Archive for April 25th, 2018


© 2018 by James Clark

      One of the consequences of infinite digital connectivity is awakening to the certainty that one’s endeavors, protestations notwithstanding, mean nothing to the more or less vivid raucousness out there. True, some close-range attention flickers, but a quite startling void forever opens. It goes without saying that reciprocal success shines upon the various political (including religious) and scientific assemblies to meet objectives of material well-being. Also self-evident are the slides (from shoring up social abysses) becoming sites of fanatical violence toward those not sharing a presumed virtue. World history, now, with the world-wide-web, having become types of blast-furnaces, convenes missions of overt and covert religious ultimacy. Belief in a menu of total satisfaction presents a variety of armies, each member of which purporting to know about his or her payoff. The chaotic feebleness of these protestations does nothing so much as demonstrate that the dark saga of personal securement is a fraud, a fraud by dint of throttling those energies of sensibility by which a person is not a small business intent on personal fortune but an integral productive partner of the cosmos, on behalf of a split-dividend. Humankind has definitively ruled out that phenomenon. But endeavors on behalf of those not routed do obtain, as with, for instance, the films of Kelly Reichardt.

Our task today is to center upon what is fresh and playable about the film, Night Moves (2013), which brings to our attention not so much three underwhelming and viciously presumptuous environmentalists of various stripes, but how their hard-core myopia impinges upon sensuous resources their betters can derive traction from. This is, then, neither premium ecological disclosure, nor suspense and crime cinema, despite brushing upon such eventuation. This is, instead, an instance of players lethally ignorant of the ways of the world and demonstrating facile recourses in lieu of the hardness of that “environment” they are embarrassed by, and as such pose a test for us as to how to manage, in their presence, traces of fruitfulness, which, rather surprisingly, is enough.

Before getting into the hidden delights of what many would regard a minor effort, I want to introduce a thread, to be taken up in later spring and summer, which quite amazingly speaks to the work of Reichardt—in particular, Night Moves. You’d be on pretty solid grounds dismissing the idea that Ingmar Bergman’s, Through a Glass Darkly (1961), has something to do with Night Moves. The former focuses upon a schizophrenic (split-dividend) woman, who comes to the conclusion, “I have seen God, and he is a spider…” We must hasten to add that, though her reasoning could be better, it also could be quite a bit worse, for instance, leaving creatures out of the money. The thrilling developments of Reichardt’s work must be seen to be part of a long, large-scale, though effectively buried, commitment. Hopefully we can now proceed with a vehicle having very little to do with the entertainment industry but having a lot to do with high-spiritedness.

The protagonist, Karin, in Through a Glass Darkly, sees herself as floundering between two worlds “that don’t fit together.” Her response is to return to the asylum and bury herself in self-satisfying mysticism.  Dena, owner of a sauna by way of her family’s deep pockets (sounding quite a lot like Kurt, the West- Coast oracle [and self-styled quantum physics genius] along with being a junky and predator, in our guide’s Old Joy [2006]), opines that she needed only her Freshman year to ace the matter of nature’s collapse [and apportion blame], a far better thing than graduating and ending up in media work in New York City. (At one point she makes clear that she’s from Connecticut but needs the simplism-friendly simplicity of the Northwest.) Her questionable self-confidence induces her to step beyond her spa/ asylum in order to put into action her instincts for perfection. (more…)

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