Posts Tagged ‘Dickens December’

Dickens December and Movie Moment: They Call Her One-Eye

January 12, 2011


He had but one eye, and the popular prejudice runs in favor of two.

(Charles Dickens. Nicholas Nickleby.)

“The Movie That Knows No Limits of Evil!”

Christina Lindberg as Frigga in They Call Her One-Eye, aka Thriller — En Grym Film, aka Thriller — A Cruel Picture, aka Hooker’s Revenge (Bo Arne Vibenius, 1974).

Sorry for the complete lack of posts since New Year’s Eve but the site experienced a really, really dramatic spike in viewers and I couldn’t handle it, so I hid. (Master strategist and most put together chick on the block? This guy right here. Hope you can handle it.) I’ve talked myself in to relaxing about it and, now that the surge has leveled off, I feel more like I can get back in to the swing of things.


So Happy New Year, dudes!

In Thriller, a mute young woman is sexually assaulted and forcibly addicted to heroin, for which she is then somewhat-consensually but very miserably pimped out in order to maintain the unwitting habit.


Now they call her One-Eye.

Sally, Frigga’s only friend, brings Frigga the news that her pimp has written a letter to her parents purporting to be from her, detailing her new life and ending with the warning that she never wants to see them again. Devastated, they commit suicide.

Despite the battering the world has given her, or more likely because of it, Frigga finds secret reserves of strength in herself. Her disgust with the circumstances of her life begins to be directed not at herself, but at those responsible for her misery.

Having secretly saved some money and been taking self-defense classes, Frigga next scrounges up some weapons and musters her will to not just survive, but kick some ass.

(She also stops off to ditch the pink eyepatch and pick up a black one, black being the universal color of badass vengeance. Pink, not so much.) All her accoutrements in place, the newborn Angel of Death determines to take her revenge against her abusive captors.

The best and most widely used English-language tagline for the movie was, “The Film That Knows No Limits of Evil!” Director Bo Arne Vibenius’s previous outing had been an overlooked children’s film into which he’d poured a great deal of craft and creativity.

Though it received fair critical acclaim, audiences’ universal panning of that film, Hur Marie träffade Fredrik/How Marie Met Fredrik (1969), lead Vibenius to vow that his next movie would be the lowest, nastiest, exploit-iest, most audience-tuned picture possible: something grotesque and titillating that would appeal to the masses while simultaneously disgusting and punishing them.

In fact, he supposedly said specifically, “I’m going to make a super commercial, piece-of-shit movie.”

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

That’s a severed head below, in case you thought it wasn’t.

Vibenius directed Thriller under the name Alex Fridolinski. The film was billed outside of Sweden as “The first film to be banned in Sweden!” which is several kinds of inaccurate but served to make countries who thought of Sweden as a sexually liberated place flock to the picture. In point of fact, the first banned film in Sweden was Trädgårdsmästaren/The Gardener (Victor Sjöström, 1912), and the second was Det Händer I Natt/It happens tonight (Arne Ragnborn, 1957).

Thriller has had an obvious influence on film culture, and many cinephiles in the business today cite the way in which the direction soars above its middling materal (rape-revenge structure being very familiar in the 70′s exploitation film genre) as an explanation for its rise to gem in the field status.

A little word-of-mouth from this guy never brought anybody down, either. So gird your loins, grab your tissues and barf bag, and give it a spin — and bid a fond farewell to Dickens December.





(many, many thanks to the wonderful cinezilla for a majority of the screencaps and the backstory on Vibenius’s bitterness after How Marie Met Fredrik — if you love movies, do check out his artful and brilliant blog.)

Dickens December: The time before you is your own

December 25, 2010

God bless us, every one.


Yes! and the bedpost was his own. The bed was his own, the room was his own. Best and happiest of all, the Time before him was his own, to make amends in!

“I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future!” Scrooge repeated, as he scrambled out of bed. “The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. … A merry Christmas to everybody! A happy New Year to all the world!”

