God's Little Acre

God's Little Acre
Lord, make way for gold

the girlfriend experience

the girlfriend experience
chelsea's work

Trash Humpers

Trash Humpers
broken, faked, MADE

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

No Measure for Projection

reposting this blog piece from 2011 ..keeping brilliance of Toback alive.

I could not tell you how often one gets inspired by watching an episode of Intervention. Common or random? I'm not sure.  I tend to give too much weight to inter-connections.  Regardless, I recently  had this happen to me. The episode seemed like 2 to 3 chapters out of an awesome novel I'd only half read, losing track of it three months ago. And both the television show and the book were now causing me to make further connections with 2 of my most recent movie revisitations.

The episode was titled " Latisha ', and getting inside her world for 60 minutes broke my heart. Her crack addiction kept her worldview obscured by a cheery veil, elevating her self image to 'Queen of the streets' in the fabulous ghetto of her diseased existence. The episode broke the mold of A + E 'reality' drama. The producers and director actually filmed with two lenses; one a lens of clarity, the moments of intoxication and cocaine psychosis embarrassingly clear. The second lens used was that of Latisha's own self protective or rather self projective denial. A sort of denial that is, mostly by the nature of both the disease of addiction and the nature of crack cocaine, narcissisticly destructive; self perpetuating by delusions of self importance.
This projection colored my sense of Latisha's experience of her world. It allowed me the escapism of her highly stimulated thought process and the momentary joy of her imaginary relationships.

I'd recently been chipping away at William T. Vollmann's :" The Royal Family", a sprawling dissection of genealogy and stratum of San Francisco pimps , whores, and the Unicorn of this particular zoo, the elusive "Queen of the Whores", aka "Africa."
Vollmann's male protag is haunted and degenerate. He is a noirish detective by way of a Proustian sad sack, dropped into a transgressive, insular world of fucked up folk. He is one half romantically haunted by a dead lover and one half digging progressively deeper into the mud of the royal whoredom; eventually projecting his obsessions on a whore who Judy Bartons herself into his deceased love.

How did anything strike beyond the obvious remembrance of the cool novel I'd failed in finishing?
What this television episode and this post modern novel share is a quality that also appears in films, though usually sweatier and involving pacing or the cover up of something like a heist or a murder.
This distorted self projection and fucked up self will is something of a germ. Infecting the host it leads to secondary diseases, such as compulsive behavior and addiction, be it gambling, alcohol, drugs, what have you. In films, lucky for us, it also results in projecting a world of their own diseased thinking's creation, one that is entertaining while illuminating, as well as insane, colorful and full of constant heart pounding danger.
I'm thinking of the sweat on Nomi Malone's face in SHOWGIRLS. She is three different things and they are also one and the same: victim or pursuant of Capitalism, a dancer who is a wannabee star, and an Addict. Not a surprise when in the film's fourth quarter she is revealed as an ex junkie, and we see her come alive when she does blow.
Her sweaty forehead and bugged out 'star' eyes are demonic and bothered, a distinct image yet mere mutation on the aloof vacancy in James Caan's eyes in THE GAMBLER. Any interiority ironically revealed through voiceover and the occasional sound bridge.
Both figures drawn here are playing the losing card. How can Nomi ever gain status and respect without stealing them? And how can a human being, as Ivy League as he may be, ever beat the Numbers?
In a classroom scene, Caan's collegiate professor speaks in a Psych or Philosophy class about intangibles such as Desire and Will. Things that , for Caan's alter ego of nighttime degenerate gambler find reflected only the simplest materialist games. The only expressions of emotive power and psychology in the film are those of people in Caan's world..those gangsters affected by the hustler's life and the family members distraught by Caan's risk and loss. Caan, meanwhile, remains a blank mirrored screen, and antithetical to a Nomi Malone, his own wild inner process is laid bare only by the measure of how others respond to his madness.
The film illuminates his disease by showing him as leading almost two entirely different lives. His battle is built around shame and a destructive belief of self grandeur, each fueling the other.
These filmed losers are lovers and their hatred of self and desperation to be loved is made visible in neon gemmed manicures, headdresses, coke nails, maternal robberies, and Atlantic City betting benders.

