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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Yeats: The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

While Leda and the Swan meditates the birth of history, The Second Coming meditates its death. Born in violence, dead in violence, crossed by violence throughout its whole life, that's what history has been. The mythical rape of Leda, seen by Yeats as the pre-event of the Trojan War, a war going on in the endless conflict between Occident and Orient (Ryszard Kapuściński, Travels with Herodotus), and finally the fall in the World Wars of the last century. And after that? After the end? When nobody will remain, the Earth will say, people did not like it here (Vonnegut).

(William Butler Yeats)


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Yeats: Leda and the Swan

A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.

How can those terrified vague fingers push
The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
And how can body, laid in that white rush,
But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?

A shudder in the loins engenders there
The broken wall, the burning roof and tower
And Agamemnon dead. - Being so caught up,

So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
Did she put on his knowledge with his power
Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?

Sonnet form: abab cdcd eef eef

Some places where this sonnet is analyzed:

(William Butler Yeats)

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Friday, January 27, 2012

Tu Mu (803-852): Travelling in the Mountains

Far up the cold mountain the stony path slopes:
Where the white clouds are born there are homes of men.
Stop the carriage, sit and enjoy the evening in the maple wood:
The frosty leaves are redder than the second month's flowers.
(translated by Angus Charles Graham)

Tu Mu ((803-852) is most admired as a master of Chueh-chu, the New Style quatrain with an AABA rhyme scheme.

(A Life in Books)


image posted by Sachin Kelkar


Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Painting by Johann Sebastian Bach?

An artwork that stayed in a private collection in Dresden until 1864, then traveled to Leipzig, then to Munich (auctioned by Karl & Faber) where it remained till 1967, when it entered in a private collection in Oberlin, Ohio. Since 1980 it belongs to the Art Collection of George August University in Goettingen.

The name of the work is Badende Hirten in einem Wald (Bathing Herdsmen in a Forest); it is a drawing, described in Die Schenkung Stechow in der Göttinger Universitäts-Kunstsammlung, by Karl Arndt (1986): Stift (grau), Tusche (braun), Tusche (hellgrau), Papier, laviert (hellgrau) & Pinsel (Pinsel in Braun und Hellgrau über grauem Stift; hellgrau laviert). It is mentioned also a small hole within the lower range (ein kleines Loch im unteren Bereich).

The name of the author comes as a surprise: Johann Sebastian Bach, no more no less! Was the great composer also a painter? Actually the author was the grandson of Bach, and he remained known as Johann Sebastian Bach der Jungere (the Younger). He was the son of composer Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, and lived between 1748 - 1778. This great musical dynasty had also an artist painter within its ranks.

Bach der Jungere created mostly brush drawings, also book illustrations. His works are now in art collections in Coburg, Dresden, Hamburg, Leipzig and Vienna.

(Old Masters)


Old Masters

Willem Claeszoon Heda - Still Life with Pie, Silver Ewer and Crab
oil on canvas, 1658
Frans Halsmuseum, Haarlem

Parintele fara Simbrie

Parintele Simion Erofei dela Biserica de Rit Vechi din Mahmudia

Intamplarea face sa fi cunoscut, cu ani in urma, un alt parinte fara simbrie, pe care il chema tot Simion. Era batran, slujea la cimitirul Bellu si nu cerea niciodata bani. Eram vaduv, la patruzeci de ani, si el mi-a slujit de fiecare data la mormantul primei mele sotii, aproape sapte ani. In al saptelea an s-a stins din viata. Era basarabean, insa fusese preot la o biserica din Oltenia. Un om foarte bland. Dumnezeu sa il odihneasca. Ii voi pastra intotdeauna amintirea.

Poate odata o sa va povestesc despre Parintele Simion, cel care m-a ajutat sufleteste atat de mult in ani care au fost foarte grei pentru mine.


(Amintiri din Garla Mare)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Un cuvant pe zi: ciumpalac

Cf. 123urban (colectie de termeni si expresii care desi nu si-au gasit locul in dictionarele traditionale, umbla libere si nestingherite in limbajul colocvial), ciumpalac inseamna ghertzoi. Bine, bine, dar ce inseamna ghertzoi, ne putem intreba. Mergem la acelasi 123urban (care dupa cum vedem continua acolo unde s-a oprit academia) si gasim ghertzoi definit ca persoana lipsita de maniere. Se da si un exemplu: m-a calcat ghertzoiu' ala pe picioare, asa un nesimtit!

