Updates, Live

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Casian Balabasciuc, Noaptea Sfântului Andrei

(source: Facebook page of Nicu Chiriac)
no copyright infringement intended

Sfinte Andrei, lupi-i adună,
În noaptea ce-o împărăţeşti,
Să urle din bojoci la lună,
Cu simţurile lor lupeşti.

Să dea de ştirea până-n stele
Că vor vâna acele legi,
Care ascund păcate grele
Şi rătăcesc mulţimi întregi.

Iar urletul prelung, de fiare,
Urcând statornic spre tării,
Cu jalea lui să înfioare
Năluci ivite din pustii.

În intrigi repede să scurme
Cu gheara spaimei omeneşti
S-alunge demonii din turme
Şi rătăcirile lumeşti,

Să rupă răul din fiinţă,
S-aducă pacea înapoi.
Doar lor le este în putinţă
Să rupă duhuri şi moroi.

Adună-ţi lupii noaptea, sfinte
Şi pentru noi te roagă iar,
Cum ai făcut-o şi-nainte,
Să fim feriţi de rău şi-amar.

(Casian Balabasciuc)


Julio Cortázar, La Noche Boca Arriba (1956)

Julio Cortázar, La Noche Boca Arriba, 1956
(source: camikaze.deviantart.com)
no copyright infringement intended

Y salían en ciertas épocas a cazar enemigos; le llamaban la Guerra Florida
(and in certain epochs they would go to hunt enemies;
they called this the War of Flowers)

A man is riding his motorcycle along a quiet avenue bordered by huge trees hiding large gardens behind. A woman appears suddenly across the street, the man tries to avoid her and looses control. It was as if he had suddenly fallen asleep. He wakes soon after, to see four or five young men, cuatro o cinco hombres jóvenes lo estaban, sentía gusto a sal y sangre ..., no, it was a nightmarish dream, very short, he is in an ambulance toward the hospital. He is fainting again, estaba estaqueado en el piso, en un suelo de lajas helado y húmedo. Again awake, in the hospital bed, a voice beside, it's fever, es la fiebre -dijo el de la cama al de lado. A nightmare unfolding centuries ago, in the times of Aztecs, during a Guerra Florida, when people are hunted to be sacrificed on the altar on top of the Sacred Mountain, offerings for the god of the dead. He would like to stay awake, the dream is too nightmarish to endure, it is however impossible to keep his eyes open. Again and again he is falling asleep, entering the violent dream, to get back to reality after a few minutes... two parallel worlds, and they start to borrow their traits to each other, the world of the hospital gets more and more confused, the other world gets more and more obvious...  till he realizes that this is the reality, this nightmare, and the other state has been just a pleasant dream, absurd like all dreams, un sueño en el que había andado por extrañas avenidas de una ciudad asombrosa, con un enorme insecto de metal que zumbaba bajo sus piernas.

I looked for the text on the Internet, and found it in Ciudad Seva (la casa digital del escritor Luis López Nieves):

I found then also an English translation in a blog dedicated to Spanish literature(un blog para comprender las obras del examen AP Spanish Literature):

(Julio Cortázar)


Saturday, November 28, 2015

Setsuko Hara Passed Away

Setsuko Hara in Late Spring (1949)
(source: comicbookmovie)
no copyright infringement intended

She has been for me the best actress ever. I choose here a scene from The Ball at the Anjo House, a movie made in 1947. It is about an aristocratic family from Japan who after WWII loose their status. They offer a last ball, before leaving their estate, confiscated by the new authorities. The father, overwhelmed by the whole situation, of his country, of his family, intends to commit suicide. Setsuko Hara is in this movie his daughter, and will know how to act with determination and elegance. Great scene! There are no subtitles, but, believe me, it's no need.

