Crazy is as crazy does

“Or maybe we should simply refuse to believe <insert cause du jour> is the default setting for superhero comics.”

The above quote is from the last paragraph of this article. It implies fighting for a cause to create a reality by denying existing reality.

For the better half of my life, I’ve been fighting for various causes…by denying existing reality. On a personal level, taken to its “logical” extreme, this translated to the following:

  • If I’m angry, I deny that I’m angry
  • If I’m happy, I deny the existence of happiness
    etc.

Effectively, I deny my own emotional existence and unknowingly my own survival(!) for the purpose of achieving a reality that is not yet in existence. Why do I do this? I do it partly because I do not have the nerve to hold a discourse with another person (anxiety, agoraphobia, or what have you). Losing all confidence in myself, I remain quiet. And thus I start to create a universe for myself and I live in it.

But I crave acceptance in society and expect others to magically understand me without me having to open my mouth. An unrealistic expectation.

Lacking confidence, I resort to shouting as the eventual mode of making my reality come true. And, eventually, tired of shouting and unable to understand my own predicament, I resort to crying; admiring people who can eloquently explain themselves / argue “efficiently”; etc.

That’s my craziness.

The crazy person inside me will expect another person to act in a similar crazy manner. For example, if someone else tells me that they are angry, I’ll go, “Eh, don’t give your anger any importance.” Over time, you develop a jaded mindset.

  • Applied to the breakup scenario: I create this certain brand of stalker syndrome where I deny the existence of the anger resulting from the breakup and keep going back as if nothing has happened. I deny reality in the hopes of a “better world.”
  • Applied to the period of the actual relationship: without discourse between two people, I resort to manipulation.

The above is the bad news.

The good news is that I’m, hopefully, no longer gasping for air because I’ve learned to overcome my shame and fear and thus allow myself to think a bit more clearly.

Next steps are for me to get a foothold as I try to reconcile existing reality with the reality that I desire.

California Split

Great film by THE Robert Altman!

 As always, Vincent Canby is on the spot: “The compulsive gambler will put up with any loss or indignity in the hope of recouping later, thus placing a terrible burden on the future. For once he does win, everything is over.”

Senses of cinema has a decent article on this film that digresses more than addresses.

 

Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

Review @ Slant

In the recurring shots of Jeanne greeting her outpatients, she is framed so that her head is cut off at the top and only her torso is visible (representative, perhaps, of the first thing men see when they look at a woman)…

…there’s a sharp cut between Jeanne in different locations (perhaps to show how Jeanne seems to be fighting to be in two places at once).

“…the only obliquely shot frames in the whole film correlate with Jeanne’s clients”

The most amazing commodity of Jeanne Dielman is how ingeniously Akerman manages to have each isolated gesture and action performed by Jeanne unmistakable in its intended diegetic meaning, and yet she sculpts the aggregated details of the film as a whole into one big question mark.

Review @ Strictly Film School

Notes:

1) can we compare this work with Camus’s “The Stranger”? Possibly, yes. But, the connection is slight. Here repressed frustration comes out in the form of instantaneous act of violence, which is not the case, I believe, in The Stranger, where the protagonist does not harbor repressed feelings.

2) This plot starts a day before the slide. The slide is not dramatic, but comes out in the protagonist’s small gestures.

3) The protagonist, in the end, is in a trance where she has not yet realized the enormity of her actions. She is still in a floating in the release of frustration ensued from her actions. We can only imagine the probably terrible moment when the protagonist will click out of her trance into reality with the turn of the key when her son comes in at the end of the day, which the plot does not extend to, as, obviously, that wasn’t the main concern of the film.

4) Akerman’s framing is very classical and symmetric denoting the protagonist’s prim-and-proper work ethic and behavior. Though, it remains the same even during the protagonist’s apparent descent.

Somber

Nice criticism @ strictly film school

Though I disagree with his statement about the film being “irresponsible and morally bankrupt experience”. Responsibility against what? For being “transgressive”?

Badlands

Hypnotic, hallucinating, neurotic. Badlands grows on you slowly and once the dust has been cleared the impact is felt as strong as a hurricane. What is striking is the film’s nonjudgmental approach. It does not try to put forth an opinion, but allows us to paint one. It is almost cajoling and simultaneously sobering. The film is not just a story, but also a reflection of the director’s psyche and, at the same time, it also reflects the viewer’s through the opinions that he/she brushes on the film’s landscape. Thats a nasty combination and a tough act! As Vincent Canby relates in his review: “One may legitimately debate the validity of Malick’s vision, but not, I think, his immense talent.”