(Charles Dickens. Stave Five: The End of It. A Christmas Carol.)

The time before you is your own, to make amends in and to forge a better future. Remember that you are made out of stars.

Dickens December: The Christmas Truce of 1914

December 24, 2010


They stood beside the helmsman at the wheel, the look-out in the bow, the officers who had the watch; dark, ghostly figures in their several stations; but every man among them hummed a Christmas tune, or had a Christmas thought, or spoke below his breath to his companion of some bygone Christmas Day, with homeward hopes belonging to it. And every man on board, waking or sleeping, good or bad, had had a kinder word for another on that day than on any day in the year; and had shared to some extent in its festivities; and had remembered those he cared for at a distance, and had known that they delighted to remember him.

(A Christmas Carol. The Second Stave: The Ghost of Christmas Present.)

Though Dickens is writing of seamen in this passage, thinking of soldiers stationed far from home over the holidays put me in mind of the Christmas Truce of 1914, when Great War soldiers on both sides of the front called for a ceasefire and crossed no-man’s-land to celebrate Christmas. I realized I wasn’t quite sure of the details, particularly what was true and what was not about that story, so I did some digging. I found this terrific article by Simon Rees on First World War that I’d like to share.


The meeting of enemies as friends in no-man’s land was experienced by hundreds, if not thousands, of men on the Western Front during Christmas 1914. … The event is seen as a shining episode of sanity from among the bloody chapters of World War One — a spontaneous effort by the lower ranks to create a peace that could have blossomed were it not for the interference of generals and politicians.

The reality of the Christmas Truce, however, is a slightly less romantic and a more down to earth story. It was an organic affair that in some spots hardly registered a mention and in others left a profound impact upon those who took part. … The true story is still striking precisely because of its rag-tagged nature: it is more ‘human’ and therefore all the more potent.

A lot of soldiers on both sides had received Christmas packages from home and, in some cases, special rations. So some good cheer was already dawning.

With their morale boosted by messages of thanks and their bellies fuller than normal, and with still so much Christmas booty to hand, the season of goodwill entered the trenches. A British Daily Telegraph correspondent wrote that on one part of the line the Germans had managed to slip a chocolate cake into British trenches.



It was accompanied with a message asking for a ceasefire later that evening so they could celebrate the festive season and their Captain’s birthday. They proposed a concert at 7.30pm when candles, the British were told, would be placed on the parapets of their trenches.



The British accepted the invitation and offered some tobacco as a return present. That evening, at the stated time, German heads suddenly popped up and started to sing. … The Germans then asked the British to join in.


On many stretches of the Front the crack of rifles and the dull thud of shells ploughing into the ground continued, but at a far lighter level than normal. In other sectors there was an unnerving silence that was broken by the singing and shouting drifting over, in the main, from the German trenches.



Along many parts of the line the Truce was spurred on with the arrival in the German trenches of miniature Christmas trees — Tannenbaum. The sight [of] these small pines, decorated with candles and strung along the German parapets, captured the Tommies’ imagination, as well as the men of the Indian corps who were reminded of the sacred Hindu festival of light.



It was the perfect excuse for the opponents to start shouting to one another, to start singing and, in some areas, to pluck up the courage to meet one another in no-man’s land.


Christmas day began quietly but once the sun was up the fraternisation began. Again songs were sung and rations thrown to one another. It was not long before troops and officers started to take matters into their own hands and ventured forth. No-man’s land became something of a playground.


Men exchanged gifts and buttons. In one or two places soldiers who had been barbers in civilian times gave free haircuts. One German, a juggler and a showman, gave an impromptu, and, given the circumstances, somewhat surreal performance of his routine in the centre of no-man’s land.


Captain Sir Edward Hulse of the Scots Guards, in his famous account [a letter to his mother which was later widely published in newspapers], remembered the approach of four unarmed Germans at 08.30. He went out to meet them with one of his ensigns. ‘Their spokesmen,’ Hulse wrote, ‘started off by saying that he thought it only right to come over and wish us a happy Christmas, and trusted us implicitly to keep the truce. He came from Suffolk where he had left his best girl and a 3 ½ h.p. motor-bike!’


