Archivo de la etiqueta: drama

‘What is There to Smile At ? Lindsay Anderson’s O Lucky Man! by John Izod, Karl Magee and others[*]


In the final scene of Lindsay Anderson’s 1973 film O Lucky Man!, the director steps out from behind the camera and places himself in the centre of the action. The film’s young hero Mick Travis (Malcolm McDowell) has been engaged on a futile quest for wealth and success which has ended with him destitute, wandering the streets of London. Enticed by a billboard to audition for a starring role, he is plucked from a drab group of similarly desperate young men by Anderson. Instructed by the director to smile, Travis asks ‘What is
there to smile at? I can’t smile without a reason.’ Anderson hits him across the face with the script and Mick smiles, a moment that has been described as the character experiencing a Zen-like revelation (see, for instance, Lambert 2000: 168).
What is Anderson saying about the director’s role with this provocative act? Is it a challenge to the traditional boundaries of film, a cinematic joke, or a piece of self-mockery, the brute on the screen reflecting Anderson’s bullish public persona? It is not wholly implausible to argue that Anderson was mocking his notoriously volatile temperament to amuse his associates.
However an insider joke says nothing to a film’s audiences. So something else has to be in play here (though that does not mean it cannot also reveal the director’s personal foibles). Anderson’s diaries and correspondence reveal that he invested the project with deeply held personal values and beliefs. Indeed, Lambert’s reading of the final scene picked up the association with Zen that Anderson noted in his diary in the hours after shooting it (Anderson, LA€6/1/64/160: 16€June 1972). Not that Lambert would have needed access to Anderson’s private writings to know it. In a 1957 review of Tokyo Story published in Sight and Sound (the journal Lambert edited until 1955), Anderson wrote of the wisdom and acceptance of life that comes with practising the Zen philosophy (1957: 582–583). When promoting O Lucky Man!, he expounded this idea to journalists, reflecting on the way the final smile echoed the grin with which Mick had ingratiated himself as a salesman at the start of his epic journey: ‘I thought of it more as Zen master and pupil than as directorand actor. It’s where the film comes full circle, where the smile at the end echoes the smile at the beginning, only it’s not the facile smile of compromise, but the hardened smile ofacceptance.’ (Blume 1973: 16)
Anderson had no doubt that as the film’s director he functioned as its key talent. He always referred to O Lucky Man! as his – as an auteur production. Intervention in the action would be one way of making the point. However, a dramatic intrusion such as that contrived for the final scene could fatally have ruptured the film’s narrative structure had it not in some way been prepared for. In fact, Anderson had been consciously influenced by the dramaticprinciples and practice of Bertolt Brecht since Mother Courage played in London in 1956.

For O Lucky Man! (like The White Bus and If… before it and The Old Crowd and Britannia Hospital to follow) Anderson adapted those dramatic principles for the screen, and broadly speaking shared their purpose of casting a fresh light on contemporary society. Like Brecht’s plays and Sergei Eisenstein’s films, these five productions keep the audience aware that they are watching a constructed artefact.
One of the many symptoms of this in O Lucky Man! is Malcolm McDowell’s presentation of Mick Travis’s journey. Mick has a chameleon nature and tries to adapt to fit the frequently changing milieux of his picaresque existence; but McDowell plays him with malfunctions to his camouflage. His performance illustrates Brecht’s concept of the ‘epic actor’ – defined as a player who does not seek to project a single, unchanging character but one that changes
all the time by leaps and starts (Gordon 2006: 231). Thus characters no less than plot are constructed in defiance of conventions guiding the creation of naturalistic, invisibly constructed and rounded personalities.
As Robert Gordon notes, Brecht sought to break from nineteenth- and twentieth-century naturalist and expressionist theatre in order to violate the identification of spectator with performer.
…epic theatre had to use every device of dramaturgy, acting and production to prevent the flow of empathy between spectator and performer. To achieve this, the actor had to avoid becoming identified with the character she was representing, but had to use her own personality as the basis for a dramatic role that involved her as both storyteller and character…
â•… The quality and style of epic performance is succinctly captured in Brecht’s injunction to actors to perform ‘consciously, suggestively, descriptively.’ The epic actor consciously describes character and suggests salient details to evoke the situation in a style appropriate to a street-singer or stand-up comic rather than a naturalistic actor. (Gordon 2006: 231–232). In English, the term ‘alienation’ is usually deployed to summarize Brecht’s intention in devising techniques to divest the world of its illusory appearance of being something natural, normal and self-evident. By making it unfamiliar and even unrecognizable, the alienation effect should require audiences to ask questions about the nature of the world so that ultimately it becomes more comprehensible in its underlying rather than its superficial reality (Slater 1977: 131–132). Despite his adoption and development of Brecht’s ideas in the cinema, Anderson (as he wrote in the introduction to the published script of The Old Crowd) was never happy with the term by which it was known.
‘Alienation’ is the Brechtian term – a translation of his Verfremdungseffekt – usually applied to such a style, but I have always thought this a heavy word and not a very accurate one.
The real purpose of such devices, which can include songs, titles between scenes, etc., is not to alienate the audience from the drama, but rather to focus their attention on its essential – not its superficial or naturalistic – import. (Anderson 1985: 140)

