Acting-Out Politics

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

Alain Resnais’ And RWF’s Two Films As Repercussions And Variations Of Each Other

Eccentricities, Banalities And Creative Potential Of Heterosexual And Homosexual Libido

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Sudden enigmatic meeting is love’s first strike


In the castle of baroque décor X is looking for somebody. Does he really know for whom? Or, may be, he just wants to find out.


A appeared to X through an ornate mirror. But could X notice her with the same power of the magic immediacy – as his instant and eternal fixation, had he seen her, let’s say, in one of the halls or corridors?


Under X’s gaze A (Delphine Seyrig) is or tries to be impenetrable


X and A are, as if, alone in the universe


Why is A still in the hall though the guests have left? Is she waiting for somebody? Perhaps, for X?

Men’s deadly and immortal rivalry for a woman’s love


The rituals of men’s competition for hetero-amorous objects are rooted in their legendary jealousy capable of destroying mountains


Game and a match between X (Giorgio Albertazzi) and M (Sacha Pitoeff)


The spectacle of men’s competition for a woman, success and glory collects more and more spectators


According to a famous saying “who is lucky in cards is not lucky in love” M wins over X, but not before the both competitors were turned upside down (not before their reflection on the glass table was transformed into an image by Alain Resnais)

Love as a meaning of life


The fact that A allows X and the viewers to see the impressive interior of her room for the first time suggests that X is becoming successful with appreciating A’s genuine and overwhelming charm


The more X became fascinated with A the more versatile and multifaceted she became, and even more charming


Now, A is for X much more than just an irresistible woman. Is irresistibility something like the essence of feminine attractiveness?


Every day A becomes for X more and more surprising in her appearance and behavior, more and more exotic and impressive


A and X have stopped to be, correspondingly, beautiful and handsome aristocrats. Now, they’re just two human beings in love


Beloveds’ first shy and delicate intimate touches


In the luxurious park around the magic castle he and she became a couple. To be in love for aristocrats it means just to be human beings – a rare luxury. But in Fassbinder’s “Querelle” we shall see that for the poor the luxury of just human love is almost not available.


Simple physical tenderness as an experience made the destiny of A and X inseparable.


Finally X felt that it’s possible for him to make an offer to A without a need for a quick answer.


After all we come to see A and M in a social setting again. What does it mean? Reconciliation? Coming back together? What will happen to X? But can it be just a positive mutual “goodbye” between the old couple?

Querelle as he is – as he is made by the deprived environment of his childhood and youth


In contrast to the rich or the middle class people guys like Querelle (Brad Davis) were not educated and never lived in a tolerant atmosphere. For young people like this but with decency of soul – misbehavior, crime and social and sexual deviations are not only result of fight for survival but a kind of ordeal, a sort of initiation ritual of proving their riskiness, courage and masculinity – their strength to resist being subdued in a ruthless fight for domination. That’s why we see, that Querelle in his readiness to use a knife in a physical fight – has such a naively solemn facial expression.


That’s why anybody who like Vic Rivette (Dieter Schidor, a co-producer of the film) expressed doubt in Querelle’s courage, had to, in this milieu, be killed.


To become a real macho – super-macho Querelle is challenging Nono (Gunther Kaufmann), the owner of the brothel. Querelle is fixated (what is typical of youth from his background) on overcoming his “sissy-side“- he invents an “ordeal” for himself – readiness to be sexually used in the most “insulting” of ways – a tergo. Through this Querelle wants to be recognized as already not just masculine but as a super-masculine who has overcome the very fear of “femininity”.


Querelle is able to go through this “humiliating” procedure to prove to himself that he’s no chicken, but super-courageous person.


But together with pain and being “branded forever” the feeling of belonging to a tough masculine brotherhood comes to Querelle (Brad Davis).


Similar ordeal of being “reduced” to a “passive role” Querelle is going through with Mario (Burkhard Driest) the port’s police captain.


These victories over himself in order to be stronger in spirit than everyone else made Querelle into a kind of local hero. He lives in an imaginary world of romantic ordeals. He felt that he is above everybody who are afraid to be used sexually because they’re not sure of their masculinity, as if, for them being used like this is a confirmation of being a sissy.


From now on he can afford to say what he really thinks about these two guys, Nono and Mario keeping the port under control, to their very eyes.

Querelle and Mme Lysiane, “the madame of Brest’s port town”


Madame Lysiane is intrigued by Quarelle’s independence and power of his character. She, wife of Nono and his partner in business, allowed Querelle to be intimate with her – it meant he can visit her in her bedroom, and while masturbating – simultaneously using a rather rare privilege of talking to her frankly. Querelle‘s elder brother Robert (Hanno Poschi) is Mme Lysiane’s official lover and a local crook.


Mme Lysiane and Querelle’s very specific amorous connection became more and more dense and serious


At a certain point Lysiane (Jeanne Moreau) understood and theatrically confessed to herself that it’s very difficult to emotionally control Querelle


Mme Lysiane even lost her self-composure when she came to the conclusion that Querelle will not become one of her loyal lovers.

Qurelle and Lieutenant Seblon


Lieutenant Seblon (Franco Nero) is the only educated person amongst the film-characters with lumpen-proletarian background. He is differentiating Querelle (Brad Davis) from the other sailors not only because he is sexually attracted to him, but rather his physical fixation on the unusual sailor grows deeper and more dramatic because he yearns for human contact with a person fatally separated from him by the iron bars of social hierarchy. Sometimes Seblon feels himself as Querelle’s elder brother, but he is not able to make his predicament obvious.


Seblon is more and more disappointed with himself for his cowardice for not being frank with Querelle – to open what for him is so scandalously clear. He feels guilty in front of the young sailor who is trying to understand something but without humanistic education won’t be able.


In despair Seblon starts to visit the dark corners of the port only to reproach and condemn himself even more


At the bar of the whorehouse Robert, Querelle’s brother is dead drunk-drugged, as usual. But behind, in the background we see Querelle himself drunk enough to make a Nazi salute to Nono. Of course, his saluting is not serious – by this Querelle is mocking Nono’s sexual prowess and his presiding position as a power authority in the area. Appreciate Fassbinder’s creative trick in this shot – the two stools on the customer side of the counter look like Nono’s legs – probably to emphasize his omnipresence in and around the bar.


Step by step Querelle and Seblon started to establish a mutual frankness but the sailor could never really expect that a leading officer of the ship will have and express human interest in him.


Finally, Seblon made a step – he felt that he is obliged to explain to Querelle the difference between pseudo-problems of life from the real ones. He understood that if he will not try to intervene Querelle can drown in drug dealing and crime and that he has to stop Querelle’s absurd megalomaniacal complexes – his super-masculinity and super-courage – and to help him in developing rational thinking of nuance and verbal patience.