‘Scots and Huns were fraternizing in the most genuine possible manner. Every sort of souvenir was exchanged addresses given and received, photos of families shown, etc. One of our fellows offered a German a cigarette; the German said, “Virginian?” Our fellow said, “Aye, straight-cut”, the German said “No thanks, I only smoke Turkish!”… It gave us all a good laugh.’


Today, pragmatists read the Truce as nothing more than a ‘blip’ – a temporary lull induced by the season of goodwill, but willingly exploited by both sides to better their defences and eye out one another’s positions.

Romantics assert that the Truce was an effort by normal men to bring about an end to the slaughter.

I am in the latter camp. Pax et bonum.


In the public’s mind the facts have become irrevocably mythologized, and perhaps this is the most important legacy of the Christmas Truce today. In our age of uncertainty, it’s comforting to believe, regardless of the real reasoning and motives, that soldiers and officers told to hate, loathe and kill, could still lower their guns and extend the hand of goodwill, peace, love and Christmas cheer.

(Simon Rees. “The Christmas Truce.” August 22, 2009. FirstWorldWar.com)

Dickens December: Where vain man in his little brief authority had not made fast the door and barred the Spirit out, he left his blessing

December 23, 2010


Port-au-Prince, Haitian children in costumes for a Christmas pageant.

Much they saw, and far they went, and many homes they visited, but always with a happy end. The Spirit stood beside sick beds, and they were cheerful; on foreign lands, and they were close at home; by struggling men, and they were patient in their greater hope; by poverty, and it was rich.


Hathaway House orphanage. Highland Park, Los Angeles, CA. Dec. 23, 1948.

In almshouse, hospital, and jail, in misery’s every refuge, where vain man in his little brief authority had not made fast the door and barred the Spirit out, he left his blessing, and taught Scrooge his precepts.

(Charles Dickens. A Christmas Carol. The Second Stave: The Ghost of Christmas Present.)

I hope that wherever we are, no matter our faith or circumstance, we do not in our little brief authority leave an embodiment of love for our fellow man out in the cold. Don’t bar the door. Let him come in and know you better.

Dickens December: If he be like to die, he had better do it, and decrease the surplus population

December 22, 2010



“Spirit,” said Scrooge, with an interest he had never felt before, “tell me if Tiny Tim will live.”

“I see a vacant seat,” replied the Ghost, “in the poor chimney-corner, and a crutch without an owner, carefully preserved. If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future, the child will die.”


“No, no,” said Scrooge. “Oh, no, kind Spirit! say he will be spared.”

“If these shadows remain unaltered by the Future, none other of my race,” returned the Ghost, “will find him here. What then? ‘If he be like to die, he had better do it, and decrease the surplus population’.”



Scrooge hung his head to hear his own words quoted by the Spirit, and was overcome with penitence and grief.

“Man — ” said the Ghost, ” — if man you be in heart, not adamant — forbear that wicked cant until you have discovered What the surplus is, and Where it is.”



“Will you decide what men shall live, what men shall die? It may be that, in the sight of Heaven, you are more worthless and less fit to live than millions like this poor man’s child. Oh, God! to hear the Insect on the leaf pronouncing on the too much life among his hungry brothers in the dust!”

(Charles Dickens. A Christmas Carol.)

I believe that last quote to be one of the finest things Dickens ever wrote.

All photographs by William Gedney, taken in Kentucky in 1964. Special thanks to the fantastic Selvedge Yard, right here on the wordpress, for making me aware of this set’s existence.

Dickens December: Do not deny to Harold Skimpole what you concede to the butterflies

December 21, 2010


via.

I only ask to be free. The butterflies are free. Mankind will surely not deny to Harold Skimpole what it concedes to the butterflies.