___________

Produced, written, and directed by Terrence Malick; cinematographers, Brian Probyn, Tak Fujimoto, and Stevan Larner; edited by Robert Estrin; music by George Tipton; art designer, Jack Fisk; released by Warner Brothers. With: Martin Sheen (Kit), Sissy Spacek (Holly), Warren Oates (Holly’s Father), Ramon Bieri (Cato), and Alan Vint (Deputy).

Orlando

Based on Virginia Woolf’s classic novel of the same name, this is one beautifully directed film by Sally Potter, transformed to the big screen with a dash of surreal tinge and no touch of heavy-handedness that generally comes in the way of a director bent on being faithful to a book. Other conclusions notwithstanding, I see this as an allegory of the irrationality inherent in the act of sexual discrimination. Review at NYT, where Vincent Canby juxtaposes his impressions on the film with that of the book.

This film is transfixing.

________

Written and directed by Sally Potter, based on the novel by Virginia Woolf; director of photography, Aleksei Rodionov; edited by Herve Schneid; produced by Christopher Sheppard; released by Sony Pictures Classics.

Be with me

A 3-part intermingled story set in singapore that portray the connectedness among the six characters that directly / indirectly affect their lives.

An event as mundane as cooking food for the blind woman leads the resigned old man to a life-changing experience. This leads to a chain of events that touches both their lives. This blind woman imparts a small word of wisdom that brings the young man, a social worker, close to his father. The social worker gets impetus from this blind woman to gain more discernment towards his social work, connecting with one of the broken hearted characters in the other “teenage love gone wrong” story. This character is handed a miracle by her fateful encounter with the simple minded man in the 3rd story about one-sided, unrequited love. This is just a simplified, skeletal overview which does not put forth the richness inherent in this film that works at various levels and dealt with considerable insight by the singaporean director, Erik Khoo. Beautiful review at NYT.

I cannot more heartily recommend this movie.

_________

Directed by Eric Khoo; written (in English, Cantonese, Hokkien and Mandarin, with English subtitles) by Mr. Khoo and Wong Kim Hoh; director of photography, Adrian Tan; edited by Low Hwee Ling; music by Kevin Mathews and Christine Shum; produced by Brian Hong; released by Film Movement.

Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Impassioned Eye

The joy of geometry. When you realise that everything is right.” – HCB

Documentary on HCB. Not a biography. An interview. With HCB (and few others like Arthur Miller, Isabelle Huppert, etc.) on his photographs ranging from the 1920s to the present, his drawings, and paintings.

HCB on his images: “That is so long ago. And still so immediate. Thats why there is no such thing as death. Everything lives on. Suddenly scenes come back to the mind’s eye.

I live from day to day. The past is a tabula rasa. But it usually comes back like a burp.” – HCB on memories.

A photo is like a stab of a knife. Painting is meditation.” – HCB on painting

Review at NY Times.

Maxed Out

The United States economy is like a poker game where the chips have become concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, and where the other fellows can stay in the game only by borrowing. When the credit runs out the game will stop.” – Marriner Eccles, Chairman, Federal Reserve, 1931-34

There are many things that you all already might know, but there are some few new things that you might learn from this documentary. for eg:

1. why are the poor going more poor and the rich getting more rich?
2. On credit report. Its accurate all the time right? No, says the documentary, the inaccuracy rate in credit reports is 90%! This is the case only for “uninfluential” people. Those who are in the “VIP” list – the influential and famous people – their credit report is checked periodically, else they might cause an uproar, which might result in a change to the legislation related to credit card companies.
3. should u trust all the programs aired on cnbc? (No, per the documentary. ‘cos some programs are rigged by the corporate companies to put forth inaccurate, unvalidated info, e.g., fico reports on suze orman show)
4. do we have privacy? US constitutional rights state that individual privacy pertains with government and does not mention about other individuals. So, federal govt. uses private companies to get our individual private information, and thus is not unconstitutional, and in turn furnishes the credit companies with this information.
5. ever seen the free t-shirts and freebies for just signing a credit card application form on college campuses? Credit card companies pay $13 million to the universities for this endeavor!
6. how any organised institution, I mean, take your pick, takes the issue of individual financial debt to their advantage, to not lose the individual’s stewardship with that institution.
7. Bush’s top campaign contributor is MBNA – country’s 2nd largest credit card issuer. The recent amendment to the bankruptcy law bill was written by MBNA, says the documentary!
8. US international debt

LA Times Review

[Americans for fairness in lending]

Who the $#%& is Jackson Pollock?

A Documentary. On the art world and its various schemes. The documentary could in itself be one of those schemes – a PR. Or not. Maybe. Salty.

Review at NY Times.