Tag Archives: movie

Building Ingmar Bergman’s cathedral…

  • People ask what are my intentions with my films — my aims. It is a difficult and dangerous question, and I usually give an evasive answer: I try to tell the truth about the human condition, the truth as I see it. This answer seems to satisfy everyone, but it is not quite correct. I prefer to describe what I would like my aim to be. There is an old story of how the cathedral of Chartres was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. Then thousands of people came from all points of the compass, like a giant procession of ants, and together they began to rebuild the cathedral on its old site. They worked until the building was completed — master builders, artists, labourers, clowns, noblemen, priests, burghers. But they all remained anonymous, and no one knows to this day who built the cathedral of Chartres.
    Regardless of my own beliefs and my own doubts, which are unimportant in this connection, it is my opinion that art lost its basic creative drive the moment it was separated from worship. It severed
    an umbilical cord and now lives its own sterile life, generating and degenerating itself. In former days the artist remained unknown and his work was to the glory of God. He lived and died without being more or less important than other artisans; ‘eternal values,’ ‘immortality’ and ‘masterpiece’ were terms not applicable in his case. The ability to create was a gift. In such a world flourished invulnerable assurance and natural humility. Today the individual has become the highest form and the greatest bane of artistic creation.
    The smallest wound or pain of the ego is examined under a microscope as if it were of eternal importance. The artist considers his isolation, his subjectivity, his individualism almost holy. Thus we finally gather in one large pen, where we stand and bleat about our loneliness without listening to each other and without realizing that we are smothering each other to death. The individualists stare into each others’ eyes and yet deny the existence of each other.
    We walk in circles, so limited by our own anxieties that we can no longer distinguish between true and false, between the gangster’s whim and the purest ideal. Thus if I am asked what I would like the general purpose of my films to be, I would reply that I want to be one of the artists in the cathedral on the great plain. I want to make a dragon’s head, an angel, a devil — or perhaps a saint — out of stone. It does not matter which; it is the sense of satisfaction that counts.
    Regardless of whether I believe or not, whether I am a Christian or not, I would play my part in the collective building of the cathedral.

    • Four Screenplays of Ingmar Bergman (1960)

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His movies inflict this kind of an acute emotional and spiritual pain that no other sort of celluloid reality is able to do…

It asks for a consideration – is it one’s personal predisposition that makes an individual so vulnerable to the artist’s emotional roulette; or is it ‘just’ the common human feature – that one strives for empathy and compassion identifying with the characters, and always at the expanse of his/her inner equilibrium?

But Bergman is not dancing any genius yet cruel vengeance dance – or so we are bound to believe in … He is building a ‘cathedral’ out of our ‘common’ human clay – the space of some transcendent sense of things… All by carving a piece of art/a movie – a ‘dragon’s head, an angel, a devil’ from the frozen avalanche of our emotions…

Little invention here, little help there; a sacrifice and the apparent brotherhood of tens working arm in arm with the same irrational aims in minds…

Here is the re-building of wonder and awe, here is the struggle to create, the pain to re-connect human beings with themselves and with each other…

But – prosaically speaking – here is also the sweat, the mud, the aborted ‘ego’s and the nearly lethal fatigue….

Here is the artist’s way…

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Inspired by I. Bergman’s ‘Autumn Sonata’

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Contempotary Art (8) Chris Marker

Chris Marker (b. Neuilly-sur-Seine, France 1921) – actual  name: Christian François Bouche-Villeneuve – multimedia artist, photographer, film director, writer. Lives in Paris and does not grant interviews. When asked for a picture of himself, he usually offers a photograph of a cat instead (so far as the gossip says). His cat is named Guillaume-en-egypte. (See more details in my previous post here: http://wp.me/p8s8b-66)

Creator of: La Jetée (1962), A Grin Without a Cat (1977), Sans Soleil (1983) and AK (1985) a documentary on Akiro Kurosawa. From the recent projects: in 2005 Marker created a multimedia piece for The Museum of Modern Art in New York titled Owls at Noon Prelude: The Hollow Men (influenced by T.S. Elliot’s poem); in 2008: Immemory – an interactive video produced  by Centre Pompidou, created out of fascination by digital technology. 

Marker is as enigmatic, brilliant and witty in his collages above as he would be behind his directorial camera viewfinder. One simply cannot get enough of this artist’s vision – it escapes one’s full comprehension and intuitive potential. It’s a one-man world-view, a singularity which resists any thorough penetration. A beauty and power of human uncanniness captured into a compelling, enthrilling  visual extravaganza. Just keep exploring…

Site about Marker’s view of the world:  Chris Marker


Where you can find me (Whilt 19)

Remember this one of my series – Whilt – What Have I learned Today?

Trying to come back to it – little day-to-day discoveries of a starry-eyed kid, which lives in me (despite my daring attempts to evict it) and within all those interesting people I’ve met.

