INHABITED PLACES, INHIBITED SPACES
There's a problem I always run into when I begin to write about web cinema. Namely, I know what I mean when I say "web cinema," but who else does? And it gets worse: should I refer to web cinema's "locations" or "sets" despite the connotations of industrial motion picture production? Should narrative works which are shot impetuously in any available setting be said to exhibit mise en scène, or should I instead refer to "the background" as I would if discussing a snapshot of a family picnic?
Clearly this crisis of nomenclature betrays the indebtedness of web cinema to previous forms of cinema. But because a high percentage of online videos seem to have been issued with the effort of a belch, approaching them with any system of terms seems mandarin or heavy-handed (the path between elucidating and ridiculous has become unforgivingly narrow). I find myself involuntarily judging many aspects of web cinema production to be faute de mieux: a why-not plot shot wherever-they'll-let-us with whoever-shows-up. Should we, accordingly, begin to classify a "faute de mieux cinema" as a subspecies of web cinema? Or should we do away with the concept of "cinema" altogether where the Internet is involved? (And where isn't the Internet involved?)
Instead of defining or classifying, I'd like to look at one element of cinema - on the web and elsewhere - which will be part of the experience until we no longer use lenses to make indexical recordings of people and places.
There are cinematic spaces which are inhabited, which "give good performances" as spaces through which people move and in which events occur; and there are cinematic spaces which are inhibited, which are denied even their ontological value, whether because they're poorly construed or because they lack any discernible relationship to other spaces.
In Coup de poker 1, five women play poker at a small table. Well, we assume they're at a table. At first, we see faces, shoulders, maybe hands if a character happens to hold her cards close to her face. Occasional split-screen shots depict the action on the poker table alongside the inaction of the women's faces and torsos. We see two characters in the same frame, and along with their statuesque torsos we see the tops of champagne flutes. We are left to infer the existence of a world outside this room - maybe a bathroom which one of the women has used at some point, as women tend to do when they drink a lot of champagne, and where one or two of them may have freshened their vampier-than-thou make-up.
Coup de poker is a charming, well-acted piece with a totally inadequate visual schema: every frame is disorienting, distorting, decapitating; the lack of color and any scrap of décor makes for a garishly barren palette, especially when creamy skin tones fuse with creamy walls.
A few very brief wide shots of the table and all five women further muddle the spatial relationships of the characters, since the gap created for the presence of the camera is a solecism. It might have been more consoling if something had happened in those wide shots, like someone going to get more champagne or someone going to the bathroom. Even if we're meant to surmise that these ladies are unanimously paraplegic, someone could still slap someone, or someone could gesticulate wildly at someone. But the wide shots serve only to report - or, rather, confirm - total stasis. By the end, we can identify the action scenes as those in which agitation is expressed by a shuffling of buttocks on chairs and those in which one of the women suddenly and briefly smokes a cigarette. To take this face-fetishizing disembodiment to its rigorous conclusion would result in something along the lines of Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc. And that might have worked.
Les vases communicants 2 has similar problems: after several minutes of static close-ups it jolts us out of the main apartment location only to show us another character sitting on a couch in another apartment. The characters move slightly more than those in Coup de poker, but for the most part not at all.
Now take The Egg That Wouldn't Hatch 3 as a counterpoint to the inhibited spaces of Coup de poker and Les vases communicants. The physical setting of Egg is more or less interchangeable with theirs: an urban home. But here the camera moves hesitantly through the rooms as a couple argue. We see the space itself as dynamic, as possessing an identity, performing a role. As we become aware of the geometrical dimensions of the rooms, we become equally aware of their emotional dimensions: where one woman stands to expand, angrily, and where the other sits to retreat in shame and confusion. When the interloper arrives, the two main characters move to the next room to have a private discussion.
Mise en scène, depth-of-field, handheld camera - none of this matters per se.
What matters is the space itself, as a participant, as a character.
