Acting-Out Politics

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

What could the Doctors of Law or Theology or Political science, etc. teach the child-Christ? Nothing, because all their knowledge reduces, belittles Being Christ. It’s putting imperatives (even when the right ones) instead of freedom of critical loving. “Doctors of Law” can only help baby- and child-Christ to physically grow and protect him from self-serving people, but we, regular humans need not only protection from hate and lies and cruelty, but from illiteracy.

Emil Nolde, “Christ and Doctors of the Law” (1)

The clear sky is the background of Nolde’s painting, the clean sky and the absence of sun. The sun, as if, has melted away into the sunlight, and the sunlight, as if, densified in the figure of the Christ-child. It is Christ who irradiates the sunlight onto the world in Nolde’s painting.

The sublime energy of the sunlight symbolizing existential wisdom is so intense that it almost distorts the facial features of the Christ-child, but it’s not the face of the Christ is distorted, but the intensity of the God-Sun’s encouragement of Christ’s life. It is this godly – light-child radiates existential wisdom into the world. The person to the left of Christ is the beneficiary of the main portion of the sun-light radiating from the boy-Christ. It’s not only his face expressing compassion for the child-god and the desire to help him in a dangerous world is a highly important presence in the painting. But also his chest – his soul is radiating a bright sun-light response to the very presence of child-Crist. Between this person and the child we see, as if, an ontological break – as if an invisible wall, which he breaches with his friendly hand inspired by the presence of the godly child and emphasizing the meaning of his presence before the people.

It is amazing to see the intelligence and sensitivity on the faces of the “doctors of the law”! The persons to the right from Christ are sorrowful because they know what kind of future awaits this child, who will grow up to be tortured and crucified. They have the facial expression of those who not only know what a terrifying thing will happen, but why it will happen and who can be motivated to commit the criminal actions to destroy the god-light inside the very human life. These human beings know – the impossible – the crucifixion will happen (a human life becomes too corrupted: impregnated by the credo-creed of consumerist greed and yearning for power and weapons).

Especially the last centuries stimulate in people actions in life instead of search for meaning of life. Feeling of suffering as an emotional ingredient of reaction on life – humility – is subdued by the bombast of the very vulgarity of self-enrichment as a banner-goal. Element of suffering as a part of the background of meaningful actions in life is absent in the existential abyss of emptiness where we joggle coins and grease banknotes, as if, magically multiplying their quantities and value. Casino optimism and gambling bravado become the heartbeat of today’s life.

Emil Nolde, “Christ and Doctors of the Law” (2)

Nolde’s second painting “Christ and Doctors of the Law”, contrary to the previous one (above), although identical to the previous by the title and topic, is rather confusing and challenging us, the viewers. The positive atmosphere has radically changed. No blueness of the sky and no sunlight. Instead we see a chaotically reddishly flaming brown walls of a cave and a monstrous column of light forcing us to imagine that the child-Christ (encircled by the doctors of the law) is in an enclosed space that reminds hell. But the light covering his figure is, as if, a kind of bubble, which somehow, as if enveloping him, while his face is in the shade of darkness of the cave, not in the light. We see that the boy-Christ is reading the white pages (with whiteness as if connected with the hellish light of the moving column of flame in the middle of the painting).

The very facial expressions of the specialists in law don’t (contrary to the scholars in the previous painting) don’t display any signs of their dedication to and compassion for the child-Christ. Rather they are painted negatively, as monstrous caricatures. It looks, that these people surrounding the godly child are… scheming and plotting something – they are trying to use and exploit Him for their own manipulative agenda! The “doctor” to the left of Christ with his thumb pointing at something important for him, and maniacally glassy eyes is, as if, trying to put the child against something. The second personage right behind the child doesn’t even need description – his animalistic rude mug is ambiguously chuckling. The next character in the right upper corner of the painting, as if keeps himself distant. He is “observing” the child-Christ from the distance, as if, to find the right manipulative approach to the situation. And finally the figure with vertically coned head and artificially red lips is trying to seduce the child into a “proper” actions. They’re all trying to coach the boy-Christ into concrete behaviors good for them instead of helping him to grow and form his own impressions about the universe.

