Acting-Out Politics

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

The Masturbatory And Cunnilingual Underside Of Swann’s Sexual Elegance (The Woman As Orchid)

The necessity to make the existentially “exotic” nature of Schlondorffian Swann’s love for Odette de Crecy seem more realistic demanded from the authors of the following texts to indulge in an exercise of finding a language adequate to normalized version of the sublime.

Fingers and the “face” of the petals

Sexual arousal in Swann doesn’t include Odette’s face or her physique which for him rather belong to distant erotic preamble. The composition of this shot makes the flower of femininity (here – the orchid) the path of descending from the generosity of the breasts to the chamber of sensual treasures (metaphorized by the orchid’s depths). The orchid as such is a metaphor of this path by the efforts of Swann’s gloved fingers. Sexual act impregnated with amour is over-loaded with over-worldly associations and includes the interruption of visual dominance (of the amorous subject – Swann, over amorous object – Odette) through a highly tactile orientation supported by symbolic fingering of the very flesh of the orchid, preceding the inevitability of Swann’s final audience with Odette’s body.

Fingers and the “body” of petals
The second shot registers the return of sight (absent in the first shot) to support farther concentration (on part of Swann) on the body of the orchid. Swann’s sight functions as a pedagogical device, as if, he is showing Odette how to appreciate her own orchid-likeness as a code name for her sublimely erotic beauty. He is, as if, teaching her to internalize his gaze at her and through this to start to gain self-esteem. It’s, as if, in order to become completely beautiful the harlot has to become a lady. And through such lessons the passionate interest of Odette to marry a rich society-man and amorous intention of Swann to be united via Odette with metaphysical beauty feed one another from lips to lips. Odette learns how to repeat Swann’s gaze upon her and this double gaze (his and her at herself) becomes their mutual fixation and, eventually, a phase of their sexual intercourse.

The tongue and the fleshly depth
But we see, that in the third still something has drastically changed – everything. We see the very moment when Swann‘s lips touch the orchid’s lips, and Odette again becomes as she is – she is not looking at herself by repeating Swann’s gaze but now she is uniting with her own dream about being married to a gentle and wealthy man. Swann and Odette have lost one another – now he is in unity with her orchid-like depth and she with her dream of her life (about a happy elevating marriage). Schlondorff and his cameraman Sven Nykvist have triggered this intended abyss in the very center of the lovers’ amorous unity – they created a “blasphemous” visual and semantic effect of Swann’s protruding tongue penetrating the depth of Odette’s orchid! Instead of the very body of orchid’s petals we see Swann monstrously greedy tongue! Suddenly the amorous elegy becomes a caricature and parody. Schlondorff is famous for his ability to combine admiration for characters of his films with their criticism and even with mocking them.

Moments of human contact based on truth (acceptance of limitations of human love)
Here, in the fourth still we see that Odette returned from a rendezvous with her dream (registered in the previous shot) and honestly projects it into Swann’s eyes, and Swann takes her desire to his soul – accepts it with full compassion. And still, with Odette, Swann keeps avoiding verbalization of his marital intentions. He doesn’t trust her soul – he is quite aware how masterfully she arouses his jealousy. For her the “marital exclamation” of her destiny with Swann would be the only but the ultimate achievement of her life. But for Swann the equivalent of ultimate achievement would be a marriage between the earth and the heaven, where earth is melting and reviving itself in heaven’s embrace and where heaven is his love and earth is her dream.

When our heterogenious couple experiments with physical intercourse (“playing orchids”, as Odette wittily named their lovemaking – compared with playing with orchids of the first three shots) their amorous unity falls apart again – she tirelessly and monotonously continues to try to persuade him to marry her, while he continues to hesitate knowing very well that everything is already decided between heaven and earth (between him and her).

During physical intercourse as such, when Swann is worshipping Odette with his caresses, she, as we see in this shot, continues to ask for proof of his love for her, that he somehow is afraid to provide – the radical structural difference between metaphysical realm where everything is decided for them, and the relative and not reliable “layer” of social reality is difficult to breach. Metaphysical values cannot unconditionally unite with the human life. People like Swann always win in the absolute world, but lose when it comes to earthly existence.