This at first seems little more than a quibble on Anderson’s part since on the surface his and Brecht’s positions appear very similar. However, their goals differ radically. A marxist, Brecht intended his productions ultimately to contribute to changing the world. Anderson, the Dean Swift of his age, had more limited ambitions, aspiring instead to excoriate the horrors and iniquities barely concealed in every stratum of British society. As he put it, People act from the worst of motives and you’ve got to anticipate that…If you are sentimental, then you are taking an unreal view of life. The whole essence of the film is to suggest we do have to understand the conditions of life, of being human beings. Stupidity must be mocked and laughed at. Wickedness must be mocked and laughed at. We have to accept we are human beings and our lot is not entirely a happy one. (Anderson quoted in Edwards 1973: 28)
Interviewed by Louis Marcorelles (1973: 19), Anderson volunteered that Brecht would not have been in agreement with the conclusion of O Lucky Man! because, although it corresponds to the poetic aspect of Brecht’s work, it does not embrace the marxist aspect.
Instead, its characters function as vehicles for keen satire, exposing the hypocrisies and corruption of rich and poor, powerful and powerless alike. Anderson would (contrary to Brecht’s ideals and marxist philosophy in general) have held with Matthew Hodgart that the form should be devoted to showing how things really are and demolishing existing follies rather than advocating a new dispensation.
The satirist appears in his noblest role when he accepts the challenge of oblivion, by taking on an ephemeral and unpleasant topic…[Politics] offers the greatest risk and the greatest rewards: politics is traditionally considered a dirty business, yet the satirist is most a hero when he enters the forum and joins in the world’s debate…What is essential is that he should commit himself boldly to his ‘impure’ subject, yet retain a purity of attitude, in his aesthetic disengagement from the vulgarities and stupidities of the struggle. (Hodgart 1969: 31–32). To flag up the satirical element, the characters in O Lucky Man! have a cartoon-like quality, noted by Anderson himself (Delson 1973: 30). That quality complements Brechtian principles and is further emphasized by the casting of actors in two or three roles apiece. Not only does each performer play various characters, but his or her roles differ radically from each other.
With the exception of Malcolm McDowell, none of these performers – some, like Ralph Richardson, Rachel Roberts, Mona Washington and Arthur Lowe, immensely popular in Britain – commands the screen long enough in any one role to draw the spectator’s empathy.
The film’s narrative structure is also fragmented in line with Brechtian principles. Episodes connect with each other only loosely in terms of character and plot development, giving priority instead to preserving purposeful thematic links. Shortly before the film’s release,

Anderson gave David Robinson, one of the few film critics whom he respected, an interview that set the agenda for many reviewers in the following months. He said that the form of the film was traditional in that the narrative featuring a hero journeying through numerous adventures and encountering lots of characters had stood the test of time. It was found in Pilgrim’s Progress, Gulliver’s Travels and Tom Jones, not to mention Voltaire’s Candide. The people whom the hero meets along the way mostly have the two-dimensional nature of ‘humours’ – figures in the picaresque tale representing the baseline of certain human characteristics, sometimes in a cartoon-like manner (Anderson 1973: 129).

In reviewing O Lucky Man! George Melly wrote that while the Brechtian mode seldom works in cinema, it did so triumphantly in this case. That he thought due in part to a strong screenplay by David Sherwin, excellent multiple performances from the actors at large and particularly Malcolm McDowell’s performance as the hero. One of the principal factors supporting the Brechtian mode was Anderson’s coherent view of how society works, that had given the narrative its robust scaffolding (Melly 1973: 34). It should be said that more than one critic derided the film because, to cite one, they thought that ‘in presenting us with corrupt policemen, power-crazy tycoons, sadomasochistic judges, murderous meths drinkers or suicidal Cockney housewives, Mr Anderson doesn’t seem to be in England at all’ (Weightman 1973: 48). For Melly, on the contrary, all the incidents (police looting a crash site, the sale of arms to an African despot, scientific experimentation on human beings, etc.) could be paired with reality: ‘… in the week of the Watergate disclosures, the film’s relevance needs no underlining’ (1973: 34).
Melly also reported that the music helps avoid the evident looseness of the episodic form. He liked the way the wry edge of the songs links and illuminates the various episodes obliquely (ibid.). Indeed, members of the band participate as characters in the narrative and also comment as if from outside it like an all-knowing Greek chorus. In that role they have two functions – firstly, strengthening the structure, and secondly, providing the moral context that frames the protagonists’ self-seeking behaviour.
In his interview with Robinson, Anderson had described the method he and Alan Price had adopted in their collaboration over the lyrics and music. These were written explicitly for the film and its companion album (also released by Warner Bros). Early drafts of the
script simply note the themes (‘song of luck’, ‘song of opportunity’, ‘song of money’, etc.) on which Price was to write. In fact, for each point at which music was to be inserted, Anderson wrote a paragraph stating what he thought the song should be about. Price took that and reinterpreted it in terms of his feelings and attitudes, which the director found sufficiently different from his own to provide creative tension, but also sufficiently the same for that tension to be productive (Anderson 1973: 129).
After a production meeting in the month before shooting commenced, Anderson mused in his diary: ‘In a sense the final zen-existential feeling of the film corresponds to [Alan’s] own feeling about life: be what you are: you are what you are: decisions won’t change anything.
But of course this is mixed with an instinctive, romantic individualism…’ (LA 6/1/64/41, 8 February 1972). Anderson believed (and in our view the film justifies his assertion) that