An obituary appeared in today's NY Times:

(Yasujiro Ozu and Setsuko Hara)


Friday, November 20, 2015

British Pathé: Lobster Girls Issue Title From Misses To Merson (1936)

(source: British Pathé)
no copyright infringement intended

Location of events unknown; the fisher girls who take lobster pot luck; two young women go fishing for lobsters; various shots of women loading lobster pots onto rowing boats; we see them row out to sea and lower pots into water; C/U of two women having a drink with a fisherman (real salty old sea dog type!); M/S of girls raising their pints of beer into the air (source: British Pathé).

(British Pathé)


Pathé News (British Pathé)

(source: britishpathe.wordpress.com)
no copyright infringement intended

Newsreel archive British Pathé has uploaded its entire collection of 85,000 historic films, in high resolution, to its YouTube channel ; this unprecedented release of vintage news reports and cinemagazines is part of a drive to make the archive more accessible to viewers all over the world (source: britishpathe.wordpress.com)

Pathé News was a producer of newsreels, cinemagazines, and documentaries from 1910 until 1970 in the UK; its founder, Charles Pathé, was a pioneer of moving pictures in the silent era; the Pathé News archive is known today as British Pathé (source: wiki)



Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Kafka, Shakale und Araber

Franz Kafka
(source: fleursdumal.nl)
no copyright infringement intended

In the world we live in, Europeans and Arabs (and generally any given human being) are afraid of Jackals (and generally of any given wild beast, be it a Dingo, a Grizzly, a Panther - well, maybe not the Pink Panther). In the world imagined by Kafka (Schakale und Araber - Jackals and Arabs) things are slightly different: it is the Jackals who are very afraid of Arabs (actually a delicate mix of scare and hate: seemingly at the origin is a conflict on resources), while Arabs do not take it personally, and are rather amused about the whole situation. As for Europeans, they are perceived by Jackals as possible Messiahs, expected to come and kill all Arabs once and for all, while they, the Europeans, do not understand very well what's going on.

Schakale und Araber was published firstly in 1917 (by Martin Buber, in Der Jude magazine). Here is the text:

And here is an English translation, made by Ian C. Jonston:

In 2011 Jean-Marie Straub made a ten minute movie based on Kafka's story. It is a perfect example of the cinematic approach of Straub: cold, detached, austere, like presenting a scientific truth. All wrapped in some Brechtian ironic distance.


(Straub - Huillet Films)

Labels: ,

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet

Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet
(source: New Wave Film)
no copyright infringement intended

the two were married and split their work equally, with him responsible for the shooting and production, her controlling most of the editing and post-production duties and the two being equally responsible for the pre-production, texts and rehearsals (wiki); worked almost exclusively outside their homeland of France, most notably in Germany; their films, often adapted from theatrical or literary works, sometimes from political writings, are distinguished by their deliberate use of Brechtian distancing techniques and strong Marxist political overtones; aesthetically their work has been described as austere with minimal camera movements, long takes, simple, stark settings and restrained acting performances (New Wave Film).

(Cinéma Français)

(German and Nordic Cinema)


Friday, November 13, 2015

Kafka, Ein Bericht für eine Akademie

Gabriel von Max, Monkey before a Skeleton, 1900
some editions of Kafka’s Ein Bericht für eine Akademie use this painting on their cover
(source: pinterest)
no copyright infringement intended

An ape that succeeded to evolve toward human condition presents a report in front of scientists: the history of his metamorphosis. Ein Bericht für eine Akademie (A Report to an Academy) is, like all Kafka's stories, exclusively factual, leaving entirely to us the pleasure to pull whatever meaning. And, of course, it's absurd, like all Kafka's. But: is it so absurd (to begin with)? After all, just to quote from the story, everyone on earth feels a tickling at the heels; the small chimpanzee and the great Achilles alike. In other words, humans and apes are not that different. Could an ape become a human (at least in literature)? Well, Gregor Samsa made the whole way back; but forget about Samsa for the moment; let's focus on Rotpeter and his Report to the Academy. Darwin told us a lot about the struggle for survival as evolution's driving force, and the capacity to adapt, as tantamount condition for survival. Kafka makes here a point: in order to survive, one has to renounce at his natural condition, at the liberty of being just himself. Adaptation and liberty are mutually exclusive.