Will the officer of the ship and low-rank sailor be able to help one another in becoming more reasonable in thinking about himself and the world (Querelle) and more in need of another human being to be together (Lieutenant Seblon) in a world where fight and rivalry are the ultimate principles?

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The immense castle with majestic architectural decorations, with men in tuxedos and bowties, postures and profiles – or the ship polished by the sailors’ torsos, sweat and slang.

The elegant men with sophisticated women – or muscles and armpits of the working people (cast of the ship’s grooms).

The hypnotic rituals of aristocratic reciprocity (partnership or mutuality can be granted only through distanciation) – or improvisatory drug dealings in smelly back streets of anonymous ports.

Love with sexual overtones – or sex with or without amorous connotation (subdued by shame). What is this magic castle with a park and what is this magic ship with a nport – which transform life as (it’s) [a] given into life as willed, discovered, created?

Is Querelle Marienbad’s X? Is Madame Lysiane Marienbad’s A? Is Lieutenant Seblon Rob-Grillet’s authorial presence? Is Fassbinder’s directing moving away from, but still echoing Resnais’ auteurship? Does Mario-the port policeman in a way remind us of M, not in relation to A, but rather to X and Nono? In both films the results of amorous interchanges are hidden by the future, in Marienbad not just doomed, but locked, as the castle is locked onto itself, and in Querelle – as foggy as a trip to other lands and by itself is like one of these trips.

Love/sex/amorous/sexual/competitive/sado-masochistic obsessions are destabilizing agency in our world of self-regulation and stabilizing ritualism where the wealthy are supposed to behave as wealthy, and workers as workers. But some things happens in this lawful-awful division of emotional labor – Marienbad’s aristocrats start to behave like regular human beings: they fall in love/sex like laborers in sex/love. And this fact messes up the defining points of the universe. A becomes X-excited, Madame Lysiane Querelle-excited, and Querelle – world-excited, while the world – XA excited and by Querelle’s multiple and passionate and courageous curiosity.

Libido liberates A from the castle like it liberates Querelle from the ship. Libido inflames imagination like rocket takes the satellite to the sky over the abyss.

X inspires A to follow him out of the conformist castle of status quo into amorous bubble of isolation from the frozen social world (X + A = survival of the future generations’ potential for freedom from existing values, norms, aesthetic prejudices and tastes, habits and desires we’re programmed with as every generation before and, most likely after us). But the liberation from ridiculously pompous and frustrating reality is only possible in a condition that it’s a liberation into private life of personal amour and emotionally sexualized inexhaustibility supported by hetero-erotic reproductive fertility.

Contrarily Querelle unintentionally inspires Lieutenant Seblon not for exceptional entry into the bubble of private happiness, but to stay inside the existential structure of social/private relationships positioned in the alternative modality in comparison with the existing (outdated) values or sentimental rebellion against them. Social dynamism of conservative orientation – social mobility on the wings of money (the great like grave invention of the 20th century) and techno-scientific sophistication of private wealth-making in post-modernist democracies of the 21st have proved that private cave of heterosexual love belongs to the same castle where the idea of something more humane outside can be born. It’s this conservative in essence fake and agitated social dynamism X and A were instinctively trying to keep on the periphery of their life. Historically speaking, homosexual libido in the style of “Querelle” was in the beginning oriented on existential alternatives to the status quo. It looked for not for private amorous conclave but for sociality morally transformed and sociologically modified. Yet, the objective development of today’s democratic societies uses philistinism to make homosexual relations as stationary as traditional heterosexual middle-class marriage. It looks that in the conditions of modern “civilized” life homosexual philistinism is as well trained in hierarchical living, normative mutuality and games of “soft” domination as its heterosexual double. It seems that homosexual libido’s conformist potential is not weaker than the heterosexual one, as soon as its right to exist has been granted. As we see, conformist reaction can be the expression of gratitude for non-persecution, not only reaction on persecution.

Of course, like Resnais in “Marienbad” aestheticizes all the satiric energy at the disposal of his talent not to distort the genuineness of the film’s beauty, Fassbinder tries to be sure that his film’s depiction of homosexual libido is not soiled with “romantically propagandist intention” – that two basic characters of “Querelle” (Querelle and Seblon) are interesting not by themselves but by their attempts to position their libido in socio-politically meaningful way.

Obsessive amorous desires had always been used by the decision-makers as a channel by which people’s energies of protest (reacting on human disappointments and frustrations) were taken out of public space. Resnais’ choice of castle as a signifier of socio-political status quo (as a metonymy of the castle inside human soul) is made possible by the knightly cult of the lady as a personification of sublime soul and by people’s fixation on the ideal of eternal sublime redeeming the unity of the two sexual sinners – man and woman. It is this sacred unity which hides the amorous couple inside a blissful eternity.

On the other hand Fassbinder’s choice of the ship is not, of course, a metaphor of settlement of split and unified amorous monad, but of a destiny based on a dedication to life as a creative existential search with its risks and challenges not only in personal, but in social sense which includes amorous nucleus only as a part of existentially-spiritual meaning.

The upper class aristocracy’s ritualistic life-style in Resnais’ “Marienbad” is barely compatible with the crude and violent proletarian life in Fassbinder’s “Querelle”. Resnais not only rewards us aesthetically, but by providing us with a relevant ironic condescension towards even the most “perfect” castle personages. But at the end of Fassbinder’s film we amidst uneasiness of witnessing the raw life of poverty, illiterate worldviews and violence of animosity and friendliness feel some hidden-hinted perspective on the very possibility of an alternative life. The very Genetesque combination of proletarian theatrics and poverty-ridden (compensatory) megalomania makes these sailors as “negative aristocrats” a lost and forgotten shadow version of Robbe-Grillet’s castle’ inhabitants. But living in a no-way-out-ness triggers in them imagination which opens to them much more “impossible” perspective than the aristocrats on the top get from their titles, heritage, privileges and impeccable mannerisms. Those who live and die in gold are locked forever in golden cages, but who live and die in between dust and wind and rain and dirt and blood and lust can dream and for this reason can be oriented on essential change.

Fassbinder in “Querelle” emphasizes that in order for social life not to be just power-ridden, defined by career-success and materially prosperous, but humane and moral, permanent communication between the under or uneducated and culturally illiterate and those who are existentially competent and psychologically sophisticated and refined is the very necessary prerequisite for a possible benevolent historical development. It is existential pedagogy that is the nucleus of a prosperous, successful society, not monarchy of technological ruling over and colonizing life and world.

The Waves Of Cognitive Breakthroughs Vs Tormenting Tears Of Desperate Compassion


Otto Dix, “Nietzsche”, 1912

Dix’s sculpture of Nietzsche’s head is a depiction of swarming clusters of intense metaphorical transformations characterizing through the mutual imaginative echoing the philosopher-poet’s perception of the world of humankind’s destiny.