(Charles Dickens. Bleak House.)

Dickens December: Never dared to open my heart

December 20, 2010


Photographed by Lena Granefelt, via lolitas.

My dear old doll! I was such a shy little thing that I seldom dared to open my lips, and never dared to open my heart, to anybody else.

(Charles Dickens. Bleak House..)

Word. So me.

Dickens December: Weather very stormy

December 18, 2010

Looks like we’re in for nasty weather in my neck of the woods.


Tuesday, 5th October 1852
Hotel des Bains, Boulogne.


WEATHER.
Very stormy, and a prodigious sea running.

“BLEAK HOUSE.”
Just begun.


Remembrances to Mrs. Willis and you from my two ladies.

(Charles Dickens. Letter to William Henry Willis.)

Is it Bleak House for which Dickens was paid by the word? Or is that just an urban legend? — I mean, as “urban” a legend as it is possible for gossip about Charles Dickens to be termed.

Dickens December: The conventional notion of a lover cannot be always true, or, Into the labyrinth, with bonus Pip bitchslap

December 17, 2010


According to my experience, the conventional notion of a lover cannot be always true. The unqualified truth is, that when I loved Estella with the love of a man, I loved her simply because I found her irresistible.


Though she had taken such strong possession of me, though my fancy and my hope were so set upon her, though her influence on my boyish life and character had been all-powerful, I did not, even that romantic morning, invest her with any attributes save those she possessed.

I mention this in this place, of a fixed purpose, because it is the clue by which I am to be followed into my poor labyrinth. I knew to my sorrow, often and often, if not always, that I loved her against reason, against promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness, against all discouragement that could be.

I loved her none the less because I knew it, and it had no more influence in restraining me, than if I had devoutly believed her to be human perfection.

(Charles Dickens, Great Expectations. Chapter 29.)

Like, I know the fact that Pip doesn’t try to tell himself Estella is other than she seems is supposed to make us appreciate his honesty, but all it makes me do is shake my head in disgust at his pathetic, self-centered shallowness. Typical Pip. What kind of dude is willing to get dogged? If you know what she is, then walk. How is it irresistible to get treated like shit by someone who makes it clear they are not interested? Don’t try to front like you’re doing it out of some big, giant love for her, when you are obviously in it to serve your own masochistic needs. You’re in a relationship with yourself and you clearly like it. It could be Estella or it could be any other random chick that doesn’t want you. How is that admirable?

Pip, I have no pity for you. You love a robot because you are a dumbass snob, and you try to make it sound glamorous and romantic and somber when really it’s just weird and sad. In Dickens’ original ending, Pip and Estella don’t get together (silent cheer). Tell a friend! Well, I suppose first, find a friend who cares. Then, tell that friend.

Top: Anja Rubik. Men aren’t attracted to a girl in glasses.
Second from top: Claudia Schiffer.
Second from bottom: Anna Torv with the weather report.
Bottom: “Aqua,” by Milo Manara.

Dickens December: “Naked Girls Reading” do Dickens tonight in NYC

December 16, 2010


These are actually shots of a Chicago reading, but you get the idea.

If you live in New York City or environs, slide on down to the Pinchbottom Burlesque’s Naked Girls Reading show tonight at Madame X to hear the timeless classic A Christmas Carol read by the lovely and talented Nasty Canasta and friends.


Miz Canasta.

On Thursday, December 16, at 8:00pm, host Nasty Canasta (declared by the New York Times to be “perhaps the loveliest and certainly the nudest Scrooge in history”) leads an all-star cast of exhibitionists in an in-the-buff reading of this special version of A Christmas Carol, just as Dickens himself originally performed it — although perhaps a bit more naked.

(BWW News Desk. “Naked Girls Reading returns with ‘A Christmas Carol’.” broadwayworld.com.)


Naked Girls Reading has clearly evolved into something more than just titillation. It is titillating, but, after the first thrill of the initial disrobing, the pleasure of seeing beautiful women undressed fades besides the sense of intimacy achieved from someone bearing both their body and their soul at the same time. It was a remarkable experience.