Monday, July 31, 2017


installment # 1

Twin peaks

Currency watches us, we don't watch it. Its eye holds court on its back side.  Standing tall, it stares back as we cast it out into the world.
If the Pyramid on the dollar can be imitated,  then value is in moral question. Who is a fraud and what is real? Nothing material, neither paper money or gold,  holds the weight of moral fiber. So if we try to see money, here is a wilted bill, a single, foreign eye staring at US, refusing our focus, and multiplying constantly.
Toward Enlightenment; Holy Third Eye

And so it is.
One pyramid, one (third) eye, one dollar: , two pyramids =  two dollars, two Sherriff Trumans, two or more Agent Coopers,  =  TWIN PEAKS.

Empty symbols proliferate in the symbolic world of TWIN PEAKS.  The earth beneath it is the solid soil; Northwest America.  Lying in between the symbolic and the ground is the dreamlike construction of creative thought, a story told through an inner search.

Lynchian narratives turn that eye inward, rebuking the materialism of wealth and the holy dollar. Like the zenith of the dollar's pyramid, the third eye is as much a point and as much a foreign singular. It is uncanny in that it is like the others (the other two eyes), yet it is also wholly alien.
This is the eye that surfs the waves of inner reflection, sometimes rolling us along minute ripples for tens of minutes or episodes on end.  Other times a cascade of storming water explodes emotionally or literally (as in an exploding head or corpus.)

"REPRIEVE FROM PAIN."  Move "BEYOND THINKING."  These are two benefits claimed by the official TM (Transcendental Meditation) website. 

Center Eye is The Third Eye

The ecstatic emotion that thundered throughout the original TWIN PEAKS series also defined the film TWIN PEAKS:  FIRE WALK WITH ME.
The lightening storm of connectivity and impetus that is experienced in creative thought comes amidst a long, often otherwise quiet creative journey.
The narrative experience of David Lynch's TWIN PEAKS:  THE RETURN  follows that same course.

"The time has come for you to seek The Path.  Your  soul has set you Face to Face with a Clear Light, and you are now about to experience it in its Reality, wherein all things are like the Void and Cloudless Sky."  -- Agent Cooper, TWIN PEAKS. Original Series, Season 2.

Third Eye Blind
David Lynch's narratives  primarily trace the reactions to things that happen.
The reasons and causality are poetically tracked, abstract elements of sound and and of sight coexist with threads of sitcom normality.  My experience of TWIN PEAKS the series , TWIN PEAKS:  FIRE WALK WITH ME the film, and TWIN PEAKS:  THE RETURN series , is melodrama meeting the meditative mind.
In TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME we track Laura's increasingly desperate search for reprieve from the pain that is occurring in her life.

The psychic pain of her father raping her instigates a road of building ecstasy:  the ecstasy of seeking sexual partners, the ecstasy of ego (being the beautiful girl on campus), the ecstasy of cocaine ingestion, and the ecstasy of sobbing in sudden sober moments when something is scary and threatening you.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Cinema of Pure Capitalism- Making Everyone into a Winner or Loser

In Pure Capitalism there can only be losers and winners. The Cinema of 2016 encapsulated this extremism.  The powerful or adored win, the others lose. Losers in the Cinema of 2016 fought hard and scrappily against their oppression/demons (CHRISTINE, I, DANIEL BLAKE, WHITE GIRL) but to little or zero avail.





Some films featured both winning and losing protagonists, highlighting the power or success one envied in the other.


Stone's character starts out as the loser, but by the end her fame eclipses the brief level of success of Ryan Gosling, and  her love for him wanes.

Gosling's character does not seek fame, but money as a means to an end. The $ Machine mocks his goals, and he is ultimately punished for his love of another person and his love of music over money.



Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Woman Lying on the Gurney Going Left and then Going Right

I re -watched Jean-Daniel Pollet's MEDITERRANEE  (1963) last night.  It forces your gaze on images that dominate the frame with their singularity and silence.  Ancient ruins quietly stand before us. A pumpkin patch has depth of field, but no depth of narration.  There are paths the eyes must take, such as to the left (bird sphinx) , to the right (bird sphinx), down below (bull fight from up in the stands).  How can we describe the very act of not understanding what it is to see fully, how impossibly one ever sees head on?  Pollet's film excels at making kinesis out of the struggle for accurate memory, and how that struggle makes all sight and sound impossible.  Maybe it is more true to say that his film utilizes sound and vision to engage us in a sense of what it is like to forget.

Frames focus on: ancient pyramids, Egyptian or Grecian artifacts such as an idol of a Bird Sphinx, a traditional bullfight with matadors. We see through, we see around, a direct line of sight is obscured. The camera moves nearly around the pyramids, yet ultimately denying us the full 360 view.

The fact of what we see is inseparable from the histories that created it. The direction is backward, as underlined by the film's Voice Over. The images are illustrations of a search.
We investigate by trying to move around, yet time and again we end up staring at a powerless hollow idol, or (the bullfight) a murder without a beginning or an end.

Regardless of the repositioning of the frame, and of the movement of the objects inside of it, the answer spins around in our heads, not moving us anywhere. Our vision makes us think that we move, but all is "ancient...monotonous..." The voice over tracks our nowhere progress: "We are captured in this theatre."

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


1 PHOENIX   (D: Christian Petzold)

How to End a Movie

2 FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD (D: Thomas Vinterberg)

Love Returns

3 SICARIO (D:  Denis Villeneuve)

Intense Dreamlike Reality

4 WHITE GOD (D:  Kornel Mundruczo)

Portrait of  Hagen

5 ROOM (D:  Lenny Abrahmson)

Taking Chances Pays Off

6 BY THE SEA (D:  Angelina Jolie) (tied with) + BROOKLYN (D:  John Crowley)


Falling in Love on Film

7 THE REVENANT (D:  Alejandro Gonzalez-Inarritu)

I Died a Thousand Times

8 TANGERINE (D: Sean Baker) (tied with) +  CAROL (D:  Todd Haynes)

Donut Time 24/7
Movie Ending Success; Composed but Longing

9 KNIGHT OF CUPS (D:  Terrence Malick)

Flawed Figure, Flawed Film;  Major Highs



runner ups:

Friday, January 8, 2016



FINGERS.  35mm The Deuce at Nitehawk.  D: James Toback.  With a barely contained in his skin Harvey Keitel.

THE DUTCHESS OF LANGEAIS.  35mm  Lincoln Center .  D:  Rivette.  Major Rivette.

BLOOD AND LACE.  16mm Anthology.  Lustig presents.  D:  Philip S Gilbert. 
NIGHT OF THE JUGGLER.  35mm (the one). The Deuce at Nitehawk. D: Robert Butler. 

Image result for solo trans neil young film
SOLO TRANS.  Laserdic.  Cinefamily.  D: Neil Young/Shakey. Synthetic news, Real tunes.
RETURN TO OZ.  35mm Anthology.  Epically metallic fairy tales +  nightmares

DOOM GENERATION.  35mm. Anthology.  D: Araki.  Rose McGowan in mise en scene.

Image result for what's up doc barbra streisand
WHAT'S UP DOC? 35mm IB Tech.  New Bev.  BOGDANOVICH.

THE BLACKOUT.  digital. KGB. D: Ferrara.  With the best theyve ever been Modine... and Hopper.  Erasing the present + re-writing the past
THE PROFESSOR.  35mm, Lincoln Center. D: Zurlini.  With a bleary and blousy poet named Alain Delon.

SUICIDE LANDSCAPE.  16mm Lincoln Center  D: James Benning.  his one partially narrative /acted film was my biggest discovery of the year. Radical.  Tubular.

I'VE ALWAYS LOVED YOU.  35mm Technicolor.  MoMA.  D: Borzage.  This was nuts in the best way.

Image result for visit memories and confessions
VISIT OR MEMORIES AND CONFESSIONS. D: De Oliveira. 35mm. Lincoln Center.  Ghost house.

