The polarization going on in our spinning society isn’t political so much as intellectual. The less educated revel in what they know while the vaguely educated are forever pretending cleverness. The radical devolution of film provides graphic examples.
While the Marvel Soap Operas are a harbinger of the end of us, the film snobs are not making anything better with their pronouncements. Sight & Sound, a touchstone for great filmmaking recently published its #1 Film of all time. It wasn’t The Godfather, Citizen Kane, not even Aguirre, Wrath of God, but instead: Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles.
And while Chantal Ackerman’s three-hour marathon is right up my alley of slow cinema, it most certainly is not the best film ever made. It is a test in patience, of understanding the irrelevance of anything, something like that, but there is no story, certainly not a story that takes three hours to tell.
A series of static images of day-to-day life does deserve our attention, especially from a woman’s perspective, but this is storytelling is not for very many at all.
Granted that Best Films of All Time lists are a sophomoric thing, but I do wish the list-makers made more of an attempt at inclusion – not box office mojos or political issues – but films that we will watch and relate to as a connected society.
The memories of Sarasota Jungle Gardens are vivid in my head: a macaw on a little bike, another one on my arm, alligators basking, flamingos silhouetted against the bright water in the sun, marvelous things all around.
I don’t remember how I got there. I don’t remember any of the who’s and what’s. It was just the magic of being there.
And so I went back, many years later, and listened to the ponytailed guy’s well-worn bits about his cranky colorful birds, and watched the children watching him, wowed by the birds meows and cackles.
The show went for 15 minutes, me and the other kids getting restless before it was over, and I walked around the zoo, glancing at the snakes and owls and lemurs before getting back to my car. The magic was no more. I had to call my lawyer and start the lawsuit against them for using my image without permission.
I once had great faith in the American system. I mean, they talked such a great game, from FDR through MLK to AOC. But in the end, I came to realize that rhetoric is no more than hot air. The rich get richer, the poor dumber and the country more fucked-up every day. And that’s how people want to keep it.
America is founded on a dishonest claim. Jefferson, a slave holder, wrote that “all men were created equal”. It would be funny if it weren’t so sad. The same duplicity plays out today in a constant depressing spew, from gerrymandering and Super Pacs to a politicized Supreme Court and gun rights over lives, all of it designed to keep the status quo.
The recent collapse of NFL football player Damar Hamlin speaks to this issue. Pundits and journalists spoke only of their thoughts and prayers for Hamlin while the fans were honestly more focused on their personal stake in the game. Given America’s pretense of faith, they will take time to finally getting around to talking about what they care about, and Hamlin will just be a footnote to an odd year in fantasy football.
Having completed the 9th (or 11th?) draft of Anori, I have no clue what I have written. Some of it flowed just as I remembered. Others parts had to be reworked…to what effect I have no clue. Dee was consistent. I think. As was the tone. On the verge of death or already dead. Something like that. Anyway, I shouldn’t be blogging about this. I am a cotton-headed ninny muggins at present.
Instead I will offer this quote from Ken McGoogan’s book Dead Reckoning on the taste of polar bear cub meat: Apart from its tenderness, the cub’s meat had a particularly piquant taste, and we greatly regretted that the old bear had not had twins.