Acting-Out Politics

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

When People Go Through Life Like Eyes Through The Visible World Or Ears Fill With Sounds, And Human Heart Pumps Blood Just Because It Is Its Job


A good looking couple with intelligent and sensitive faces – Claude Ridder (Claude Rich) and Catrine (Olga Georges Picot)


The dark moods and the inability to understand what bothers them, what is intervening into their happy life together with those strange melancholic drapes from nowhere?


Even successful sexual mutuality in our couple’s life wasn’t able to make them resit deterring the intervals of sadness clouding their togetherness. They felt happy with one another, but… They were lucky that they were able to share their sadness as a part of their love.


Because their nameless torment was incorporated by their love their amorous feelings became even enriched by their spiritual pain.


Catrine was first who had died – although the exact reason of her death was difficult to establish – she died from gas poisoning because she fell asleep near the running fire place.


Catrine and Claude are better than regular human beings – philistines (tautological survivors) fighting for success of their survival. Catrine was very sensitive of death – she was afraid to lose Claude. He was so gentle, not like other men. He was able to love without any affectation.


Claude in his participation in a scientific experiment had a fellow traveler – a tiny mouse. For this miniature gracious creature the whole world was her environment and dedicated to her needs. The mouse could return from the past at any moment, but Claude obviously couldn’t – the time machine was not able to take him back because it was, probably, confused – was Claude (sent by machine into his past) was revisiting his past or the world of his past imagination, which controlled him – made him a little somnambular he always was in his past life? He lived the unreality of his past life as if it was reality. It is exactly how he lived before his suicide – as majority of people who live through their imagination and judge the world according to their imaginary perceptions.


In the background of this shot we see the very time machine itself – looks like a giant onion or, may be, garlic from a famous book for children with vegetables, fruits and berries as anthropomorphized characters. Look at the scientists in the foreground – they’re like insects always know what to do.


Here, we see Claude Ridder in the time machine chamber, on a scientific mattress which was made, probably, to soften the transition for the time travelers between two incompatible realms – reality like fantasy (life of Claude in the past – before his suicide) and fantasy like reality (genius of science).

– ——— –

Our natural (pre-scientific) time-machine is our memory accumulating for our retrospections not only facts of our life but also our feelings and thoughts connected with it. Resnais, probably, had to somehow connect the semantics of his film with science-fictional time-machine since not many viewers are interested in human memory. But they are interested very much with science fictions because they want to see scientific miracles (if not directly imaginary – mass audience’s first preference, but at least scientific ones). Resnais’s project got attractive and prestigious label of science-fiction movie. Of course, in “Je t’aime…” he also had a chance to mock science-fictional facet of mass-culture – at least some satisfaction for the director who is “forced” by the circumstances to make profit for the producers, etc., a burden for the disinterested artist who makes cinema because of love for the art, concern for the human race and irresistible philosophical bent.

Resnais’ film, it seems, is about our inability to judge and to use our memory (to adequately apply it to the encircling us actuality – to judge not in a sense of how exactly or not exactly it can register what really happened with us in life or how disappointed or satisfied, unhappy or happy we are about what we remember. Resnais thinks not about human memory as such – the time machine as a part of the plot does its best to distract us, the viewers from Claude Ridder’s (Claude Rich) life, because it’s broken or just a “capricious” scientific aggregate. Through the metaphor of a broken time machine Resnais makes a point about the broken life of the characters – broken not in a sense that it is interrupted by the intervened disaster or their inability to follow the society’s rules and norms, but because it is broken from the beginning – by the pettiness, meaninglessness and emptiness making human life absurd in essence. In other words, what is broken is not computer (time machine), but life, the social container of human life, because of the absence of life’s meaning. Life of Claude Ridder, Catrine (Olga Georges-Picot) and Wiana Lust (Claude’s alt-[other]-mistress – Anouk Ferjak) plus the film’s endless small personages including the very serious scientists, is miserable by being not touched by secular spirituality in action, by the depth of human personalities.

It’s very symptomatic that the “time machine” worked perfectly at the end, when the hero (who is stuck in his past because of the machine’s inability to bring him back) is re-experiencing his own attempted suicide again, as if, going through it the second time. When while visiting his past he reached the point of his suicide the machine very quickly throws him bleeding back to actuality. It is, as if, his life was inevitably leading towards his suicide following by its dark but genuine logic pushing him to meet the horrifying but real event of his suicide. Here for the first time the machine acts “adequately” spitting him out of the past into actual reality. Indeed, Claude’s suicide before the scientific experiment was the only real event of his whole life. The reason Claude couldn’t return to actual life from the kingdom of the past before is that his past life was completely artificial, not existential – the time machine, as if, couldn’t see the difference between his real past life and his memory of it according to his past perception which the time-machine was reading from his mind. This machine, as if, permanently made mistakes in distinguishing between what is Claude Ridder’s memory and what was the lived reality in his past life. Claude lived his past life as if he was imagining it – he never felt the taste of reality, until he was engulfed by the extreme despair triggering his suicide attempt.

