La Piscine (Jacques Deray, 1969).
Jane knows the way of it.
Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin in If Don Juan Were A Woman (Vadim, 1973).
Faust: My heart’s on fire — let us depart!
Mephistopheles: This is the true poetic art
and I have never met with prettier poets;
Could they but keep the secrets of their trade.
(Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust. Part I, Act 1, Scene 3: “Witch’s Kitchen.”)
Some thoughts from Mr. Blake on free love, fidelity, procreative pressure, and the institution of marriage as it functioned (and did not) for ladies during his lifetime:
Must chilling murderous thoughts obscure
The clear heaven of her eternal spring?
to bear the wintry rage
Of a harsh terror driv’n to madness, bound to hold a rod
Over her shrinking shoulders all the day;
Marilyn and Arthur on their wedding day. Marilyn’s dress was ivory but her veil arrived white, so rather than freak out or buy a new one she soaked it in tea overnight. She was an orphan and imminently practical.
& All the night
To turn the wheel of false desire: and longings
that wake her womb
To the abhorred birth of cherubs in the human form
That live a pestilence & die a meteor & are no more.
(William Blake, excerpt from Visions of the Daughters of Albion. 1793. Shockingly self-published.)
The Graduate (Kubrick, 1967).EDIT: It was directed by Mike Nichols, not Stanley Kubrick. Jesus-christ-bananas. How that got past me is a mystery. Mucho mas mucho thanks to Peteski for the heads-up!
Happy bride month, am I right? Goin’ to the chapel…
In all seriousness, William Blake was a sort of pre-feminist and a great admirer of Mary Wollstonecraft but for all his forward-thinking, he could behave curiously backwardly and contemporarily to the times in his personal life, almost as if his own wife, Catherine, did not count in his reckoning of the equalities of the opposite sex.
Audrey and Mel. She looks terribly unhappy and trapped. I do not believe this was their wedding day but rather shortly before their breakup in an ad for Givenchy’s L’Interdit, the first celebrity fragrance. I wear Givenchy Amarige when I am Really Me. But that is very rare. So often it is best to be Other Me-s, so I roll with Michael by Michael Kors.
As an example, when they had trouble conceiving, Blake openly advocated bringing another, younger woman into their marriage and relegating Catherine to second-class status in a different bedroom. My guess is he backed up his proposal by citing the timeless, good ol’ Rachel/Leah biblical argument, which reminds me that I get to hit Handmaid’s Tale next month.
Okay, I went in to more insomnia-fueled bookfoolery and this entry is now uncomfortably longer than I’d prefer a Blake one to be. I’m going to split it up. Meet me in the next post. More Kubrick, even (I didn’t intend for that to happen but now that it has I’m on board). (edit: again, The Graduate is directed by Mike Nichols. Not Stanley Kubrick.)
(I was concerned that the photo credits would break up the rhythm and impact of the poem, so I’m putting them down here.)
top: Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin, Don Juan ou Si Don Juan était une femme…, aka Female Don Juan, aka If Don Juan Was A Woman (Roger Vadim, 1973).
second from top: Jacqueline Sassard and Stéphane Audran, Les Biches (Claude Chabrol, 1968). Spoiler: one is about to stab the other in the back. Interpret freely and watch for yourself.
third: “Grand Apple Face” by patron saint Sam Haskins. In-camera photo montage before the age of photoshop. Amazing. RIP.
last: “Poisoned with love” by miss- alienation on the d.a.
The gold moth did not love him
So, gorgeous, she flew away.
But the gray moth circled the flame
Until the break of day.
And then, with wings like a dead desire,
She fell, fire-caught, into the flame.
— “Fire-caught,” Langston Hughes.
Et tu, Jane?
A personal patron saint, Jane has come up several times on this journal but on review I see it has so far been only in regard to her daughter (yay), the lovely and talented Lou Doillon, and her second husband (boo), Serge Gainsbourg, a personal devil. That is a scandal. Here is an entry in her own right.
Lou Doillon by Max Vadukul for Vogue Italia, August 2009
“Crescendo ho ocupato l’unico spazio rimasto libero in famiglia; quello dell’eccentrica, del giullare che strappa un sorriso. c’era talmente tanta perfezione che solo comportandomi in modo diverso sono ruiscita a trovare me stessa.”
Photograph via The Following Aesthetic Reasons
If you are not lucky enough to speak Italian (I am mainly not, either, no worries!), then here is a very rough translation pieced together via babelfish (don’t you love that it’s named for a Douglas Adams invention), Conversational Italian in college — which I spent most of my time ditching to fuma (smoke) and hang out with various uomi (men!), in my defense, I was being hella Italian — and a couple online dictionaries:
Image via thebeautymanifesto
“Growing up, I occupied the only space which remained free in my family: that of the eccentric, that of the jester who snags a smile. There was so much perfection that being involved in various ways has helped me to find the same [in life].”
A bit of background. Her father is director Jacques Doillon, and her mother is international superstar, ye-ye idol, and reknowned vintage beauty (a personal patron saint) Jane Birkin. Oh, and Jane’s previous husband was probably the most famous and successful male French musician of all time, (a personal devil) Serge Gainsbourg.
Beautiful, marvelous, multi-talented Jane Birkin during her marriage to That Creepy Soul-Reaper (Gainsbourg).
Birkin’s relationship with Lou’s father, film director Jacques Doillon, ended her marriage to Gainsbourg, and because of that the French press have a love-hate relationship with Lou: on the one hand, she is a daughter of cultural aristocracy; on the other, her very existence symbolises the end of one of France’s great love affairs.
Lou’s various step and half-sisters are famously beautiful models, actresses, and musicians such as Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kate Barry, and Lily Doillon.
After a deliberately outre ugly duckling phase and some raw turns in cool indie flicks, Lou has been slowly transitioning in to a model citizen herself. So … yes, I can see where she is coming from with that quote. She’s a really cool chick, and as you can see from this small smattering from my collection of pics, she has taken it off, so she gets to be billed as lovely and talented, to boot!
I’ll get to more about her another day, I guarantee, because I think she is a smashing girl! but right now I need to go put on my Square Face (read: look freshly-made-up, decently-dressed, and reliable and maternal) for my kidlet’s first parent-teacher conference. I don’t want my appearance or attitude or nuttiness or any grain of reality about myself to seep through to her teacher and influence said teacher’s attitude toward her. I know that’s crazy, but it’s a fear. Wish me luck!