Friday, December 08, 2006

2 or 3 things you know about beta

A saucerful of secrets?


The Blue Velvet Blend probably goes great with homemade cherry pie. Even the other kind.


The last three movies I have watched: Lynch's Inland Empire, Godard's 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her, and Mizoguchi's Ugetsu all dabbled in the spectre of hoing. Perhaps it's to offset either the weeping virgin glued to the tube in Empire or else the pristine, glamorous actress played by Laura Dern. One aspect of her persona is above such muck, yet another is down with the bleary-eyed, syphilitic Polish whores, grinding to "The Loco-Motion" and being real 'street' at the corner of Hollywood and Vine. Prostitution is then the ideal role when lolling in the gutters of reality, the few with eyes and legs spread, looking up at the stars?

Said act ballasts the countermelodic couple in Mizoguchi's film, yet one extreme on the wheel of fate. As husband Tobei ascends as a samurai, Ohama the wife is abandoned, left to be raped by roving soldiers and to earn her gold in that manner. Only when Tobei sheds his role in society does a sense of balance (no mo hoing) return. Godard of course opines that it might be the only poetic job within capitalism. Desire becomes dollars, flipping mattress-backs into sawbucks. It's as writer Nick Tosches once posited, if you're going to be a whore, at least be a high-priced one.

Juliette Janson, Godard's waterbearer for all things feminine in 2 ou 3 Choses Que Je Sais d'Elle, absorbs such extremes, playing two roles that are on the verge of appearing as separate entities. She is herself; she is Paris: "I was the world, the world was me." She is both mother and whore, but neither twain quite resolves within her.

Her son recites a dream early on:
I was walking all alone at the edge of a cliff. The path was only wide enough for one person. Suddenly I saw two twins walking toward me. I wondered how they would get past. Suddenly one of the twins went towards the other and they became one person. And then I realized that these two people were North and South Vietnam being united.
Not bad for a sleepy four-year-old in 1966, but maybe it's just easier for men to mash such disparities together? Mom counters with her own unredeemable dillemas: "In my dreams I used to feel that I was being sucked into a huge hole. Now I feel I'm beng scattered in a thousand pieces."

Of course, Godard assumes his role as auteur, a D.H. Lawrence sort of puppeteer, his characters just acting as vessels for any and all of his musings. And yet another aspect of Inland Empire ties back into Her, when the creepy neighbor of the former haltingly tells Laura Dern a parable. A Boy walks out into The World and casts a shadow: "Evil," her heavy accent slithers around that evocation.

Among the myriad whispers and interior monologues within Her, be it Godard's voice-over, of Janson's musings as she traverses through a Parisian landscape that's like a face, perhaps recognizable as her own (as much a mirror as it was for Emerson), lies another version of that old tale. She ponders silently aloud: "Thought meshes with reality or calls it into question." Elsewhere, before or after, I don't know which, from either the blackness in front of or behind the screen (or maybe before and behind my own eyes), the narrator rasps: "Our thoughts are not the substance of reality, but its shadow."