(Steven Padnick. “Naked Girls Reading.” Tor.com.)

To summarize: Pinchbottom Burlesque will be performing their Naked Girls Reading of A Christmas Carol tonight at 8 pm, upstairs at Madame X, 94 W. Houston St. (between Thompson and Laguardia). Tickets are $20-$40 and can be purchased in advance from Pinchbottom’s official site. Go check out the show that NBC New York said, “will leave your chestnuts very warm indeed” — and, if you do swing by, send pictures or it didn’t happen.

Bitch, why do you tell me this fucking news when I do not live in New York goddamned City and cannot attend? Relax, neither do I. And may I add you cuss a lot? Because I am filled with holiday spirit, here’s a quick and generous guide to the doings of Naked Girls Reading around the rest of North America, Potty McSwearmouth.

Naked Girls Reading Elsewhere:

  • In Chicago, home of the original show, the Naked Girls have already celebrated Dickens, on December 3rd. Sorry, dudes.


    Seattle gals.

  • The ‘Couv: The lovely and talented ladies of Naked Girls Reading in Vancouver (B.C., not WA) will be reading How the Grinch Stole Christmas December 23 at Beaumont Studios, 316 W. 5th Ave. Doors open at 8, show starts 8:30. Advance tickets $15 general, $20 front row. At door +$5.
  • Madison nakies had a slumber party on December 12, where they read classic tales of teenage awkwardness. Look for more events from the Wisconsin chapter in the near future.
  • Seattle: Seatown’s Naked Girls Reading appear to be cooling their jets after a very big and successful to-do last month. They’ll get back to you, but they’re washing their hair.


  • Photo of SF Naked Girls Reading by Shilo McCabe, of the extraordinary Sex Positive Photo Project on the blogger.

  • San Francisco’s chapter will not be doing a reading of A Christmas Carol, but check out “International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers” on December 17th at the Center for Sex and Culture. 1519 Mission Street @ 11th. Doors open at 8:30, show starts at 9. $15 gen. adm, $20 special reserve seats. Readings will come from pieces written by actual sex workers.

    For more on the doings of chapters in Toronto, Dallas, Los Angeles, et al, please do hit up the Naked Girls Reading official site, and, hey — don’t be afraid to practice at home.

  • Dickens December: Nerves

    December 15, 2010


    via.

    Oh the nerves, the nerves; the mysteries of this machine called man! Oh the little that unhinges it, poor creatures that we are!

    (Charles Dickens.)

    Dickens December: The common case

    December 14, 2010


    via.

    There was a gay fiction among us that we were constantly enjoying ourselves, and a skeleton truth that we never did. To the best of my belief, our case was in the last aspect a rather common one.

    (Charles Dickens. Great Expectations.)

    Dickens December: We are the skyscrapers

    December 13, 2010



    I see a beautiful city and a brilliant people rising from this abyss, and, in their struggles to be truly free, in their triumphs and defeats, through long years to come, I see the evil of this time and of the previous time of which this is the natural birth, gradually making expiation for itself and wearing out.

    (Charles Dickens. A Tale of Two Cities.)

    I see it, too.

    Dickens December: “Say my name”

    December 12, 2010


    Electric communication will never be a substitute for the face of someone who, with their soul, encourages another person to be brave and true.

    (Charles Dickens.)

    Dickens December: Another Saturday night at the end of the world — Kick up your heels because why not?

    December 11, 2010


    “The Three Party” by Hugh Lippe.

    Bring in the bottled lightning, a clean tumbler, and a corkscrew.

    (Charles Dickens. Nicholas Nickleby, Chapter 49.)

    PSA: It’s one of the last Saturday nights of 2010 — go scare up some fun.

    Dickens December: We should be the Freds who walk this earth

    December 10, 2010


    “Laura.” Ryan McGinley, 2010.