Cele doua cuvinte au fost intalnite prima oara in anul 2006, se pare. Suntem in 2012, iar cuvantul ciumpalac si-a extins intre timp intelesul: el desemneaza acum acele persoane care nu inteleg politicile neoliberale.

(A Life in Books)


Monday, January 23, 2012

Pusca si Cureaua Lata

pusca si cureaua lata
ce barbat eram odata
(Bancuri, Glume & Fun)

Se petrec chestii zilele astea, unii o iau pe coaja, altii isi fac visuri. Mergem inainte, ca tot inainte era... Vai de capu' nostru! Thanks Mircea, you are the guy!

(A Life in Books)

Ravi Shankar - The Sounds of India

A Facebook friend, Andras Laszlo, shared with us this great video: the digital remastering of a famous LP album of Hindustani music from 1968, performed by Ravi Shankar.

The tracklist:

  1. An Introduction to Indian Music
  2. Dádrá
  3. Máru-Bihág
  4. Bhimpalási
  5. Sindhi-Bhairavi

Each track is preceded by a short explanation presented by Ravi Shankar.

(Ravi Shankar)


Friday, January 20, 2012

Come to the Lakeshore

From the blog of David Ensign, the minister of Clarendon Presbyterian Church (Progressive ... Inclusive ... Diverse):

Jesus goes to the lakeshore -- to that limit place where the water meets the land -- and there he meets his first followers to whom he utters the famous and enigmatic invitation, follow me and I will make you fishers of people... The beginning of a new year is a good time for considering the great intersection of gifts and callings in each of our lives.

(Church in America)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Dineu cu Prosti (fragment)

S-a jucat in seara aceasta la Teatrul National din Bucuresti. à bon entendeur, salut! (mai jos un video care prezinta un fragment din spectacolul dela Teatrul National din Targu Mures din stagiunea 2000-2001).

(A Life in Books)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Trecuti prin Ciur si prin Darmon

In curand cele doua nepoate ale mele, Bianca si Daria, vor primi in dar o pisicuta. Tatal lor (si fiul meu totodata) se tot opunea, dar pana la urma a cedat. Nu poti ignora la nesfarsit rugamintile Biancai si Dariei.

Va intra o pisicuta in casa lor, deci. Si va sta acolo multi ani, si va deveni si ea batrana si smechera, trecuta prin ciur si prin darmon, ca martanul din versurile de mai sus: o poezie ce am gasit-o intr-un blog (http://verovers.wordpress.com/).

Bine, bine, acum, ce este ciur, cam stim toti. Nu prea stim ce este darmon. Chiar am avut o discutie cu o verisoara (am fost cu ea in vizita la familia baiatului meu), care si-a propus sa se uite in seara asta prin dictionare.

M-am uitat si eu: darmonul e un ciur mai mare, cuvantul ne vine in romana din neogreaca (δερμόνι sau δρομόνι), printr-o filiera bulgara.

(A Life in Books)

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Longing for Prophets

Where there is no vision, the people perish ...

I found this in the blog of David Ensign, the minister at Clarendon Presbyterian Church (Progressive ... Inclusive ... Diverse)

(Church in America)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

In a Lonely Place (1950)

In a Lonely Place, made in 1950 by Nicholas Ray, is a classic noir, with Humphrey Bogart in one of his finest creations. Louise Brooks would write that this role came closest to the real Bogart she knew: a fascinatingly complex character whose pride, selfishness, drunkenness, lack of energy stabbed with lightning strokes of violence, were defining also the actor. He plays here a thriller author who comes as a prime suspect in a murder. A lady (splendidly played by Gloria Grahame) who lives in an apartment nearby provides a strong alibi that clears him. The two fall in love and intend to marry, however the dark side of Bogart's hero will slowly discourage the woman, down to the point of terror. Is he ultimately innocent or not? When I die I'll go to heaven because I did my time in hell, as the old song goes.

The movie is loosely based on a novel written by Dorothy B. Hughes in 1947. There is a major difference between book and movie: the hero is certainly a criminal in the book, while in the movie the doubts remain up to the end.

Speaking about the end of the movie, they initially chose a spectacular solution: though not guilty in the initial murder, the hero will strangulate the woman he loved, in an outburst of fury, jumping then on the typewriter to describe the scene on the last page of his thriller. They eventually renounced to this outcome, in favor of something more nuanced. I was born when she kissed me. I died when she left me. I lived a few weeks while she loved me


Here is the movie. The author of the videos mistakenly mentioned Alfred Hitchcock as the film director. It was actually Nicholas Ray.