this mix of the political and the deeply personal made the songs an effective form of chorus. He thought that the songs ‘express the ironic attitude of the film quite directly, [and] the persona that Alan presents takes on an air of knowledgeableness’ (Anderson 1973: 129). As for Price’s role as a character, Anderson reckons he remains purposely enigmatic. He stands apart from the action because he has already attained the attitude to life that it takes Mick the whole story to get to. In short, Price’s character is a portrayal of someone who knows what life is about (Anderson 1973: 129–130).
Price and the band are the only ‘actors’ not to appear in multiple roles (in the prologue even McDowell plays another role – that of a peasant). Perhaps this is another device emphasizing his being the complete character who knows what life is about. All in all, while Price fulfilled a purpose on screen similar to the street singer in Brecht’s Threepenny Opera, he had a second major function: in the long process of making the film he was to Anderson what Kurt Weill had been to Brecht – an essential musical partner.
During the making of O Lucky Man! Anderson suffered recurrent despondency, even despair. His diary reflected on the difficulties that the Anglo-American cinema system posed auteurs such as Kubrick and Peckinpah. He thought it turned them into ‘monsters of
paranoia’ because only thus could they survive professionally. Noting the severe disturbance of his own emotions, he recorded feeling the enormous strain imposed by the attempt to straddle the worlds of personal (auteur) cinema on the one hand, and popular, commercial entertainment on the other (LA€6/1/64/7–8, 3€May 1972). Anderson’s exhaustion and depression continued through the weeks of post-production and he dreaded entering the cutting room to face the ‘dolts’ working with him (LA€6/1/64/236, 5€September 1972). It seems likely that such scathing remarks about his collaborators (of which this is typical), projected onto them his secret terror of suffering from a creative block. In one entry he diagnosed his own ‘critical sureness – after the event – but creative
uncertainty: which is what makes editing such agony’ (LA€6/1/64/201, 31€July 72, emphasis in the original). Paranoia aside, he had severe doubts over the quality of what he was seeing in the cutting room, thinking that some of it was adequate, but no more. Eventually his mood improved when Tom Priestley agreed to act as supervising editor. Under the latter’s guidance the movie began to take its eventual shape (LA€6/1/64/263, 3€October 1972).
When the time came to promote the film, Anderson’s paranoid doubts evaporated and gave way to enthusiastic commitment. Prior to its release, he submitted to numerous interviews with journalists and, as mentioned previously, the best of these set the agenda for
the majority of newspaper reviewers. With columns needing rapid filling, the latter found it convenient in time-honoured manner to draw on such material. For his part, Anderson seized the opportunity interviews afforded to not only promote the movie but also offer guidance toward what he thought was its proper interpretation.
Authorship was an issue that clearly mattered to him greatly; and in fact from 1948 he adopted a consistent concept of the director’s authorship in the cinema (as opposed to the theatre). He always asserted artistic ownership of ‘his’ films, referring to O Lucky Man!
both in public and private as if he had controlled both its scripting and direction. This was

not without a measure of truth since by his own admission he had constantly dominated his scriptwriter (and friend) David Sherwin as a means of bludgeoning work from him (Anderson 2004: 149). His relationship with Malcolm McDowell was different, but both enjoyed its intimate father–son quality. So here too he led even though the idea for the film started with ‘Coffee Man’, a rough script based on McDowell’s experiences selling coffee in the north of England (see LA 1/7/1/9–12). Anderson challenged his actor to develop the script and work with Sherwin before he himself introduced the ‘epic’ dimension.
With Alan Price, despite the age difference between the two men, Anderson achieved (not without minor difficulties at first) a relationship predicated on mutual respect and awareness that each had semi-autonomous command of his respective medium. In the case of his Czech cameraman, however, matters were different. It proved impossible for Anderson to dominate Miroslav Ondricek (Mirek) in the way he ruthlessly coerced Sherwin and others such as his production designer Jocelyn Herbert. A series of entries in Anderson’s diaries from March to August 1972 reads like a one-sided history of the two men’s contest for authorial control.
Anderson saw the nub of the problem as Mirek’s insistence on prioritizing composition and lighting. As director, however, Anderson tenaciously held the drama to have prime importance and reckoned that Mirek either did not read or failed to understand the script (not implausible since the Czech had limited command of English). By degrees Anderson convinced himself that he was partnered with an obstructive prima donna (see, for example,
LA€6/1/64/101, 12€April 1972; LA€6/1/64/108, 19€April 1972; LA€6/1/64/115, 26€April 1972; LA€6/1/67/3–6, 28€August 1972). The unhappy sequence ends with the director enraged after viewing poor rushes. He decides Mirek is a spoiled baby who has lost his respect because ‘he has not DELIVERED THE GOODS. FINITO’ (LA€6/1/64/226, 25€August 1972, emphasis in
the original). This outburst, in the final week of pick-up shooting, can be read as Anderson reclaiming authorship for himself.
Anderson did indeed believe that ‘cinema at its best and purest belongs to the director’ (1985: 139). He wrote these particular words 35 years after first expounding the same opinion in three articles published in Sequence between 1948 and 1950. Well before the Cahiers du Cinéma debate launched the politique that distinguished the work of metteur-en-scène from auteur, Anderson derived a broadly comparable dichotomy that differentiated two ways in which the film director might operate. He did not belittle the importance of contributions made by the principal talent; in particular he identified the scriptwriter and cameraman as indispensable creative members of a team (1948: 198–199). However, he argued that those writers who claim the dominance of their profession’s contribution most admire those films ‘in which the director’s function approximates closely enough to that of a stage director’ (1950: 207). For Anderson this view
puts the film director severely in his place, demanding of him technical capacity, sensibility to the ideas and characters provided for him by his author, but no independent response to his material, no desire to present it in the light of his own imagination, illuminated by it, or transformed (1950: 207).