Nietzsche’s bust is a combination of a strong head and a strong neck (without the second the first one cannot become itself) – without a potent stubbornness of the neck the head will not be able to develop and sustain its vision. Both are like two mountains combined by the imaginary logic of sculptural composition into wholeness. The cognitive power of human poetico-philosophical thinking (personified by Nietzsche’s intellectual phenomenon) is, by the Otto Dix’s inspired effort, ossified into this bony relief of a magnificently animated face and petrified into mighty neck.

Nietzsche’s forehead is athletic like a rock. It receives the oceanic ebb signified by the philosopher’s dense and vital hair. But Nietzsche’s intellect inspired by the world’s energies – by the vital symbols of nature’s and human passions, by the primordial prototypes of human and culturally elaborated naturalness, is… over-exhausted by the task of trying to be the megaphone of the worldly soul.

Over decades the cognitive power of Friedrich Nietzsche accumulated through his sinciput as his reaction on the wild: the oceanic energy waves (Dix’s analogy of Nietzsche’s hair with ocean’s waves), is transformed into a deep and hidden for years suffering of his soul spent on empathic observation of human and natural world. It took decades for this tormenting exhaustion and decay to tragically complete itself. The energy of Nietzsche’s philosophical concentration morbidly but inevitably transubstantiated into tears of sorrow – into a meditative life of grief and pain over human illusions, follies, cruelties, torments and despair. And looking at the bust we see heavily “teary” Nietzsche’s eyebrows and mustache – the bodily matter in a process of losing its materiality, its environment and its meaning. Nietzsche’s eyes which were sharper than the tops of mountains and more enduring than the gaze of the night are transformed into black holes, abandoned settlements of a mind which was alive forever.

What we see in Dix’s sculpture of Nietzsche head is not only how a human being who was as spiritually inexhaustible as Nietzsche, became deadened, but how human reason itself can be shattered by the irresolvable contradictions between human civilization (with its spiritual ideological wrapping) and its barbaric seamy side, and by the very life in the universe, the very life of the universe.

Nietzsche’s life and death gave chance to an exceptional artist, Otto Dix to feel the universe as if it is an incredible giant, tremendous and glorious, simultaneously smart and dumb, over-powerful and over-weak because its power itself is weakness and its smartness is inevitably stupid, as life is impregnated with death – carrying death and at the same time receiving it as a gift of redemption. And god then is, probably, just a robot inevitably smartly serving and controlling the crudeness of the very existence with its pathetic blind fight for itself, which carries its own destruction, like an optimistic cheerfulness – its pessimistic inner layer.

Cosmic Plant-like Creatures With Hearts As Flowers Of Love And Budding Sexual Organs

My star is a hibiscus flower
Jean Cocteau


Roberto Matta, “Stars of the Garden”

In our universe the stars (boiling deaths) are like faraway pools of energy feeding (with itself) the planetary wombs. But Matta makes us imagine a sky not as primordial abyss cooling the stars and awakening planets amidst endless space. Instead he opens in front of us an exotic planet as a giant flower and bodies of its inhabitants with hearts as organs of love and pulsating organs of lovemaking.

Matta discards the crude absurdities of human mythologies, like Adam’s fertile rib or Eve as a child of rib-womb. And following the artist we start to imagine the sky not as a beautiful blue or a mysterious darkness populated by the clusters of enigmatic shining race of stars, but instead a heaven of flowering green flora over almost human bodies nurtured by chlorophyll not just around them but above as well. In this new (for our imagination) universe the sky is like the second garden – only over almost our heads. Greenness of the sky is, as if a reflection of the garden under the feet and around “us”. The creatures who live here have, as if, developed from plants. For them love and making love are much more important than fight for survival or competition for a place in the social hierarchy. Life under the chlorophyll sky is peaceful and welcoming.

The painter provides us with an alternative story of Adam and Eve, in which human love and making love is blissful and where paradise is not antagonistic to love and amorous pleasures, but the place where sensual, erotic and sexual delights are respected and nurtured. In this universe there is no giant despotic will with its categorical “No” and vengeful condemnation for transgression, which is given in cruel form of the necessity to “work hard” to provide somebody else with profit and wealth.

In Matta’s canvass we see two other-worldly couples – one consists of two adult amorous figures – we see them in the right upper part of the painting, and the other couple – still early teenagers Adam and Eve whom we see in the low left part. Right behind the kids – Adam and Eve we see head and neck of a big bird (probably feeding itself on the green ground) – its closeness to the kids tells us about the peaceful, really paradisiacal atmosphere in this garden of red stars. Here, there is no need for a mighty ruler, who controls life by dosing peace and clashes. Peace is spontaneous here in the land of chlorophyll soil and skies – in the world of the red stars – the hearts of the loving life. Father and mother encourage in their children loving position towards their own bodies and minds and alive creatures in general.

Many people internalized the Biblical picture of the scandalous birth of the human race will feel that Matta’s universe is idealized and unreal, but the longer our race lives – the so called “realism” of our human intuition becomes habitually obedient to political propaganda and patriarchal tastes of tough as teeth leaders of masses. May be, Roberto Matta depicts a reasonable and timely compromise between habitual militancy of human beings towards nature and each other and alternative morality, a serious step towards which started with the unique sensibility introduced to human history by the Christ phenomenon.

We see in Matta’s “Stars of the Garden” that not only hearts and sexual organs in faraway world are marked by star-ness of blood, but the lips – the traces of kisses, and eyes – traces of perception. The holiness of various wombs of the planets, the sacredness and rationality of the very perception of the world – kiss by reality’s very existence.

Matta’s painting depicts a world where the sky reflects life, not filters what is behind it, where the universe bows in front of life, not life in front of universe.


Roberto Matta (1911-2002)

A Grandma And Her Grandchildren Are So Different In Their Critical Sensitivity Towards High-tech Weapons And Contamination Of The Earth, Nature And Life In Comparison With The Elegant Or Crude Philistines In Kurosawa’s “Rhapsody in August”


And the boy a rose did see,
a rose standing in the field
blossoming in innocence,
awed by the color it did yield.
A never ending fascination
for the crimson color
of the rose standing in the field.