In a Lonely Place (1950): Part 1/10
(video by movmus77)

In a Lonely Place (1950): Part 2/10
(video by movmus77)

In a Lonely Place (1950): Part 3/10
(video by movmus77)

In a Lonely Place (1950): Part 4/10
(video by movmus77)

In a Lonely Place (1950): Part 5/10
(video by movmus77)

In a Lonely Place (1950): Part 6/10
(video by movmus77)

In a Lonely Place (1950): Part 7/10
(video by movmus77)

In a Lonely Place (1950): Part 8/10
(video by movmus77)

In a Lonely Place (1950): Part 9/10
(video by movmus77)

You put your arm around her neck. You get to a lonely place in the road, and you begin to squeeze...

In a Lonely Place (1950): Part 10/10
(video by movmus77)



Beaux Arts Village, WA

Surrounded by the city of Bellevue, WA, Beaux Arts Village was founded as an artists' colony in 1908. The town's 124 homes sit on tree-lined, one-lane streets with addresses marked by white pickets in front. There are 299 inhabitants in all.

(America viewed by Americans)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Maya Deren: Meditation on Violence (1948)

A 12 minute long movie: a young Asian dancer with bare torso moving on the sound of a Chinese flute, inside an empty room, the sound of a Haitian drum comes in, the flute is vanishing, the man advances toward a terrace, now he is dressed with a tunic and has a sword, some movements of a sword dance; the music stops suddenly while the dancer stays frozen, suspended in a gesture of supreme motion; the music and the movement start again, he goes back inside, again with bare torso, the sound of the flute comes again, the drum is vanishing, the movements are the exact reverse of the first half. The timing is perfect, first half up to the terrace, the second half back from the terrace.

Teiji Ito scored the movie, succeeding the impossible task of mixing the Chinese flute and the Haitian drum, the music of Wudang world of martial arts and the music of Voodoo universe: the mix of two opposite philosophies, the control of each part of your body through constant movement, and the mystical immersion in the halo of Haitian gods. Chao Li Chi was practicing Wudang, Maya Deren was back from Haiti where she had become a Voodoo priestess: the music arranged by Teiji Ito made the synthesis.

Maya Deren's Meditation on Violence is pure cinema: no plot of any way, just basic cinematic art - image and sound meditating myth transfigured in ritual, ritual transfigured in dance - and the myth sublimating the meaning of beauty and violence. Fundamental beauty and fundamental violence, stopped by dance in their potentiality, no more distinct one another. It's doing what cinema should do: to mesmerize, to intoxicate (PolarisDB).

(Maya's Song)

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Monday, January 09, 2012

Pablo Neruda: Soneta XVII

Soneto XVII

No te amo como si fueras rosa de sal, topacio
o flecha de claveles que propagan el fuego:
te amo como se aman ciertas cosas oscuras,
secretamente, entre la sombra y el alma.

Te amo como la planta que no florece y lleva
dentro de sí, escondida, la luz de aquellas flores,
y gracias a tu amor vive oscuro en mi cuerpo
el apretado aroma que ascendió de la tierra.

Te amo sin saber cómo, ni cuándo, ni de dónde,
te amo directamente sin problemas ni orgullo:
así te amo porque no sé amar de otra manera,

sino así de este modo en que no soy ni eres,
tan cerca que tu mano sobre mi pecho es mía,
tan cerca que se cierran tus ojos con mi sueño.

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

musical background: Amour Secret, Hélène Rollès
(video by RGaviota1)

Nu te iubesc drept trandafir de sare,
Topaz, garoafe, sagetari aprinse:
Ci cum iubesti intunecate lucruri,
Taina, intre inima si umbra.

Ca pe o piatra ne-nflorita ce poarta
Lumina unor flori in ea, in taina,
Eu te iubesc, si dragostea ta-mi suie
Ca din pamant mireasma tainic stransa.

Fara sa stiu, eu te iubesc orbeste,
Fara mandrie, fara gand si simplu
Astfel mi te-a-nchis in ea iubirea.

Astfel incat topiţi intr-o fiinta,
Aproape incat mana ta pe pieptu-mi
E-a mea si visul ochii tai mi-adoarme.

(Pablo Neruda)

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Vasile Voiculescu: CCXX

Din Ultimele Sonete inchipuite ale lui Shakespeare in traducere imaginara
(Shakespeare’s Last Fancied Sonnets in Imaginary Translation)

Am scris iubire? Iarta...citeste: adorare...
Sus, pan’ la tine, unde ravneste al meu dor,
Cuvantul e omida cand eu il vreau condor,
Sa spintec vremi, spatii cu geniul in gheare...

