Monday, July 6, 2009


Betty Boop just sounds so much sexier when played through Funktion-Ones.

Sonotheque has a new monthly gathering headed by Joe Bryl and his penchant for artistic development. I missed the first one, but have gone to the last two (including tonight's). In a nutshell, Joe shows film that normally is not screened that he personally feels has merit to get people watching it not simply as an alternative to normal blockbusters. And in the spirit of abnormality, seeing Jean Isidore Isou's Traite de Bave et d’Eternite (Treatise on Venom and Eternity) makes it a Con's Pick primarily because of the parallelisms between Jean's character David and myself: a cocky, 'spoiled', mid-twenties guy who lusts for women who have substance even if society may deem them obtuse in figure. But that is not the film's purpose.

Part 1 of the film is Isou's theory that cinema has been knocked down to the lowest common denominator of shit, where shit is defined as the all glitz and glam of depression-era and post-depression era film meant to transport people to an idealistic and therefore unreal world. Consequently, the world's shit is his Taj Mahal masterpiece. He means to destroy cinema such that the individual elements are 'divided and conquered, as in war': those elements being video and sound. He propounds rules for this film and for future films which (I can't remember them all but) are:

- The display has nothing to do with soundtrack
- The video is nothing but old filmreels that could be old out-takes, loops, blank film with scratches whose only purpose is to exist as nonsense
- The only music available is that of Lettrism, which is again meant to be a lack of music however likens itself to atonal rhythmic sensations of pre-historical Indian culture (I saw it in a documentary) crossed with the knights formally known as the Knights who say Ni

Part 2 is David's love story with respect to various temporary loves ultimately concluding with Eve, painting the picture of a spoiled jerk who is compelled to accelerate to the climactic pleasure of a relationship only to find that the downward plunge into complacency resulting in his lover being completely infatuated with him is more than he can handle and pushes her away in hatred only to bring her back not necessarily due to his loins.
Part 3 is a summation of his story and also where the experiment in cinematic destruction plunges from an audio-visual disconnect of quasi-coherence to total nonsense (which gets boring).

I would probably want to see the movie again to explore the cultural references it cites, like Lettrism and Ubu Roi by Alfred Jarry, as well as picking up the relevant quotes to my life: "To truly love mankind is to detest it", "every person who has changed the world has been a spoiled child", "those interested in the opinions of others are never themselves, but rather are their neighbors."

So, how does David relate to me? First off, almost formulaically, because I want what I can't have, the best thing a girl can do to pique my interest is to say no to me. Next, I can't stand unintelligent women and because it is so difficult to find an equal-or-greater-than-me individual (again, ego) I can forego the popular beauty rubric and accept someone that has my personal definition of aestheticism. Furthermore, I'm rather disgusted with the world right now and how local/global politics and more importantly global economies have been manipulated to the will of a few men. The movie gives me hope in that it urges me to do something about it, only that on a global scale I feel so helpless. The result is I need to be more active locally as well as succeed in business (even though I despise money but not as much as injustice) so that I can gain an influence beyond the scope of Chicago.

I feel like I've given away the movie, but it is long enough and with enough intricacies that one would still find it interesting. I would suggest learning French before seeing this movie even though I saw it with subtitles. Personally, I loathe subtitles: you are not watching the movie but rather watching the text flicker with some background image. Isou specifically wants you to watch the visual babble while you contemplate his characters speaking to you; it is as if he is specifically trying to distract you so that you are forced to concentrate intently on what the message actually is and when one is staring at the words, which are meaningful, the visual effect is lost. Perhaps someone can dub it in English in the future.

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