From Franz Schubert’s song written to the poem of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Kurosawa, human life and the living planet


Kurosawa (to the left) with Hisashi Igawa and Richard Gere (both to the right)


“The most memorable sections of the film are those that remain ‘unexplained’. The most powerful of these occurs during the memorial service for the atom-bomb victims. Clark and the little Shinichiro are listening to the sutras being chanted, when little boy is distracted by the sight of a line of ants purposefully progressing into the woods.” (Donald Richie, “The Films of Akira Kurosawa”, p. 225)


“It is a breathtaking moment…in the film… it is as though a window has been suddenly opened… It was one of Kurosawa’s most difficult to film sequences… We follow the ants deeper and deeper into the forest… (Donald Richie, Ibid, p. 225)


The ants meet the rose – Kurosawa made it part of his visual imagination in “Rhapsody in August”


“We follow the ants into nature itself and then watch them climb higher and higher… It is a wonderful moment…” (Donald Richie, Ibid)


“Any meaning is linked to a central concern, but the approach is entirely indirect and there are no words.” (Donald Richie, Ibid)


“Into the frame comes one crimson petal, then another. It is a rose that the ants are climbing on…” (Donald Richie. Ibid)


“It is a full-blown brilliantly red rose, while on the sound track the sutra still plays out… This moment is not arbitrary. It is linked to one of the major structural themes of the film, namely, Schubert’s song ‘Heidenroselein’. The first music we hear in the film is this melody being picked out on an out-of-tune harmonium.” (Donald Richie, Ibid, p. 225)

Grandma Kane’s independent and full of initiatives grandchildren – goodhearted, kind, but naïve and so far only slightly corrupted


Schubert wrote this short song “Heidenroselein” (“Wild rose”) for Goethe‘s poem and eventually became a German folk song. This poem is a kind of ode to the rose. In this shot with which the film starts we see how grandma Kane’s older grandson Tateo plays Schubert’s song on out-of-tune piano which he intends to repair. Goethe in his poem and Schubert in his song make the rose a metaphoric incarnation of the beauty of life which adds to human survival the disinterested – spiritual meaning. Kurosawa in his film adds to beauty and secular spirituality of disinterested contemplation as a precious asset of human culture the necessity to scrupulously care about not only human life but the living planet, the precious living nature abused by human militancy, pride and megalomania. Kurosawa’s “Rhapsody in August” completes Goethe and Schubert’s inspirations and makes his film the last part of a unique in history trilogy of humanistic (democratic) culture.


Grandchildren are happy because of the prospect of meeting their American relatives for the first time, people who’re rich and positive and ready for passionate friendship.


Here is a photograph of the American relatives of the Japanese leading characters of the film. Clark (Richard Gere) – to the right, son of the grandma Kane’s brother, the owner of a pineapple plantation in Hawaii. Clark has promised to visit soon his old aunt in Japan whom he has never met. In the center we see Tadao (Hisashi Igawa), grandma Kane’s son who with his sister visiting their relatives for the first time. This photo allows us to compare the two groups of relatives, American and Japanese. What are their psychological similarities and differences?


Clark (Richard Gere) during his visit to Japan is enjoying the sea, waterfall and the waves together with his nephews and nieces who were impatiently dreaming about this meeting


The Moment children were waiting for – grandma Kane (Sachiko Murase) and Clark met each other – the Japanese woman suffered through Nagasaki Explosion and her semi-Japanese-semi-American nephew – US and Japan came closer.

Omens and children’s ability to focus on them under grandma’s indirect influence


From grandma (who, because of her new-discovered relatives in US became focused on the memories of the past) her grandchildren started to learn the feelings which contradicted their usual moods oriented on cheerful dreams and promising expectations. Here we see them around their grandma – as if “learning from the moon” contemplative melancholy and meditative silence.


Kurosawa’s drawing of a horrified and horrifying eye of nature, as if, seen by people right after the blast of the nuclear bomb in Nagasaki.


Grandchildren have reproduced in their imagination “the apocalyptic gaze of nature”, which grandma described explaining that many people saw it in the sky as a result of the monstrous light effects right after the nuclear blast. Gaze of nature is a mythological image, but when technical knowledge – “the science of the atomic bomb” produces “destructive effects” of a catastrophic proportions it’s the truth of human soul which deserves to have a moral precedence. Humanistic truth in this situation becomes more important than technical truth. It’s one of the lessons we learn from Kurosawa’s film.


Tateo (Hidetaka Yoshioka) and Tami (Tomoko Ohtakara) who are cousins suddenly remembered their adolescent passion for one another and the legend which came to both of them then – about lovers who under pressure of their families’ moral indignation decided to commit suicide rather than to agree to separate from each other. Some stories were coming from grandma not for the purpose of frightening her grandkids or giving them “sensation of horror” – the entertaining achievement of horror movie, but to remind them about the existence of another side of things and teach them about the seamy side of human life.


Even the youngest grandchild – Shinjiro (Mitsunori Isaki) tried to impersonate the “water imp” – the fairytale creature in order to help his older sister and cousins to overcome their childish fears and also to overcome his own irrational fears in the process.

Grandma Kane as an alternative and a paradoxical role model


Because of grandma’s strange – ambiguous reaction on the kids’ idea to invite their American relatives and later visit them in Hawaii, her four grandkids started to learn to think – not in a sense how to get things they like to have or entertaining items they dreamed about but – independently of what they want or what will amuse them. They started to learn – how to think life- and world-centeredly, without cathecting their empirical presence as the very focus of thinking. And they learned how to look at themselves from the side.


Clark who felt guilty for not even knowing that his aunts’ husband was killed by the A-bomb dropped on Nagasaki, is listening to a collective prayers of those who suffered from the disaster.


Look at grandma’s (surrounded by her grandkids) facial expression. She, as if, belongs to somewhere else. And look how children follow, as if, excluding themselves from everyday life. They already learned of a thinking-centered thinking. They stopped thinking in the categories of everyday life’s interests. Their minds stopped focusing on their future social success or material prosperity. The children are beginning to understand that real courage and prowess is not about how to fight and survive high-tech wars or how to achieve high-tech career, but how to prevent wars and inhumanity to nature, how to develop alternative sensibility which could prevent what hurts life.

Apotheosis: will we be capable of saving ourselves from our very instinct of seeking domination over others?


The family worries about grandma’s sudden disappearance. The house by encircled by the vast fields. She should be somewhere there. All of a sudden storm strikes and the ground is covered by the strong rain.


It must be she, under the crazy rainstorm


Grandma’s family is afraid that she has become senile – why else would she be running right into the storm?


Father and mother jump out running under the rain without knowing the exact direction where to run


Is grandma (Sachiko Murase) going to the storm or to Nagasaki right into the danger of being hit by nuclear bomb?


The youngest – Chinjiro desperately rushing through the gates to save his grandmother


Father Tadao never ran so fast in his life. But he is running ahead faster and faster


The mother is desperately trying not to be behind


Granma Kane keeps her ripped umbrella as a banner


Chinjiro is ahead of everybody else – he feels that it’s still possible to save his grandma from the storm, as if it is to save today’s world from the new nuclear catastrophe


The mother falls but is struggling, she…


… will be able to get back up and continue to reach the old woman


But grandma is victorious in front of the storm and the lightning – she wants to save the world from the new nuclear catastrophe


Tateo is following Chinjiro – he wants to save the world from the menace of advanced high-tech disaster, from high-tech greed, from high-tech megalomania


The old woman still keeps her banner-umbrella, which the storm transformed into an outworn broom. The storm makes her look like a witch with a broom. In her mind the storm around her is a kind of a prelude to new nuclear disaster


And even Chinjiro is losing balance


Is grandma confronting the lightning or is she fearlessly defying new nuclear blast?