Madame Swann after Odette de Crecy and Charles Swann became married couple

Posted on Oct 24, 2014 – Volker Schlondorff’s “Un Amour de Swann/Swann in Love” (1984) – Two “Knights” Fighting for Their Peculiar Ideals and Lost in A Chivalry-less World by Acting-Out Politics

Posted on Jan 5, 2015 – “Swan In Love/Un amour de Swann” (1984) By Volker Schlöndorff’ by Acting-Out Politics

M. Duchamp, “With My Tongue in My Cheek”, 1959

The especially puzzling in the impression from Duchamp’s profile in his “With My Tongue in My Cheeks” is the visual “incompatibility” between his forehead, eyes and nose on the one hand and his cheek-and-chin which swallowed his tongue and is keeping it locked there in order to paralyze its function as a promoter of talking and, therefore, thinking. The cheek-and-chin with tongue is, as if, not drawn, but photographed – it, somehow, became “fleshlier” than other parts of the profile. What Duchamp meant to say by this drastic visual and stylistic difference between cheek-with-tongue and the other areas of the face? It is, as if, by “swallowing”, “appropriating” and “burying” the tongue – the cheek-and-chin became more “material”, than the other parts of the anatomy of the face.

As it’s well known there’re at least two basic functions of the tongue – physically manipulating food to prepare it for swallowing, and emotionally expressive and verbal. Idiomatically the meaning of “keeping tongue in the cheek” can be to refrain from saying what we want, avoiding being frank, being afraid of saying what we are really thinking.

Duchamp’s (as the subject of annunciated of Duchamp-the artist) cheek-and-chin is fleshly in a sense of its materiality including skin with its pores seen, as if, through a magnifying glass. It is, as if, for Duchamp it was not enough just to draw the cheek more swollen. It is, as if the artist is suggesting that there is a connection between “keeping tongue in cheek” and the tendency to have a more materialistic perception of the world, the human soul and human life. Millions of people in today’s world hide their tongue in their cheek because they don’t want to lose the stability of their jobs, positions, careers, professions and general comfort, etc.

Still, in Duchamp case as an exceptional intellectual artist the main reason for mistreating his tongue is not only fear (which we all have while living in entropic world), but the bitter and depressing feeling that it’s absolutely meaningless to explain to people what he, Duchamp, has understood about his and our condition – having a feverish fear of our violent end and the materiality of this fear. Duchamp was sophisticatedly idealistic fighter with people’s simplistic and naïve idealistic beliefs and formulas. From here comes the ironic and comic semantic coloration of his “self-portrait”. But, probably, according to Duchamp himself he personally wasn’t too fearless in his life and not too frank, while only disinterestedness in human beings’ actions can prevent people from having swallowed their tongue. Duchamp thought about himself as about a rather artist-trickster, somebody who is distant from the world.

Let’s pay attention to the Duchamp’s eyes – it is, as if, he drew them and then erased his very gaze, probably, to get rid of the impression that the gaze is focused on something external or on our vain inner needs perceived as normal. By depicting the cheek-and-chin as the “matter” the artist is parodying not only people’s consumerist-materialistic perception of the world, but the manipulative “materialism” of technical-scientific mind. May be, for this reason the pores of the skin of his cheek-and-chin look exaggerated by, as if, a magnifying glass as a caricature of microscope. In other words, people will notice the swollenness of Duchamp’s cheek and its cellular fabric instead of understanding – why he and us “keep the tongue locked inside it”. While technical science makes the invisible world more understandable, those who finance it from tax-payers’ money will “care” about human and nature’s health through alchemical operation of transforming life of the majority into fear and despair.

It seems like Duchamp is right in that it’s impossible to explain to people with limited humanistic education and with mind full of mass-cultural crude clichés the truth about reality and their life. Cheek-with-tongue of those who understand this begins to swell, while their gaze start to erases itself. Sometimes I am afraid (and my cheek-and-chin is obviously swelling) that many people will accept the absence of honest medical care, stable job, healthy food and a roof over head, if they will be allowed to take with themselves to nocturnal eternity the cell-phones, several video-games, beer belly, flashy tattoos and Sea-hoax T-shirt, not to forget high-tech machine guns and consciousness that in their past life they were the strongest people on the earth.

