Friday, August 24, 2007

In Praise of Jalal Toufic

With special thanks to B. Kite for sending me in the direction of Toufic — "jenes Haus... gerade gegenüber dem Meinen."

"Critical point and super-/under-phenomena, by permitting one state to go into another (it is said in Zen: when you reach the top of the mountain continue climbing), explore it (is the realm of no return a prison? Can, if not oneself, then at least what one was changed into [not stolen/replaced by] go beyond it?), without a sudden phase transition (the dissolve in film should mainly be used to denote the maintenance of a state beyond the threshold of a phase transition), maintain the possibility of coming back (the metastable memory one has then, rather than being the possbility of the evocation of what has been lived already — this, by the mere crossing of the point of no return, has been forgotten — consists in this reversibility)."


" — My body, sensing the proximity and imminence of the threshold, and not fooled by my ongoing mental rationalization, performs a bungled action, most characteristically tripping, to provide me with time to deliberate if I want to go through with my one-way trip to the altered realm, given that at the threshold itself I do not have the chance to deliberate, to make a decision, since I am then and there entranced, thus have no will of my own, and find myself when I come out of the trance already to the other side of the threshold, 'in' the labyrinth, always already 'in' the labyrinth. Of someone who reaches the vicinity of the threshold without tripping, hallucinating or hearing a voice behind him and turning, I can deduce that he or she is totally lacking in intuition and is deaf to his body, or else that he is a spiritual master, a yogi or Sufi, who can cross the threshold without going through a lapse, and therefore can still make a decision at the threshold itself.

" — Others tell me at a certain point that they can no longer progress and turn back and leave me. A realm that I alone can enter, that I cannot in principle enter with others is my death."


"Ça va? How can things be fine when these motionlessnesses are happening?"


"Paradoxically, it is when the somnambulist sits that he or she gives the impression he or she is moving: the four people seated outside the house staring at the landscape in Hopper's People in the Sun give the impression they are in a moving train."

— from (Vampires) : An Uneasy Essay on the Undead in Film by Jalal Toufic, 1993, revised 2003.

Nosferatu. Eine Symphonie des Grauens. [Nosferatu. A Symphony of Horror.] by F. W. Murnau, 1922:

Nosferatu. Eine Symphonie des Grauens. [Nosferatu. A Symphony of Horror.] by F. W. Murnau, 1922:

People in the Sun by Edward Hopper, 1960:


P.S.: Arnold Laven's 1954 Down Three Dark Streets is one of the most amazing films I've seen all year. More on this some time in the future.


Pieces on Ingmar Bergman, and on Michelangelo Antonioni's final film (and 33-minute, 2004 masterpiece) The Dangerous Thread of Things are forthcoming. I've been busy on DVDs of the Murnau flick above, and René Laloux's Les Maîtres du temps (The Time Masters, 1982) and Gandahar (1988) for MoC, so time's been sparse. In the meantime check out a new "small movie" of mine that's gone up on the films-site here in Quicktime. It's called July Follies. — (Best to download the file directly, rather than streaming it in your browser... that way might take moments or minutes, seem like nothing's doing, big blue meterless Apple "Q", everything's frozen, someone forgot to blow the motes out of the NES tray...)

Monday, August 13, 2007


Jacques Rivette, on the set of Out 1, 1970:

Image from The Wit of the Staircase by Theresa Duncan, July 10, 2007:


Friday, August 10, 2007

Before Bergman and Antonioni...

...there was porno. So this clip too before I write some thoughts on recent deaths.

Catherine Ringer (Les Rita Mitsouko) vs. Serge Gainsbourg: