Friday, 17 April 2015

OUT OF THE SHALLOWS

And back into the deep.

Wow!

I just watched Bertolucci's The Conformist at the Civic theatre.
This was a special screening of a beautifully restored print of the 1970 film.

I saw this in Wellington in the early 1970's and was gobsmacked by it then. After 40 plus years it's still powerful and frankly leaves for dead the expensive dross that purports to be good cinema nowadays.

On every level this film is superior to modern day offerings:


  • Cinematography is stunning with artistically crafted shots that have been copied by film makers, TV commercial makers, music video makers and artists over the last 40 years.

  • Surreal chase and kill sequences that have been copied in TV programmes and films from the 007 franchise through The Sopranos and The Bourne films.


  • A complex and bewildering psychological  investigation of the principal character that by far usurps anything that David Lynch has done and has triggered a whole lot of TV dramas.

The film investigates the need of the principal character Clarici, a weak and sexually ambiguous character to go with the flow amidst a time of extremism in Italian politics (1930's and 1940's).
Basically he conforms to whatever the prevailing social and political climate demands of him.

To this end Moravia's novel and Bertolucci's adaptation is just as relevant today. We all go with the flow by and large.

It reminded me of the frightening truth in Jonathon Littels book The Kindly Ones when the principal character Max Aue , a murderer and senior member of the Einzgruppen, the Nazi death squad said "I am a man like other men, I am a man like you".


LIKE PICKING SCABS


At the closing of the film Clarici silently looks back at the audience as if to say "what would you have done?"

Powerful stuff.

We just don't get stuff like this nowadays.


Thursday, 16 April 2015

PERSONAL 4

Dion was sent sprawling and was covered in hot coffee as the coffee cart was spun across the road.
He was lucky that he'd stopped serving an hour ago and was cleaning up otherwise the urns and coffee machine would have been full of scalding hot water.

Wassa.... he said to himself, not at all sure what had happened.

Robert sped on. His old Mitsubishi Dion had rammed the coffee cart in its position at the side of the road and sent it spinning across to the other side.

"Well done" he said to himself "that bastard won't get in my way again".

Robert believed that the coffee cart had been a black and white police cruiser and, in his deranged state thought that he was saving his life which to be fair had only recently been almost snuffed out at the hands of American law enforcement officers.

To complicate matters and adding to Robert's delusion was the fact that Dion had stencilled 'SHERIFF' across the side of his cart and had personalised number plates reading 'BOSHOG'.



Dion was still shaken but was now worried.
Was it his fault he wondered.
What would his mum say?
What would his big brothers say?
They always gave him a hard time about parking up at the top of the hill.

Dion was slightly Asbergic and Autistic. He'd struggled through school and if it hadn't been for his big brothers who were gang members he probably wouldn't have made it. They gave him a hard time for sure but would sure as hell give anyone else a worse time if they caught them bullying Dion.

He couldn't get a job after school and was on a benefit while living at home with his mum. He didn't drink or smoke or go out though so saved all his money and eventually bought the coffee cart which was a converted Toyota van, old but reliable. It was his life. And soul.

Dion climbed out of the van and looked at he damage. The right front wheel was munted, lying flat underneath the front suspension. He wept and asked himself again "is it my fault? What'll mum say? What'll the brothers do?"

He decided to walk home. Luckily the van had been pushed up against a lamp-post. Although it was bent at a strange angle it still functioned and illuminated the coffee-cart van well. "Reuben will be able to fix this" thought Dion as he shouldered his pack and made off.

Reuben was Dion's second oldest brother. He was big and strong and what he didn't know about cars wasn't worth knowing. Reuben could identify any vehicle by tyre marks or paint scrapings alone. He was cool.

The coffee-cart van sat in its lonely and crippled state throughout the night.
The streetlamp lit its right hand side clearly showing the impact marks and paint scrapings from a Mitsubishi car. A Mitsubishi Dion. Reuben would have something to go on with that..........


........ If he didn't then the number plate from Robert's Dion would help. It was wedged under the right font bumper of the van.


PERSONAL 3


"Robert lay in the theatre on the operating table and looked for the tunnel. There should have been light. It was black. "Shit I'm wrong" he thought " what do I do to avoid eternal damnation?"He saw the skeleton next, it raised a finger and said follow me my friend ."


Fortunately for Robert he'd been wearing that new Trade Me purchase his wife had made under his silk lined long coat.
It was a piece of 17th century Samurai upper body armour made from overlaying strips of bamboo. It weighed less than a kilogram but was 10 times stronger than kevlar.  It cost $12 dollars. "Those silly old elderly folks didn't know the value of this" Robert thought as he donned it that morning.





The 'skeleton' was a cadaverous A&E doctor who looked like he could do with a good feed. Robert suggested the battered sausages at the Moera takeaway shop but the doctor merely grimaced and led him down the corridor.



"Listen, I don't like your lifestyle mate" the doctor whispered "but it doesn't mean to say that I want to see you killed. There's a heavy-set guy lurking out in the waiting area - about 5'10", unshaven, bleary-eyed, smells like old chardonnay - he was asking about you. I didn't like the look of him. The American policemen have gone and the press have lost interest now that they've discovered that you are a white guy. You can slip out this side door here. I'll tell the old guy in the waiting room that you 'slipped away'. With my sad looks he'll no doubt be assured that you've gone to meet your maker which by the look of you was probably Geppetto."

Robert thought he should take offence at this but took his advice and slipped out the side door.
He felt a chill but moved swiftly across the car park and out to the main street. He was sure that he was getting funny looks from the people around and heard some giggles from behind him.

He was unaware that although he was still wearing the Samurai body armour, the hospital had removed his trousers and underpants. They'd dressed him in a surgical smock but it was flapping open at the back.


Wednesday, 15 April 2015

PERSONAL 2


Humbert had made his travel plans, NZ0001 from LA to Wellington.
He settled into his Premium Economy seat and thought about the coming few days.
Richard was becoming a problem, that was for damn sure. This needed sorting.
Robert had been sorted thanks to some redneck US police officers who had been on a 'Peace' delegation to Nuova Lazio. One problem down but Richard needed sorting out.



Indiscretions. Humbert reviewed the notes that The Curmudgeon had sent him via the encrypted files they used.
"Some unpleasantness at primary school involving standing under stair cases and looking up girl's skirts - Simon Charles Galvin style.

"Befriending kids at intermediate school in public urinals where friends dunked their caps into the piss drains before putting them on their heads for some reason.

"Getting drunk at parties at university before annoying and molesting women

"Getting evicted from musical soirees.

"Being summoned to the University Council and having a social society forcibly disbanded.

" Being several times sacked from musical groups. By his older brother.

Yes, Humbert thought. This needs sorting.

The Curmudgeon had added that Richard was set to get his hands on Robert's legacy, the 'Drap O Scotch' original manuscript. Time was pressing.




And then there was the skeleton.




What was that about?