The Irresistibly Attractive Young Girl Lost In The World – Appreciated, Abandoned, Found And Lost Again

This is one among the mini-stories in a semantically polyphonic although structurally unified Godard’s film(s)

A slightly spicy joke from the magister of international cinema

The calling, strange, seductive and deceitful paths of this world

Irresistibly attractive young girl lost in the world is almost ready to learn the world’s ways, not without a little help from her healthy curiosity

The attractive young girl (Julie Delpy) becomes more trustful and even inquisitive about human life with an aura or crown of happiness

The young girl is abandoned, but after having gone through an understandable trauma she became more confident

The young girl has become wise, lost excessive sensitivity and got a new boyfriend with a practical mind

The wise young girl is lost in the world again. But whose hand keeps the clarinet in the first two shots above?

Posted a review on July 6, 2014 “Detective” (1985) by Jean-Luc Godard by Acting-Out Politics

Posted on February 26, 2013 – Jean-Luc Godard’s “Detective” (1985) – Transformation of Western Culture into a Detective Story – Couples, Clans, Clashes and Collapses into Blood Spills by Acting-Out Politics

“Salome’s Last Dance” is a film made in a barely possible genre of tragi-comedy with burlesque excesses and reflects societies of extreme inequality and conformism for which people try to compensate themselves as much as they can with over-indulgence (which always rewards us with the illusion of being greatly great).

When the decapitated head of John the Baptist is delivered from the underground cell to the fake Olympus of decision-makers – King Herod, Queen Herodias and Princess Salome, its eyes opened wide with his hope of seeing the Paradise. But instead of eternal victory of the Good, John the Baptist is seeing… the same (corrupt) king and his nightmarish entourage including his “golf friends”, his court and his guards – the eternal evil. And we see in John the Baptist’s eyes the ultimate horror of a sudden awakening to the impossible truth.

John the Baptist’s eyes slowly closing – his gaze is dying: the hope of his whole life is not realized.

When the pauperized Russians overwhelmed by the masterful propaganda of Communist communality finally understood that what they took for democratic socialism is in essence the same despotism they knew for centuries – when people’s opinions are not addressed, their aspirations are ignored and all decisions are made by the hierarchical tops, they found themselves in a similar predicament as Ken Russel’s John the Baptist.

When in the 21st century Americans “discerned” the mighty decision-making elite of wealthy entrepreneurs and generals – sitting correspondingly on the golden mountains and on high-tech weapons like Russell’s Herod did on his throne, they starting to understand that democracy is becoming a fashionable facade for monopoly on power and that the people as such are outside of any participation in making decisions their lives depends on. They also find themselves in similar situation with Ken Russell’s John the Baptist.

Posted on Aug, 4 2014 – “Salome’s Last Dance” (1988) by Ken Russell (based on Oscar Wilde‘ Play) by Acting-Out Politics

Posted on Aug, 26 2011 – Ken Russell’s “Salome’s Last Dance” (1988) – Personal Love as an Idolatrous Association with Another Human Being Who Comes to Personify for the Subject Supreme Ontological Value by Acting-Out Politics

Tanner’s film starts with descriptions of private love only to end with psychological side of social utopia. The reason political revolutions are violent is that revolutionaries are desperate – they identify with deprivation and pain inseparable from it, while counterrevolutionaries are stubborn because they’re fearful of losing that which they possess – they identify with their possessions: with appropriation and consumerism. Aren’t these two postures exactly the unconscious psychological positions of Alan Tanner‘s heroine Mercedes (Myriam Mezieres) in this film on the one side, and her two loves (Johnny and Pierre), on the other? And isn’t Mercedes’ very profession of a successful pantomime-artist and her comic number of having sexual relations with a stuffed gorilla – an expression of her growing incompatibility with the very idea of private relations based on mutual consumption and reciprocal possession while ignoring the world’s potentials for more spiritual life?