Chinjiro is knocked down by the storm, but he’ll be back up on his legs and endure


Grandma Kane is continuing to move on ahead of time, ahead of the world, ahead of human stupidity and cruelty. She wants to help the future of human race
_________

Is “Rhapsody in August” a film about the unspeakable event in Nagasaki which was proudly and confidently made happened on August 9, 1945 or is it about the future nuclear blast or blasts, let’s say in some place and time in the 21st century? Is Kurosawa’s film an elaboration of his opinion about the condition of the human psyche not only in the middle of the 20th, but today, after his death, in the 21st century? Japanese imperial regime attacked Pearl Harbor, but there is some evidence that the American Central command knew about the Japanese intention to do so (American specialists were able to break the Japanese military code).

Of course, Japanese leadership is guilty for planning and executing the attack, but American High Command didn’t use the situation of their knowing about what’s coming through trying to negotiate in order to prevent the strike or at least to radically prepare in advance our troops. The reaction of American leadership is typical for military times when question of winning is prevalent over the issue of saving human life. Caring much about peace during the war can shatter the belligerent psyche’s ontological wholeness – if the fist is clenched it would be a shameful sacrilege to open right in front of your enemy your palm again – the fatal sign of weakness.

Real fighters – conquistadors – chained to their pride have to be tough – not needing compromises, they prefer to winning wars – putting enemies to their knees, not to negotiate peace. If Americans could try to sincerely negotiate before Pearl Harbor everybody on the planet including Australian kangaroos and African Rhinoceros could think they are sissies. For real soldier only victory (which is “unconditional, immediate and total”) can be the way to peace (paraphrasing James Baker talking about the issue of Iraqis troop’s withdrawal from Kuwait). In other words for any country involved into geopolitical calculation, having an interest to organize global configurations of nations according to their taste and interests and oriented on global domination, especially with population with democratic orientation on free speech, which is supposed to be persuaded to go to war, the energetic military action is always preferable to real, on equal negotiations (without blackmail or bribe).

In essence Kurosawa’s film is not only about a concrete city with a civilian population, which was chosen for destruction by nuclear weapon or about a future nuclear war, but also about the feverish tendency in today’s “leading societies” to act to achieve financial and military superiority over other, less technically developed countries. But the potential for serious spiritual concerns able to turn off our need for domination over other countries are shattered by incessant consumerism and entertainment forming our very reflexes from our childhood. The parents of grandma Kane’s grandchildren are so excited by the existence of their rich American relatives and they always were activating in their own kids unconditional orientation on innocent joys from consuming, having fun and being entertained – that in their kids’ perception the sudden appearance of these relatives of high social status meant that their whole life is handled once and forever. This “philistinization” of children’s minds and hearts is unforgivable not only because it indirectly connected with their emotional forgetfulness about Nagasaki terror (on which they became concentrated only because their grandma started to think that something is wrong in their fixation on their “American relatives archetype” itself). But it’s typical for today’s mentality – of putting aside everything except pragmatic interests in growing private prosperity and by this passively supporting their country’s orientation on various combinations of power and money worship.

This concentration of the postmodern mentality on a shattered reality of chicken-shit pleasures, on conformist interest in profit-making and social and international self-empowerment is, it seems, the main critical focus of Kurosawa in “Rhapsody in August”. This mentality is a psychological frame of predatory position towards the world, which philistines of different sizes project into the international posture of their countries.

Consumerist and entertainment gluttony, obesity and addiction create indifference towards everything outside the fixation on and regression to the objects of basic admiration – money, glamour, guns, power and glory. Strict social hierarchy – result of intense process of social stratification is internalized into the human soul, and another human beings are perceived not as equals – as partners in love and friendship, but as seniors or juniors in comparison with the subject, as decision-makers or followers.

It’s in this sense of shattered nature of human sociality, of fragmented meanings of human life Kurosawa’s “Rhapsody in August” is a deeply troubling and a tragic film. Tragedy is not only that civilians were hit with supernaturally strong weapon (so strong that it connotes inequality between strong and weak, superhuman and human or superhuman and subhuman, but that today’s public in masse is not interested in suffering of people they cannot identify with (whom they cannot put under the umbrella of common identity). In Kurosawa’s film only one person – and that is the old woman of deep existential spirituality (triggered in her by the intensity of personal suffering) understands that human race is irrecoverably losing its chance to seriously address the real problems confronting humankind – high-tech militarism and contamination of nature and human bodies and souls. People’s scattered minds of psychological fragments corresponding to our petty everyday obsessions create cognitive chaos pompously defined as democratic pluralism of our life.

In the final part of the film grandma Kane’s (Sachiko Murase) children and grand-children are trying to find her, who suddenly disappeared in the middle of the storm. When they detect her tiny figure at the distance they all started to run after her, but to reach her was not easy because of the storm and stubborn, almost supernatural power of the old woman. At first it looked like the grandchildren were trying to catch up with her to save her from death, but the connotation here is that they’re trying to reach her unique understanding of how we have to live, what we have to do in our lives instead of what we’re doing. Step by step we, the viewers get, that the children are running after their grandmother because they don’t want to be without her, don’t want to be abandoned by her, that the goal of her life becomes what her grandkids want for themselves also. In other words, they‘re running into a new world that their grandma wants to found, a world of other human sensibility and another existential norms and morals, a world without competitions (with inevitable winners or losers), envy, hate, righteous torture, murder and vanity. Kids run towards her because they don’t want to be left behind and don’t want to appear again in a senile meaninglessness of our philistine life.

Will we reach her and save ourselves or will we lose her and lose our lives amidst an ecological ruin of a destroyed natural world and our ravaged humane potentials?

Has the grandmother gone mad to go to the very nucleus of the storm to save the humankind? Probably, in a way, yes. But today it looks like, that the only way to stop the madness of human fight for international, global domination is to become radically different from our mass occupation with our vanity armed with high-tech weaponry and start to live as human beings were meant to – learning how to love, at least – how to respect and be interested in, and at least – how to tolerate human dissimilarity and otherness and how to become more spiritual in a secular sense of the word. We have to be able to talk, to discuss and to negotiate with other people on equal.

We have to treat others like Goethe-the poet, Schubert-the composer and Kurosawa-the film director treat the rose of life.


And the boy a rose did see,
a rose standing in the field
blossoming in innocence,
awed by the color it did yield.
A never ending fascination
for the crimson color
of the rose standing in the field.


