Posts Tagged ‘essay’

Mean Girls Monday: It Happens — Gretchen Weiner edition, redux

May 10, 2010

Why should Caesar get to stomp around like a giant, while the rest of us try not to get smooshed under his big feet? What’s so great about Caesar? Brutus is just as cute as Caesar. Brutus is just as smart as Caesar. People totally like Brutus just as much as they like Caesar. And when did it become okay for one person to be the boss of everybody? Because that’s not what Rome is about. W–We should totally just stab Caesar!

Gretchen, Mean Girls.

It also happens: an imaginary scene that just happened in my head.

A Marketplace in Rome. Citizens are gathered in the dusty streets beneath a balcony, on which a man in a white toga and a purple cape draped across his shoulders stands with one arm raised up. He is clearly a snappy dresser, but he is also, it seems from the expectant mood of the crowd, reputed to be a powerful orator.

I am standing next to an ordinary citizen, waiting to hear what the man on the balcony has to say. After greeting the crowd, his opening salvo shocks the audience:

“I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.”

The assembled friends, Romans, and countrymen are all puzzled and going, “Well, yeah. Did we not just assassinate that dude, like, yesterday?”

Marc Antony draws back a little for dramatic effect, and, in the interim, I leap to my feet and address the stirring crowd calmly.

“Settle down, you guys — yes, we stabbed the everloving crap out of Julius Caesar, but you’re about to hear what is widely regarded as just about the most thumping-good rhetorical masterpiece evah: you will be thunderstruck and agog as you are lead on a journey challenging and surpassing all the expectations you hold about typical conventions of speech.

“Everything you think you know about eulogies is about to change. Hush, now, Citizens, and let Marc Antony blow ya mind.”

Won’t you please let Marc Antony blow ya mind?

Scene.

Advice: Wordy words of wisdom from Jean-Luc Godard that could be construed as pretentious horseshit, I suppose, depending on your outlook but I like them, featuring Anna Karina (slightly NSFW)

November 29, 2009

Quotes from Godard illustrated by his wife and early muse, my own style inspiration and personal patron saint, the lovely and talented* Anna Karina.


*Not sure if you’d noticed, but I only bill as “lovely and talented” those who take it off. Write that down.

All you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun. (Journal entry, 5/16/91)


“Light me up!” Still of Anna Karina as Natacha van Braun from Alphaville, une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution / Alphaville (1965)

I don’t think you should feel about a movie. You should feel about a woman. You can’t kiss a movie.


Still with Jean-Paul Belmondo from Une femme est une femme / A Woman is a Woman (1961), previously highlighted with “Look, Ma, no gag reflex!” still here back in September.

“In films, we are trained by the American way of moviemaking to think we must understand and ‘get’ everything right away. But this is not possible. When you eat a potato, you don’t understand each atom of the potato!” (Interview with David Sherritt, The Christian Science Monitor, 8/3/94)


Une femme est une femme / A Woman is a Woman (1961)

Art attracts us only by what it reveals of our most secret self. (Critique called “What Is Cinema?” for Les Amis du Cinéma , 10/1/52, a work which advanced the auteur theory but also kind of ripped off Bazin, which is weird cause Bazin would’ve read it and was a big influence on Godard but this was done contemporaneously of Bazin himself working on something titled this, about this, so maybe the quote is misattributed? … or maybe there is more to it than I know with my tiny ken of French movie guys, maybe it was a done thing to borrow titles from one another, or perhaps it was a continuation of a dialogue they were already having both in person and via publications, or, finally, it could even have been an “understood” question which anyone might use as the title of a book or article … I am probably over-reading it.)


Hands down my favorite picture of Anna Karina

Beauty is composed of an eternal, invariable element whose quantity is extremely difficult to determine, and a relative element which might be, either by turns or all at once, period, fashion, moral, passion. (“Defense and Illustration of Classical Construction,” Cahiers du Cinéma, 9/15/52)


Cover or liner art for her album, a collaboration with the dread Serge G

The truth is that there is no terror untempered by some great moral idea. (“Strangers on a Train,” Cahiers du Cinéma 3/10/52 — Godard wrote extensively and insightfully in his early career about the movies of Hitchcock, one of my favorite and I think misunderstood directors; I’ll try to share some good nuggets from time to time)


Anna cahorts about topless as Anne in 1968’s The Magus, also starring Anthony Quinn (Zorba the Greek), Michael Caine, and Candace Bergen (Murphy Brown) — no one seems to like this movie but me. That’s okay, because I like it a lot.

Photography is truth. The cinema is truth twenty-four times per second. (Le petit soldad / The Little Soldier, 1963.)


With Jean-Paul Belmondo again, this time as Ferdinand and Marianne in the sort of romantic-tragi-comedy-crime-caper Pierrot le fou / Crazy Pete / Pierre Goes Wild (1965).

To be or not to be? That’s not really a question. (unsourced)


Screencap with subtitles from Une femme est une femme / A Woman is a Woman (1961).