For Anderson the almost miraculous fusion of the many creative elements that go into a successful film requires a central figure to bring those elements together, and that is the director. Implicit in this is more than the attribution of control alone. The work of the great directors who have made ‘rare and treasured works…alone entitles film to its present, indisputable position among the arts’ (1948: 199). In the making of those films of highest quality in which the director has a personal input, the authorial role becomes guarantor of the claim that the cinema is an art. Indeed, the director as author is often referred to as an artist. This was a theme to which Anderson returned often – see, for example, ‘Stand Up! Stand Up!’ (1956), and an unpublished piece ‘The Film Artist – Freedom and Responsibility!’ (1959). In this, as John Caughie has pointed out, Anderson was one of those who sought to install the individual, expressive and romantic artist in cinema (1981: 10). In his essays for
Sequence Anderson voices a position close to the idea of authorship that Andrew Sarris, the Movie group and others were to develop in elevating certain directors above all others for their artistry. But Anderson was contemptuous of the way these critics evolved that idea into a theory which exalted a bad film by an auteur over a good one by a non-ranking director.
Probably for that reason, he preferred in later writing to credit the Cahiers writers of the French New Wave with first formulating the idea that a director of a film should be called its author, rather than sharing the credit for something that he (among others) had advocated several years earlier (Anderson 1981: 271–272).
In a 1981 review of recent academic publications, Anderson’s contempt for auteur theory became all-engulfing. In part this was motivated by his disdain for ‘intellectual’ activity, with which term he condemned what he considered to be elitist self-indulgence that evaded the essential function of criticism. That function should be to discover and explore the relevance of art to experience (Anderson 1981: 274), an activity that he equated with the application
of intelligence. However, his complacent dismissal of developments in theoretical thinking about authorship cost him the opportunity to understand how audiences inevitably see authorship of films from a different perspective than their directors. To speak of one parameter alone, spectators stimulated by recurrent motifs, themes and unconscious traces that they discover in films directed by the same individual may construct through projective identification with them their own idea of a creative source. They name that source after the director but, as an imaginary construct, it is not identical with that person. To borrow Peter Wollen’s formulation: not Lindsay Anderson but the imagined ‘Lindsay Anderson’. To adapt an old warning, we should not uncritically trust the teller, but need to consider how the tale was received.
Projective identification shows clearly in some critical responses to O Lucky Man! not least because satire is a powerful weapon designed to arouse emotion in the receiver. The vivid contrast between personalized readings of the film by professional reviewers (some of whom clearly felt Anderson had attacked more than merely his lead player with a cinematic slap to the face) demonstrates these cathexes in play. In no review was this more clear than Stanley Kauffmann’s verdict that the film was ‘twisted by rancor’ and pickled in Anderson’s bile because he had not been called a genius for his previous movies. Kauffmann thought

it a three-hour effort at self-canonization exuding conceit and pig-headedness and steeped in self-display and self-reference (1973: 24). Less venomously, David Wilson found ‘an unappealing sanctimonious edge to this comprehensive spite…’ (1973: 128–129). In contrast, Charles Champlin observed that films are the man and Anderson – cool, guarded, rigorously unsentimental – finally preserves a certain detachment from his material and consequently from his audience.
If we are engrossed by his events and impressed by his characters we are denied some ultimate, easy empathy and moved to thought and admiration rather more than to deep feeling (1973: 22).
There is something to smile at (albeit ironically) for anyone reflecting on the respective careers of François Truffaut and Lindsay Anderson. One cannot but note the many striking similarities between them: their absent fathers and distant mothers; their passionate championing of the cinema and their belief in the centrality of the author. Truffaut’s Cahiers article, ‘Une Certaine Tendance du Cinéma Français’ is commonly regarded as the manifesto that launched both la politique des auteurs and the French New Wave. Anderson, a leading representative of the British New Wave, had financed and co-edited the film magazine Sequence until 1952. It is an instructive coincidence that Truffaut’s love poem about the near-impossible process of directing a feature film, La Nuit Américaine (also 1973), won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 1974, whereas O Lucky Man!, despite being heavily tipped, had not won the 1973 Cannes Palme d’Or. In 2004 Cahiers du Cinéma marked the twentieth anniversary of Truffaut’s death (Burdeau 2004: 12–15). Their retrospective commences with a key sequence from La Nuit Américaine.
Truffaut, playing the director of the film within his film, steals a vase from the hotel where he and the film crew are staying, intending to use it as a prop. The Cahiers reading of the episode parallels our interpretation of Lindsay Anderson slapping Mick’s face in that both
men question the nature of cinematic reality. Que nous dit cet episode? Que le cinéma déborde sans cesse hors de son enclos. Qu’il
s’alimente à une source documentaire. Qu’il puise, vandale, dans la réalité. Mieux: qu’entre la vie et les films un partage s’opère – par exemple, celui d’un vase et de son bouquet. Partage dont le cinéma procède tout en le recueillant, puisque La Nuit Américaine combine film et film-dans-le-film. Leçon croisée: bien qu’arraché à la vie, le cinéma garde trace, à l’intérieur de lui-même, du rapt qu’il est. (Burdeau 2004: 12)
[The cinema ceaselessly outgrows its own limits. It takes advantage of documentary sources to feed off them: in the manner of a robber, it draws upon reality. More precisely, the cinema enables a meeting between life and the films themselves, just as the vase and the bouquet sequence exemplifies. The cinema both partakes in and of the very act of sharing as demonstrated by the film La Nuit Americaine which celebrates in its own right

