Category Archives: Films

Walking with Grief…

 

HM15 616

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‘I cried like some grandmother, I wanted to tear my teeth out, I didn’t know what I wanted to do.’ – Walter E.Kurtz, Apocalypse Now.

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The ‘Good Colonel’ is here reacting to a particularly distressing, and at first sight vicious and meaningless, act of war.

However, a culture which can organise the systematic removal of the inoculated arms of its children must have a pretty clear conception of where it is at, of precisely what it means to be there, and also of just how to remain in that place.

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‘Good Grief, Charlie Brown…’ – Lucy, Peanuts.

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Can grief ever be good?

Charles M. Schulz clearly thought so.

The phrase runs like a litany through Charlie Brown’s debut T. V. outing casting noble failure on all his best efforts, and simultaneously highlighting the noble failure of all life to make any kind of a lasting impression.

Sometimes Schulz talks like a prophet and at other times like a lost soul.

With this particular ‘bon mot‘ he talks like both at the same time.

The meta-gag of this same episode is Charlie’s dream of sending the football soaring through the sky.

It never happens.

Lucy always removes the ball at the last.

It is Charlie who soars… to end… lying flat on his back, gazing up at the sky.

A living cadaver capable of pondering its own plight, and ours.

We have the terms ‘a proper Charlie’ and ‘a right Charlie’ for those unfortunates who end up looking like chumps in life’s Divine Comedy.

Are these phrases ‘Chaplin derived’ or much earlier?

King Charles I of England lost his head, and his life, for clinging on to an outmoded principle.

Scotland’s Bonnie Prince ended his life in ignominy and exile but even before that he was a Charlie.

A clown’s name for a clown’s game?

Perhaps.

That principle?

The Divine Right of Kings.

To do what?

To rule…

To rue the almighty hash the politicians have made of it?

No, not that, simply to rule.

To run the measure over the populace and let ‘the Gods’ or ‘the Fates’ decide, which they do anyway, ultimately…

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‘Death’s at the bottom of everything…’ – Major Calloway, The Third Man.

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Pipe Dream…

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Maggot always gets his man…

Wherever they go.

However far they flee.

However cunningly they hide…

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Maggot enters the Ol’ George:

legendary menagerie of care-worn dreamers.

This evening’s vibrantly clad gathering part to allow him to the bar.

His ‘thirties’ hat and summer rain-coat are still the heir to respect even in a place of ghosts.

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‘Curious location for a meet.’

Maggot never questions his sources: the food and drink of his success.

Maggot takes a corner-table.

Out in the street the night is glowing gold…

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Later… when moved,

a dart of tiny pink-and-blue feathers

drifts from his neck.

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…not as we know it.

secret

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…Moments later the bars of blue light shimmered into three tightly clad figures.

Kirk, glanced expectantly around the room and sighed.

Spock arched a well manicured eye-brow skyward.

“An empty writing room,” pronounced Sulu, somewhat redundantly.

Kirk’s hand held communication unit twittered into life.

“Better check the co-ordinates on that one Scottie, I asked for ‘enterprising room’, dammit!”

Meantime, Spock had slithered over to the window and was peering through the white-blue light.

“Captain, no, wait…”

“What is it Spock?” asked Kirk moving toward the window.

“Well, it’s life Jim, but…” smiled Sulu, who was already there.

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Stratford-Strange II…

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…”My first ‘movie memory’ is from the film, The Matrix.

Neo has swallowed the red pill and been unplugged from the system.

Having spent some time acclimatising to the real world, he is finally allowed to re-enter the matrix on a mission, to meet with ‘the oracle’ if memory serves, along with most of the other escapees.

As they drive down the road in a suburb of his ‘old patch’, Neo sees a burger bar that he used to frequent…”

“I know the clip you are referring to. The ‘prisoners’ still held captive within the matrix appear to move more slowly than the escapees. They are sleepwalking through their existence. I think that in this case it seemed like that in Stratford because we were there with a purpose, when most others were merely holidaying tourists or pleasure seeking. We had a job to do and were doing it even though it was also pleasurable for us too!”

“No, it was not just that, even though what you say is perfectly true, and was undoubtedly a big part of it. There was something else…”

“And your second ‘movie memory’?…”

“…Comes from the film, The Man Who Wasn’t There.

Our hero has been inadvertently involved in the murder of his wife’s lover.

All the other accessories to the crime, including his wife, are now also dead, and a private eye his hot on his tail.

‘The man who wasn’t there’, is watching the private eye walk through city crowds in the rain.

It is unclear from the perspective just how and from where ‘the man who wasn’t there’ is observing the private eye.

