Thursday, November 06, 2014


Although Marxist critics have disagreed, the aesthetic nuances found in these films are highly redolent of the expressionistic cinematic ideologies of certain individualistic voices immeasurably enhanced by some of the subtleties obviously influenced by the work of Renoir (see Chauncey Heidelsmith's excellent summary in FILM BETWEEN 1942 and 1943, page 946).

But what are we to make of the striking symbolism regarding the feminist motif to be found? Such a melange of totally unrelated actions most exquisitely cross-cut could not have been conceived at the time, though from the perspective of many an anthropologist the searing indictment of bourgeois habits may have been a bit contrived. The nihilistic urges of the director notwithstanding, such elaborations have been seen as mere excess by theatregoers and Northeastern scholars alike. Still, the vividly fluent if calculated value (perhaps grossly distorted by the director's wavering attention to historical analogies) might have seemed to be just plainly generic. The smoldering lack of pathos in the supporting characters perhaps lend credence to this hypothesis.

However, as film critic Wesley Petersen recalled offhand ("Film in Fractions", EAST VILLAGE SOCKET, May 24 1961, page 19), some of the wanton destruction seen might just be a clever ruse to exact revenge on various adversarial viewers who were dismayed at previous metaphoric implications. This may be an idea that would have been bandied about by various young upstarts trying to exert their way into the Hollywood machinery, but the ornateness of the romantic allegories again may only be an exploitation of the microcosm/macrocosm devices found in the later work of such directors as Welles.

I personally scoff at the idea that the films presented were based on the works of the French novelist Delarue (the vivid singularity does remind one of du Breck), even if a certain luxurious air to the interior scenes is vaguely Altman-esque in composition. Some interludes might offend certain sensitivities, though many polled outside a recent viewing in Soho have spoken highly of the heightened predesign filtered through an engaging burlesque of film conventions.

Further, fascinating variations on past tensions do create controlled havoc in various film adaptations, albeit even in the most baroque setting such innocence and dedication may seem merely hypothetical as the film scholar Flaubert once stated. Speaking in theatrical terms, such ideals are highly reminiscent of various uncanny fallacies in the conclusions of many post-postmodern commentators who somehow confuse the abject symbolism of the interior scenes with a neo-archaic plot development long-discarded by most serious aesthetes. Or, as the noted cinematographer Vincent Berliner once said in the course of a heated argument with director Alexander Bishnikov, "So ya think you can do better ya pussy?"

If your sentiments tend to shy away from spatial relationships monitored through pre-Cultural Revolution cinema, you might harbor reservations regarding the definitely anti-Spenglerian understanding found throughout. However, those who have ridiculed the contemplative nature of the universal components of... (to be continued)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The illogical syllogism of your review totally ignored the anti-aesthete prevalent throughout each of these productions. Your blissful ignorance of the filmic odyssey is laughable beyond compare!