It’s very important not to forget that Claude Ridder is very intelligent and a witty person, and so is Catrine – his main love. But the basic flatness of their personalities – living as if collecting cherries from the cherry trees is fatal existential weakness, reinforced by their mindlessly, although minimally prosperous way of life. All their life Claude and Catrine looked around smilingly. They liked the quiet and cool waters of living.

But let us be just to the time-machine which gave Claude Ridder the chance to look into his past and, we hope, to understand how inadequate his very way of life was. Of course, he survived his suicide attempt, but will he be able without the time-machine experiment and risky mistake to really feel comprehend what was going on with his past life, how amazingly inept he was in his perception of living, how weak he was in his inability to help Catrine. Existential passivity was his compass. He was, as a human being an invalid, as majority of us, people are, even when invalidity of the others are different from his or ours. The creator of smart time-machine which was able to make mistake but because of this mistake became enlightening for Claude and for some of the viewers – was Alain Resnais himself, not the scientists. It is he as the artist of cinematic art tried to help one person, the hero of his film Claude Ridder to understand his basic problem and to help us, the viewers of his film, to reconsider our own psychological condition, either similar or different from Claude’s, without the dark necessity to rush to our death in despair.


After all the peripeteias between the young stubborn beauty Conchita claiming virginal status (Carole Bouquet and Angela Molina in the same role) and the old rich man Mathieu (Fernando Rey) dreaming of rejuvenation in her precious hands, the desperate Mathieu used the ultimate tool – the key to the house he eventually bought in Conchita’s name.


The grateful Conchita couldn’t believe her happiness and Mathieu’s generosity


She became gentle and soft. He never saw her like that. He felt himself like a skier on top of the White Mountain. Their fingers were trembling.


Suddenly Conchita changed. What could have happened again? After the operation of the golden key and the castle? Mathieu was still hoping that the bizarre change in Conchita is nothing more than a playful joke. He knew her well, but that was before the key…


But Conchita’s face changed again, like many times before. How is it possible – just moment ago she was so… cheerful?


Conchita’s… laughter was like a thunderstorm from the blue sky. How fioritures of her angelic voice can be so thunderstormy? Mathieu again felt the deadly burden of his age.


But even this wasn’t the end. Conchita’s unthinkable, unbelievable cruelty had more numbers. Mathieu had never seen anything like this in his whole life.


Finally, the last act. Mathieu felt himself, as if, locked in a deep cave. He was afraid that he will lose consciousness. Conchita did something that cannot happen in the world. In front of his own very eyes she… with her “disgusting“ boyfriend… Mathieu felt that he became dark as a lamp that lost electric power. But the amazing thing is that it wasn’t all. “Relations” between Mathieu and Conchita were continuing. Is it possible?

Some wars never reach a final resolution. After a lot of blood and corpses and some financial exchange wars may take a break – people need period of joys and hopes. But the spirit of wars are stubborn, especially the war of deadly rivalry between “Its Majesty-Money“ and the Human nature. In some historical moments it can seem that one side will prevail forever the other. Is the beginning of the 21st century one such moment? Is today it looks like that “Its Majesty Money“ interests are able to triumph over “human nature” (with its anarchy and stubbornness)? What if Money found a way to make Itself the nucleus of the human soul, more – the very heart of human nature?


For Thomas – an intelligent young man with a Cupid-like face (making the girls care about him) – a prelude to sex starts with pleasant visual impressions


Warming up for threesome through observing faux-wrestling


Satisfied and calmed by pleasure, Thomas-the creative commercial photographer is able to resume his everyday work


After being generously attended it is not easy to return to the demands of reality

Infantile sexual desire comes quickly (although a little teasing can make it look almost like passion). Its gifts can be strong but always ephemerous. And it disappears quickly and indifferently. But soon it is again reminds about itself rather disrespectfully and without any hesitations. Its call is not loud, but matter-of-factly. It is “why not” call which is always impossible to refuse as a small change without which we, somehow, cannot live.


Thomas’ (David Hemmings) unexpected and casual but, as if, trapping him encounter with enigmatic woman (Vanessa Redgrave), was felt by him as strangely meaningful.


Even a semi-detective plot (which they both were trapped by) – the plot of the film, couldn’t eliminate their fixation on one another


It’s, as if, the shadow of Adam and Eve was slowly touching their bodies and leaving and returning again


But the dope easily eliminates everything strange and transforms everything back. Thomas tried to find her. But they will never see each other again.

Contrary to infantile sexual desire (analyzed by the four stills in the beginning) even minuscule existential drive towards another person has ability to immediately push anything else to the margin. Of course, it’s not necessarily continuing forever, but it can return again and again refreshed and potent. The main character of the “Blow Up” didn’t reach an elaborated phase of his existential drive towards Jane-Vanessa Redgrave, and it is not because he is not impressed enough – he is emotionally taken like this for the first time in his life. But not for long, because he lives in a society which advertises itself to the population by mobilizing consumerist and entertainment pleasures and occupying people with money-worship – activities stimulating the dreams of wealth-power which in its turn stimulate megalomania making humanistic truth unrecognizable.


