Thursday, February 10, 2011

Army of Shadows


The Celibates


L'Armée des ombres [Army of Shadows] by Jean-Pierre Melville, 1969:



Let legends emerge with legends' due (Meurisse, Signoret) (let legends enter onto Beethoven anywhere) / "...but only with whom I share nothing but memories." / Moonlight fantasia / Every old trick-shot in the book — '68, '42 / Lino Ventura's character, Philippe Gerbier, a man fiercely of the present, no wasted gesture, exuding a... moral goodie-two-shoes-ism — one note played exceedingly well — that is: the Résistance, the maquisards, were a kind of cult, and adepts were as much in search of a fraternity both for its own sake and as a permissive space where solitary ruminations upon (a) 'abstract' concepts surrounding Freedom (i.e., existentialism in the hottest pitch of historical relevance), and (b) the why-and-the-wherefore with regard to extents of respective sexual dry-spells, could be folded into the same set and elevated to the realm of a practical Philosophy / After renewing his vows with Adulthood, Gerbier, in London, once, glimpsed Youth

L'Armée des ombres [Army of Shadows] by Jean-Pierre Melville, 1969:






The waiting, endless waiting that pervades the movement, and the film / Save Jean-François (Jean-Pierre Cassel), save Félix (Paul Crauchet), rescue with effort, without suspense, — all's green angled planes / The Nazi guards peer into Mathilde's face as if to ask this visiteur du soir: "Are you Simone Signoret?" / And then there's Meurisse, the other tentpole, in the role of Luc Jardie, leader of the cell, he, for the résistants, in whom personal investment accounts for more than personal survival / Upon Jardie's sudden appearance at the hideout, Gerbier, who has caressed as though they were artifact-scripture the five NRF texts on mathematics and philosophical inquiry written by the leader, greets him shawled in a throw worn like a monk's cowl; Jardie enters the domicile bathed in the Light of the Valley / After the crucial betrayal (and reversal of the network's progression), Le Bison (Christian Barbier) says of Mathilde: "Let her sell us all out if she wants..." — in these cells, or in this cell, is self-sacrifice, or self-preservation, the miraculous act? / Euthanasia / Gerbier to Jardie: "You, in a car full of killers. Nothing's sacred anymore." / Nothing more than corpses / Every Melville film charts preparation for protagonists' deaths / And one may say this picture's got the dullest title in the Melville opus / But that would ignore the note of double-suggestion only a few degrees away from, or indeed encapsulated by, "ombres"/"shadows": The Army of Shades

L'Armée des ombres [Army of Shadows] by Jean-Pierre Melville, 1969:






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Soem of the most recent videos produced by Abel Ferrara at abelferrara.com:

--Abel at Anthology's Abel Ferrara in the 21st Century retrospective, discussing some in-the-works/future projects.

Watch more on abelferrara.com



--This guy, Johnny, plays the one bartender in Go Go Tales. He was also the bartender at the place in SoHo where I used to run into Abel all the time before it closed down a year or two ago.

Watch more on abelferrara.com



I commissioned Abel to shoot a piece for us (The Masters of Cinema Series) introducing Murnau's Nosferatu when he was making Chelsea on the Rocks. It's about eight minutes long (and was shot in the Chelsea Hotel). The miniDV tape arrived slightly damaged, but my associate managed to make a low-res QuickTime vid. Because of logistics, etc., the tape's still sitting on my shelf — and it needs to be repaired, and then properly transferred. Anybody who knows a good impaired-miniDV-tape repairman/reverse-engineer in the NJ/NYC area, please let me know.

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