In his book The Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard discusses the inevitable personification of house-as-space:
"A geometrical object of this kind ought to resist metaphors that welcome the human body and the human soul. But transposition to the human plane takes place immediately whenever a house is considered as a space for cheer and intimacy, space that is supposed to condense and defend intimacy." (Bachelard, 1994)
What's also striking about the three movies discussed above is that in none of them does any significant action take place outdoors. It's only by accident that we see any daylight, as if it's the source of some embarrassment.
I'm particularly fond of the adjective etiolated (so fond, in fact, that I would rather talk about it than use it in a sentence). Its etymon is the French étioler: to weaken a plant or person by way of depriving it or him or her of sunlight (and air, depending on the dictionary). Sure, I can urge web cinema to "Go outside," just as I might tell a child, "Take your vitamins," but I'm not sure that will solve the problem.
Cries and Whispers goes outside for less than three of its ninety-one minutes. The first few shots in this trauma-fest are exterior still-lifes, but the entirety of the action takes place indoors - until a final, weightless, halcyon exterior scene which would not have had its necessary impact had the foregoing succession of interior scenes been less systematically onerous.
Cinema allows such contrasts to be made quickly - spatial counterpoints, flip-flopping textures.
Here Bergman's interiors and exteriors are inhabited with conviction; the visual and the dramaturgical achieve a fastidious reciprocity.
The film works only because it's shot aggressively, unforgivingly, in a single, austere interior - and then this brittle edifice, so meticulously constructed, is dismantled by the epilogue in a brisk gossamer stroke.
La Notte demonstrates a similar pattern by building with bricks of oppressive interiors and then releasing the tension into the outdoors, but it does so much more slowly and methodically than Cries and Whispers. There's the initial oppressiveness of the hospital room(s) at the beginning, followed by the oppressiveness of the car ride through the congested streets of Rome, followed by the oppressiveness of the book release party, followed by the stirring elasticity of the scenes in which Jeanne Moreau wanders the streets and alleys, stumbling into carefully performed instances of life - viscous life - which she can bite off and consume with delight, as if nibbling at a confection, gladly ruining her strict diet of bored aristocrats and intellectuals writhing on their deathbeds. It's important to note, too, that the only shot of Moreau outside before the film takes this inordinately deep breath is at the hospital, where she is seemingly crushed by the imposing substance of the building (and despite that shot, La Notte is the least visually "serious" of the five films Antonioni made in the sixties, probably because he was distracted by the Bergmanesque garrulity of his own script).
It Should Happen to You is an interesting counterpart to La Notte: it starts with Judy Holliday wandering around Central Park in much the same way that Moreau wanders around Rome. Andrew Sarris writes of director Cukor, "The [...] Central Park sequence in The Marrying Kind is one of the most graceful exercises in open-air-film-making in the history of the cinema, and the corresponding sequence in It Should Happen to You is not far behind." (Sarris, 1971) The difference is that the open-air sequence in The Marrying Kind comes in the middle, whereas It Should Happen to You begins in Central Park, possibly to its detriment. Whatever vitality steams off the screen under God's light is forfeited when the story moves us into the lesser kingdom of studio light - but is this intentional? The apartment scenes feel far more maddeningly cramped than they would have without that opening sequence.
And this is where that glandular response comes into play, that sensation not unlike seasickness when one profoundly evoked location (Cries and Whispers), or a series of similar locations (La Notte), suddenly and utterly gives way to its opposite. The elevator cable snaps.