Antonioni and Vanessa Redgrave on the set of “Blow Up”

When Everyday Life Becomes Self-Glorification – When People Dream To Become Coupled


Francis Picabia, “Venus and Adonis”

What’s happening with two human beings – Jeanne and Jean or Heather and Bill or for that matter Katia and Victor, when they publicly celebrate their reciprocal love – when they turn into Venus and Adonis? How to describe this magic transformation from being just prosaic, social success calculating, depressed or money-hooked into togetherness of erotic excitement? How to understand this incredible energy making a woman and a man, as if, euphorically superhuman? Is it irresistible for a couple to go out late evening for a celebrative event, especially if they met recently and have a project of eternal togetherness?

The metonymies which can help us describe a couple’s transformation from humans to stars can be the appearance in them of a particular – maniacally cheerful mannerism of social behavior plus tendency to overdress and over perfume themselves and an artificial, let’s say – too loud or too playful talking and laughing. Even their skin becomes lit by, as if multicolored garlands that embellish Christmas trees. In short, when people are exposing-and-expanding themselves to celebrate their intimacy amidst mass crowding in order to publicly enjoy their privacy (to look at themselves through the admiring public eyes), their inspiration is enriched by a kind of… monstrosity of Being, as if they are irradiating light.

When regular – normal people became Venus and Adonis they after a certain point start to beam with… a primitive, almost animalistic spirit of predatory, even rapacious euphoria. It is at this point Francis Picabia gets them into butterfly net of his creative imagination. The eroticism of solemn bravado erupting from the volcano of togetherness becomes mixed with excess of narcissistic megalomania when two fresh sexual partners who appropriated the super-energy, as if advertise their insatiability and happiness with one another. These what Picabia’s couples erotically imposing themselves on people around are all about. They, as if are flying up by the power of their own wind.

Let’s look at Venus and Adonis again. Their kiss is like that of two snakes – one with a masculine dark, and another with feminine red lips. And her soul trembles like a flying mouse we see on her cheek. The double-pupil of the man’s left eye (for this occasion of being Adonis for Venus he must have four pupils with hypnotizing power) participates in transforming woman’s gaze into the flat mask. And look at their mutual embrace – the man is embracing woman into locking her body. The woman – his head. He appropriates her flesh itself, she – his mind.

The couple is covered by the glitter of shining dust of confetti and flying artificial flowers. Of course, it is the carnival’s crew cares for this aspect of celebration, but what if it’s our couple – Venus and Adonis who irradiates this multicolored dusts as the natural atmosphere of their love with bodily heat of immanent eroticism belonging to the members of our human race?


Francis Picabia, Mardi Grass Le Basier


Leonardo da Vinci, “Profilo di capitano antico (Il Condettiero) – Leader of Mercenaries”, 1480

The aesthetics of militancy is not a goal in itself, but organic part of preparedness for war, for battle and for fight. Look at the leader of the mercenaries with his bloated posture of readiness to kill, with a furious lion on his armor and predatory bird’s wings adorning his helmet. His facial expression impregnated with chauvinism and bravado is the main psychological and aesthetic attribute of a military commander. It is looking at a commander and remembering his face carrying contempt not only for the enemy, not only for civilians who are nothings in comparison with militaries, but for the whole world doomed to be conquered, low ranks got power to win. Looking at his profile not cognitively, but emotionally, we following Leonardo and disagree with the military leader’s hubris. Yes, Leonardo understood it all. Di capitano antico, indeed a monster of self-aggrandizement!

Of course, in the times when high-tech weapon didn’t exist yet – the physical strength and endurance of a fighter were even more important than today – it is from here the commander’s exaggerated grimaces and poses. Today, everything is more complicated, but the psychological predisposition we read on the face of da Vinci’s “commanding officer” is still the same but left from the surface to the emotional basis of the warriors – the same hate, contempt and cruelty is the posture of any, not only military power. Even diplomats of civil government luck the ability to discuss problems and reason with opponents. The universal and untimely crudeness of the soul which Leonardo registered on the face of his Il Condettiero is still the heart of our condition today, in the 21st century.


Pablo Picasso, “Warrior” or “Head of the Warrior”, 1933

There are two kinds of impairment – physical and mental. Let’s look at Picasso’s “warrior”. His physical mutilation and disability are tragic. But it is his mental infirmity could make Picasso to add a second title to his sculpture – it looks like he wanted to attract the viewers’ attention to the warrior’s head – to his mentality much more than to his physical disfigurement. Especially important moment in Picasso’s sculpture is, it seems, that physical infirmity of the warrior is not only a result of his wounds and of the fact of losing his limbs, but also of psychological nature, that the tragedy of a warrior who, probably, volunteered for military service, is that he is carrying inside his psyche the belligerent complexes which were pushing him to unconscious passionate search for dangerous situations – for heroic self-exposure to the risks of combat.