PURPLE RAIN.  35mm. Anthology.  He doesn't know how to act, but he loves her.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

UNDER THE SKIN (the film), Inside the Matrix-- NOTES -- FIGURES + TRACKS

UNDER THE SKIN is a collage of perspectives.
UNDER THE SKIN can be viewed on two distinct yet related tracks; as both a closed narrative and as a more abstracted series of elements; sounds, utterances, and the crossing of physical space.

The act of choosing a path, or a track, seems to be both denied and revealed, at once.
For the main figure of the film, as portrayed by Scarlet Johansson, the path is consistently followed blindly, or more clearly, without question or investigation. This instinctual motivation moves her graphically and sonically through the film.  That her path is so direct (at least in the film's first three quarters) is not coincendently at odds with the choices encountered (from the outset) by the viewer.
If one tracks the specific shots that make up the totality of UNDER THE SKIN, creating a feature length motion picture, one notices movement across the left side to the right side of the frame.  A viewer may step inside the directional instincts and patterns applied here,  to track figures' lines, circles and colors.  There are intersections of different figures' paths; one man may be tracked as he moves left to right; while she is being tracked moving right to left.  The intersections form points that unite in a matrix like system.
The sound design; also in points (sounding out letters) and more elongated gestures (sounding out combinations of vowels with consonants, not quite speech), similarly follows the collage aesthetic.

Any anxiety felt at the outset of UNDER THE SKIN must be attributed to worries about the limited access to information caused by brief shot duration.  Establishing shots and the establishing planet and plot exist in moments that are the briefest shot durations in the entire film.

The beginning.

The planet is an eye.

Her eye is a planet.

Title flash .  Black lettering; white background.
A rapid cut to water fall.  Cliffs, small lakes.
It's hills look like Scotland or Iceland; desolate.  Dreamed.

No answers should be found here.
(BLA/BLU) blue is the first color seen after black.
brown is seen on the iris.
when we see waterfall and the road through hills/mountains, we see the blue of night before we see (Y, O, R) dots of yellow orange and red later on, in a matrix of rows and grids when the motorcycle is singled out among cars.

(Y)Unearthly bright yellow is on the jacket of the motorcycle jacket.

She drives. frame follows movement going from right frame to left frame.
She is on an escalator entering a shopping center.  We follow.
She touches a furry jacket; (G, BR) grey and brown , she touches a pink top (P) , (BLA) black suede boots.

Next, a  series of shots of gradually briefer duration. They inform us  someone is applying makeup to someone else (both are women). we see a series of shots of women in cosmetic stores that have a woman employed by the cosmetic counter applying makeup to them.
the shots vary as follows:
a woman in the right side of frame has a woman in the left side of frame applying her blush.
then a different woman seated in the right side of frame has a woman behind makeup counter on left side of frame rubbing lotion on her arms.

Then a woman in right frame who has a woman standing over her in left frame applying eye makeup.
Fast cut to the same woman at a different angel; now she is in the left frame and the woman applying the eye makeup is viewed in the right.
Cut to a a couple seconds longer shot of a different woman in the right frame with a different woman standing in the left frame, leaning right with a mirror to show the woman her completed look.
cut to Her.
She is in the drivers seat again, in the right frame, (the wheel is in the left side of frame) applying coral (R) red lipstick that has a hint of pink like the clothing; the shade of the lipstick a bit deeper.
closer cut so now we see her mirror (compact) reflection of her putting on her lipstick in the left side of frame and a back view of her head in the right side.

Three short consecutive shots of men on the street moving left to right.

This is followed by a few more consecutive, paralleling (mirrored) set of shots of men on the street moving from right to left.
Most of them are seen 'crossing' within this movement, as in a street, or traffic.

She is seen driving, her van moving from right to left of frame.
A sharp cut as she stops; still.  The wheel is in the left half of frame; she is in the drivers seat filling the right half.  Outside her van window we follow her eyes and her thought; a man is seen in her window crossing right to left frame.
We now enter the interior section of the overall thematic movement of the film.  Interiority here is radial.

Lorna's Silence

Lorna's Silence
spirit interrupts

the girlfriend experience

the girlfriend experience
chelsea managing the business


cutting through the walls