The crowds are moving faster than the private eye, and the rain, and the voice over of ‘the man who wasn’t there’ is referencing ghosts…”

“I am not familiar with that particular film but the sense of ghostly presence invoked by your description certainly strikes a chord. Not so much in the Black Swan, perhaps, but certainly at the market stalls, and also at the monument, it was like people were looking but not seeing us.”

“It is not the first time that sort of thing has happened.”…

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Stratford-Strange…

 

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“I don’t know what you mean?”

“Well, the first thing was our conversation before we’d even properly decided we were going to Stratford…”

“Which one?”

“Statues!”

“Oh, that one. It didn’t strike me as particularly strange.”

“Except we both decided that we were not fans of statutory, and then spent most of our day in Stratford taking pictures of… statues!”

“There were mitigating factors for that.”

“Undoubtedly, still a bit odd though. I spent a year living in Stratford without giving the monument so much as a passing glance.”

“There were probably mitigating factors for that too.”

“I expect so, having to read three of his plays a term-week for a year does not endear one to the Bard!”

“And reading¬† a play is not like seeing a play performed.”

“Indeed, reading a play is like reading the screenplay of a film and then claiming you’ve seen it.”

“And who ever reads the screenplay of a film?”

“The actors, the director, and the cameraman.”

“Plus the money men…”

“Who probably only read the begining and the end.”

“If that, which reminds me, there are a couple of filmic moments which elucidate Stratford-Strange.”

“I’m all ears…”

 

 

 

 

 

Time Lines II…

Image result for Pazuzu

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… “In later Assyrian Mythology, Anzu becomes Pazuzu.”

“Am I missing something, here?”

“Pazuzu is a ‘wind demon’ responsible for bringing plague and pestilence, and whatever else we may think about the notions of a demon, in that region of the world, a wind that brings both pestilence, usually locusts, and plague, does indeed exist.”

“Am I still missing something here?”

“Pazuzu is reputed to be the brother of Humwawa!”

“Ah, The Spirit of the Cedar Forest from Gilgamesh, I think I’m starting to see… But are you sure?”

“Well, there has been a certain amount of degeneration in the iconography, which is only natural, given the time span’s involved, but we can, I think, clearly see the resmemblance…”

“We can, particularly in the positioning of the arms…”

“Both ‘demons’ are described by the authorities as having a skull-like ‘canine’ or ‘lionine’ head.”

“I can go along with skull-like, but I would not like to be drawn into the dog or cat debate.”

“Very wise…”

“Ugly looking spud, though, isn’t he?”

“He is, although, almost incredibly, back in the day, his figure was made into amulets, worn, usually around the neck, and used to ward off other, more malevolent, forces.”

“The ancients’ attitude to what we might regard as ‘good’ and ‘evil’ was, to say the least, somewhat ambivalent.”

“It is at least possible, then, that the actions of the heroes in Gilgamesh were directly responsible for the creation of this ‘environmental bane’.”

“But if a good wind can be turned bad, surely a bad wind can be turned good?”

“That, my dearest Wendlebury, is what still remains to be seen.”

 

 

Eyes for an Eye…

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“You know of what I speak, Gandalf.

A great eye, lidless, wreathed in flame.”

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I recall struggling to formulate this image when first reading Tolkien’s masterpiece.

Even with the help of the cover illustrations it seemed to me then an incredibly ‘difficult’ adversary to picture.

Subsequent artists and filmakers have done a pretty decent job of making the image real and sufficiently menacing.

But what of the symbolism?

What can it mean that Sauron only ever appears as an eye?

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“I see you.

You cannot escape.”

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From a psychological perspective the Eye of Sauron can be regarded as signifying the Super Ego.

The Super Ego is a manifestation of all those ideals and authority figures that the Ego seeks to impress in order to justify its existence, and look and feel good about itself, but is ever doomed to fail to impress because those ideals are as empty and groundless as the Ego itself, being ultimately, themselves, projections of that Ego.

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“What news from Mordor, my Lord?

What does the Eye command?”

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The over-bearing demands of the Super Ego and the futile attempts of the Ego to satisfy those demands recall the sweet maid in the rhyme, ‘Soldier Soldier…’

What the Ego needs to do, instead of trying to obey the Super Ego, is to listen to, and act upon, the promptings of the Id.

The Id is the inner child of wisdom which the Ego initially develops to protect.

Once fully developed the Ego conveniently forgets the reason for its development.

Perhaps that is also why Tolkien chose Hobbits as his heroes?

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“They would only be small.

Like children to your eyes.”

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The Eyes of Horus are not the Eye of Sauron.

They recognise only the Id-entity…

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