The curious fact is that the comparison of scholars in the first and the second Nolde’s paintings reminds us the difference between two kinds of American congressmen who recently participated in the Impeachment Hearings of Pres. Trump. By hearing the public speeches of the democrats we see that the semantic level of their thinking is much higher and much more sincere and objectively oriented than the heated speeches-preaches of the republicans. Democrats are much more rational and non-imposing and uninterested in inflammatory exaggerations – permanent motif of conservatives. Observing the adults figures in the second Nolde’s painting we recognize the hateful, maniacal and pompous republican politicians.

The two paintings of the same master, the same topic and title – and so different semantic elaboration! Indeed, two different worlds. In the first painting the adults love the child-Christ, trying to protect and help him, they admire him and suffer about his future. In the second painting the adults with identical education and profession are only interested in mentally exploiting the child-Christ, in taking advantage of their status in seducing him to serve their own dogmas and intentions. Don’t we all live in this double universe where democratically oriented scholars and writers are trying to help us with their altruistic, objective, disinterested approach to the reality and conservatively oriented specialists trying to propagandize us into their own way of thinking in order to use us according to their own goals.

Nolde understood before us the double nature of our world divided on a more decent people with sincere democratic orientation and the self-centered wealth- and power- oriented conservative manipulators.

Torture of a human being is for torturer like a sunrise

Torturing a human being for a fascist is like getting a license of a super-hero

Torture of a human being for a fascist is like a guarantee of Eternal Life

The President, Bishop and Duke (on the left) celebrate the beginning of a punishment for those who while living in “Salo” – “fail” to behave according to expectations. On the right we see the senior torturers ready to start the orgy of retribution.

The young fascists are learning the feeling of power and superiority over their victims.

Primitive (by today’s standards) electric chair is ready to be turned on. To the right we see a Senior Guard ready to activate the electricity, the President and the Duke. In the background we see the next victim – blond girl. Of course, she is not waiting for her turn to be tortured – is she hopping that somehow her destiny will spare her?

The President (Aldo Valetti – to the right) and his entourage of senior guards are preparing to burn Renata’s nipples

Franco (Franco Merli) has been put through a procedure named (by multinational cast of hired torturers) – mock execution.

The murderers are in the process of slashing Franco’s tongue. “Justification” for this is that Franco, besides getting a girl-friend, dared to discuss with her how to run away together from the camp.

The procedure of burning some areas of the human body. On the left we can easily recognize the back of… the President presiding over the event.

Here the fascist leaders’ game is to “jokingly” tease the youngsters like dogs by offering them pieces of food and then taking it away only to offer it again and again. The “pedagogical” idea here is that the victims learn to impersonate dogs.

Another fascist self-entertainment – victims are supposed to learn not just how to eat dog’s food, but how to exactly imitate the very manner of dogs eating. O, some fascists have their own philosophical perspectives – “the obedient dog becomes a man, the disobedient man becomes a dog”.

Fascist leaders (alerted by “secret information” about the natural amorous attraction between boys and girls in the “school”) rush to the dormitory to stop the disgusting heresy of spontaneous love and dreams of living beyond the despotic “commandments” of fascist wisdoms.

Fascists having fun feeding their young captives with food with small nails hidden inside it

Renata (in a wedding gown) and Sergio (to her right arm) are among many killed in “Salo”. Fascist mentality (despotic and self-centered) destroys not only human beings (including human souls), but the meaning of human nudity making humans god-like creatures. “To discover god’s image in yourself one has to be naked or a beggar.” But fascist posture vis-à-vis the world transforms human nudity into object for consumption (and simultaneously shame), into a human vice, and being poor into criminality, while human body made into Jack in the box of money-making.

Fascist leaders of Salo sometimes like to observe torture (from the comfort of their private rooms) through miniature binoculars.

“Are you afraid? You’re an idiot if you think that death would be so easy. We intent to kill you and those who are like you a thousand times – to the end of eternity, if eternity has an end”


To make people die during torture (not after it) is especially exciting for the fascists.

Stravinsky – music as a soul of the body

Milein Cosman, Igor Stravinsky, 1959

Why to make a drawing of the composer’s back? Especially when the composer is conducting? Why is it not the front of his body including the face – the face of the artist, the face of inspiration? Yes, the back is what keeps the front, and front means inspiration! You can proudly say that the chest of a musician is the heart of his inspiration. If the face is the carrier of the code of the artist’s inspiration, the chest keeps and radiates the inspiration’s energy. But what can the human behind radiate? Physical stress?