The reasons for the existence of such complexes of super-fearlessness is exactly the presence in the unconscious of the desperate fear to look not heroic and cowardly, and to have a strong conscious shame of being called a sissy. Look at the incredible, silent pride in the very profile of the warrior. It is his wounds and lost limbs that makes him proud and confident – for him it is the proof that he never was a sissy. It’s only when you have proved that you are courageous and a fearless hero, you can be free to die with a light heart – because not only your comrades in arms and people of your country, but god also will know that you are a real hero.

The young people who are born in conservative families with authoritarian fathers much more often than those grown in democratic family atmosphere are prone to feel that natural human fear of being killed is not natural at all and is a sign of being a weakling and sissy. So, as soldiers such youths became, as if more “masochistic” than their peers – in order to prove that they are the very embodiment of courage and prowess they are ready to sacrifice themselves to demonstrate – how great they are personally and how great their army – greater than any other army in the world. Inferiority complex in post-adolescents and yearning to cover it up leads not only to pugnacious behavior, but to a general belligerency and the absence of courage to have only your persuasions and your speech without weapon, ultimatums and “diplomatic bribery” to confront your opponents, discuss problems and together to come to reasonable resolution.


Bibi Andersson in the role of Karin in Ingmar Bergman’s “The Touch” (1971)


Bibi Andersson in the role of Karin in Ingmar Bergman’s “The Touch” (1971)

We have now to learn how to live without Bibi while continuing to watch and re-watch her in “The Touch”, from where she has transferred to us her creative gift many times. Without any didactics and sentimentality, by the very miracle of artistic rapport between herself and the men and women as viewers, Bibi elevated us with her emanation carrying the code how to love another person intimately.

You can judge a society by how much truth can be told about it in the art. The problem is that most people these days don’t think art should tell us the truth about ourselves. They think art should be congratulatory. They want lies in politics and in their own lives.
Edward Albee

The title “The Third Generation” refers to the three generations of terrorism… The first generation was that of 1968. Idealists who wanted to change the world and told themselves they could do it with words and demonstrations. The second, the Baader-Meinhof group, went from legality to armed struggle and to total criminality. The third is that of today, which simply acts without thinking, which has neither ideology nor politics, and which, without knowing it, let itself be controlled by others like a bunch of marionettes.
RWF, 1978

Style is just the outside of content, and the content the inside of style, like the outside and inside of human body – both go together, they cannot be separated.
JLG

First there was Greek civilization. Then there was the Renaissance. Now we are entering the Age of the Ass.
JLG

I pity the French cinema because it has no money. I pity the American cinema because it has no ideas.
JLG
– —————–

Ingmar Bergman in his “From the Life of the Marionettes” (1980) shows how anomic conditions of life and commercialization of human tastes, communications and values make people lose the ability for intimate and private relationships which are possible only if people are disinterestedly and selflessly connected with their beloveds, spouses and friends. We see how the very organism of genuine love between two remarkable human beings became destroyed by a life which for years trivialized and devaluated the couple’s emotional reactions on each other. Fassbinder in his “Die Dritte” and Godard in “Every Man” emphasize not only how human beings are changing in their personal and social relationships under the influence of socio-economic environment, but how people psychologically mix with their surroundings which degrade and trivialize their souls – how the characters in the films become inseparable from a flat and miserable artificial environment. In both Fassbinder and Godard’s two films the personas of different human beings are literally swallowed up by the psychological complexes literally inserted into them by the system. People lose their individualities and dissolve into the sociological field as standard elements of the crowds and the personifications of chaotic times.

– ————–

From Dialogues between dehumanized souls from RWF’s film

I can only thank the German lawyers for not adhering to constitutional law in pursuing their investigation (referring to the Mogadishu hijacking and events surrounding it).
Helmut Schmidt, Chancellor of the Federal Republic to Der Spiegel news magazine in 1979

[Whatever happens under the skies] You always pull the short straw! Scrawled above the second urinal from the left in the public toilets on the corner of Schluterstrasse and Kudamm, West Berlin

– All Turks are bastards. They stink and all they think about is fucking.
– Exactly.
– Give Germany back to the Germans. Send all the others home, every last one of them!
– Yeah! Send the bastards back!
– Why bother to send them back? Just gas them. They should be wiped out, preferably gassed. Wiped out and gassed.
– But not the Jews!
– You a load of pitiful idiots.
– Nazi pig!
– Filthy communist!
– It will be your turn one day, so help me God!

Unattributed ongoing dialogue in the men’s toilets at the Kade department store, 18.1.1979

Cunts don’t make sweet music. They don’t sing you any songs. They are just a little resting place for your nice stiff dongs.
An old poem that popped up again in the men’s toilets at the Freie Volksbuhne, West Berlin 26.12.1978

Slave seeks master to train me as his dog. I have no ties and I am willing to sacrifice everything to do exactly what you want. Here again next Thursday at 4 p.m. Every true sadist will immediately recognize me as a slave. A slave that’s ever willing to sacrifice himself, whatever the consequences.
Message in the men’s toilet at Bahnhoff Zoo, cubicle on the right, W.B. 26. 12. 1978

____________

When terrorism is organized by the enemy of terrorism – when rebellion against meaningless social life became as meaningless and absurd as this life


From a casual exchange between a billionaire P.J. Lurz and the Chief of Berlin secret police Gerhard Gast (Hark Bohm)

The immortal ghost of strategic financial calculation


The expected appearance of the mighty global businessman P.J. Lurz (Eddie Constantine) in his German office looks as if he has suddenly incarnated from the air. The composition of the shot underlines the tiny area of humanity of disinterested (without any calculations) human feelings – the mini TV screen playing Bresson’s film “Devil Probably”). But the tycoon Lurz is just a contour on the grey sky.