Of course, more concrete interpretations can be extracted from Ein Bericht für eine Akademie: Nicholas Murray saw there a metaphor for the Jewish diaspora survival through assimilation into Western culture (wiki).

Ein Bericht für eine Akademie was published firstly in 1917 (by Martin Buber, in Der Jude magazine). Here is the text:

And here is an English translation, made by Ian C. Jonston:

A movie made in 2001 (Human Nature) is a loose adaptation of Kafka's story: Puff (Rhys Ifans) testifies to Congress, Lila Jute (Patricia Arquette) tells her story to the police, while a dead Nathan Bronfman (Tim Robbins) addresses an unseen audience in the netherworld; so it's a story told in flashbacks, you gotcha; Lila has a rare hormonal imbalance which causes thick hair to grow all over her body; during her twenties, she decides to leave society and live within nature where she feels free to exist comfortably in her natural state; at age thirty, strong sexual desire causes her to return to civilization and have her hair removed in order to find a partner; this is Dr. Nathan Bronfman, who is researching the possibility of teaching table manners to mice (wiki); and so on, but let's not deconspire the plot. It's burlesque, it's anti-movie, all you want. And yes, it is built very freely upon the ideas from Kafka's story.

After all, what is different and what alike, between apes and humans? The movie ends with a quote from Ockham's Opera theologica: Intuitive cognition is such that when some things are cognized, of which one inheres in the other, or one is spatially distant from the other, or exists in some relation to the other, immediately in virtue of that non-propositional cognition of those things, it is known if the thing inheres or does not inhere, if it is spatially distant or not, and the same for other true contingent propositions, unless that cognition is flawed or there is some impediment.


(Gabriel von Max)


Labels: ,

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Gabriel von Max

Gabriel Cornelius Ritter von Max (1840-1915)
carte de visite
(based on a photo by Franz Seraph Hanfstaengl)
Staatliche Graphische Sammlung München
(source: wikimedia)
no copyright infringement intended

A painter coming from a family of artists (son of sculptor Josef Calanza Max, nephew of sculptor Emanuel Max Ritter von Wachstein - both father and uncle were among the artists who created the monuments on Charles Bridge); studied in Prague, Vienna, and Munich; his studies included somnambulism, hypnotism, spiritism, also Darwinism, Asiatic philosophy, the ideas of Schopenhauer; a curious mix, you'd say; actually his interests blending parapsychology and theosophy with evolutionism and anthropology showed in his works, where he developed an allegorical-mystical pictorial language presaging the Secessionist Art; he owned a large scientific collection of prehistoric ethnological and anthropological finds: the collection and his correspondence now reside in the Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen in Mannheim; was surrounded in his summer residence at Starnberger Lake by a family of monkeys, which he painted often, sometimes portraying them as humans; he became a professor of Historical Painting at the Munich Academy, also a fellow of the Theosophical Society, and in 1900 was ennobled: Ritter von Max.

(The Moderns)


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Colson Whitehead

Colson Whitehead
(source: kpfa.org)
no copyright infringement intended

Brooklyn based writer (who grew up in Manhattan, which had made him a bit of a snob for the other boroughs - but Brooklyn had fourteen years ago, when he moved there, much cheaper rent - now it's no more the case); was inspired to become a writer by horror movies and science fiction (like success); his Zone One is a literary zombie novel, exploring survival after a zombie war (kpfa.org); The Intuitionist falls broadly into speculative fiction - it takes place in a city dominated by skyscrapers, thus by vertical transportation - two schools of inspecting the elevators are competing - the intuitionists and the empiricists (wiki); Sag Harbor seems to be a different kind of an animal - it changed the way he was thinking about books that he wanted to do (like success); to make it short (for now), I am about to order another of his books: The Colossus of New York.

(A Life in Books)