But physical stress (which is especially intense if the conducting composer happens to be Stravinsky and if he is conducting his own music, which is most likely the case here) is not only physical. There is the emotional and a purely technical (performative) stress which adds to the physical and audial intensity. Stravinsky’s is not just a music belonging to the human soul, it is a metaphoric imitation of the pagan reality of nature and life of the universe. Physical exhaustion for Stravinsky conducting his own music is his ability and readiness to simultaneously accept several channels of energy’s waving/spending which is necessitated/imposed by the situation.

Stravinsky’s arms are that of a physical worker. And his shirt is full of creases, lines, vectors, folds, wrinkles and waves and vibrations of his music. Let’s his face and chest – his code of inspiration be for the audience in the concert halls. But his music – alive, made, controlled, released, squeezed, blessed and joggled by the body of the composer, we can hear in this mini-sketch by Milein Cosman.

Rostropovich – music-the Spirit, cello-the craft and human soul-the artist

Milein Cosman, Mstislav Rostropovich, 1960

What do we see-hear here? Music, musical instrument and the musician? The big baby/wunderkind-cello, its scrupulous and simultaneously tender and demanding nurturing nature and its tireless nurturer?

We notice a mistake – too obvious for it to be a mistake, of course, it’s the paradox of creativity, more – its miracle. We notice that the right shoulder of the cellist (Rostropovich himself) doesn’t correspond to the position of his right arm’s elbow. The impression is that something (the logic of the musical phrase?), as if has “disjointed” the elbow of the performer. In art this kind of disproportions happen very often when the impulsive idea spins the inspiration of the creator – as if, making it jumping over the expected connections between things, when anarchy of creative energy neglects the expected “proper” balance. In the situation we observe here – the right arm/hand of the artist-musician is trying to achieve proper sound, as if temporarily disjoining itself to reach genuine tonality. Viva, Rostropovich! Viva, music! Music is spirit!

The artist’s gaze is suspended. It’s, as if, Rostropovich’s eyes temporarily join his ears and rather just guard what the artist is hearing. His facial expression is that of torment, of almost unbearable overconcentration. But it’s the suffering of a victor, suffering as a part of triumph. When an artist is suffering it can be a sign that he may really be on the right path. Is my cello right – are my hands right? Is the sound of music right? Is my body in tune with the demands of gods of music?

To temporarily lend your sight to your hearing, to let borrow the muscles of the body to the caprices of musical demons is a dangerous obsession. For the musician to control the cello means to command his body as if it is an army’s private, for the sake of being at the disposal of the spirits of the music and still sometimes allow himself to twist their power and bend their excitement by his own risky and irresistible creative elaborations Rostropovich is known for.

Milein Cosman, 1921-2017

“Pasolini wants to replace the word “God” as Sade used it, with the word “power”, since the sadists are always the powerful ones. The main protagonists of the “Salo…” are a banker (president), a duke, a bishop and a judge (magistrate) – the representatives of a constituted might. Pasolini wants to illustrate the relationship between the exploiters and exploited, to show that in both sadism and power politics human beings become objects, bodies become wares, and that our economic organization, throughout history, has tended to be basically sadistic.”
Gideon Bachmann

“In our fight to raise our social standards we become dictators, power seekers. That is why Fascism has a universal appeal”
Gideon Bachmann

“What we are doing by trying to destroy our traditions is a descent to the greatest conformism in history”
Gideon Bachmann

“All the people here have worked with Pasolini before and carry great esteem for him, but they shake their heads prophesying that this film will never pass censorship in Italy. ‘Pasolini also said that in Italy they just store up information to take us to court and that we must build up a reputation for film abroad’.”
Gideon Bachmann

Introduction to the camp of Salo or prolog to the 120 days of Sodom

Ah, how pleasant it is to offer the consumers a good good and to deserve gratitude, reward, bonuses and extra money. Besides – to please the consumers is itself a pleasurable altruistic feeling.