Manny Farber was a painter before becoming a film critic, and he had a painter's overprotective concern with space. In the collection Negative Space, Farber broaches the issue of space frequently but goes into little depth. Too bad, since in his stark opinion a film's merit may be reduced to its use of space. Farber credits "distant views of a playground" as one of the best things in Repulsion, which parrots Kracauer's remark about the "real ocean" glimpsed through the castle window in Olivier's Hamlet, and I can only assume Farber means to place himself in the mise en scène camp. Despite my interest in cinematic space, I don't find myself moved by the mise en scène tradition, which tends to amplify any fleeting background detail, no matter how arbitrary, to unwieldy proportions. Phillip Lopate demonstrates this problem:
"I remember a scene in Max Ophüls's Letter from an Unknown Woman, when the heroine is ironing in the kitchen, and suddenly I became invaded by the skillets and homely kitchenware behind her. For several moments I began to dream about the life of these objects, which had become inexplicably more important to me than Joan Fontaine." (Lopate, 1998)
Elsewhere Lopate makes an argument which I instinctively reject:
"In what way can I argue that the triumph of quick cutting, or montage, over a mise en scène aesthetic is somehow connected to the decline of intelligence in American movies? Well, it's like this: if we are no longer invited to enter an image on the screen and dwell there inwardly for more than three seconds; if our eye is not given the time to travel from one character's face to another's and then to the objects and scenery behind or to the side of them; if we are being presented with too many close-ups that show us a very small amount of visual information, which make one point and only one point per shot; if we are not encouraged to develop fidelity to a shot, then we do not make as deep a commitment to understand and interpret the material presented to us." (ibid)
This is incredibly prescriptive criticism. Despite agreeing in principle with many of Lopate's common-sense objections, I'm more deeply convinced that this sort of codification should be resisted at all costs. And I'm baffled by the logic of "one point and only one point per shot." This seems far too abstract a thing to lend itself to such crisp quantification. Lopate goes on to suggest that there are shots in which we must participate by looking around - literally getting lost in them, as he confesses he did during Letter from an Unknown Woman. I can't say I see the practical value in this, unless it's preferable to watch the expanding and collapsing of someone's third chin when he speaks than to follow his side of the conversation.
But where inhabited spaces are concerned, there is something less strenuous, more incidental than what is traditionally touted as mouth-watering mise en scène, something less piously ascetic than the deadpan squalor of Mizoguchi, Kiarostami, Tsai Ming-Liang, and something less self-satisfied than the authoritarian embellishing - visual hamming - of Welles or Ophüls, whose styles thrive on ornate detail and ritualistic overpopulation.
In The Ox-Bow Incident, for instance, there is a shot which exhibits perfectly inhabited space; that is, space which is inhabited incidentally, as a matter of course. Harry Morgan, seeming as if he failed to move beyond range of the camera, stands on the porch of the saloon and watches some other characters interact, his body language suggesting arrested retreat, as if his curiosity as Harry Morgan per se got the better of him and he stopped short so he could see how the other actors played their scene. There is no corresponding close-up to remind us that Morgan's character is processing this information on our behalf (And representing the audience in this scene, please welcome Mr. Harry Morgan!). This is a remarkable composition in that the angle is entirely unsuggestive (i.e., it's remarkable for being unremarkable), and there are none of the fripperies or general overbearingness of Welles or Ophüls - and yet it doesn't beg to be congratulated for its austerity. The space and its inhabitants simply are.
One tends not to think of Antonioni's work as possessing anything incidental - well, he magnifies or distorts the "incidental" until it takes precedence over ostensibly key events, but, generally speaking, not a hair is out of place until A Hair Is Out Of Place, as it were. But the arrival of Monica Vitti's character in L'Avventura is necessarily tossed off: we glimpse her stumbling across the background of a shot which is dominated by the actors filling the foreground, swinging her sweater with more innocent exuberance than she will exhibit throughout the rest of the movie (more innocent exuberance than her patrician companions can stomach, probably), suggesting that, like Harry Morgan, Vitti may have been caught unawares by the camera - it even appears that Vitti looks directly at the camera before stumbling. But all the while - throughout these few seconds - we have our narrative priorities in the foreground: Lea Masari, the presumptive protagonist, talking to her concerned father. Of course, this is all a delightful sleight-of-hand. Vitti is introduced incidentally, as an afterthought, because in Antonioni's nihilistic scheme she is incidental - until she reluctantly takes up the mantle as protagonist after Masari's disappearance.