Lindsay Anderson and Malcom Mackdowell on set

this ritual by allowing two experiences of the film to meet and merge: the film for the audience and the film within the film. A two-way lesson in short: the cinema has arguably been ripped off from life itself, and as a consequence it retains the trace of this very act of robbery within itself.]2
Seeing the film as overflowing into the real – feeding off reality as one would gather data from a documentary… The description of film as a ‘rapt’, a robbery from life, also sheds light on Anderson’s intervention in his own creation. Mick’s difficulty in smiling during the audition sequence effectively breaks down the fragile equilibrium that underpins the relation between cinema and reality. This is doubly persuasive in that McDowell found the smile
hard to perform and had to repeat the takes for five days (LA 6/1/64/160–162, 16–18€June 1972; LA 6/1/64/169, 25€June 1972; LA 6/1/64/208, 7€August 1972). Meanwhile Mick’s initial reluctance to give away part of his real self – his grin – to the fictional world which the mock audition foregrounds, mirrors Truffaut’s theft in La Nuit Américaine. Anderson makes his actor/ protagonist aware of the exchange with reality that needs to operate within the cinema. For his part, Truffaut gives the flowers from the vase to the script-girl in recompense for stealing. Burdeau reads the flowerless vase as a metaphor for Truffaut’s view of the way cinema moulds reality (2004: 13). Truffaut maintains the very equilibrium between life and art that Lindsay Anderson sought to challenge, a key difference between them.
The conscious choice on the part of Anderson and Truffaut to step into the screen as fictional versions of themselves suggests parallels with Brecht’s Verfremdungseffekt. If Brecht was intent on making the audience aware of the artifice underpinning any artistic representation, Truffaut and Anderson supplement his technique with their own variants. As previously noted, Anderson was less interested in alienating his audience than in ‘focus[ing] their attention on its essential…import’. Arguably, the definition of this ‘essential import’ would account for the varying fortunes of Truffaut’s and Anderson’s films, O Lucky Man! being received with reactions much more divergent than Truffaut’s very popular movie.
Truffaut chose to show the audience how mainstream cinematic reality is constructed, whereas in O Lucky Man! Anderson engaged in visual and thematic deconstruction of cinematic realism. ‘Showing things how they really are’ implies total commitment to both the message and the medium – which Anderson’s film exemplifies better that Truffaut’s.
Since nothing is ‘natural, normal, or self-evident’, reflecting upon what is presented on screen requires the degree of acceptance and commitment that Zen philosophy calls for.
Revealingly, Truffaut’s alter ego in La Nuit Américaine never lets the audience know what function the stolen vase will serve in his film. As Burdeau remarks, Truffaut the ‘cineaste’ withholds as much information as he releases (Burdeau 2004: 12). Anderson bypasses any such ambiguity by stepping into the filmic space and challenging the dynamics operating between life and art.
When all is said and done, O Lucky Man! has epic qualities not only in its length, nor merely in observing the Brechtian paradigm (through does that too), but also by its deliberate inversion of the traditional epic framework. Whereas classic epic poetry surveys Britain presents a nation whose glory is a false memory deployed – but failing – to conceal meaner motives: greed, lust and the corrupting appetite for power. Whether a revelatory moment of Zen compensates in the dramatic balance for universal human unkindness and delusory hope is another matter altogether and (as the diverse opinions of the film’s critics and Anderson’s correspondents reveal) has always varied from one spectator to another.

