Sunday, August 26, 2007

Strutting with Purpose

The film, Rockers (directed by Ted Bafaloukos, 1978) is lots of fun, but its central problem is wealth (re)distribution.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Quei loro incontri

Europa 2005 - 27 Octobre

"an unsigned cinetract ... the first of a series commissioned by Enrico Ghezzi for Fuori Orario (a legendary mavericks-and-visionaries-only Italian TV show) to celebrate Roberto Rossellini’s centenary. Asked to imagine a moment in the life or the death of Ingrid Bergman’s character in Europa ‘51 (1952), their reading of Rossellini yielded a video-ugly pamphlet—as subtle as a knee to the groin—mourning the death of two Parisian youngsters who, chased by the police, hid in a high-voltage electric transformer and burned to death. A little later, the banlieus were burning. The film is like nothing else in Huillet and Straub’s oeuvre since Introduction to Arnold Schoenberg’s Accompaniment to a Cinematic Scene (1972), their tract on Modernism and collaborationism, WWII and Vietnam, the Old World, the New World, and the Third World.

"Only 12 minutes long, Europa 2005 - 27 Octobre is obviously an incidental work, but it’s nevertheless/therefore important, for it reminds us that Huillet and Straub are political artists who recurrently tackled very real, precise, and timely political subjects, something too many of their self-appointed acolytes couldn’t be bothered with. And even if Straub’s overly judgmental musings get on one’s nerves, they’re still preferable to the docile, “understanding” silences or demagogic ravings which make up the present style of political non-discussions: with Huillet and Straub one can at least fight. They possess unquiet hearts and minds, unreconciled, unconsoled, hopeful. They care."

--Olaf Möller

Monday, August 13, 2007

Personal Politics

(Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times)

My favorite book title ever is for Althusser's memoir, which I haven't read: The Future Lasts Forever. (So many chances to keep trying, at least...)

I have not yet read any of the news pieces about Rove's departure from the White House staff--the headlines alone induce in me intense revulsion. Why celebrate his departure? Because a "bad guy" is gone? Because the Bush administration is a sinking ship? Please. The damage is done. The engines for further profit-making have been put firmly in place. No "electable" Democrats will be able to--or want to--change it either. My only hope for the Democratic candidates, one of whom will surely win the 2008 election, is that maybe they'll be able to help the American working class. A little. No more.

Once I felt something secured within me. One of those very rare moments when you know you've changed a bit. I was reading a collection of texts related to the Paris Commune. The journals of the Goncourts gave very interesting descriptions of the Commune's former members, its then-victims, after the workers had been crushed by the military. The way the writer (which Goncourt was it? I don't recall but think it was Edmond) wrote with such humanistic sympathy for the downtrodden, ugly, defeated masses. All this energy put into the proper eulogistic tone for failed revolution, for utopia deferred, denied, and instantly I thought, as though I were talking to the author himself, "You didn't help them. You stood back while they were slaughtered, you and your kind, and all your sympathy came to naught because it wasn't solidarity."

Nice fairweather progressive and liberals ... we stand by while the monstrous machine keeps going. And people wonder why Marxists disdain Democrats, why radical people of color distrust white liberals, why "clerks" in and around the academy (I include myself in this group) are ridiculed and largely powerless. It's because we're the ones who watch the resistance get murdered and then shed a tear for it.

When I had an idea for what From the Clouds to the Resistance could be, it was to break out of this mold and to latch on to the struggle of those who knew better.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


"Man shall be trained for war, and woman for the recreation of the warrior: all else is folly." (Nietzsche)

A few propositions to be worked out, challenged, refined here. 1a) That conservative and right-wing cinema exists as a structurally viable minoritarian "pole" in mainstream film & media so as to venture critique of capitalist modernity, that is, as the only critique of capitalist modernity in this arena: John Milius, Mel Gibson, elements of 300. 1b) The corrolary here is that left-wing commercial cinema is gutted, reformulated to fit capitalism's ends, resistance packaged & revolution sold: V for Vendetta, The Matrix, etc. 1c) The function is the illusion of parity between "right-wing" and "left-wing" cinema when none really exists. A more exact understanding of this relationship is to be analyzed & articulated. 2) That in much neoliberal commercial cinema (as well as the "left-wing" product) there is a great deal of reversibility, so that film-texts are constructed so as to accomodate a "reading" and its opposite so as to sell conflicts for viewers to engage in (taking sides in the Culture Wars as portrayed by the media) in order to mask larger and true conflicts.

(Sembène material still in the pipeline ...)