Tanner’s film is not about political revolution or any type of aggressive action. Revolution is present in “A Flame in My Heart” in the psychological mutation in the heroine of the film – through her readiness for an alternative life (most “revolutionaries” are unable in their practice to be people of humanistic orientation instead of brainwashing and manipulating the population, unable to teach people how to respect themselves, others and nature. But Tanner’s and Myriam Mezieres’ Mercedes is psychologically mutated into a person with a genuinely revolutionary position, which has nothing to do with “fighting to death for revolutionary ideals”.

Of course, Mercedes’ private affairs are not typical example of heterosexual couples’ behavior, and partially it’s a consequence of her own over-consuming sexual and amorous passions. She is simultaneously an overindulgent and an over-tormented mistress and wife. Nobody could help her in her search for an alternative to privatized personal relationship, when private togetherness is considered the basis or even nucleus of human life. Mercedes, like everybody was protected by marital or amorous behavioral archetype from the awareness of crippled, entropic world around and she was occupied mainly with survival and success of her private nest. Rulers are oriented on propagandizing private happiness in order not to let people to concentrate on issues, which the wealthy decision-makers consider their prerogative to think about “in the name of the people” (starting wars, distributing wealth, control of technological progress and the direction of historical change).

The end of the film leads us to Mercedes’ future without opening the curtain, because history itself is not sure what it will be for the person who is ready for the alternative – revolutionary everyday life. But we, viewers, do feel this alternative in Miriam Mezieres’ tactful, but incredibly frank performance.

Johnny keeps trying to persuade Mercedes to make their amorous bonds a permanent happiness, but she already understood the difference between possessiveness (not necessarily towards her, but towards prestigious marital label) and love.

Pierre was an irresistible lover and a democratic, tolerant and a rational soul, but togetherness with him was like a life in a psychological fort or castle – a place more fundamental than life itself.

With Pierre Mercedes started to do erotic theatrics, and this made their sexual relations like a cosmic show.

All of this ended with Mercedes’ invention of a new number – a comic pantomime with stuffed gorilla. From Mercedes’ point of view it was a parody on sexual relations.

Especially the young people were ready to watch Mercedes’ striptease with the gorilla over again and again – some in the audience became, as if petrified – muted and paralyzed.

Mercedes understood that she cannot settle down in private relationship as the basis of her life

Mercedes found herself as a person who wants to be dedicated to disinterested loving and helping people and life in general

Posted on 6/16/’17 –   Alain Tanner’s “A Flame in My Heart” (1987) – Frustrated and Disoriented Search For Disinterested Existential Togetherness by Acting-Out Politics

In his film Rossellini examines the similarities between Christ’s times and modern life in the West and comes to the conclusion that there is a surprising similarity in the structure of political powers in both historical periods. Following Rossellini’s film we can easily discern in the Ancient Judea and today in US the political coexistence of the right wing ideologists (in Christ’s times the Judaist clergy demanding his punishment by death because of their fear of popular revolt and losing their leadership position in the country, and today – the neo-conservatives trying to repress the popular indignation for the irresponsible rich through propaganda, money an police force) and, on the other side, the secular pragmatic power personified by Pontius Pilate who resembles the American liberal democrats in the 21st century with their tendency to yield to American neocons like Pontius Pilate to Judaist clergy

According to Rossellini’s interpretation, Pilate has intended to make a genuine effort to save Christ’s life. In the shot above we see the private meeting between Pilate and Christ and observe how the Roman prefect of Judea tried to find a “compromise between Christ’s life and his death” – between what Pilate understood as Christ’s “extreme political rhetoric” and the “objective” possibility to avoid his crucifixion. Pay attention to the position of Christ’s figure – he is modest and straight, and the twisted posture of Pilate who cannot turn towards Christ (he has turned towards “oral consumption” – wine and food). So, to turn towards Christ could be to express too much respect for the pauper-prophet, which, according to Pilate, he doesn’t deserve. The solution for him is to turn his neck instead of body, and we see how Pilate’s abruptly turned neck is stressed. We appreciate his “touching humanistic effort” – he could be feasting on grapes and wine more comfortably – without Christ’s presence.

