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Showing posts from April, 2013

Key Films #13

For Ever Mozart [Jean-Luc Godard, 1996]: In one scene, the bodies of two young dissidents killed earlier in the film by a band of militant guerrillas still sensitive to the conflicts in Bosnia and Herzegovina, are placed in period costumes and "revived" before the whir of an archaic camera, which incorporates them into the making of a film.In the presentation of this, the underlining "idea", Godard seems to be communicating, as a rhetorical gesture, the common practice of taking the stories of the dead - their histories and their experiences - and turning them into fodder for the motion picture; exploiting the very real, very physical pain and suffering endured by these people - often while ignoring the greater moral causes that led to their untimely demise - for the benefits of creative fiction.In a sense, this, as an illustration, is a precursor to the later argument regarding the relationship between Hollywood invention and the histories of actual persons, as out…

Key Films #12

Othon [Danièle Huillet & Jean-Marie Straub, 1970]: To give the film its full title, 'The eyes will not close at all times, or maybe one day Rome will let herself choose in turn; after 'Othon', byPierre Corneille.'The title establishes the filmmakers' rigorous attention to language - the use of language as 'form', its textures and its rhythms - and the significance of the text; the 1664 tragedy by the French playwright and poet, Pierre Corneille.The text - set during the short reign of Emperor Galba, 68 to 69 BC, and concerning both matters of the heart and matters of the state - is not filmed, it is spoken.Only by communicating the words aloud can it be filmed, personified, made real; finding its expression, not through the conventional "cinematic" manipulations required to condense the plot into a series of significant set-pieces, or 'events', but through the meticulous delivery of the actors, who adapt the play through speaking the wo…