Notes
1.╇When released in France, the film was titled Le meilleur des mondes possible, a direct quote from
Candide.
2.╇Translated by the authors.
References
Anderson, Lindsay, archived materials held by The University of Stirling are referenced in the text by
folder, document number and, where recorded, date.
Anderson, Lindsay (1948), ‘Creative Elements’, Sequence, 5, in Paul Ryan (ed.), Never Apologise: The
Collected Writings, London: Plexus, pp. 194–199.
Anderson, Lindsay (1950), ‘The Director’s Cinema?’, Sequence, 12, in Paul Ryan (ed.), Never Apologise:
The Collected Writings, London: Plexus, pp. 200–209.
Anderson, Lindsay (1956), ‘Stand Up! Stand Up!’, in Paul Ryan (ed.), Never Apologise: The Collected
Writings, London: Plexus pp. 218–232.
Anderson, Lindsay (1957), ‘Two Inches off the Ground’, in Paul Ryan (ed.), Never Apologise: The
Collected Writings, London: Plexus, pp. 578–583.
Anderson, Lindsay (1959), ‘The Film Artist – Freedom and Responsibility!’, in Paul Ryan (ed.), Never
Apologise: The Collected Writings, London: Plexus, pp. 210–214.
Anderson, Lindsay (1973), interviewed by David Robinson, ‘Stripping the veils away,’ The Times,
21 April, in Paul Ryan (ed.), Never Apologise: The Collected Writings, London: Plexus, pp. 129–136.
Anderson, Lindsay (1981), ‘Critical Betrayal,’ Guardian, 2 March, in Paul Ryan (ed.), Never Apologise:
The Collected Writings, London: Plexus, pp. 271–276.
Anderson, Lindsay (1985), Introduction to The Old Crowd, in Paul Ryan (ed.), Never Apologise: The
Collected Writings, London: Plexus, pp. 137–147.
Anderson, Lindsay (2004), Never Apologise: The Collected Writings (ed. Paul Ryan). London: Plexus.
Blume, Mary (1973), ‘A Smile, an echo, a director’, International Herald Tribune, 27–28 October.
Burdeau, Emmanuel (2004), ‘Le Vase et le Bouquet,’ Cahiers du Cinéma, 592 (Juillet/Août), pp. 12–15.
Caughie, John (ed.) (1981), Theories of Authorship. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul/British Film
Institute.
Champlin, Charles (1973), ‘A walk on the vile side in O Lucky Man!’, Los Angeles Times, 24 June,
Calendar 1.
Delson, James (1973), ‘O Lucky Man!’ Take One, May–June 1972, published 26€ September 1973,
pp. 29–30.

Edwards, Sydney (1973), ‘Watergate, W.1.,’ Evening Standard, 4 May.
Gordon, Robert (2006), The Purpose of Playing: Modern Acting Theories in Perspective, Ann Arbor:
University of Michigan Press.
Hodgart, Matthew (1969), Satire, London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson.
Kauffmann, Stanley (1973), ‘O Lucky Man!’, New Republic, 16 June, pp. 24; 33.
Lambert, Gavin (2000), Mainly About Lindsay Anderson, London: Faber.
Marcorelles, Louis (1973), ‘O Lucky Man! Le dernier film de Lindsay Anderson: Un conte, un récit,
une aventure’, Le Monde, 12 October.
Melly, George (1973), ‘Mick grins and bears it’, Observer, 6 May.
Slater, Phil (1977), Origin and Significance of the Frankfurt School: A Marxist Perspective, London:
Routledge and Kegan Paul.
Walker, Alexander (1973), ‘What happened after If…’, Evening Standard, 3€May.
Weightman, John (1973), ‘Fantasia’, Encounter, 41: 1, pp. 47–49.
Wilson, David (1973), ‘O Lucky Man’, Sight and Sound, 42: 3, pp. 126–129.

* ‘What is There to Smile At?’ Lindsay Anderson’s O Lucky Man!
John Izod, Karl Magee, Kathryn Mackenzie and Isabelle Gourdin at Don’t Look Now
British Cinema in the 1970s. Edited by Paul Newland, The University of Chicago Press-Bristol-Intellect, 2010. Pages. 215-227.

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The Symphonic Film by John Grierson*


Berlin Symphonie. Walter Ruttman

The symphonic form is concerned with the orchestration of movement.
It sees the screen in terms of flow and does not permit the
flow to be broken. Episodes and events if they are included in the
action are integrated in the flow. The symphonic form also tends
to organise the flow in terms of different movements, e.g. movement
for dawn, movement for men coming to work, movement for factories in full swing, etc., etc. This is a first distinction.
See the symphonic form as equivalent to the poetic form of, say,
Carl Sandburg in “Skyscraper,” “Chicago,” “The Windy City”
and “Slabs of the Sunburnt West.” The object is presented as an
integration ofmany activities. It lives by the many human associations and by the moods of the various action sequences which surround it.
Sandburg says so with variations of tempo in his description, variations of the mood in which each descriptive facet is presented. We do not ask personal stories of such poetry, for its picture is complete and satisfactory. We need not ask it of documentary. This is a second distinction regarding symphonic form.
These distinctions granted, it is possible for the symphonic form
to vary considerably. Basil Wright, for example, is almost exclusively
interested in movement, and will build up movement in a
fury of design and nuances of design; and for those whose eye is
sufficiently trained and sufficiently fine, will convey emotion in a
thousand variations on a theme so simple as the portage of bananas
(Cargo from Jamaica). Some have attempted to relate this movement to the pyrotechnics of pure form, but there never was any such animal, (i) The quality of Wright’s sense of movement and of his patterns are distinctively his own and recognisably delicate. As with good painters, there is character in his line and attitude in his composition. (2) There is an overtone in his work which—sometimes after seeming monotony—makes his description uniquely memorable.
(3) His patterns invariably weave—not seeming to do so—a positive
attitude to the material, which may conceivably relate to (2). The
patterns of Cargo were more scathing comment on labour at 2d. a
hundred bunches (or whatever it is) than mere sociological stricture.
His movements (a) easily down; (b) horizontal; (c) arduously 45
up; (d) down again—conceal, or perhaps construct, a comment.