Monsters of manipulation and the Woman-body, woman-beauty and woman herself


The father (the Chief of secret police) of Susanne Gast’s (Hanna Shygulla) husband (a creative musician) has an affair with his son’s wife Susanne. Here he is in bed before intercourse with her. He is laughing at her “idealism”. Does he know that she and his son are members of a terrorist organization (naturally, they call themselves with a more respectable names, like revolutionary organization or rebels against immoral status quo)? Only close to the end of the film we learn that he knew perfectly well all along that “his children” are terrorists ready for action. More, he wanted them to become more active.


Lurz and Gerhard Ghast both appreciate Susanne’s physical beauty blended with her intelligent emotional reactions


Here is Susanne herself split between her husband Edgar, his disgusting father, and her dedication she shares with Edgar – to alternative way of life.

Forced symbiosis between an emancipated woman-professor of political history – and a professional killer


When Hilde Krieger (Bulle Ogier) is explaining to her students the various and always controversial and tricky political situations from the past she tries not to insert her personal political views into the discussions and follows the college rule not to mix personal emotions and “objective” facts.


Because of Hilde’s secret membership in the “liberation organization” as she herself calls it, her life became intertwined with a professional killer (a new member of the organization) Paul (Raoul Gimenez) – male with conservative manners and quite traditional demands.


For the sake of keeping her belonging to the organization of resistance to the economy of financial fetishism Hilde has to subdue herself to Paul – to everyday life of archaic and humiliating domination.

Grandpa (Opa) – Klaus Holm, and his grand-son Edgar (Susanne’s husband – Udo Kier)


Pay attention to Klaus Holm’s facial expression – his character: Opa in a big upper middle class family, already for many years has been looking at the face of his teacher Arthur Schopenhauer and, as if, hears his magnetic words about the necessity to have wars for every human generation.


Opa’s grandson and Susanne’s husband Edgar seems sad – he is not sure how to understand the socio-political revolution. He feels that something like this is necessary but what and how? To the left of the shot we see out of focus the presence of his mother (Lilo Pempeit) – as if through fog personalizing the foggy condition of her soul.

The “Intellectual” and the “Genuine soul” joined the rebellious group by chance


The intellectual (Bernard von Stein – Vitus Zeplichal) is cynically killed by the police chief personally, while his friend with genuine soul (Franz – Gunther Kaufmann) out of despair let himself to be killed during a police raid.

Philistines as terrorists


This shot introduces us to Petra Velhaber (Margit Carstensen) who became a member of the terrorist organization because of her growing with years hate towards her husband – the banker.


While robbing a bank with her comrades in arms to get the money for their terrorist operation Petra cannot resist killing her husband. Behind her is the “genuine soul” who cannot believe that she is using the situation to kill her husband. Today, it’s objectively impossible to separate what is a revolutionary action from what is a terrorist one, what is business from what is robbery, who is a politician and who a crook.

Financial calculation as terrorism (I, 2, 3, 4)


Chat between the billionaire and the secret police chief, #1


Chat between the billionaire and the secret police chief, # 2


Chat between the billionaire and the secret police chief, # 3


Chat between the billionaire and the secret police chief, # 4 Chat between the billionaire and the secret police chief, # 4

The secret and precious political agent of the wealthy elite (inside the terrorist organization)


Person of many talents, appearances, personalities and functions (August Brem – Volker Spengler), who works not only for super-generous rewards, but for pure interest and for perfecting his professional virtuosity

Cognitive pearls of a subdued mind


Mother Gast (Lilo Pempeit – Fassbinder’s mother) is trying to help Bernard von Stein (“the intellectual”) to realize the absurdity of fight between the rebel-terrorists and terrorist police.

Terrorist act masked as a mass-cultural celebration or entertaining event looking like terrorist act


The leader of the group Edgar Gast (Udo Kier) dressed as a clown


Susanne Gast (Hanna Shygulla) with a real machinegun camouflaged to look like a plastic toy, and with masterful makeup masking her face


Terrorist as a transvestite. The just kidnapped billionaire P.J. Lurz is collaborating with the terrorist kidnappers on making a film confirming his capture. He hopes for a “reasonable” compromise between the sides – offering terrorists’ demands in exchange for the billionaire’s life.


Revolutionary terrorists and Lurz work together on an “official” proposition to exchange his life for terrorists’ demands


It looks like P. J. Lurz is ready to exchange his death for an incredibly profitable business deal for his company. You see, some billionaires can be ready to go so far as to sacrifice their lives for extra-money.

