This Week’s Agenda
This week, we selected three films alongside three fragments of texts worth reading.
When Alice follows a talking rabbit, she finds herself in a wonderful world. Yet in Jan Švankmajers film, this Wonderland is not the fairy tale type landscape most previous films had set Lewis Carroll’s story in. In an interview, Švankmajer points out that Carroll wrote the story as a dream: “While a fairy tale has got an educational aspect – it works with the moral of the lifted forefinger (good overcomes evil), dream, as an expression of our unconscious, uncompromisingly pursues the realisation of our most secret wishes without considering rational and moral inhibitions, because it is driven by the principle of pleasure. My Alice is a realised dream.”
Out of the shadows too comes the second film in our selection this week. In a beautiful text on Jacques Tourneur, Nick Pinkerton writes about Out of the Past (1947): “[The film] doesn’t lack for plot involutions, but what lingers is the geometry of Mitchum’s face shining from the dark of a sedan parked on the shoulder of a rural route, the meeting on a Mexican beach festooned with fisherman’s nets between Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer, and the intimacy and quietude of their odd banter.”
As for the last film, once more, we prefer to leave the word to Serge Daney. “There’s no point pushing the first open door of the year by saying how beautiful Citizen Kane is,” he wrote about the film. “But there is a point in wondering about the transfer on television of this old masterpiece (1941). For it’s precisely what we now call ‘media’ that Welles is already talking about. It’s leaning over the cradle of the media that Welles has had his best success. This success belonged for a long time to the history of cinema but, with time, we understand more and more that they also represent a kind of historical ‘right to look’ of a filmmaker – Welles, a great mediator – over a world – the media – that is distancing itself from cinema (after having picked its pockets).” Be sure to watch Citizen Kane on the big screen, folks!