I followed that link – contemplating a personal story of a man close to me I bumped into that movie: “Into the wild” – loyal portrayal of a real drama of Christopher McCandless – a top student from a privileged background, who – bitterly disappointed by vanity and hypocrisy of his parents, by mindless brutality and shallowness of his society drops out of the picture trying to reclaim shattered identity and personal integrity. He does it through an impossibly romantic, extreme means of going into the wild of Alaska, living only from the land-resources and in a total isolation. Being only 24 and after two years of his adventure Chris dies out of starvation in his adopted ‘home’ – a wreck of a green bus. That bus in itself becomes a destination for dozens of McCandless’s followers, his uncompromising choices in life are being interpreted in equally extreme fashion – from glorifying the ‘hero’, who had to paid the highest price for an attempt of a noble self-discovery, to scolding the ‘spoiled, egocentric’ kid.

One of the most poignant discoveries this run-away’s parents had made was, that he didn’t want to be found. One can save someone who is temporarily lost, or help the one, who plays hide-and seek game out of lack of confidence or confusion or pain, but not the one, who makes a conscious decision of ‘disappearing’ from your life. Thinking about that I started to approach this question if I, indeed, want to be ‘found’ in this very wilderness of the Internet reality. Energy and dynamics of the Web-World acts as ever-expanding multiverse – once you lose the track of its actual demands and nature – you share fate of a micro-organism completely lost somewhere in a vast vacuum of a Tropical Forest. And it doesn’t matter, if your performance here is of a poor or great quality; or of any importance to humanity in general… who really bothers after all…

Here are the online services, where you can find me, except of this site (obviously) – join and use the fun of Facebook (my name: Katarzyna Skonieczna), where you can quickly connect with those you know, check the latest ‘what’s up’ with them, compete in various (deliciously childish) games and share your thoughts the moment you think them… Twitter (my name: skonieczna) is another, very immediate and natural way of sharing your online experience, you simply answering the one and only question: “what are you doing?’ – what are you doing right now – share the article, you’ve just read; picture you’ve discovered, new web-site, follow people, who make it all more fascinating and inspiring… There is where you can, if you want to – find me – the moment I will dare to disappear – you will be one of the first to know…

P.S.

Enjoy thoughtful song from ‘Into the wild’ above. Eddie Vedder signs ‘Society’. More about the philosophy behind this movie, which, I believe is worthy to explore – in my next posts


‘Sans Soleil’ – Chris Marker

I’m still under a spell of this movie – few days after re-watching it.

Marker’s (born: Christian François Bouche-Villeneuve 1921) vision from 1982 presented here appears as fresh, powerful, genius (I’m not afraid of this word in this case) as it must have been for his contemporaries over twenty years ago. It’s an essay- like fairly convincing cinematic statement on the elusive and transient nature of space, time, memory and culture. The social and, more generally – philosophical- observations and reflections on both Japanese and African way of life presented here are both sublime and strikingly accurate. But this artwork is much more than a clever and sensitive documentary, it’s a masterpiece – a perfectly working wholeness of the thought, emotion, picture and sound.

One cannot help asking himself: why there is so little known about this particular artist? Then I ‘google’ his name – in ‘images’ only one or two believable photographs of him appear, and I read that Chris Marker lives in Paris (or – does he still?) and sends an image of a cat , his favourite animal, when asked for an image of himself. Apparently, he is French – or is he (printed sources give two countries of birth, France and Mongolia) ? Another ‘legend’ claims that being asked of his origin he was quite sure of coming from ‘another planet’. Who can be ever sure about things like that? Watching his famous La Jetée (1962) one can only wonder: how is it possible for a human being – to make a speech-binding movie composed only of B&W stills and virtually each one of those dozens of shots is just perfect – impeccable technically, stylistically, aesthetically and in any other sense imaginable? O’ right – maybe it all sounds too good to be true, maybe I need to calm down a little – yet – it’s a scare occurrence when I don’t really want to ‘calm down’, to find distance or just rethink the whole experience. No, I want to be stupefied, bared of my critical powers and even my self-control.

One has to let oneself, from time to time, to be completely and fully intentionally exposed when approaching an artwork – to make oneself vulnerable and totally open – and just to immerse into, to experience it so deeply that it hurts- to let oneself to be hurt by an artwork – that’s just another step in self-discovery.

Or – just to listen to:

I took the measure for an unbearable vanity of the West, that has never ceased to privilege being over non-being, what is spoken to what is left unsaid.

Legends are born out of the need to decipher the undecipherable. Memories must make do with their delirium, with their drift. A moment stopped would burn like a frame of a film blocked before the furnace of a projector. Madness protects as fever does.

All women have a built-in grain of indestructibility. And men task has always been to make them realize it as late as possible.

Are you tempted to see (re-watch) more ? Then, you must be a quite spiritually healthy and mentally fit individual – and being one – enjoy!

P.S.

It was ‘valecomputadora’ who downloaded the fragment featured to Youtube. Thank you.


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