Sta necurmat in poarta-ti, cu ochiul la ospete,
Si-ti cere mila Timpul, hainul cersetor;
In scarnava lui mana, tot mai nepasator;
Tu zilnic zvarli farame din marea frumusete...

Nu-s rege, nu am aur sa-mprastii, nici onoruri;
Atat: eternitatea mi-e singura unealta
Sa nemuresc in spirit icoana ta inalta,

Sub ea sa-nghete vecii cu cardul lor de zboruri,
Sa-nmarmureasca lumea de o iubire, care...
...Iar scriu iubire! Iarta... citeste: disperare!

Miercuri, 5 decembrie 1956

Sonnet form: abba abba cdd caa

(Vasile Voiculescu)

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Saturday, January 07, 2012

Un Sonet de Marin Sorescu

O lunga pregatire pentru moarte
E viata -ntreaga. Pentru marea clipa,
Cand sufletul, un fulg dintr-o aripa,
Lin se desprinde si te ia departe.

Unde? Nu stii. Precis, in alta parte
Si toata pamanteana ta risipa
Se sterge ca o vorba dintr-o carte
Si-o alta vorba-n loc se infiripa.

Asa ca geamantanul fa-ti si du-te,
Uitandu-ti geamantanul chiar in prag.
Dintr-un noian de vise incepute

Nu poti sa-l termini nici pe cel mai drag,
Il va visa deasupra, bland un fag
Adaugand pe fruntea ta noi cute.

Sonnet form: abba abab aca cca

(A Life in Books)

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Matthew E Carter: Life, ay it a game!

The first name that comes to mind is Ozu (as all great film directors came out from the Late Spring), I thought also at Maya Deren's Meditation on Violence, as the timing of this short made by Matthew E Carter is perfect. Well, Mattie builds on Ozu and on Maya Deren, but, I must say, he is here totally original. It's the science of Ozu in the details, the science of Deren in the timing, and it's original. Great art builds on masters while being truly forceful and original.

(Vlog of Mattie)

(Black Country Cinema)

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Friday, January 06, 2012

A Sonnet by Edna St. Vincent Millay (XLIII)

Edna St. Vincent Millay was born and grew up in Maine and remained enamored with the savage beauty of the Cadillac Mountain - where the sun first hits the American coast. I planned once to go there to Bar Harbor and to climb the mountain, it didn't happen.

I found on the web this sonnet and I dedicate it to my good friends from Maine, to Jay and Tasha.

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning; but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh

Upon the glass and listen for reply,
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.

Thus in winter stands the lonely tree,
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:

I cannot say what loves have come and gone,
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more.

Sonnet form: abba abba cde dce

(A Life in Books)


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Bacovia: Lacustra

De-atatea nopti plouand,
Aud materia plangand ...
Sint singur, si ma duce-un gand
Spre locuintele lacustre.

Si parca dorm pe scanduri ude,
In spate ma izbeste-un val -
Tresar din somn, si mi se pare
Ca n-am tras podul de la mal.

Un gol istoric se intinde,
Pe-aceleasi vremuri ma gandesc ...
Si simt cum de atata ploaie
Pilotii grei se prabusesc.

De-atatea noprti aud plouand,
Tot tresarind, tot asteptand ...
Sint singur, si ma duce-un gand
Spre locuintele lacustre ...

So many nights I've heard the rain,
Have heard matter weeping ...
I am alone, my mind is drawn
Towards lacustrine dwellings.

As though I slept on wet boards,
A wave will slap me in the back -
I start from sleep, and it seems
I haven't drawn the bridge from the bank.

A void of history extends,
I find myself in the same times ...
And sense how through so much rain
The heavy timber stilts are tumbling.

So many nights I've heard the rain,
Always starting, always waiting ...
I am alone, my mind is drawn
Towards lacustrine dwellings ...

Depuis des nuits j’entends pleuvoir
La matiere pleure le soir
Et seul j’explore dans un songe
Lacustres mondes que l’eau ronge

Je dors en lits d’humides planches
Mon dos battu de vagues flanche
Et dans le reve je sursaute
Car mon ponton sur flots tressaute.

L’abîme de l’histoire est mien
J’existe dans les temps anciens
Je sens toute cette eau en trombe
Partout, les pilotis en tombent.