If these examples of incidentally inhabited space seem indistinguishable from conventional instances of mise en scène, I would still adamantly posit them against the perverse delights of Kracauer, Farber and Lopate - ocean, playground, kitchenware, respectively - for a couple of reasons: first, because Harry Morgan and Monica Vitti are not inanimate minutiae, and it doesn't take a fundamental distractedness from the main action to give them our attention; second, neither Morgan nor Vitti elsewhere seems to possess the same psychic or physical presence they do in these moments, so this sumptuous vitality, this gathering of energy around them, can be taken as pointed and purposeful; in other words, the celebrated properties of these shots are not scattered indiscriminately throughout these films, thereby leveling the effect to a monotone, as is the case with much mise en scène (i.e., the conspicuous effort of keeping it up).
Consider the handful of online shorts we looked at earlier: beyond the matter of taking place exclusively indoors, each of them exhibits an affectation of placelessness, a lack of geographical specificity.
Farber defines cinematic space - or at least delimits it - as follows: "the field of the screen, the psychological space of the actor, and the area of experience and geography that the film covers." (Farber, 1971)
There's the word "geography," almost an afterthought. The psychology and experience of the actor come first.
In praising Rohmer's Ma nuit chez Maud, Farber makes a dubious distinction between locale and geography, utilizing a too-sophisticated - or just too painterly? - instrument of setting-analysis. Locale is defined as "a bustling job-prosperous town of narrow streets," and geography is reported as "a wintry, sparse landscape," as if these features are as readily distinguishable as eye color and height. (cf. Farber, 1971)
In another essay, Farber writes about Reflections in a Golden Eye just long enough to express vague irritation with it: "this story of a seldom seen Army camp is Stalesville, due to the neutralization of the locale…" (ibid) Here Farber is asking, in his cranky way, for geographical specificity. But even Carson McCullers's original text mumbled about the setting: "There is a fort in the south where a few years ago a murder was committed." (McCullers, 1941)
If we ask for too much geographical specificity, we're likely to end up with the sort of spy film mannerism in which James Bond, Jason Bourne, or Ethan Hunt takes breakfast in Hong Kong, lunch in Madrid, an aperitif in Buenos Aires, dinner in Reykjavik, before ducking into Langley, around 2:17 AM, to retrieve those elusive secret documents.
I'm thinking about geographical specificity not as an objective to be achieved, but as a reflex, a matter of personal, rather than national, identity.
"The 49th parallel ran directly through my childhood, dividing me in two," wrote Wallace Stegner. "In the winter…we were almost totally Canadian." (Stegner, 2000) He was, ostensibly, "American" the rest of the time. Stegner undertook a lifelong struggle to map his sense of self in nationalistic terms. Not being obvious from birth, it became an obsession. The identity crisis itself seems to have sired a number of books and essays which demonstrate how insoluble this issue was for Stegner.
"The accident of being brought up on a belated, almost symbolic frontier has put me through processes of deculturation, isolation, and intellectual schizophrenia…The lateness of my frontier and the fact that it lay in Canada intensified the discrepancy between that part of me which reflects the folk culture and that part which reflects an education imported and often irrelevant. The dichotomy between American and European that exists to some extent in all of us exists most drastically in people reared on frontiers, for frontiers provide not only the rawest forms of deculturation but the most slavish respect for borrowed elegancies." (ibid)
It's not surprising that someone who achieves a tenuous but workable identity only through a painstaking process of hyper-rationalization (ritually explaining himself to himself) would be threatened by a compatriot who casually rejects that identity. Specifically, Stegner was offended - outraged? - by Susan Sontag's shruggy admission that she had always taken her artistic and intellectual cues from Europe. Saul Bellow confessed the same sort of thing, perhaps less intentionally than Sontag.