Marcel Duchamp, “Fresh Widow” 1, (1920)


Marcel Duchamp, “Fresh Widow” 2, (1920)

The innocently ironic syntagma “fresh widow” includes contradiction and even controversy. It’s at least tactless to call a widow who just lost her husband a freshly widowed woman. The grief connected with a fact of finding oneself deprived of the spouse conventionally demands respect. But a widow is also a human being for whom the matter of living in spite of her grief can be not only important but ontologically prioritized.

The point here is the channels through which this prioritization of life over death is understood. Here we come to the necessity to “bifurcate” the intentionality of the widow of Duchamp’s “Fresh Widow” on two possibilities signified by the color with which the artist depicts the window of the woman who has lost her husband. Of course, the very interior of the widow’s suffering is black in both versions, but in “Fresh Widow”1 the color of the window-frame is pale blue, while in “Fresh Widow”2 the color is rather greenish. Why is Duchamp characterizing the variations of feelings behind his “fresh windows” by using different colors?

The widow behind the pale blue window is after the death of her husband is rather in a traditionally religious (piously mournful) mood. Her feelings are, as if, colored by the sky which is covered by the pale veil of her tears. But the widow behind the bright greenish colored window is rather in a pagan modality of feelings (if not to project into the greenish window frame any hints of moral judge-mentalism). Even “fresh widows” are entitled to dream about a future husbands (as soon as it’s only a patient dream, of course). Let’s not be excessively puritanical. Greenish dreams are springy – they’re about shining fresh leafs, trembling, if they are of the birch tree by the caressing spring wind.

Of course, in “Fresh Widow”1 the contrast between the blackness of the windows and the color of the window frames is not too drastic – more, it’s rather repercussion, a resonance between “dark” grief and pale-blue heavens. But in “Fresh Widow”2 blackness and freshly green color of the window frames are, indeed, in extreme controversy. In both works the outside neatness of the window (as if it is after the aromatic bath) contradicts to the darkness of the black color behind the glasses, which, as if, is hiding the inside of the house. Doesn’t, according to Duchamp, the neatness of the cleanliness/purity of the widow’s window contradict the very idea of the grief?

If so, we here, may be, are close to seeing what is behind Duchamp-the artist’s aggressively sarcastic style in general, in his another works. Can it be the artist’s tormenting grief as his reaction on the psychological condition of humankind and vicious modernization through technologization of people’s sensibility, when technology is just an instruments of the financial and power elite’s total domination over populations?

An Innocent, Almost Darwinian Roots of Philistinism


Balthazar Klossowski/Balthus’ “The Street”, 1933

Balthus’ “The Street” is a kind of a puppet theater separated by a blink of an eye from becoming tableau vivant which in the next moment – the puppet-master’s manipulative action – animates itself again and immediately after freezes again. Balthus’ painting, as if, hypnotizes us into this game – in one moment we see people in the action and in the next as static picture.

Why the painting can be seen as the puppet’s movements and why these movements in next moment become frozen and then another way around? It seems – the painter suggests that something is very particular or may be even wrong with these people on the street. They can be perceived either as puppets or as statuettes, they don’t have human status, and the street on which we see them is stylized as a decoration. What is all of this – a toy-city, a decorative street and wooden figures?

By making the street the focus of attention Balthus makes the social setting of human life the area of his analysis. Even personal life and personal bonds are represented as a part of social life and this fact by itself can mean that in this painting Balthus rather intentionally more than intuitively follows the sociological perspective on people’s lives. We understand that the personages of the painting are human but puppet- or animation cartoon-like characters. They are all incorrigibly and remarkably artificial.

People whom Balthus represents here can easily fit the universal category of philistines. The very dynamism of their life style is static. Their life is like the Freudian unconscious – beyond changes of time. Their living is posing – but their posing can include whatever life will put into them. That’s why the very movements of the figures in “Balthus street” are static. They’re inert even when they’re rushing. They are deadened even if they will jump up. Philistines are “immortal” but they don’t know it. Life lives them rather than they live life. In this sense they’re like the carriers of Darwin’s law of adaptation. In the Soviet Union they would be for communism, in US for money-making and consumerism. Puppet Theater and tableau vivant are two aspects of the life of philistines. They’re people of tautological existence – existence as a goal in itself. Conformism – taking life as it happens to be – is their modus operandi.

Let’s not delay much longer the pleasure of concentrating on the very personages of Balthus’ “The Street”. Let’s start with the “existential center” of the street – the worker dressed in white cloth (humorously idealized proletarian), crossing from one to another side of the street. He is carrying a wooden board which is simultaneously covering his face and, as if, cutting into his shoulder and back – it, as if, has become part of his body. Between the worker and the viewers we see a little girl with a face of an adult woman – she is playing with a small racket and ball. Her exaggeratedly adult face and giant (in comparison with her body) head in a combination with her ball-hitting (“spanking” the ball function of the racket) tells us that the girl is unconsciously playing mother – that she occupied with/imitating woman’s dominant role in child-raring. Farther we discern two women (seen from behind), both occupied with their business and feeling no necessity to show us their faces, one in a long dress-robe of colorful black and the other with black color skirt – holding a little child looking like a young sailor looking like a small child. The both women are, probably, affiliated with particular religious sects. Among the two teenagers of the painting, one is energetically “marching” right towards the viewers. His facial expression is demonstrating to pedestrians and the viewers his determination and dedication. His naïve face with fearlessly opened eyes is combination of thoughtless trust of the world and optimism – a typical expression of a conformist youth dreaming of his social success. He reminds us of the early screen characters of the American movie-star Mickey Rooney in his young age. Pay attention to the right hand of this boy that is slightly touching a place of a hidden pocket in his jacket, perhaps to show everybody that he got some money for his work. And finally we see a boy who is trying to have his way with a girl right amidst the day light. He is grabbing the girl with a greedy gesture which confirms his approximate but some knowledge of the girls’ anatomy. He doesn’t need to see the street – he is different from the marching boy – he is concentrating on his internal sensations. With the girl he is, obviously, on the right path. The girl is trying to run away, but at the same time she is not protecting herself with her arms-hands. The last personage of the painting is the young cook – standing or walking on pedestrian side, taking a break or attracting attention to the eatery he works for.

The street Balthus painted here is rue Bourbon le-Chateau in Paris, but it could be in many others European cities. The time represented is close to 1933. Herr Hitler is either already taken official power in Germany or very soon will. What it means for France? What can it mean for these people we see here? German occupation of France is looming. But why don’t we see worries or at least concerns on human faces? Many French, of course, still remember the WWI, when so many were killed and wounded, and many are crippled. But the people we see in Balthus’ painting are out of reality. Let’s not forget – philistines are creatures who are isolating themselves from everything unpleasant – that’s how they adapt and survive. But even philistines can be exterminated by wars and totalitarian despotism.