————-
Paul Godard (Jacques Dutronc), the filmmaker who cannot make films he wants to make


Pay attention to Paul’s almost completely crushed smile – the echo of an almost destroyed soul. It’s a semi-smile of a body socially separated from its soul.


Paul Godard looks for justification for being creatively shattered by the transformation of cinema into profit-making technology


Paul is losing his ability to fall in love. Here, he is sitting on the same bench where an obviously a proletarian family is enjoying its togetherness – Paul is, as if, trying to feel close to their family happiness which he personally has lost and frankly, never had. But soon it became obvious that this family is “fake” – these people just hope to make a little money by impersonating a family happiness.


Paul is suddenly “attacked” by a gay man (valet in the hotel where Paul was living) who started to beg Paul to use him sexually, without any commerce involved. Paul retreated like a boy running from police.

Paul Godard and his former mistress Denise Rimbaud (Nathalie Baye)


Paul and Denise already have stopped to live together but still like to see each other outside. It’s not that the love they had is broken or has ended. But life demands permanent hustling for money and search for opportunities – such life seems like multiple survival paralyzing existence together.


We see that Paul and Denise somehow are still connected with one another. It’s, as if, they needed their intimacy which at the same time cannot be realized


Sometimes, when a person doesn’t know how to realize love he/she feels it’s necessary to do something eccentric and absurd. Without understanding what he is doing, Paul frantically jumps at Denise over the table where they were eating. But in reality such impulses are mute. They’re just futile despair of togetherness.

Dreams and Plans of Denise Rimbaud (Natalie Baye)


No, it’s not Denise Rimbaud “flirting” with cows. But it’s a representation of one of Denise’s dreams or short stories about an alternative to vain urbanism – she is idealizing country life, preferring bicycle over car, imagining how the hit from cows is radiating in the cowshed, etc.


In many places in “Every Man for himself” JLG uses unexpected short stops (stills) with various meanings. Here we see the “spirit” of Denise on the bike amidst the field being prepared for the crop. It’s, as if, Denise is enveloped by the mist of the country life she loves so much.

Paul’s ex-wife and their daughter Cecile


On their daughter’s birthday Paul’s ex (Paula Muret) came with her (Cecile – Cecile Tanner) to meet her father to get their monthly check and presents for the daughter.


Pay attention to Cecile’s contemptuous grimace when she is looking at her father. Indeed, she feels just a disgust toward him who cannot be successful in society. In her age and in the atmosphere of the merciless fight for success it is easy to look down at losers.


In this shot Godard shows Cecile’s dream – she, as if, passing the orchestra playing in her honor. Technically speaking it’s not her dream at all – she just passing through the area, but Godard underlines the importance of moments of Cecile’s self-centeredness for our understanding of her perception of life. She is opposite of her father – she is still psychologically alive, but in a wrong way – she is a typical plant of her super-busy bravura society.

An episode when a girl refusing to choose between two guys


Corrupting consumerist concept of choice and its subduing influence on the human beings. Sometimes, acceptance of the right to choose is a conformist gesture. The choice between two or several objects as goods is a conformist behavior as soon as these objects have a purely consumerist value: superfluous and vain – existing just for appropriation, as a part of financial exchange.

Paul Godard stuck in between life and death 1, 2


Last minutes of Paul Godard 1


Last minutes of Paul Godard 2

Sexual function is appropriated for financial dominance over human love and life (the story of Isabelle Riviere – Isabelle Huppert)

Customer #1 (Fred Personne)


Sexual domination through financial function or financial domination through sexual function – aspect 1 (comfort)


Sexual domination through financial function or financial domination through sexual function – aspect 2 (choice)


Sexual domination through financial function or financial domination through sexual function – aspect 3 (appropriation)

Customer # 2 (Roland Amstutz)


Torments of power 1


Torments of power 2

Polymorphous prostitution as a modern condition


Hope as thinking and thinking as hope


Isabelle and Denise (human pact without optimistic – aggressive profitmaking)


Humane and gentle prostitution (with a milder/softer or even without domination is still prostitution because it’s still domination of money over human beings)


Isabelle Riviere’s sister (Anna Baldaccini) as a future, may be, temporary prostitute (the sacred breasts as wage earners)

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Life becomes less and less reliable for both – working people and for entrepreneurs, and this makes workers furious and xenophobic and the rich in panic and ready for any financial trickery and fraud. Employees permanently need to change their profession or to improve their qualifications (and this often without any guarantee of higher salary). For the business owners it’s often necessary to reduce or the freeze salaries for workers or to change the working conditions from full employment to part time or temporary jobs in order to pay less. All these and other stresses are reflected in high blood pressure, mental and physical exhaustion, growing despair, chronic fear of losing business or job, shame of being a loser, psycho-somatic illnesses, etc. Rising cost for the rent, medicine and medical care adds to the picture, etc.

Even more terrifying situation is for the younger people who are entering a world of intensified fight for money and success. They were dreaming to work in a more normal – more balanced conditions but instead have to face a world which is impulsive and permanently changing like planetary temperature under the global warming. They quickly learn that besides readiness to work honestly and well they have to permanently manipulate the circumstances and calculate and stage their success – not just compete but fight for the future. Growing drug addiction and suicide amongst the young are only two among other morbid reactions on this situation.