The importance of the above still is in the presence of some strong and wealthy people in… the background. We immediately see the two leading ladies and at least the Duke and the President. Why are they just somewhere in the background and don’t dominate the foreground? It’s because even fascists respect rituals, and rituals have something, as if, “democratic” about them. Of course, rituals aren’t democratic, they’re obviously despotic – but they’re metaphors for people of power leading the masses. They’re, as if, the very will of the leaders even if leaders themselves aren’t part of the ritual. In other words, for the obedient people to be part of a ritual is to train themselves in obedience. It’s, as if, the ritual is always king. In the shot above the ritual we observe is representation of the sacred nature of marriage – we see Sergio (Sergio Fascetti) in a bride‘s gown, he is chosen by one of the leading fascists – the magistrate (Umberto P. Quintavalle) as his bride.

And now the consumerist pleasure is completely turned on – fascist leaders have the freedom and pleasure to assess attractive body and compare it with another ones – to choose or to refuse it. The nude human being will be refused and punished or accepted and rewarded by the fascist consumerists’ use.

Don’t believe for a second that the marriage ceremony procedure created by the fascists will let this young couple we see here be left in peace. We remember Sergio who already was a bride of one of the fascists (shot 3). Now Sergio and Renata (we see her humiliated in previous shot) are named husband and wife only to be soon theatrically separated and used for the pleasures of the fascist leaders and their helpers (President, Duke, Bishop, Magistrate and even police guards).

What is the difference between the first – previous still – less crowded version of the wedding ritual and the second version we see here [right above], which fascist leadership stages, where Renata (Renata Moar) and Sergio (Sergio Fascetti) are much closer to each other and where there are more nude bodies around them? The point is the devilish imagination of the fascist bosses. Sergio and Renata don’t have any (amorous) fluids between them. But fascists want them to fall in love with one another! Don’t underestimate the rich and educated fascists! Their imagination is quite intricate. They wanted Renata and Sergio to develop romantic need in and sexual fixation on one another just to tear them apart from each other in proper moment – for their own emotional and sexual pleasures. They want for themselves not only Renata and Sergio’s youth, but their mutual love too. At the end of the film Pasolini will give us the chance to see what they will do with these people.

These boys have to demonstrate the fascist bosses how excellent, good, almost good, not good enough, inadequate, disappointing or defected their sexual organs are.

Here, we see the President manually investigating the quality of the young girl’s sexual attractiveness.

Using a witty combination of procedures the Bishop demonstrates to the girls and boys – how dedicatedly and competently they should serve the elder fascists erotically and sexually.

Among various pedagogical lessons was methodical training – how to communicate and deliver exciting sexual massages to the bodily organs of the adult men with capricious sexual needs.

In some pedagogical séances dedicated to the impeccability of female beauty the scandalous situations and unforgivable things could take place – like we see here one attractive girl had a missing tooth! Corresponding punishment was immediately imposed on the girl and the woman responsible for her appearance.

Among stimulating surprises there was an event when the President (yes, the same omnipresent President – Aldo Valetti) had a wide and versatile audience enjoy, not without some shock (even fascist audience can be sexually shocked), to view his fleshy and freshly nude buttocks. Girls and boys-students had to fake admiration, while the guards-collaborationists felt refreshed and even generally stimulated.

The point of a scene like this one is not the unconditional assertion of the pleasure of sexual possessiveness (this sacred right the fascists got by the privilege of being rich and powerful), but the very refinement of the procedure of choosing the sexual object. The forte point is in the ritual of recognizing the alive sexual good potentially capable of providing multifaceted perfection of sexual service.

Among serious events in Salo camp was a competition for winning the title of the most beautiful buttocks and assholes under the monitoring of the Duke, Bishop and Magistrate. These three super-experts had to resolve a complicated scientific problem of the inevitability of subjective factors in the very reaction on the mentioned parts of the human body and the very taste for them connected with proclivity for sodomizing girls or boys. In spite of moments of uncertainty and disagreements respectable jury tried not to mix aesthetic and gender-based factors in their assessments and be not-prejudiced.

Another “interesting” competition was connected with the ability and the courage of the (enslaved) students of “Salo University” to impersonate hungry dogs not only by appearance (for example by barking and trying to fight with one another) but by essence – the capability to eat dog’s food and attack one another as dogs angered by hunger do.

Here the omnipresent President again, this time posing in front of Fernand Leger’s painting and enjoying his freedom from bodily particularisms and limitations and for the freedom to command and manipulate the human beings in need of fascist pedagogy.