    It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good-humour.

    (Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol. Stave Three: “The Second of the Three Spirits.” The narrator is describing Ebenezer’s nephew Fred enjoying the company of his friends.)

    I adore Fred. There should be more Freds walking this earth. We should be those Freds.

    Dickens December and Movie Millisecond: Shutting out life

    December 9, 2010

    Sabrina (Billy Wilder, 1954.)


    In shutting out the light of day, she had shut out infinitely more; that, in seclusion, she had secluded herself from a thousand natural healing influences; that, her mind, brooding solitary, had grown diseased, as all minds do and must and will that reverse the appointed order of their Maker.

    (Charles Dickens. Great Expectations. Chapter 49.)

    Oh, Miss Havisham. You are a thousand times more interesting and poignant than Pip. I’ve never liked Pip. What’s to like?


    Photographed by Heather Lucille on the flickr.

    When I read Great Expectations, the kind of picaresque adventures of Phillip Pirrip are all well and good, but, at the end of the day, it’s Miss Havisham that stands head and shoulders above the rest of the characters as a literary creation that surpasses the book that contains her, just as Heathcliff and the witches from Macbeth do in their respective stories. The image of her wrapped in her rotting bridal garments like a shroud, decaying in the gross crypt that Satis House has become — that’s what I look forward to seeing the handling of in screen and theatrical adaptations. I could give two craps about Pip. It’s all Miss Havisham, and her redemption. Yes?

    Dickens December: The fierce and fine little world of children’s existence

    December 8, 2010

    I’ve used this picture by Sally Mann before but I will never tire of it. The li’lest unlikely g ever.


    In the little world in which children have their existence, whosoever brings them up, there is nothing so finely perceived and so finely felt as injustice.

    (Charles Dickens. Great Expectations, Chapter 8.)

    Dickens December: A line for the infamous day

    December 7, 2010


    via nsfworld on the tumblr.

    There are dark shadows on the earth, but its lights are stronger in the contrast.

    (Charles Dickens.)

    I believe with the highest respect in the good intentions and heroism of the Greatest Generation, but I do not think they are the only great ones. They exemplify what has always been true of the best part of human nature, what the cynics would have us believe does not exist any more and maybe never did at all.

    I disagree with those cynics. I don’t think I could disagree more, in fact.

    Every generation experiences cataclysm, and we always think we are living in the endtimes, but the world keeps on going.


    via igor+andre on the blogger.

    The generation that is not shocked by the cataclysm, that is not galvanized, the generation that stops helping one another, that ceases to attempt to steer humanity through the flotsam of all the garbage with which our lesser numbers have choked up the ocean of human experience — that is the generation who will see the end of the world. Or at least the end of a world with people in it.


    Ibid..

    So far, to my knowledge, no full population of any generation stricken by apocalyptic terror in the face of life-changing (or -ending) events has looked at the rising waters and jumped into the whirlpool instead of banding together and heading further up and further inland.

    As long as we have hope, as long as we keep looking for that higher ground, we will be the strong light against the darkness.

    Dickens December: Inaugural Edition featuring photographs by Alexey Titarenko

    December 6, 2010


    Photographed by Alexey Titarenko.

    A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other. A solemn consideration, when I enter a great city by night, that every one of those darkly clustered houses encloses its own secret; that every room in every one of them encloses its own secret; that every beating heart in the hundreds of thousands of breasts there, is, in some of its imaginings, a secret to the heart nearest it! Something of the awfulness, even of Death itself, is referable to this.

    (A Tale of Two Cities.)


    Photo credit again to Mr. Titarenko.

    I think of this whenever I crest a hill as I drive through a major city. All the houses along the side of the highway, spreading out in either direction further than I can see — there are people in each of them, and every one has their own story, both the public and the private. It’s so inestimable and mysterious and profound. It’s like a miracle: it makes you sure that with so many intricate personal realities intertwining, this world cannot be an accident, and no one is meant to walk through it alone.