the “sinful” darkness of her gaze). The success of seduction is impossible without at least some degree of greed in the person targeted by courtship (which always takes super-generous pose).

Of course, the woman is also not without her own seductive posture in relation to her seducer. Her playful thigs and, of course, her almost wild pubic hair is a rather radical and insisting promise. But the man’s sexual appeal (which we notice right under the woman’s as if lazily pantomimed right knee) is not completely blue, but blue mixed with the green as a natural color of earthy flora with its remarkable ability to expand to the heaven.

Earthly happiness needs a private beach (or a wild corner of it) – the sun’s abode, which with some quite human imagination can be transferred into private interiors with a dosed light. But our negotiators of marital or just sexual celebration are certainly on the corner of wild beach framed by the calm river. Here primordial naturalness embraces with reasonable donation on part of rational financial calculation.

Healthy active sexuality needs money to solidify itself, like money needs sexuality to intensify its existence. The both ingredients obviously need, respect and appreciate each other. Marriage appeals to them, because even use of the fig list of love makes money and sex inevitably vailed. Look at our personages of Nolde’s painting – how involved they are into elaborating of the establishment of their relationship. The both are equally don’t want to end as stupid and insipid simpletons. They both want to possess the greenness and blueness of their togetherness.

Emil Nolde, 1896

Emil Nolde 1867-1956

This face can be human if not its facial expression that is completely wiped clean from any sensitivity, not already mentioning compassion for what these eyes see. This face is like the front part of a missile on its way to destroy or like an armored car with an electronic choice of targets. This person (Mr. Herdhitze) is ready at any moment to start his destructible mission. He is a fighter with the soul of high-tech weapon.

Pay attention to his smile – it’s a smile full of irony addressed to another person. This smile’s energy is at the expense of somebody else, whom Herdhitze (Ugo Tognazzi) in this moment is targeting – Mr. Klotz (Alberto Lionello). It is not a smile of mutuality, equality, friendliness. It’s rather a smile which, as if, assessing and measuring the fighting distance of inequality between them – the person who is smiling (who feels in charge of the situation) and the one who soon will be put in his place.

Herdhitze holds in front of his mouth a secret about Klotz’s son which soon will completely debilitate Klotz as an opponent

Now we see, that the face we already saw in two previous stills is changed again – now there is no indifference as face armor or smile. Herdhitze’s eyes became naïve, as if dreamy, it’s Mr. Herdhitze was parodying his interlocutor and financial competitor Mr. Klotz who doesn’t know why Herdhitze unexpectedly visiting him and what a deadly surprise expects him about his son’s super-scandalous sexual identity which his competitor is victoriously ready to announce. By postponing his blow to the Klotz, by as if closing his mouth by keeping in front of it his secret between his two palms Herdhitze is laughing at Klotz’s ignorance about his son’s horrifying truth which is supposed to shock Klotz’s mind and heart to the degree that he instead of continuing to be financial rival will be transformed into the toy or poppy in Herdhitze’s hands.

Herdhitze holds in front of his mouth and nose his exclamatory finger of, as if, silencing the truth

The face of the billionaire Herdhitze changed again. Now he keeps in front of his closed mouth and nose his exclamatory finger. Now, when the secret achieved what it had to and shut up Klotz’s arrogance in front of his rival and now collaborator, the time is for Herdhitze to offer Klotz friendship to reward him with keeping the secret of his son untouchable. More, he offered him to unite their enterprises – to create the biggest monopoly in the world… by the price of the radical sacrifice Klotz’s perverted son. Like destructive fire in the forest creates rejuvenation of whole area, it is a time to sacrifice purposeless and empty-minded boy for his father’s enterprise.

Mr’s Klotz’s face shows his sensitivity – his emotional impulsiveness, which, as it’s well known, is not the best psychological background for a businessman, especially of Klotz’s caliber. While Herdhitze after WWII had to make a plastic operation, Klotz was continuing to do the same things he did during the war. Klotz (Alberto Lionello), in spite of his Hitler mustache and a hint of the hairdo was and is… a musician. He is able to create poems-songs accompanying them by the harp music he played himself.

Here we see Klotz horrified by Herdhitze’s revelation about Julian, Klotz’s son (Jean-Pierre Leaud). But Herdhitze’s proposal of sacrifice for self-enrichment was for Klotz like a beam of light – a salvation with one strike, which healed him through his own generally pragmatic orientation and artistic inspirations. Having hated his industrial rival Herdhitze during decades of their fight for economic domination, now Klotz decides that uniting their billions is healthier solution than to keep the son-sexual deviant as a dirty mark on his, Klotz’s name and future industrial and financial achievements.

Klotz’s artistic occupations (his closeness to art) were helping him to keep a cheerful nature which survived Herdhitze’s “nuclear attack”.

Klotz already was disappointed in his son before. He had no idea about his son’s demonic secret, but he didn’t like his independent attitude and emotional stubbornness. Now, when Herdhitze’s terrifying revelation struck him he not only “survived” it, but understood better the ambiguity of the reality (when his enemy of many years instead of just destroying him made a “rational” proposal of stopping hating one another and unite in peace with one another and in promising war with their new competitors. And this only on one condition – to get rid of his son whose disgusting secret is a direct danger for his father! Klotz was always suffering that his son was refusing to work with him in their family business, and this made him feel ashamed in front of his business colleagues. And now he feels free, and who has liberated him is, paradoxically, his old enemy, his business rival. That’s how an enemy becomes a friend, while his own son was the main obstacle for Klotz to feel himself happy. Viva production!

Here is Julian (Jean-Pierre Leaud), the sacrificed son of Mr. Klotz. He is just silently disappeared to nowhere, “vanished” by the words of peasant workers working for their master, Julian’s father. He was well educated for his age. And he was a burden not only for his father and mother, but for the universal industrial and money-making muscle of humankind.

