Wednesday, October 31, 2012
I had never seen the famous classic film by Béla Tarr, Werckmeister Harmóniák, released in 2000 and distributed to the English-speaking world as Werckmeister Hamonies – "Shot in black and white and composed of thirty-nine languidly paced shots, the film describes the aimlessness and anomie of a small town on the Hungarian plain that falls under the influence of a sinister traveling circus lugging the immense body of a whale in its tow."
There are lovers and haters of this film all over the internet, and the lovers (like me, I admit, now that I have watched the DVD) all talk about the poetry in the rhythm of the long slow scenes.
Hanna Schygulla, the favorite actress of Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1945-1982) back in the 1970s (and an icon of mine) makes an appearance in Werckmeister Hamonies as a scheming quasi-villainess.
From a 2001 interview with Béla Tarr –
"I just wanted to make a movie about this guy who is walking up and down the village and has seen this whale. And, you know when we are working we don’t talk about any theoretical things. We only ever have practical problems. And it’s the same with the writer. Mostly we just talk about life. How it’s going on the street. We never talk about theoretical things."
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Back in July 2008 when this blog was in its infancy one of my first subjects was the picture (above) that hangs on one of the less conspicuous walls at Spencer Alley – a discolored commercial art-print made in the 1930s of a drawing made in the 1530s by François Clouet (court painter to the Valois). The subject here was a 14-year-old boy who would later become Henry II of France (1519-1559). The occasion was his marriage to the 14-year-old Catherine de' Medici.
Back in July 2008 starting from scratch and maintaining a running visual online journal seemed fresh and adventurous. Four years later, as an ongoing diversion, it can soak up as much or as little time and energy as circumstances permit. But freshness is no longer an attribute – the world has moved off toward briefer and quicker, more discontinuous and less static word-and-image formats. These current innovations, however, do not suit my one-track linear mind so well as the column-like, book-like, old-school blog format. I like these little pinned-down memorials of each day, like chloroformed insect specimens, each to reside in its labeled niche and not tumble out of it.
François Clouet lived from 1515 to 1572 and created all the portraits seen here. He occupied his entire life with painting and drawing Henry and Catherine and their associates and their descendants (three of Henry and Catherine's sons also became Kings of France) and their wives and their hangers-on.
Monday, October 29, 2012
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Mabel Watson Payne made this drawing of a robot, more figure-like than anything I have so far seen her produce. That she will be a robot for Halloween and that she has worked hard with her parents making the costume probably are facts that help to account for this sudden plunge into literal representation.
Mabel's recent weekly Polaroids included one of her few recorded kisses, this one for Grandma at her East Bay retirement party.