What Balthus demonstrating to us today is not only the past which for us is present because high-tech weapons became much stronger in its exterminating power than before, but the fatal dangers to our ecological well-being and physical and mental health on part of fossil fuels and chemical poisoning of the environment we are part of. But the people on the streets of the American cities continue to live as the personages of his painting. We today are not just similar with the inhabitants of Paris as Balthus shows them – we are more them than they were then. Our enemies are not outside of our borders but we ourselves who have lost contact with reality because it is not entertaining enough for us – not a fun. “The Street” was used by the philistines, but in the 21st century we are robotically enhanced philistines. That’s what it means when human life and human dreams are turned into animation cartoon turning into tableau vivant and back and again…

Balthus (Balthasar Klossowski de) - 1908-2001
Balthus (Balthasar Klossowski de Rola) – 1908-2001

When Moral Dirt of The Socio-Economic Life (While Partially Neutralized by Compensatory Consumerism And Entertainment) Is Dumped Into People’s Internal World

We feel motivated only by our social role, because the sensual life is more and more anorexic, more and more virtualized. We experience a desensualization of our life because we are so obsessed by social performance. It is the effect of the economic blackmail, the increasing cost of daily life: we need to work more and more in order to gain enough money to pay for the expensive way of life we are accustomed to. But it is also the effect of a growing investment of desire in the field of social performance… Franco Bifo Berardi, interview on “The Factory of Unhappiness”

The wealthy wolves swelled with gold and started to look like bears, for centuries tried to make the poor to unconditionally love the rich and powerful – they again and again have tried to persuade the poor to see the rich as benefactors and prophets in action. The decisive breakthrough in effectiveness of this noble task happens in front of our very eyes – during the beginning of 21st century. Today, even the homeless and hungry tend to wrap themselves with passionately patriotic feelings and almost effeminate love for tough-puff leaders and bosses with bells-balls of wealth – the poor’s ability for imaginary satisfaction is much stronger than it was in our ancient ancestors. Imagination in our times is technologically stimulated and is capable of providing much more pleasure than reality. And the main pleasure of social life today is to worship the wealth of the wealthy and fists of the fistful. The rituals of worship through political support is for the poor a bridge to identification with the rich – it works magically – “if I agree with millionaires/billionaires it is, as if I have a solid chance to become as rich as they already are!” Among the reasons for making this possible is the omnipresence of mass culture of entertainment connecting people’s aspirations with imaginary pleasures and possibilities, and supporting the psychological function of believing by the alchemy of profit-making. And people whose imagination (modified by the entertainment technology) helped them to adapt to socioeconomic life, are facing their own intimate relations with other human beings, which demands seriousness, tolerance, patience and sensitivity to boredom and stubborn otherness. It’s not surprising that the picture of personal relationships statistically shows the nauseating level of domestic violence, curious level of extramarital affairs and statistics of suspended divorce which is ahead of that of marriages (if to consider how many spouses of both sides are dreaming to divorce but postponing it because of financial considerations).


The DVD cover advertising Bergman’s “From the Life of the Marionettes”


Peter Egermann (Robert Aztorn) a young and a promising CEO of a successful corporation is helping himself in the whorehouse with innocent distraction/stimulation. Many viewers without difficulty will identify one of the American movie-super-stars on the wall


Professor Mogens Jensen a respected psychotherapist is lost in the brothel while trying to find there his patient Peter Egermann who called him in the middle of the night and needed his help.


Police investigator (Karl-Heinz Pelser) is moving ahead his investigation of the murder of the prostitute Katherine Kraft (Rita Russek)


The suspect’s mother Cordelia Egermann (Lola Muethel) is answering the investigator’s questions. She is full of suffering because of her destiny’s injustice towards her very image as a mother.


Peter and Katarina Egermann’s personal friend Thomas Mandelbaum – Tim (Walter Schmidinger) – by the trickiness of his answers makes the investigator irritated.


Professor Jensen (Martin Benrath) is intrigued by Katarina Egermann’s (Christine Buchegger) refusal to sleep with him right in his office.


Katarina exhausted and for a moment, as if, seeing her future and Tim in a rare moment of rest from their stressful job of working as professionals in a big fashion design agency

___________

Bergman’s film is analyzing how the human internal world and intimate human relationships are hurt by our society as human beings are generally mistreated by an economic system based on internalizing the profit from production by industrialists who simultaneously externalizing its cost (including polluting the environment and poisoning human bodies). The inequality between those who pollute life and those who suffer from being contaminated is shamefully a matter-of-factly phenomenon, like stress and humiliation of the working people who’re not allowed to participate in co-defining their working conditions and salaries besides having morbidly compete for jobs with foreigners inside and outside the country. All these inadequacies in the social life are projected into the human soul and contaminating our intimate life. Even compensated by extra-consumption and entertainment (and in the same time because of it – they teach people the simplistic and propagandistically distorted ways of perceiving the world) working people have a widening lacunas in their fragmented souls, and when they come to the area of personal life, they’re devastated, unconsciously or consciously traumatized by the socioeconomic mistreatment and unable to adapt to the real problems of human emotional mutuality. The condition of social life proclaiming “benevolent” competitive fight as an alternative to Christian love makes people (used to the indifference and manipulation on part of employers) suspicious, and this drastically contradicts the capacity for intimate love which needs spirituality and generosity of an unconditional emotional caress to be able to respond to another person amorously.

The economy (understood as profit-making and removal of obstacles for it) has become a “thorn” in the social body leading to irreconcilability between social life (impregnated by greed of profit/wealth worshipers) and the internal life of human beings, our ability to love in intimate relationships. Sociopolitical life makes us coarse, indifferent and hateful – permanently targeted by the entrepreneurs externalizing into our internal world what they don’t want to internalize – our natural resentment demanding from them the necessity to soften and humanize the social environment. We are not able to tame our fears, anxieties and stress and our natural resentment to be able to love in a context, where a human soul meets human body in its essentiality. In other words, what is “externalized”/ privatized into the human soul from the socioeconomic reality is our bosses’ economic misbehavior and our human social ego with its traumas and their compensations through consumerism and entertainment (adding to our psychological traumas the artificial and robotic reflexes of fake cheer and false optimism).

Peter Egermann (Robert Aztorn) is the main character of the film who, in spite of his intelligence and education, is doomed to personify the very disturbance of human ability for having/establishing emotionally healthy relationships. More exactly, while his mutual love with his wife, Katarina (Christine Buchegger) is genuine and sublime, but both spouses… cannot handle their very amorous genuineness (it’s too much for them in its contradiction to and incompatibility with their unconscious overfilled with the realities of their social lives demanding from them being fighters for their socioeconomic success – what was externalized into their souls by the fact of living in modern society of prosperity and professionalism. The catastrophic fiasco of Peter and Katarina’s life carried out by his crime, and further the destiny of Katarina and the prostitute Katherine Kraft (the indirect and direct victim of his psychological condition) are examples of human inability for genuine amorous relationships (in today’s society), their ontological (the wife) and physical (the prostitute) victimization. These two women who never even saw one another, function in the film as sisters of forced martyrdom. It is the money-profit’s hate for human soul (symbolized by Katarina and Peter’s destiny) and for human flesh (symbolized by Catherine-the prostitute).