Of course, we are talking here about blue eyes not in a decorative (romantic) and not in a factual (prosaic) sense, but how some religious believers or people with unconscious superstitious needs can be prone to feel even without the blue eyes but through other symbols of megalomaniacal sensitivity – this imaginary support of the frightened and exhausted human ego and the impoverished human identity.

Anna, the main character in Bergman’s “The Passion of Anna” is an irresistible human being when she is deploying her passionate appeal to those who are listening to her. When she is in this situation her suffering and her persuasive power become the one, and people cannot resist her truthfulness. She becomes a preacher of the human heart itself, defender of the human soul. She becomes the personification of… goodness itself, savior of the universal wisdom.

But then Anna (Liv Ullmann) often feels that something stands between her bottomless sincerity and the perception of her conviction by another person, that what is perceived is somehow not identical with her aspiration. Then anxiety inside her is awakening and growing together with her disappointment – her facial expression becomes exactly as we see in this shot – it starts to communicate her suspicion, her doubt in the sincerity or even good intention on the part of her interlocutor.

If Anna feels that her sincerity and suffering are not wholeheartedly embraced – that another person is skeptical about her noble efforts to enlighten him/her (even when nothing negative or critical was expressed), she tends to start to see in another human being a predatory monster from the hell.

In short, Anna’s reaction on human topics of human morality and responsibility can easily collapse into her full blown depression with paranoid impulses. And her heavenly eyes would express a cosmic human grief and frustration.


Do you know that the Soviet Union (now post-heroically dead) and USA (pompously and proudly alive) have blue eyes or some other attributes people use to believe in as supernatural qualities of themselves, some others or inanimate constructions they idolize and look at with awe? Blue eyes can be the carrier of the sky which by itself is the lucky offspring of the heaven. Blue eyes for some can be the path to the depth of the soul, to the essence of being, even when this depth is above us. In short, blue eyes are the symbolic indicator of a connection with an aggrandized reality rooted in human religious aspirations, simply speaking with beliefs rooted in people’s megalomaniacal pretentions. Not blue eyes as such, of course, but what it can mean in people’s unconscious perception.

The people’s perception of their countries can be blue-eyed. Jingoism is blue-eyed or the very worship of political or military leaders. It has happened, when people believe that their country is exceptional – superior to all other countries. Very often patriotism transformed into “flagriotism” – the human tendency to aggrandize one’s country in a bragging way. It happened in the Soviet Union with its military parades, Nazi Germany with its militarist theatrics and USA under Trump, when any criticism of him and our country is viewed as treasonous (instead of being understood for what it often is – care about democracy, an existentially-spiritual attempt to help our country by improving our efforts and ways).

But let’s return to Ingmar Bergman’s film, where the person named Anna (Liv Ullmann) with heavenly eyes is not conscious about her megalomaniacal tendencies and likes to secularly preach “pop-goodness and pop-kindness” offering herself as an example of supreme moral wisdom.

People like Anna (in Liv Ullmann’s surgical performance) is like traditional extremists of religious or ideological beliefs – she can even reach a point of trying to physically hurt another people, as Bergman points out at the end of his film, to hurt in order to save them from their “wrong path”, from being “the enemy of Truth”. The reason some people can behave righteously violently (like many in our country today who arm themselves with high-tech assault weapons in order to commit mass murders because in their minds and hearts they believe that they personify the ultimate, true moral posture).

Sometimes a whole countries can behave under the influence of megalomaniacal psychological obsession. Under the influence of self-glorification complex they easily become a danger to neighboring nations and themselves. Their leadership should keep destiny of Bergman’s and Ullmann’s Anna as a warning. Boasting about their countries’ exceptionalism and superiority – being the first and the best in the world provides people delirious justification for behaving arrogantly – from supreme, superhuman position. It’s from here come the danger of the massive destructions of the human lives and nature, and political and economic achievements of civilization.

“The Passion of Anna” is focused on aesthetic investigation of intimate and social relationships, it teaches us how similar can be psychology of personal love and hate on the one hand and psychology of social animosity on the other, or psychology of so called peaceful times vs. psychology of war, or how “healthy” competition and calculation of profit can transform human life into total mutual hate. Traditional differentiation between Bergman as an artist of intimate relations and Kurosawa as an artist of military conflicts and social clashes is outdated. It looks that external and internal lives of the characters is much more psychologically connected, as personal and macro-social problems. The Kurosawa’s films are impregnated by analysis of intimate relations, while Bergman films by analysis of societal strains and clashes. Intimate and social fights are based on similar psychological configurations, which allow us, for example, to extrapolate from Anna-Andreas Winkelman (Max von Sydow) or Elis Vergerus-Eva (Erland Josephson and Bibi Andersson) to inter-social and inter-national problems, to the very social climate people live in.

Collaboration and competition, tenderness and incompatibility, fight for domination inside the very love, revengefulness and tolerance, sparkles of fury and ability to forgive and ask for forgiveness, intellectual honesty and rivalry, and justice and equality vs obsessive greed, etc. are simultaneously categories of intimacy and human macro-relations through the borders and languages.

Anna (Liv Ullmann) – the carrier of the heaven and Andreas Winkelman (Max von Sydow) – the carrier of the sky, are both the carriers of symbols of hidden megalomania. It’s not surprising that they have lost their relationships, because both have the negative energies of their inability for equality and the absence of the ability for at least moments of forgiveness for the sake of one another, for life.

On the other hands, Andreas and Eva who in the moments of mutual confessions are prone to close their eyes and are able to share their self-frankness, also cannot belong together, but the self-critical moments between them open hope for emotional togetherness if not with each other, then at least in possible future…

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October 2019
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