"I was soon aware that in the view of advanced European thinkers, the cultural expectations of a young man from Chicago, that center of brutal materialism, were bound to be disappointed…Hopeless, in the judgment of highly refined Englishmen, Frenchmen, Germans and Italians, the spokesmen for art in its most advanced modern forms…" (Bellow, 1987)
The spokesmen for art in its most advanced modern forms? That's some strongly-worded culture envy. And if it looks like irony, you don't realize how hard-wired it is: "American readers sometimes object to a kind of foreignness in my books. I mention Old World writers, I have highbrow airs…" (ibid) Bellow offers no excuse for this tendency, only acknowledgment. There is an undercurrent of sadness - the sadness of a son never accepted by a family he rejected - but no hint of regret.
I remember as a teen being confused by various references to the Irishness of the band members in the film U2: Rattle and Hum. I had always understood rock-and-roll to be a placeless institution, and this constant re-affirming of national identity was dizzying - not off-putting, but as if I'd entered an alternate universe where rock stars were from particular places which could be located on a map. How and why did my conception of rock-and-roll entail a frighteningly integral placeless quality? And why did Irishness suddenly become much more pungent, more valid, more "real" through the dubious power of a few stray references in a concert film, than my sense of my own cultural identity? "Knowledge of place," Stegner laments, "meant to me knowledge of the far and foreign." (Stegner, 2000)
"[A]t times dreams go back so far into an undefined, dateless past that clear memories of our childhood home appear to be detached from us. Such dreams unsettle our daydreaming and we reach a point where we begin to doubt that we ever lived where we lived. Our past is situated elsewhere, and both time and place are impregnated with a sense of unreality." (Bachelard, 1994)
Is this culture of placelessness simply a matter of not seeing where we are? Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, a New Yorker living in Florida, tried like hell to write a passable gothic novel set in an exotic European locale. Why couldn't she convince Max Perkins to publish this stuff? She sent her manuscripts from Florida, along with letters about the people who lived 'round them parts. Perkins was moved by the letters and encouraged Rawlings to expand them into a book. She had to stop wanting to be European and be, actively, creatively, where she was. What if Sontag and Bellow had been told to drop their "Old World" airs and deal with what was in front of them, as Americans? What about Henry James, T.S. Eliot, Djuna Barnes?
If we sentimentalize the very ground we stand on, put orange cones around our imaginations and constrain them to our native soil, we will inevitably sink into some form of cultural or geographical supremacy. Cued by Stegner's unique case, we have to ask ourselves about the difference between nationalism and personal identity, and if such things can be as clearly demarcated as Farber suggested locale and geography could be. And in the case of Rawlings, what is the difference between anthropology and travelogue? She wasn't from Florida, so wasn't she just turning her "ethnographic gaze" on the locals for some grubby hixploitation? (She was sued for libel by someone who thought so.) Can the ethnographic gaze be directed at oneself? Just imagine a publicly-funded regional cinema which is meant to increase tourism or promote cross-cultural understanding or even boost pride among its residents. The director is left with an ethical burden not unlike that of product placement. But what a big product. That's the triumph of Triumph of the Will - its art quotient exceeds its propaganda quotient. Or so they say.
This is what makes Slacker so bold and flavorful - its forthrightness about where it is, a matter-of-fact confidence about its regional identity, first as Austin, then as Texas. It has nothing to do with cultural supremacy. It is what it is. And now Austin is an institution. The sometimes alienating details of the first half of Death Proof demonstrate how much Slacker accomplished in making Austin a cultural touchstone, a state of mind. Austinity has been commodified. Linklater has done for his "real" town what David Lynch did by burlesquing the Pacific Northwest in Twin Peaks.
(A few years ago I visited Snoqualmie, Washington, the town which so deliciously played Twin Peaks. An hour down the road is Roslyn, the town which played Cicely, Alaska, in Northern Exposure. That's commodification.)
Conversely, there's something unconvincing about the London street scenes in Repulsion. Polanski seems to have more room to breathe in the cramped apartment. The exteriors are haphazard, forced. Farber maintains that Deneuve is "incapable of blending herself into the street scenes, which lack bit players to make them credible." (Farber, 1971) I'm not convinced the exteriors need bit players, but there's definitely something missing. Neither Polanski nor Deneuve spoke English at the time of production (each has identified this as an impediment), and their hesitancy as a unit is manifest.
