Dog's Dinner

"You're not loved because you're lovable, you're lovable 'cause you're loved."

Friday, May 20, 2005

Reactionary Trip

To be perfectly honest, I was also somewhat annoyed by the Michael Moore avant la lettre "Interview with a Consumer Product" in Masculin, Feminin, in which the hero interviews a slightly vapid and not terribly attractive girl who won a beauty contest and a trip to America. (Not clear whether the episode is fiction or non, but it feels real, probably improvised.) He asks her about the war in Vietnam (the film was made in '66) and other political matters of which she knows or cares little. She does exemplify an annoying type of person-- a certain arrogance comes through, familiar to me from certain of my students who as I've mentioned have also often been to America. The type of person who has ambitions of a political career but refuses to engage in a discussion about drugs, an incredibly important political issue in most countries, because it's "not nice." And it is disheartening that someone in her late teens or early twenties doesn't know what "reactionary" means-- she thinks it just means someone who reacts quickly and decisively to situations. But the fact is that the hero's girlfriend is at least equally ignorant of and indifferent to Vietnam, Marx, Mao, etc., and is to at least an equal degree a "Consumer Product" (she's an up-and-coming pop star, a dreamier version of Mireille Mathieu) and probably couldn't say what a reactionary is either, but we're not (I hope) supposed to hate her, since the hero loves her and she's adorable and vulnerable and opaque and doesn't really know what she wants but starts liking Bach because her young man loves Bach and can't stand pop. So the issue is really aesthetic, not political. The scene is manipulative and dishonest, and just like the Brittney Spears soundbite in Fahrenheit 451, it caters to people's worst tendencies, their intellectual snobbery and delusions of superiority.

Soliloquy in Smithereens

Saw Godard's Masculin, Feminin on the big screen last night, a special event at the art cinema in town and a real treat despite the fact that they had a crappy, scratchy print with several brief gaps and my mood was largely spoiled by an unannounced, longish, vapid & pretentious lecture by a woman from the local cine-club before the film.

Anyway, the film was great (this was probably my fourth time seeing it, but the last time was several years ago) and yet I left with this slightly disappointed feeling as I remembered there having been some poignant follow-up at the end to the hero recording the spoken-word testament to his lady love on vinyl in the middle, but it seemed to be absent from this print. Or was it an hallucination to begin with? Could someone who knows the film better than I (Jim or Small Man, perhaps) fill me in?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Red-Letter Day

This is my kind of day. And somehow I knew it would be. A great many of the things I love just somehow stacked up in place: overcast sky with light but persistent rain; colorful street theater in spite of the rain (the Polytechnic students are having their Juvenalia which seems to involve, besides drinking, parading around downtown in a glorious array of bizarre costumes: if you've seen Antonioni's Blow-Up, think of the zany mimes at the beginning and end of the film, except that the mimes, being mimes, were raucous but not loud [the students sing and shout loudly, with contagious good cheer]; there are joker caps, a red flag, people dressed as priests, doctors, madmen, mothers, etc., extravagantly stuffed brassieres, people on stilts, the whole nine yards); unexplained but blissfully uninterrupted absence of the boss at work; my friend Bogdan worked the door and security, not the slightly sketchy young man, Tadek's replacement, who was scheduled; I had a nice round of productive and enjoyable classes, beginning at the civilized hour of 9:40 AM and all over by 2 PM; and to top it off I'm close to finishing a book by my favorite author, Patricia Highsmith, but still have enough pages to go that I don't yet have that sense of grieving and desperation that comes just before the end. So far, a nearly perfect day. Now I'm off to eat a quick lunch at Frykas (Fricassee), a modest milk bar on my favorite street, Wieczorka Street, and then tutor a nice lady in exchange for free internet.

One of those days where you just gotta savour the mystery and splendour of it all.

I got it

Eureka! I finally figured it out. How they came up with such a strangely twisted meaning for "ewentualne," I mean. It's "in the event."

It's "in the event," stupid!