Pilate is trying to persuade Christ to soften his rhetorical pathos, and then Judaist conservative clergies would not be so alarmed and fearful that Christ speeches will create a mutiny. Why to provoke these people, Christ can preach the same things he is already preaching, only to tone it down, a bit softer, milder and gentler. It is necessary to be Christ to refuse Pilate’s seemingly reasonable offer, his touching care about the prophet’s life. It’s very important to keep making humanistic efforts, even when they are not going too far (we can do only what we can, what is important it’s to try). Pilate’s “humanism” is of a liberal brand, it’s a Barack Obama humanism. But right wing clergy “humanism” – to crucify Christ in order to save your own social position (and “prevent deaths and suffering of people whose rebellion will be bloodily subdued” is conservative “humanism”). It is a Donald Trump “humanism” – to save your power and wealth together with people who support you, you have to sacrifice those who are alien to you and whose interests are opposite to yours (simple as pimple and habitual as obituary).

Posted Nov 6 2011 –   Roberto Rossellini’s “The Messiah” (1975) – Right Wing Religious Ideologists, Secular Liberal Government and Christ of the People  by Acting-Out Politics

Posted Dec/11/’14 –   “The Messiah” (1975) by Roberto Rossellini  by Acting-Out Politics

When Sanjuro, the wandering samurai, by choice of chance appeared in the area where the events of the film were taking place, he was able to be motivated by compassion towards the young samurais in danger by the right wing plotters. Sanjuro is a very experienced person, but even for him it was not easy to help these young people because of the some’s of them pathetic simplemindedness and prejudicial belief in the power of goodness (in those with democratic sensibility) and the others’ stubborn suspiciousness and hierarchical pride (in those with conservative sensibility).

In the still above we see a group of nice hearted young people, whom the main character (Sanjuro) will try to help in spite of their unlucky combination of mental nearsightedness and farsightedness. They are discussing their plans of actions against the plotters. The first impression created by this shot is that the young people with good intentions are sitting inside a box of their drastic limitations in understanding of the situation they are planning to reverse. Of course, Kurosawa here describes not only the young personages of this particular film, but young people in general and how they’re prone to think. According to Sanjuro, they’re politically disoriented either by their pernicious idealism (the first group) or by their even more pernicious dogmatism (the second group). Their understanding of politics is limited not only by the metaphor of shack/box but by the bars covering the windows. Even following Sanjuro’s recommendations and instructions they found ways to make fatal mistakes and ruin the whole situation because of their mental awkwardness. Thank god, their benefactor is patient, not irritable teacher and supernaturally good at swordplay.

Rapport Between Thinking and Understanding
In this and the following picture Kurosawa is analyzing the difference between a democratic and conservative mind. Sanjuro (Tosiro Mifune) is trying to trick the plotters, and the leader of the young samurais is asking him the right questions – look at the intelligence of his face and the desire to understand what Sanjuro is planning in a concrete moment in the middle of permanently changing circumstances.

Liberal vs. Conservative Perception of Thinking
In comparison with the young person from the previous shot – with a democratic: rational, opened and concentrated mind (here he is the third to the right of Sanjuro), face of the guy with a conservative sensibility is distorted by the intensity of his emotion of being overwhelmed by Sanjuro’s “mysterious” intentions. He is either extremely surprised by what he thinks Sanjuro wants to do, and this makes him suspicious, as if, Sanjuro wants to fool all of them, or he imagines that Sanjuro possesses a kind of supernatural power which cannot be controlled. In other words, where the democratic mind is sharp yet balanced, the conservative one jumps from one extreme to another.

In the film Kurosawa depicts nine young samurais (as many as justices in American Supreme Court). At the end of the film they supposed to decide – what to do with the plotters? Will it be five against four for a winning opinion?