The girls are waiting for the judgment of the forms and shapes of their excretal droppings – did they defecate at the right hour or in a conformist manner they have followed their sensations and were unable to postpone their relief? Spontaneous defecating and urinating are not allowed in Salo and is severely punishable.

Leading fascists demanded from Renata and Sergio to have sexual intercourse right in front of their greedy and cynical eyes. How to overcome the couple’s natural shame – they’re not porn stars. The girl and boy didn’t know that even if they could be able to do this, these monsters would not let it happen and will tear them apart from each other.

The demanding shouts of the bosses made Sergio and Renata jump up. They’re not able to entertain those who wants entertainment by any price. In a second the bosses will jump at them like predators on the prey.

After pretending innocence – as if they just want to watch the first marital intercourse between the boy and girl and wallow in their emotional and physical vibrations – the Duke and the President jumped at the imprisoned young bodies to kidnap the shy vitality of the sexual prisoners. Now the Duke and the President are ready for sexual feast.

Fascist treatment of the world

Apotheosis of fascist sexuality as greed for natural resources including human bodies and souls. On the left we see the President, Bishop and the Duke, and on the right the armed guards and torturers of the captured young people trapped in the camp of Salo or the 120 days of Sodom.

The Republic of Salo is the informal name of Mussolini’s Italian Social Republic, based in the town of Salo, the semilegendary site of some of the worst atrocities of the closing months of his embattled regime.
Neil Bartlett

Pasolini declared that “now, as never before “artist must create, critics defend, and democratic people support… works of art so extreme that they become unacceptable even to the broadest minds. The artist’s function is to put orthodoxy and codified certainties into crisis. His duty is to break the rules.”
Naomi Green

Pasolini stated that the adaptation of population to the power of consumerism is genocidal, that this new fascism is violently tearing away at ancient ways of life, at the age-old values that are really the source of culture as a whole…
Roberto Chiesi

Impressive scope of the President’s (Aldo Valetti) eccentric moods 1

Impressive scope of the President’s eccentric moods 2

As we see, sometimes even an exceptionally confident man like one of the fascist leaders in Salo, the Duke (Paolo Bonacelli) cannot resist bragging in front of the very air around him about his greatness, wealth, power and social status.

The Duke has just publicly defecated on the floor of the salon and commanded the young girl to eat it (“mangia!” in Italian means “eat!”)

The Bishop (Giorgio Cataldi) likes to display his elegance – to emphasize the fact that he is not just human being but has a taste for sophisticated sensations and pleasures.

It is for this reason (because of his elegance) that the Bishop often becomes enraged because the regular crude folks don’t understand what the nobility of the self, body and soul is.

To be in charge of other people and their life is for the fascist Bishop not only freedom – it’s superhuman, excessive, luxurious, frivolous and perverted freedom, which allows to mighty individuals like him – super-powerful and super-wealthy to enjoy the mistreatment of everything and everyone.

What kind of a satisfaction can the Bishop get from being sodomized by a brutal policeman (the guard and torturer of the young victims imprisoned in the mansion by the fascist aristocracy including him)? For the guardsman to be chosen to commit the act of sodomy on the master himself is more than tremendous honor. But for the Bishop, besides being part of fascist comradery sodomy is a matter of… consuming instead of releasing fecal mass, taking in, accumulation, sucking inside instead of losing. It has something to do with the very greed of anal function for sperm as fresh vitality – a kind of triumph over reproduction and procreative instinct.

The necessity to survive by any price makes the young handsome boy to pretend that he is always ready to kiss the supreme master if and when the Duke initiates kissing. Look at the helpless boy’s facial expression – he is not just ready to answer the kiss – he is showing to his possessor that he is willing to be kissed, that he is happy, that it’s his sincere desire to always share the Duke’s kiss.

Signora Castelli (Caterina Borato) is overwhelmingly seductive and simultaneously frightening, even horrifying. You want to touch her with your fingertips, but you are deadly afraid to do it. And then you became frozen and unable to move. You are left with this desperate desire without the ability to realize it.

Signora Maggi (Elsa de Giorgi) is presiding over the anal circle of fascist pedagogy. Like signora Castelli-the Goddess she is full of didactical stories for the youth. She is also an irresistible superstar, but her mere presence nearby generates fear as an untouchable.

