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Of Human Bondage

 

Of Human Bondage

I am fascinated with connections, those super umbilical cords that affix us all; ours bonds, our bondage. One leisurely activity I participate in, is choosing a random subject, lets say GLASS, typing it into google and then spending the next 10 minutes clicking on various links to see where I end. The end subject is usually incongruous to the original subject but by tracing it’s sorta genealogy, we get an analogous story. It weaves a beautiful co-existence of chance and choice, difference and sameness, of other and self. Life is made up of squillions of these cords, all tangled in a complex combustion of chaos and order. I have decided to compose together an ouroboric-like connection between 6 films.

Repulsion

1. Repulsion, 1965, Roman Polanski

Ah the disturbed blonde, a subject matter mastered by Hitchcock. The obvious choice was to choose a Hitchcock film but I decided to go down another path, funnily enough the path found its way to Hitchcock anyway.  I only recently decided to watch this film, the subject matter of the film and Polanski’s own shady transgressions made me a little uneasy but I have been watching films about ‘seemingly innocent’ females of late, Catherine Deneuve being one of these coy-masking-rage femmes and so decided to set aside my unease to indulge in what I found to be absolutely intoxicating. I was totally beguiled by the neurotic, claustrophobic expressionism of the cinematography by Gilbert Taylor.

Dracula

2. Dracula, 1979 John Badham
The connection between Repulsion and Dracula = Gilbert Taylor, cinematographer.

I have seen many adaptations of Dracula but not this one. I have decided that nothing can compare to the actual novel by Bram Stoker, adaptations always wind up blood-splattered  camp (Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula) or blood-sucked wry (Louis Jourdan’s mini-series Count Dracula). Don’t get me wrong I am hypnotized by Murnau’s, ugly as hell Nosferatu, and mesmerized by Bella Lugosi’s orthodox Count Dracula (but both dispel the eroticism of the novel). No adaptation can quite balance the disclosed and displaced erotic violence of the novel without oozing hamminess or sterilizing it. John Badham’s version of Dracula strays into the cornball campground, getting a little too romantic for my taste but it does have several things going for it 1. the byronic brow of Laurence Olivier  2. Dracula’s slick pimp do 3.Gilbert Taylor’s cinematography which looks like the love child of a BBC period drama and german expressionism.

Bond

3. Never Say Never Again, 1983, Irvin Kershner.
The connection between Dracula and Never Say Never Again = Use of St Michael’s Mount.

I hate James Bond, not even Connery’s titillating timbre can seduce me into the ways of the martini stirring Bond but I do adore St Michael’s Mount, which features in both films. In Dracula, it features as the facade of Dracula’s castle, in Never Say Never Again, the misguided missile’s fly over it. Islands and castles and monasteries, oh my! All beddable infantile archetypes for me.

Marnie

4. Marnie, 1964, Alfred Hitchcock.
The connection between Never Say Never and Marnie = Sean Connery

Alfred places himself as Lord Freud himself, as he probes the mind of a hysterical, hostile, kleptomaniac, who goes into a catatonic rage when she see’s red, she see’s red, she see’s red. Sean Connery is her suave savior/rapist, who performs a nonconsensual exorcism of her ‘psychological’ possession via his own penetrating patriarchal possession. I in no way condone his acts but Marnie nonetheless is an intriguing examination of female trauma.

Red

Three Colors: Red, 1994, Krzysztof Kieslowski
The connection between Marnie and Three Colors, Red = RED.

The denouement of the color trilogy and Kieslowski’s final film before his sudden death in 1996, metamorphoses the french revolutionary ideal of fraternity in a cinematic prose of deja vu in the 90s. I was absolutely seduced by the sensual paring of red curtains and Irene Jacobs lamenting eyes, it nursed my faux nostalgia for the Other 90s.

Other 90s: The more mature 90s I was aware of but not apart of because I was part of the playground 90s.

pulp

Pulp Fiction, 1994, Quentin Tarantino
The connection between Red and Pulp Fiction = Irene Jacobs

The story goes that Quentin Tarantino saw Irene Jacobs in another Kieslowski film The Double Life of Veronique and wrote the part of Bruce Willis’s wife Fabienne, in Pulp Fiction, with her in mind but Irene was working on Red at the time. I love/loath Tarantino for he is a swindler, a reel-road robber absorbing ‘other’ cinematic cool shit, through his chin no doubt and regurgitating his pastiche patchwork in such a cool way, misty-eyed butterflies start fluttering inside you.

And now to tie everything together. In 1994, Pulp Fiction won the Palme d’Or at Cannes and who should be the Jury vice-president but Catherine Deneuve. This photograph captures a glance, that triggers an almost ouroboric connection between 6 films.

tarantino and catherine.jpg

 

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