Depuis des nuits j’entends pleuvoir
J’attends en sursautant le soir
Et seul j’explore dans un songe
Lacustres mondes que l’eau ronge

(George Bacovia)

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Thursday, January 05, 2012

Joris Ivens: The Spanish Earth (1937)

The Spanish Earth (Tierra de España), made in 1937 by Joris Ivens, with a remarkable team of screenwriters: Lilian Hellman authored the story based on which John Dos Passos and Ernest Hemingway wrote the English narration (read in voice-off by Orson Welles - then Hemingway decided to use his own voice, replacing Wells, who remained credited, though). Jean Renoir wrote the French version of the narration. Hemingway and Dos Passos will broke their friendship later, as their life experiences will lead them to very different political views. But by that time all of them were very committed and this documentary about the Spanish Civil War is obviously totally partisan.

I found in Senses of Cinema an interesting remark about this movie: Ivens would return frequently in his films to man’s relationship with the land, and to water and irrigation. For some critics it is a major theme, and Ivens is sometimes seen less as a political filmmaker than a sort of frustrated nature poet. However, as in The Spanish Earth, the land and the water are frequently political in Ivens’ cinema, they are part of the struggle.

The Spanish Earth (1937): Part 1/6
(video by femalerevolution)

The Spanish Earth (1937): Part 2/6
(video by femalerevolution)

The Spanish Earth (1937): Part 3/6
(video by femalerevolution)

The Spanish Earth (1937): Part 4/6
(video by femalerevolution)

The Spanish Earth (1937): Part 5/6
(video by femalerevolution)

The Spanish Earth (1937): Part 6/6
(video by femalerevolution)

(Joris Ivens)


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Joris Ivens: Pour le Mistral (1965)

One of Joris Ivens's most poetic films is his first attempt to film the wind. With a beautiful photography, a powerful editing and a poetic commentary the film tries to make the wind visible and tangible. It starts in black and white, continues in color and ends in cinemascope to illustrate the force of the upcoming Mistral wind that blows in the south of France. It was difficult to find a producer for this film, for most people were rather skeptical to finance a film with an invisible main character. Finally Claude Nedjar was willing to produce the film, which despite many financial problems was finished in 1965.

The spirit of the Avant-garde of the 20's was still alive in 1965, the year when Joris Ivens made Pour le Mistral. The same Productionist credo as in De Brug and Philips-Radio, the same subtle poetry as in Regen. Actually here the Productionism goes well beyond its ideological burden: it is the endless struggle of the human against Universe (be it the mechanical world of factories and construction sites, be it the world of Mother Nature). Here the universe is the Mistral; only a wind as powerful as it can be, is invisible; we have here (like in Regen) a qualisign, the pure quality of the wind, sending us to the idea of Nature omnipotence; a Universe, almighty and blind, and a hero (the human) facing the Universe, struggling with it, living with it, endlessly. Day after day, times with calm weather, times with beastly wind, Times and Winds (to paraphrase Reha Erdem), each day like the one behind it, like the one after: the any space whatever, l'espace quelconque.

The beginning scenes called in my mind the beginning of ¡Que viva México!: the same feeling of Eternity. Should I say again a qualisign?

Pour le Mistral (1965): Part 1/3
(video by alextrebek323)

Pour le Mistral (1965): Part 2/3
(video by alextrebek323)

Pour le Mistral (1965): Part 3/3
(video by alextrebek323)

Dutch documentarian Joris Ivens's Pour le Mistral is his first attempt to film the wind. In Provence, in Southeast France on the Mediterranean, the wind rages and inhabitants resist the rage, as captured in a series of witty streetside freeze-frames. In one, a young woman tries restraining her bridal veil as she mounts the church steps. The heightened mode with which Ivens begins is somewhat correlative to the middle of things at the launch of a literary epic. A series of static shots of rough, daunting rock formations, suggesting ancient history, gives way to a modern aerial shot that is so high it shows an airplane below traversing the ground. We are back on Earth; is it the voice of Cosmos that we hear in the poetic commentary? The camera seems driven in a fluent, and rising, traveling shot through open landscape. The camera has become the wind. Farmers farm; sitting on the ground, a woman knits; boys rambunctiously play. It is as though the wind were humanity's invisible bloodstream. But then the rage comes: trees, first lightly danced upon, are thrashed by the howling wind; part of the roof is blown off a house. The contrast between shepherds, who love children and animals, and the dressed-up woman, en route to the theater, who is most concerned about her pearls, which the wind has torn from her neck and scattered: gratuitous; silly. Otherwise, the film deserves the documentary prize it won at Venice. The film passes from black-and-white to color. Prior to another raging gust, Nature appears calm and in gorgeous full bloom—like the burst of spring in Jean Renoir's The River (1951). Over the land the play of light and darkness suggests the influence of Eisenstein's The Old and the New (1929).

(Joris Ivens)


Joris Ivens

(Filmele Avangardei)