Flaherty once maintained that the east-west contour of Canada was
itself a drama. It was precisely a sequence of down, horizontal, 45
up, and down again. I use Basil Wright as an example of ‘movement in itself’ — though movement is never in itself—principally to distinguish those others who add either tension elements or poetic elements or atmospheric elements. I have held myself in the past an exponent of the tension category with certain pretention to the others. Here is a simple example of tension from Granton Trawler. The trawler is working its gear in a storm. The tension elements are built up with emphasis on the drag of the water, the heavy lurching of the ship, the fevered flashing of birds, the fevered flashing of faces between waves lurches and spray. The trawl is hauled aboard with strain of men and tackle and water. It is opened in a release which comprises equally the release of men, birds and fish. There is no pause in the flow of movement, but something of an effort as between two opposing forces, has been recorded. In a more ambitious and deeper description the tension might have included elements more intimately and more heavily descriptive of the clanging weight of the tackle, the strain on the ship, the operation of the gear under water and along the ground, the scuttering myriads of birds laying off in the gale. The fine fury of ship and heavy weather could have been brought through to touch the vitals of the men and the ship. In the hauling, the simple fact of a wave breaking over the men, subsiding and leaving them hanging on as though nothing had
happened, would have brought the sequence to an appropriate peak.
The release could have attached to itselfimages of, say, birds wheeling high, taking offfrom the ship, and ofcontemplative, i.e. more intimate, reaction on the faces of the men. The drama would have gone deeper by the greater insight into the energies and reactions involved.
Carry this analysis into a consideration of the first part of Deserter,
which piles up from a sequence of deadly quiet to the strain and
fury—and aftermath—of the strike, or of the strike sequence itself,
which piles up from deadly quiet to the strain and fury—and aftermath—of the police attack, and you have indication of how the
symphonic shape, still faithful to its own peculiar methods, comes
to grip with dramatic issue.

Walter Ruttman on set at Berlin

The poetic approach is best represented by Romance Sentimentale
and the last sequence of Ekstase. Here there is description without
tension, but the moving description is lit up by attendant images.
In Ekstase the notion of life renewed is conveyed by a rhythmic
sequence of labour, but there are also essential images of a woman
and child, a young man standing high over the scene, skyscapes and
water. The description of the various moods of Romance Sentimentale. is conveyed entirely by images : in one sequence of domestic interior, in another sequence of misty morning, placid water and dim sunlight.
The creation of mood, an essential in the symphonic form,
may be done in terms of tempo alone, but is better done if poetic
images colour it. In a description of night at sea, there are elements
enough aboard a ship to build up a quiet and effective rhythm, but
a deeper effect might come by reference to what is happening under
water or by reference to the strange spectacle of the birds which,
sometimes in ghostly flocks, move silently in and out of the ship’s
lights.
A recent sequence done by Rotha for his new film indicates the
distinction between the three different treatments. He describes the loading of a steel furnace and builds a superb rhythm into the
shovelling movements of the men. By creating behind them a sense
of fire, by playing on the momentary shrinking from fire which
comes into these shovelling movements, he would have brought in
the elements of tension. He might have proceeded from this to an
almost terrifying picture of what steel work involves. On the other
hand, by overlaying the rhythm with, say, such posturing or contemplative symbolic figures, as- Eisenstein brought into his Thunder Over Mexico material, he would have added the elements of poetic image. The distinction is between (a) a musical or non-literarymethod; (b) a dramatic method with clashing forces; and (c) poetic, contemplative, and altogether literary method. These three methods may all appear in one film, but their proportion depends naturally on the character of the director—and his private hopes of salvation.
I do not suggest that one form is higher than the other. There
are pleasures peculiar to the exercise of movement which in a sense
are tougher—more classical—than the pleasures of poetic description, however attractive and howrever blessed by tradition these may be. The introduction of tension gives accent to a film, but only too easily gives popular appeal because of its primitive engagement with physical issues and struggles and fights. People like a fight, even when it is only a symphonic one, but it is not clear that a war with the elements is a braver subject than the opening of a flower or, for that matter, the opening of a cable. It refers us back to hunting instincts and fighting instincts, but these plainly do not
represent the more civilised fields of appreciation.
It is commonly believed that moral grandeur in art can only be
achieved, Greek or Shakespearian fashion, after a general laying
out of the protagonists, and that no head is unbowed which is not
bloody. This notion is a philosophic vulgarity. Of recent years it
has been given the further blessing of Kant in his distinction between
the aesthetic of pattern and the aesthetic of achievement, and