For all the people who are forced to function in an environment of high stress, the world looks like a monster. And they try to adapt, and one of the tools at their disposal is to change their perception of the world – to fight for themselves while ignoring and even not noticing the world’s monstrosity. Everything they touch, everything they see is in permanent and unexpected instability and changeability. People stopped to see the world as an existing miracle and other people not as competitors, but as human beings. They stopped to live. They stopped to live with the feeling of living. They stopped to live with meaning, they have started to live for the effectiveness of techno-survival – to live in between realities – just from effort to effort, from one attempt to the next attempt, from failure to failure, from failure to success, from success to bigger success.

The world has lost its existential concreteness. Some people try to create an alternative identity (AI), without or with acting it out. It’s not surprising that among such AIs can be some artificial and criminal ones. That’s why various characters in Fassbinder’s “Die Dritte Generation” became members of the underground political organization which before they were provoked by the secret police just existed as goal in itself without any revolutionary or terrorist actions. They were rather conformists but with the feeling that they’re different than the most people, although their human potentials were not able to develop. In Godard’s “Every Man For Himself” the conditions of life have provoked the main character Paul Godard feel and behave in absurd manner. He cannot even try to make a serious and honest film as he would have wanted, he is depressed and doesn’t know what to do. With his mistress Denise Rimbaud Paul is only capable for exaggerated and impossible acting out. When life is losing its existential concreteness – and when existential details are stopped to be perceived as reliable (full of themselves), human beings are prone to invent artificial relying points like recreational sex – sometimes like Hydra with many heads, like obsessions with movie-, athletic- or rock stars, high-tech guns, Ultimate Fight, Trophy Hunting, etc.

Indeed, with life provoking in us the desire for unlimited multi-entrepreneurship and for opening up of new local spaces for social success – we invent fetishes to balance our restlessness – populist political fakes, obsessive hobbies, wealth and property appropriation, alcohol, pills, drugs, money-money-money in order if not to forget, but at least to soften our worries, worries, worries. The world carries dangerous surprises, it can betray us at any moment. You need likeminded friends but even these common identity buddies for a common survival are like the world and their survival-success may not include yours. It’s felt necessary to make a group as one person – with a common, collective mind. So, totalitarian tendencies become stronger and stronger – group against group, ideology against ideology, difference against difference, team against team, country against country.

Because of all exhausting problems and dangers we, inhabitants of the postmodern world semi-unconsciously develop at least two obsessive-compulsive strategies – storing our survival (like people who’re afraid of the coming hunger store food) and consuming moments of our living – our very vitality, moments of our ecstasy. By storing our life and our joy – we with maniacal passion are trying to persuade ourselves that we are alive in spite of everything.

Storing our survival as an absurd – magical psychological effort is our greedy super-consumption of things including guns, techniques of self-defense (martial arts), services and entertaining images and means for this feverish consumption including money, career and fame. Over-consuming our vitality is the precious moment of our intense joy, pleasures and inspirations including the righteous feeling of hating others or feeling ecstasy about our dreams (in some cases creative like in Paul Godard’s mistress Denise Rimbaud in JLG’s “Every Man for Himself”) – when we give ourselves to these experiences we are forgetting what the world is doing to us and how we helping it. One of our most intense tactics to overwhelm ourselves with consumption of our vitality is our sexual abandon. Already for several dozens of years sex has more and more distanced and separated itself from love and has become even more independent from marriage then before. Sex is more and more used as a strategy to release stress and soften frustrations of living in today’s social environment.

Let’s focus on how some characters in RWF’s “The Third Generation” and JLG’s “Every Man for Himself” use “storing of survival” and “consuming vitality” to keep themselves socially functional, although already absolutely incapable of developing their own existential spirituality, moral fitness, psychological integrity and nurturing and keeping intact their humanistic orientation and control over their government officials’ behavior and intentionality.

Let’s start with P.J. Lurz (Eddie Constantin) who for the sake of getting more billions not only invests into a new surveillance technology but into surveillance of the underground terrorists (some of whom he knows personally) and into provoking them not just to sit quietly with their subversive feelings in their hearts as they prefer to do, but to activate them to come out and start to commit real terrorist acts. More, Lurz is risking his own life for the sake of becoming even wealthier than he already is. On the other hand, Petra Vielhaber-a house wife (Margit Carstensen) – a member of the terrorist organization and a person without any political ideology whatsoever, when being enflamed by the trapping actions of the secret police – uses the situation of robbing the bank where her husband is the manager-boss, following the impulse of killing him. While Lurz systematically, with stubbornness of a squirrel hiding its food under the soil, “is storing his survival” even so far as after his physical death, Petra Vielhaber with hysterical happiness “is consuming her violent vitality” into her last breath.