The predatory nature of people-without-limits we see in this shot is not playful or capricious. They claim for themselves the absence of any normativity. They not just think that they are gods – they want everybody see and believe in their godliness and irresistibility even in their super-eccentricity and absurdity. They revel in exhibitionism and displaying their perversity as their prerogative. They’re “too strong” to be afraid by being laughed at – they are will shut up any laughter. With them in charge people have to lose even basic human ability to laugh at what they think deserves laughter. Here, it seems, is important to make a difference between authoritarian laughter (laughing at) and laughter from the bottom of the heart. Naïve, innocent laughter is different from reproachful, punishing – fascist laughter at the people.

Look at the Duke’s (Paolo Bonacelli) solemn face – he expects from the young girl to be happy and proud by the task of urinating on his – Duke’s face. But she is in tears because she is horrified by the Duke’s monstrous desire and for this reason unable to release her urine to his mouth.

Luckily for the Duke the girl’s effort finally is taken place. He feels the natural warmth on his lips and tongue. When the procedure is finished the Duke was angry and even infuriated. What for human beings is a “private” action for the fascist Duke with an “eccentric” taste the preference is for the substances produced by the body, not actions and thought produced by human personality. But why waste products of human body can be perceived as desirable – having a value of a cult object? Because fascists like to force people to overcome their shame, to become shameless. Fascists like to transform people into fascists – the rest have to die. They want people to lose autonomy over their bodies – to lose civilized condition – to become what they in reality are. Besides, aristocratic fascists have fantasies of exploiting the human bodies as they exploit nature and human labor. Human organs can be used for the needs of the superior and rich people. Already today blood plasma of young people can be used for prolongation of life of elderly rich, and the fecal matter of people with healthy bacterial content can be implanted to enrich the content of the gut bacteria of those who lack it. Fascist billionaires can use the young bodies to parasite on them (let’s not forget how widespread pedophilic prostitution is today). The fascist characters we see in Pasolini’s film are used sodomy not only as subjects (active participants) but as objects (passive participants). Their power and money literally opened for them all the doors. In his “Salo” Pasolini depicts “revolt” by some of the youth against being exploited, with deadly consequences for their life.

As we see here, the Bishop (Giorgio Cataldi) is not just disappointed, but really traumatized by the inability of the young girls and boys to sexually satisfy him. In his enlightened opinion, they’re too crude – they don’t have erotic compassion and sexual sensitivity. They’re supposed to be intuitively wiser, much more tenderly alert and much more loving the distinguished elder men! Signora Castelli (Caterina Boratto) is ready, it seems, to help the Bishop in his disappointment and be an example for the frightened younger generation.

In this still we see – “aesthetically speaking” – the contrast, morally speaking – inequality and simply speaking “difference” between rich and poor, powerful and powerless, happy and desperate, loud and voiceless, the decision makers and powerless, between those who are laughing and who are depressed, the maniacal and the subdued, those who give orders and those who obey, and those defining the social life and who’re forced to follow rules made by the rulers – between fascists and people.

Now that I am at peace, tied to my roots, I feel I no longer exist
Fabrizio at the end of the film

Fabrizio and Agostino are close friends. But they are very different from today’s Americans of the same age – they didn’t dream about the future profession with its financial rewards and social success. And they never play videogames or watch and listen to the world through high-tech electronic devices/toys, because lucky for them this stuff was only in a process of being invented – consumerism and high-tech entertainment as mass phenomenon didn’t exist. They read books and they perceive the world mainly through their eyes and ears. They didn’t know how seductive and corrupting is the very experience of being entertained and how consumerist habits take from people freedom and independence by putting artificial needs as a prostheses to their bodies and artificial desires into their soul.

Fabrizio (on the right – Francesco Barilli) and Agostino are occupied not so much with living (like we understand it today – as consumption of banknotes and things we think we need and like), as with life (life’s essence) – how is it structured and organized, is it moral and humane enough, how far are we from totalitarian/authoritarian system, do we treat other people with enough attention and compassion. In American jargon Fabrizio and Agostino are “intellectuals”, but they are too young to occupy professional positions and they don’t dream about their future professions – they freely discuss life. And they try to be serious (responsible) in their perception of life.