Take, on the other hand, Antonioni's Blowup. David Hemmings disdainfully manhandles London - streets, cafes, curio shops, night clubs, parks and alleys - as he disdainfully manhandles his cameras and models. The difference between Repulsion and Blowup may be that Hemmings was English, but the pervasive zip-zap energy of Blowup feels more integral than that, higher on the chain of command, if you will. Did Antonioni simply have more tactile understanding of London as a "real place" and more conviction about it as a space through which his characters moved, than Polanski did?
A SPACIOUS, PLACIOUS CINEMA OF THE WEB
I joked to a friend that Terrence Malick conveniently parks himself in exotic places - the Great Plains, Jamestown, Guadalcanal - which facilitate his languorous, reflective vision, but what would he do with an American suburb? We laughed.
Inviting the hoots of an unsophisticated viewer, Joe Swanberg's Mikey 4 dares to treat the suburbs as an exotic locale.
It's hard to analyze Mikey because there's so little conspicuous craft - yet its simplicity is deceptive. The camera has an indefatigable curiosity which for all its exertion of pressure, for all its ubiquity, ultimately cannot penetrate what it sees. The camera settles for the clingy, sycophantic enthusiasm of an underclassman, itself embodying the moods it depicts, participating where possible - and that's another thing: a remarkable number of shots, whole scenes, situate the camera directly behind the subjects, as if the camera is the pesky little brother they're trying to ditch.
Herzog maintains that Fata Morgana is meant to be taken as the document of an extraterrestrial being sent to study Earth - that's how he explains the willful, elliptical staring of the camera. Swanberg's camera is lighter, more graceful.
Think of the suburban alienation in Clerks, that festering ennui which seems to find its best expression in general trashiness. Those characters see themselves as marginalized, the space they inhabit as debilitating. "Real life," they think, is going on somewhere else. Mikey inverts that sensibility: life is right here, among the garages, lawns and cul-de-sacs. These kids knead their nothingscape into a somethingscape. They inhabit their space, discovering and re-discovering. For now there's the hyphen of asphalt where a subdivision will be going in, and the hill of sand dredged to make way for a dozen foundations. And there's the copse which no longer captures their imaginations, but it remains a place, like the garage, which nourishes something in them, no longer providing the solace or sense of independence it once did but still enriching their fraternity. These spaces are as instinctively inhabited as they are indelible.
Swanberg has made several features since Mikey, each achieving some degree of recognition and success, each exhibiting the sincere, massive talent which is discernible in the microcosm of Mikey, but with each new work he seems to get further from this delicate insidiousness of place. "You probably noticed that I almost never use establishing shots," he says of his recent work.
"I don't want you to know where people are because it's not important. It's unnecessary to have a wide shot of Chicago to show you where they live, or even of their bedroom for that matter. I like working extremely close because it's all about that moment. When I photograph a body part - a hand or foot - this is what I care about. The little things - tiny details separated from their circumstances." 5
In defending Renoir's "visual richness and great depth of field," Kusturica has said, "Even when I shoot a close-up, something is always going on behind it; the face is always related to the world around it." (Tirard, 2002)
Jaffe Zinn's Springs and Mountains 6 begins in a dark, hazy apartment. We get the idea that the person sitting on the floor has probably been in here too long for her own good, and before any significant time has passed, I find myself wishing she would leave. Already I'm feeling the space breathing, communicating, playing a role. Almost immediately we're treated to a great spatializing device: in a floor-level shot, a cat's sauntering legs bisect the space between the camera and the young woman as she affects the pose of a collapsed marionette. The indolence is doubled - tripled if we allow that the room is a character. But the important thing about this shot is that whatever intimacy we seek through the mediating lens is interrupted. This happens throughout. Space is not hacked up with rapid montage or cluttered mise en scène but is bisected so that we lose confidence in the customary function of the close-up, the medium shot, and, by extension, our trust in the general representation of space.