Posted on – April/26/’10 –   Akira Kurosawa’s “Sanjuro” (1962) – A Homeless Pauper by Moral Reasons as a Role Model* by Acting-Out Politics

Posted on July/5/’14 –   “Sanjuro” (1962), by Akira Kurosawa by Acting-Out Politics

Martyrdom (?!) And Sainthood (!?) Of A Uniquely Incredible Human Being

Nana as a salesgirl

Nana is working as a salesgirl. But she understands (and here is her difference from other salesgirls) that if she will continue – robot-likeness will become her essence.

Joan of Arc’s tears from Nana’s eyes

Nana is watching “The Passion of Joan of Arc” by Carl Theodor Dreyer (1928) with the incredible Falconetti. Joan’s tears on Nana’s face became Nana’s own, and their destinies as if became one, which then quickly bifurcated into a new two – that of the human destiny and the history of cinema from Dreyer to Godard.

Nana and her future martyrdom

As a viewer of Joan in the film – Nana becomes a saint (in the previous shot Nana is in the process of psychologically identifying with this unique personality of human history), but in this still Godard shows her, as if she is becoming ready for her own martyrdom. Now she, as if, unconsciously feels her future destiny, without any (conscious) posturing, of course – Nana is not a star – she is just a lost gaze at a movie theater.

Nana’s noble appeal

Nana is simultaneously full of tender but resilient vitality and a stubborn desire to live graciously, and she has the ability to do so. Nana’s appeal to the people in this still makes her beautiful in a new sense, without any attempt to be attractive. She is irresistible in a holistic sense – as a human being.

Eclipse of Nana’s face

Nana survived for a while on trivial jobs. She posed for nude photos. She didn’t want to be a limb of a couple. She abandoned her baby because she couldn’t accept being recruited by the social institution of marriage subduing women’s internal independence and psycho-existential potentials. Pursuing what was more important – her internal freedom, she, trapped by poverty had to risk the obvious – external one: she tried to find a kind-and-gentle pimp (during the times reflected in the film, prostitution as a commercial enterprise was legal in France).

Nana, who nurtured her internal world and has a bent for tough self-reflection and who as a woman wasn’t a feminist – socially and financially imitating men, preferred to be a prostitute because it gave her chance to be emotionally freer in comparison with people of “normal professions”, who have to be permanently fighting for positions and careers. The naïve and “innocent” tricks inseparable from being prostitute, were much more “honest” than being manipulated and controlled by the conventional system of financial survival.

Nana’s face has disappeared by the intrusion of her pimp’s profit-calculating head

Nana as a prostitute

Yes, Nana was agreeing with her job’s demands, because her work was more… honest. She worked for her money without pretending to be incarnated in more than a woman’s body (where this “more” is a financial system based on masked calculation and on conformism).

Nana has a discussion with a philosopher

Nana is talking to a professional philosopher and learns about the pluses and minuses of the use of human language and the ability to communicate.

Nana-the “witch” or Nana-the martyr?

Years of working as a prostitute made Nana develop an intuitive mastery of the human soul. She built her inner world based on the knowledge of human banalities, eccentricities and paradoxes. She felt that the truth about human crude innocence, petty “horrors” and agonizing sentiments made her freer, than any typical profession could. In this shot we see a drastic difference between Nana and a regular woman, Nana’s colleague.

Nana’s incredible “somatic” dance

But Nana’s psychological maturity started to create surprises in her life, including strange lacunas of naiveté in her tastes and desires. Her internal world was developing without conventional psychological and mental slag, but also without the knowledge of what existential waste is. Her extraordinary character flowered without her understanding the context and the value of this flowering. She has elevated the human nature as an object of love by the very giftedness of her soul, but outside her amorous creativity human nature was as a poisoned wildness.

Nana fell in love as on a dusty soil

With all the colorful irresistibility of her character Nana fell in love as into dusty sludgy soil.

Nana is eliminated from the system

Falling in love amidst financialization of human relationships is, as if, being caught in the middle of dangerously extreme over-investment triggering bankruptcy. Nana’s pimp used her as a payment to settle his debt by the price of Nana’s life. Her intuitive prophesy about her martyrdom came to life in her death.

Posted on 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

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

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