Agostino (to the right – Allen Midgette) and Fabrizio discuss “democratic capitalism”, which for the both is something like a confusing mixture of circus and battlefield (greed and generosity, chewing and spitting, sobriety and irrationality, desire for peace and obsession with wars and weaponry, crisp prosperity and rotting poverty, etc.) For Agostino this problem of incompatibility of norms of life is personal, not like for Fabrizio – Agostino is intolerant of the views his father and mother hold, yet he is tormented by his love for them, while Fabrizo is just distant from his family’s life without any mutinous or caring moods.

In a pseudo-cheerful despair of a possible liberation Agostino demonstrates to his friend – how to fail in even the simple among the tasks, contrary to a society which despotically teaches “the sons of the bourgeoisie” to have a determination leading to triumphant success. Several times Agostino showed Fabrizio some bike-anti-tricks – by victoriously falling!

It was his last gift to his friend – to show him his unconditional refutation to follow the logic of greed, calculation and manipulation and trying always to be ahead and on the top. Of course, Fabrizio, typical son of the wealthy, who never allowed himself to be too sensitive, could never grasp that Agostino might be in danger of committing suicide. He thought that his friend being just foolishly theatrical.

What to do and how to continue to live? For both this question becomes more and more unresolvable. Fabrizio was becoming more and more irritated with life and especially with the revolutionary ideology. But for Agostino disappointment and anger were not enough, and what could be enough he didn’t know. They never talked about homosexuality. Each of them perceived reality through thinking, through their ideological position vis-à-vis the human world. Homosexual embrace couldn’t solve for them anything – for both of them it would be just a retreat from reality of societal life, surrender to sentimentality of consolation through the flesh, failure of thinking as an attempt to find a solution for living.

Fabrizio’s intellectual dogmatism made him less and less real for Agostino. For serious intellectual challenge dogmatic solution is a shameful defeat, like, on the other hand, retreat into homosexual cave. Intellectual corrosion of the surrender to particular ideological doctrine is an equivalent of asking support from emotions or flesh. But for both, Fabrizio and Agostino history is not about emotions or flesh, but about the human mind.

The both friends devoted to their exceptional friendship met the point of defeat of their relationship. Agostino drowned in the river – committed suicide, while Fabrizio, helped by a frivolous affair with his aunt has soon decided to do what he was desperately resisting for several years – he is married to a good-looking girl from the family of comparable wealth. Agostino was rather psychologically supported by his acrobatic failures on his bike, but Fabrizio through his marriage with its conventional stability has lost himself and became even less sensitive than before (“now that I am at peace, tied to my roots, I feel that I no longer exist.”)

Mary’s father (personifying in the film the secular version of God-Father) is explaining to her the religious version of the universe’s very construction

The father (Bruno Cremer) uses geometry to symbolically explain to Mary the importance of the concept of emotional solipsism for building independence of the character


Upon her return from visiting her father (her parents separated and Mary – Rebecca Hampton now leaves with mother and spends the weekends with father) she is putting on Mahler’s symphony and with magic suddenness started to improvise a dance-pantomime. She never had done something like this before. But her father had mentioned to her Mahler’s music right before she has left.

In the beginning Mary’s dance looked like a dance…

…or even like a not typical rhythmic physical exercise to a solemn music.

But step by step many viewers start to feel tense and unpleasant

We have never seen anything like this and don’t know how to react to something like this. It looked as if something terrifying started to happen with Mary in front of our very eyes. Traditional religious believers could perhaps say that it is devil enters Mary’s soul, but it looks that according to the logic of the director’s (Anne Marie Mieville) images it’s not a devil but rather something like a demon of solipsism enters Maria’s soul and her unconscious (demon as a symbolic name personifying the very spirit of post-modern way of living, when self-assertion and permanent rivalry for getting advantage over others became the very goal and meaning of life).

When Mary’s mother (Aurore Clement) returns home she finds Mary on the floor. She felt as if after losing consciousness – she became like another human being. May be, it’s just the natural result of becoming older when a human being starts to really internalize the social norms.


Mary will continue to live with her mother and visit her father, but in this shot we see that mother and daughter, as if, are saying goodbye. O no! Mary (Rebecca Hampton) will continue to be loved by both parents but in another way, more matter-of-factly, less emotionally. May be, indeed, Mary is just growing up and along with it everything becomes strangely different… But, may be, she has lost something – before she loved mother and father together, as one being and she felt herself as a part of both of them. She and both of them loved one another simultaneously – she loved to be a part of them, a participant in their love for each other and for their love towards her, but now she felt that she lost something very important (really crucial) – their family togetherness, her family’s internal unity, little community (which for her was modeling the social life as a community of human love). But now she felt, as if, alone in the society, lost there as a traveler inside it following her own tough route.

