Archive for June 10th, 2015


 © 2015 by James Clark

      It wouldn’t seem plausible, from the perspective of bloated numbers pledging their allegiance to “commonsensible” understanding of the world in general and film in particular, that an approach to the whimsy of Melville’s Bob le Flambeur (1956) requires a brief update of the reflective history of the planet. But, when you stop and think about the flaming absurdity and mawkishness of mainstream (law-abiding) experience, it is precisely a disregarded figure like Melville (and his most acute contemporary associate, the much-maligned Michael Mann), who would be doing the heavy lifting so germane to the roster of geniuses who have left things in so self-satisfiedly superficial a state.

Incisive investigation tends to come in two forms. The first, stemming from 19th century idealist-academic inquiry (in turn stemming from pre-Socratic endeavors) comprises conceptual architecture having tripped open lacunae of the rational (Platonic) tradition. The second, stemming from the arts, comprises construction of physical objects in such a way as to reveal an underbelly of rewarding startlement that physical events can be endlessly compelling.

The arts having to do with that black magic have jealously maintained that those whiffs of ecstasy and frisson they trade in are to stand as sacrosanct in their ineffable and almost utterly confusing power. As such, in radical film production, the sensuous bite of malaise, impasse and fleeting thrill tends to stand out as an unsurpassable frontier unto itself.

But this now venerable electrical storm (along lines of Antonioni, Fellini, Bresson, Lynch, Von Trier et al.) does admit of being cultivated further. And the inception of this problematic peeks out of the well-trodden ground by way of a film feted for elegance, technical audacity and panache; but not recognized as a bold departure speaking to the heart of modern existence. (more…)

Read Full Post »