What was arty, controlled, dark but precisely lit in the apartment becomes organic, sprawling, washed out in the mountains. The elements of mystery and suspense which are deftly established in the opening minutes - doesn't it feel like a thriller at first? - expire so slowly that we don't notice. Consider L'Avventura: along with the characters in the film we forget about Anna's disappearance altogether ("the disappearance of the disappearance," wrote Pascal Bonitzer (Bonitzer, 1989)). Eventually the undertone provided by the corpse we glimpse at the beginning of Springs and Mountains is simply no longer there.
It's replaced with something else - finally, innocuousness itself, a quality, like the openness of the mountains, which simply is, and doesn't have to be affected. Yet because it stands in contrast to the heavy style of the opening moments, we're made aware that this is a technical choice as well as a spiritual choice. Innocuousness, like mountainousness, must be singled out, must be wielded, as it were.
Instead of Jeanne Moreau interacting with the barrios of Rome in self-consciously meaningful ways, we have something less insular but equally controlled. Whereas Antonioni seems to want to remake Rome in his image, through a nexus of perfectly articulated symbols, Zinn doesn't want to express ownership - nor is he evoking the hostility or inaccessibility of "nature." Instead the mountains are there, not for, not against, not copyrighted, not metaphorized. Their ontological properties are intact, and somehow this quality alone seems like a matter of generosity on Zinn's part. As a conveyer of images, he has the power to make or unmake these mountains. Zinn, a native of southwest Idaho, returned to the region after graduating from film school at NYU, and one senses within these images - and behind them and around them - the devout fascination of a native whose perspective has been altered by exile. Fellow Idahoan Marilynne Robinson touches on this feeling:
"I started writing fiction at an eastern college, partly in hopes of making my friends there understand how rich and powerful a presence a place can be which, to their eyes, is forbidding and marginal, without population or history, without culture in any form recognizable to them… My bond with my native landscape was an unnamable yearning, to be at home and in it, to be chastened and acceptable, to be present in it as if I were not present at all." (Robinson, 1998)
Like Robinson, Zinn and Swanberg know where they're from. And I hope they know where they're going, because I think they're good candidates to lead the way for a while.
1 : Pascal Jaubert, Coup de poker, France, 2007.
2 : Gildas Le Goff, Les vases communicants, France, 2007.
3 : Daniel Gamburg, The Egg That Wouldn't Hatch, United States, 2002.
4 : Joe Swanberg, Mikey, United States, 2003.
5 : Andrew Grant, ""More excited than I have ever been": Joe Swanberg", GreenCine, August 29, 2006.
6 : Jaffe Zinn, Springs and Mountains, USA, 2005.
Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space, Beacon Press, 1994. Translated from French by Maria
(La Poétique de l'espace (1957)).
Saul Bellow, "Introduction", in Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind, Touchstone, NY, NY, 1987.
Pascal Bonitzer, “The Disappearance (on Antonioni)” in L'avventura: Michelangelo Antonioni, Director, eds Seymour Chatman & Guido Fink, Rutgers University Press, New Jersey, 1989, p. 213.
Manny Farber, Negative Space, Praeger, NY, NY, 1971.
Phillip Lopate, Totally, Tenderly, Tragically, Anchor, NY, NY, 1998.
Carson McCullers, Reflections in a Golden Eye, Houghton Mifflin Ed., 1941.
Marilynne Robinson, "Wildnerness", in The Death of Adam: Essays on Modern Thought, Houghton Mifflin Ed, 1998.
Andrew Sarris, ed. "Geoge Cukor Talking to Richard Overstreet, 1964", in Hollywood Voices: Interviews with Film Directors, Bobbs-Merrill, Indianapolis, 1971.
Wallace Stegner, Wolf Willow, Penguin, NY, NY, 2000.
Laurent Tirard, Moviemakers' Master Class, Faber and Faber, NY, NY, 2002.
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