Ernst’s Bitterly Ironic Representation of Marital Pride

Max Ernst “Monument to the Birds” (1927)

A man, involved into marriage always feels that he is a head of the household, even when in everyday life sense it’s not the case. How proudly he is looking at the world around. His wings look like an armor. His eyes are pathetically enlarged by his suspicious attention to the space. He, as if, is not just looking, but visually interrogating the space – is it empty of potential rivals who are for sure on their way to intervene in his kingdom to kidnap his wife, steal his children and destroy his nest/property? But what is a married man/bird without a wife, children and property? – “Just a damned fool”, like the hero of O’ Neill’s play said.

Married woman personifies comfort, not only for her husband and children, but for herself or rather to herself – she is a comfortable comfort. Looking at the painting we feel that she is enjoying her soft thick wrap, and just to see her giving herself to it makes the viewers too feel relaxed, pleasant and comfortable. That’s how she is supposed to be perceived by her bird/king husband and her children and her sofa, refrigerator, dresses, etc. By the way, between the husband and wife we see something like her second wing that, as if, doesn’t completely belong to her – this additional part as if belongs to them both – to the wife and husband. It is a wing of love. Let’s call this extra part the signifier of the very family embrace of dad and mom, symbolizing for the kids – Her herself and Him himself in a comfortable her-him-ness.

On the side of the mother – under her legs, if to use human association we see her two chicks. The problem here is that the elder chick-brother is already tortures the younger and smaller one with his enlarged – predatory double beak (that even his father doesn’t have). Under the chicks we can see a hatchling – the third inhabitant of the monumental life of marriage-nest. But it seems that this youngest addition to the family also has a double, still soft variant of a beak. Ernst is obviously emphasizing with his bird-human family the progress in the ability to fight and to kill from elder to the younger generations.

Today, in contradiction to American traditional – democratic, although sometimes not too efficient humanistic education (liberal arts), many parents believe that children as early as possible have to be taught how to fight for domination and how to become more successful in self-assertion than others “or children never will be on the top and instead will rot on the bottom for the rest of their lives”. So, the family life of “human birds” (Ernst’s metaphoric birds) is to nurture not the human part of the birds and not the bird part of the humans but creatures who know how to fight for success, for existence and for personal and financial power.

Marriage is not as innocent and matter-of-fact structure as it seems just because it exists and became habitual. It includes unconscious possessiveness and need to feel that you are in control of your family – the precious feeling of my-ownership of my family. That’s why marriage is a form of power and money (which are able to incarnate – to take the form of various things and substances, make them to behave like themselves). The household is social status and money in the form of family life. It’s from this intimate connection inside the authoritarianism of family structure we see child and spousal abuse and violence and… high rate of divorce, when only money saves the spouses from hate and violence. Of course, there is a way to avoid violence even without divorce. It’s to kill your own soul, to transform yourself into a marionette through mutual psychological manipulation between spouses. It’s difficult to collect statistical data about how widespread this deadly peaceful resolution of marriage is.

Note: Ernst’s “Monument to the Birds” and Jean Luc Godard’s “Contempt”

Let’s just imagine that a male – bird/husband in a situation of the appearance of an alternative male nearby – will not behave as a typical husband (feel bouts of hate towards a rival or will start to demonstratively sulk). Paul (Michel Piccoli), the Camille‘s (Brigitte Bardot) husband in Godard’s “Contempt” is a very intelligent man – he doesn’t have a psychological need to play traditional role. But for this to happen in real life creatures including people have to be in a Zoo. In real life we will see violent intentions or proud violence in all directions. That’s what the Ernst’s “Monument to the Birds” is about. Marriage is a special bond with absolutist elements in it – it is a precious monument and simultaneously a fort. It is on this – blindly religious, conservative, intolerant background the majority of people have based their personal love. Of course, some people can marry in a psychologically secular context because of their genuine democratic sensibility, but they’re far from being the majority today. Often people with obviously democratic tastes carry deep conservative pockets in their unconscious.

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