Jacques Demy's student film, LES HORIZONS MORTS (1951): involving 2 glasses, 2 spaces ( one is a room, inside, and the other is a field or park, outside.) There are also shirts, worn shirts, worn by the nameless lead, who is also Jacques Demy. One watches this movie, and if the viewer remains active and aware, he is likely to become obsessed by the dulled white shirt . It is a contradiction of plainness and busyness, the busyness expressed in the web of lines and creases that map it's life.
The sound design of the film is all edges and abruptness. Sounds and shadows occur,often simultaneously, but there is no song. For all it's distinctive style, LES HORIZONS MORTS remains a circling maze of pencil marks that we watch an artist draw over and again.
At one point there is even a mirror that his character/Demy himself, smashes. It smashes as his hand extends, yet never making physical contact. The notion is more psychic than real. The moment is strained and self involved.
The UBU site's description tells me this film highlights point of view in Film. There is little description in his threadbare sets, there is only the placement of the shirt and it's jacket in the center of my field of vision.
All the expression is left to this ugly map of evasions. Little paths that don't lead me to anywhere. Finding my eyes glued to the woven tracks on his back, I've located my source of pleasure in the film.
I'm currently reading William T Vollmann's vol 1 in his SEVEN DREAMS anthology. It's called THE ICE-SHIRT. It is a book of North American Landscapes. in THE ICE-SHIRT, landscapes of ancient north america are physically worn (both taken on and off) by Nordic/Icelandic sounding ancient characters. These characters' sagas and affairs make up the forests and beaches we know today. When a lover is feeling alone, he goes to a beach which cliffs that look like a skull ( an empty person.) Everything is inside and out, and drawn out like maps, but worn on the body.
"Never did Gudrid suspect that the beautiful leaf which she fingered day and night was BOLVERKR's. Oh, just as the Bear-Shirt made men see red-leaf forests through a hot rainy haze of blood; just as the Blue-Shirt made the wearer's world glitter cold and grand and beautiful in a thousand twinkling mirrors, so the Gold-Shirt glared and shone like the sun's eye, so hot and bright that only an unseeing rose like Gudrid could open herself to it trustingly and lovingly and feed upon it and grow from it; she was warm and happy; she was thrilled with the gold she longed to feed on...So she drew on the Gold-Shirt; she smiled and kissed her baby; she lashed him to her back and set out in the forest...and her hair was golden, so she hooded herself in gold..."(p 242)
There may be a larger notion at display here, in Demy's student film, one that is Christian, or spiritual, in it's concern.
If that is the case, then i now understand why it has eluded me. I'm left with my own self satisfying perspective, that of the creases on the shirt and the wrinkled collar on the jacket he once wears over it.
I wonder how many years it's lasted, and i wonder what color it should be. How has it covered or blocked things? What and who does it cover?
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