Professor Mogens Jensen a psychiatrist who matter-of-factly offers the wife of his patient Peter Egermann to have intercourse right in his office and right after his psychotherapeutic session with her husband, not only doesn’t empirically know what love is, but has a patronizing disrespect for it whatever it is. But his offer to Katarina is not supposed to be taken naively – as just a sign of his essential vulgarity. No, it is a therapeutic attempt to show her the way. He thinks that love is a sign of psychological immaturity (a kind of outdated feeling) – the obstacle for civilized life. In this sense he as he is, functions as representative of modern sociopolitical order with its pragmatic indifference to the “sentiments” and emotional cruelty.

Tim Mandelbaum another friend of our couples and Katarina’s business partner is a compulsive homosexual fetishizing casual young male bodies (that is hiding agony of his own body, which is, as if, suffocated by factual life). He is ready to be killed each time he picks up a young gigolo at the train station but can’t refrain from anonymous sex – he is unconsciously perceives his own sexual need as corrupted by the tendency to manipulate/exploit the love object and be manipulated/exploited by it. He consumes male bodies like people today buy electronic toys. For him bodily contact between sexual organs is the ultimate existential honesty distant from human soul ravaged by the survivalist competition’s calculations/manipulations.

Finally, Bergman introduces to the viewers Peter’s mother who instead of suffering for her son and trying to understand what really happened to him, is tormented that she suddenly appeared in her dreadful situation of being the mother of a murderer and this is horribly unjust to the very image of her sublime purity. The fact of having lived her life without noticing her son’s potential and actual problems made her morbidly fixated on her purified self-image.

People who carry in their soul socioeconomic pollution – practically, all the population, are learned to accept their destiny and their victimization. Mogens Jensen cannot even afford to respect human love as carrier of alternative values – he is completely sacrificing it, don’t find a place for it in modern world. He is morally debunking intimate love as amorous obsession. To think like this is a sign of incredible deprivation. But he doesn’t have a choice – to accept the noble irrationality of love with its risks, contradictions and its demands would mean to step outside his professional guidelines, his very profession trying to apply to intimate relationships codes of mutual manipulation based on rational calculations, and then potentially lose his social status and material prosperity.

To be able to love means to try to fight for your love with yourself – that is with your inability to love. To love, according to “From the Life of the Marionettes” is to try to overcome your own resistance to loving (which is inside us because we’re overexposed to the existential pollution of our greedy, megalomaniacal and competitive ways of life). In this context Peter and Katarina Egermann are in a way heroes of fighting for their love. They are people who have fallen during this ordeal (that is not surprising if to consider that they like almost everybody else have accepted our socioeconomic way of life – tireless calculation of personal or group advantage as a normal way of life). People who use strategy of divorce are much more cowardly. They transform their spouses into something like an item of clothing – they wear their spouses on their own bodies or put them as a mask on their own souls.

Because of our particular condition of being split into being frustrated and corrupted from one hand and, on the other, having the potential for intimate love (without contradiction between spiritual and fleshy love – between Agape and Eros), the actors Bergman worked with in his mature period (many of them matured along with him because of the spiritual touch of their art), are playing spiritually even the roles of the people who are not really spiritual. It is this creative contradiction makes Bergman’s art existentially spiritual amidst the world which is deeper and deeper impregnated by a post-democratic barbarianism. It’s late Bergman’s unique directorial principle to prepare his actors to play existentially spiritually even the characters whose spiritual sensibilities are either nonexistent, wiped out or weakened.

Posted on 5/23/2018 –   Ingmar Bergman’s “From the Life of Marionettes” (1979/1980) – When Beloveds Cannot Handle Their Love Because Their Intelligence Is Kidnapped by The Feverish Demands of Social “Survival”/Success by Acting-Out Politics

Three Types Of Profit-makers VS The 99% Of The Population Becoming Pauperized Through Austerity Measures


Georg Grosz, “The Decision-makers and the Plebs”

The artist represents the social world as two unequal parts – one the desk with three giants occupying three third of the space while the “plebs” are on the periphery and are represented as much smaller human figures. The Olympians of today’s world are occupied with mental activity – the chief (at the top of the desk) is observing the plebs and calculating the profits made on people’s pauperization. The center of the picture – the very nucleus of the world of wealth-and-poverty is the main profit-maker’s left hand covering the pack of money.

The three profit-makers are calculating the growth of their wealth as a result of mass pauperization. The main money-predator is looking at people in poverty. Among them we see a cluster of unemployed as a result of the shutdown of the factories. The four workers include those with faces burdened by emotional trauma and despair, but the one in the center (drawn as bigger than others) is not only suffering but he is trying to think – is it really possible to do something about the fact that they were laid up and if it still possible – what can it be? To the right of the upper third of the drawing we see the tiny figure of a crippled veteran of the WW1 (reduced by Grosz to the size of a child because of his powerlessness which makes him insignificant in his own eyes). The largest figure amidst the people is the woman – a mother and/or a grandmother who feels desperate and ashamed that her children-and grandchildren are without food. She understands that she can do nothing about it, and it makes her situation even more painful. In the background there are also two figures of soldiers guarding the closed plant (or today transferred to the III World country, where labor is much cheaper). They’re made by Grosz even smaller than the vet on crutches. Why? What does the artist want to say by this? Aren’t soldiers the main weapons at the disposal of the mighty decision-makers? Why are they shown as even less significant than a crippled person? Unfortunately, soldiers cannot understand semantic contradictions created by the artistic thinking – they’re too disoriented by propaganda elevating them into glorious heroes moved by megalomaniacal delirium of being the best people on the planet. They still think that they are needed to defend their country while in reality they exist just to protect the wealth of the wealthy and the power of the powerful. Militaries are servants of these three giants with superhuman ambitions whom we see in Crosz’ drawing.

Among them sitting at the profit-desk – the main profit-maker is predatorily watching at the people. To the right at the table we see a person without eyes – instead eyes he is looking with his glasses – his professional – profit calculating eyes. For this reason he looks like a blind, and he is blind, if to mean human sight. To the left we see a creature who doesn’t look around but up – he looks skyward – with gratitude and a mute prayer to someone up there not to leave the three of them without his supernatural support. This person most likely thinks that they’re getting so much profit because of the supernatural help. By this belief he stabilizes his trio’s confidence and stimulates their professionalism to transform people into money.

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