Gerhard Gast-the secret police chief (Hark Bohm) is also like Petra prone “to consume vitality” – his affair with the wife of his son makes him euphoric, almost like handling and eliminating terrorists. And so his son-terrorist Edgar Gast (Udo Kier), who with his infantile fear of police is prone to have paroxysms of panicky despair connected with the fear of being arrested – he masochistically consuming his panic, like Paul Godard in “JLG’s (Every Man…) dives across the space jumping on Denise, as if, he is god flying down from the mountain to catch an earthly female. Paul Godard’s foul language about his daughter’s sexual attractiveness keeps him kind of alive in a world that makes him depressed and apathetic, while Denise keeps herself hopeful by her petti dreams about her creative success “one day”.

Edgar Gast (Udo Kier) in RWF’s “Third Generation” with all the disgust he feels toward the philistinism of his family members likes to live in the prosperous family house and is troubled when the time comes to leave it, he is a little similar to Paul Godard (Jacques Dutronc) who cannot resist sharing the public bench with a family that seems to him is irradiating basic – primordial warmth. Paul Godard, Edgar Gast and his wife Susanne are people of everyday prosperity. P.J. Lurz-the-billionaire and Gerhard-the police chief admire Susanne not only for her beauty, but for her intelligence, though appreciation from them is far from being a compliment. In essence she is limited by being just a wife and a woman. Clients #1 and #2 of the prostitute Isabelle Riviere (Isabelle Huppert) in Godard’s “Every Man For Himself” belong to the same category of people as Gerhard Gast, a political policeman and an efficient murderer. They live and make sex like creatures of power. They command woman how and what to do. Isabelle Riviere is like a river clinging to every stone and every stump she is touching on her way. Godard shows her in the moments of being sexually humiliated and in a situation of her well-deserved luck when casual meeting with Denise Rimbaud provided her with chance for a softer-gentler prostitution – the one almost possible to tolerate.

Landscape As A Metaphor Of Human Coupling


Francis Picabia, “Idyll”, 1925

We see here representation of urbanistic-industrial way of life inside man’s head and even neck (as if, growing out of his spine brain) – man’s mind awakens with the drive to manipulate the space for the sake of his survival. We also see the determination of man’s attempts to transform/modify life to unite with eternal femininity (moon, quietness, silent lake and boat with virginal sails) for a trip not in space, but in time, in the company of feminine eternity enveloped in the blanket of blissful silence. Picabia delineates man’s space and woman’s time as different metaphysical realms – man’s movement and woman’s existence, man’s strain and woman’s still, man’s action and woman’s consummation of it.

The man grasps the woman’s gloved hand (embellished by pattern) a bit predatorily – her hand for a moment looks as a decorative revolver squeezed between man’s thumb and index finger feeling the trigger – is Picabia hinting here that gun becomes part of established life – marriage or at least solemn togetherness, with the necessity to protect the value of the sacred mutuality? The man is looking at the woman, but we don’t see his eyes – it seems that for Picabia there is nothing important about his eyes except the very function of seeing, so he drops the topic of man’s eyes with matter-of-factly certainty. We also don’t see his face. May be, it’s also superfluous – the urbanistic-industrial contents of his brain function are, probably, sufficient justification for this ellipsis too. Can it be that for Picabia in “Idyll” the presence of man’s face in general is pure excess if to consider man’s instrumental orientation in life? Indeed, what is really important for a serious man is his job, career, work, success, profit and woman. Why a male person should have a face or eyes as a “mirror of the soul”? It couldn’t be practical, it even would be not rational, even wasteful for nature to “work hard” to provide something like face and eyes to male’s body and brains.

But Picabia in his “Idyll” makes the female face super-expressive. The woman has four eyes and four lips! While his man’s face is monotonous except the pictorial brightness of the content of his brains (urbanistic landscape and settlement), woman’s face includes pink, white and “blond” colors, not to mention red and dark-red lips. Her upper pair of eyes look overburdened by the necessity not to lose attention on the various men around who can be her future suiters, in case they will be needed. As we see, even now, when her hand is squeezed by a man, whose nose almost touching her forehead, she cannot relax her permanent search, as we today with our need for multiple jobs. Her lower pair of eyes, contrary to the higher pair, is looking – not at her actual suitor but in relation to his closeness – her gaze is concentrated on emotional contact with the man, not on him. The fact that her right eye is moving towards her nose – crossing, tells us that she is really focused on relationship which is already happening, already under hand. The task of woman’s upper pair of lips, it seems, is to advertise the richness and promising fullness of her kisses, while her low pair of lips is preparing for and offering the kiss.

Francis Picabia is an example of extraordinary painters working in the period between two European wars in the 20th century and soon after WWII. During this time some artists could allow themselves creative risk of heaving meaning in their works of art on top of their artistic talent. They had the courage to do what today artists poisoned by extreme financial orientation as a raison d’etre of our epoch cannot dare to do – they nurtured their ability to elaborate their criticism of human life not in simplistic images but through rich metaphors capable to characterize real problems with profundity, details and contexts. By studying their work we learn not only aesthetic tools of cultural expressiveness but what they considered as their sacred obligation – to tell the truth about the conditions of human life. In comparison, many artists today are addicted to the flat images, like the viewers today don’t need to concentrate and analyze what they see in art expositions.

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