beauty has been considered somewhat inferior to the sublime. The
Kantian confusion comes from the fact that he personally had an
active moral sense, but no active aesthetic one. He would not otherwise
have drawn the distinction. So far as common taste is concerned,
one has to see that we do not mix up the fulfilment of primitive
desires and the vain dignities which attach to that fulfilment,
with the dignities which attach to man as an imaginative being.
The dramatic application of the symphonic form is not, ipso facto,
the deepest or most important. A future consideration of forms
neither dramatic nor symphonic, but dialectic, will reveal this more
plainly.
Kinematograph Year Book, i 934. (London: Odhams. ios.)
An essential book of reference for all connected with the cinema.
The year’s events, films registered, who’s who, and a classified
directory are included, along with other useful information.
“The Cinema” Buyers’ Guide. (London: Cinema Press. 155-.)
Contains brief reviews of the year’s films with details of production
and cast. A valuable handbook for students and secretaries.
For Filmgoers Only. (London: Faber. 2s. 6d.) Lectures
delivered to the London Y.W.C.A. Central Club. Paul Rotha on
the development of the cinema ; Andrew Buchanan on propaganda;
Mary Field on educational films; R. S. Lambert on “Why we get
the films we do” ; C. A. Lejeune on what to look for in films. A
useful guide for those who have just “discovered” cinema.
The Cinema and the Public. (London: Nicholson and Watson.
is.) An ‘exposure” of the British Film Institute. Contains both
opinions and facts, which the discerning reader may separate to his
own satisfaction.
Express to Hollywood. By Victor McLagen. (London:
Jarrold. 12s. 6rf.) The life-story of a star. A feast for fans and an
interesting sidelight on the inside of the commercial movie world.
Picture People. By Olga Rosmanith. (London: Long. ys. 6d.)
A novelette of Hollywood life in all its absurdities. May help to
disillusion star worshippers.
The Stranger’s Return. By Phil Stong. (London: Barker.
js. 6d.) Here we find in words the atmosphere and characters of
the American Middle West which Vidor re-created in his film.
Lionel Barrymore’s Grandpa Storr did justice to Stong’s powers of
characterisation. Two novels written, two novels filmed: perhaps
Stong will cast his next in film form and not wait for adaptation.

(Copy Left) *Film Quartely, vol. 2 Num. 3, Spring 1934, Uk. pages 155-160.

Apuntes de guión: “Realismo y verosimilitud” por Xavier Robles*


Lo primero que hay que distinguir en los géneros cinematográficos es, como en los géneros dramáticos, su grado de realismo, verosimilitud y probabilidad. Excluyendo al documental, cuyo equivalente es la pieza didáctica, y refiriéndose únicamente a la ficción, una primera pregunta que se antoja necesaria para el análisis del género de una película tiene que ver con su grado de acercamiento o de alejamiento de la realidad, y si es posible o probable.
Por ejemplo, ¿Drácula, 1992, de Francis Ford Coppola, basada en la novela de Bram Stoker adaptada por James V. Hart, es una historia realista o no lo es? La respuesta evidente es no: Probablemente no existen seres en la realidad que tengan esta capacidad de transformarse en vampiros, eternos bebedores de sangre. Luego entonces, ni es realista –aunque la acción ocurra en lugares identificables como el Londres del siglo XIX–, ni es probable. Pero Drácula tiene una lectura simbólica y poética en la que lo menos importante es su probabilidad o realismo.
Así, podemos hacer una primera y mínima diferenciación: Hay géneros cinematográficos realistas (cuya probabilidad es determinante) y hay géneros cinematográficos no realistas, en los que lo prioritario es su conexión con esa otra parte de la realidad que es la fantasía

poética y la desconocida mente humana. Entre estos últimos se puede establecer también una segunda diferencia: los que son posibles, y los que son fantásticos e improbables hasta donde la razón y el conocimiento pueden discernir.
Los escritores de cine han ido perfeccionando estos géneros, a fuerza de incurrir una y otra vez en ellos y de agotar temporalmente sus posibilidades expresivas. Para ello se han valido de los conocimientos y de la terminología propias de la literatura y de la dramática, que les han servido como marco de referencia. Las herramientas genéricas amplias de la literatura han sido determinantes en su combinación visual con recursos y técnicas dramáticas teatrales. Así, a la épica literaria y al lirismo cinematográfico se ha sumado la tragedia dramática, y los resultados de estas combinaciones han sido verdaderamente innovadores para el cine.
Si bien es verdad que los géneros cinematográficos pueden ser realistas o no, es importante distinguir entre lo fantástico (propiamente dicho) con la suplantación imaginativa y subversiva de la realidad, su falsificación posible, que es casi imprescindible al cineasta aun para narrar las historias más auténticas e interesantes. De esta manera, es imaginativa, subversiva y divertida la manera en que Thelma roba un Súper, en Thelma y Louise, 1991, de Ridley Scott, libro cinematográfico de Callie Khoury; pero es

francamente fantástica la forma en que conocemos al monstruo en Alien, 1979, del mismo director, cinta basada en una historia de Dan O’Banonn y Ronald Shusett adaptada por el primero de ellos.
La teórica e investigadora Claudia Cecilia Alatorre afirma en su libro Análisis del drama, que el arte en general, y cada una de las artes en particular, tienen en común querer ofrecer una imagen total de la realidad objetiva y para lograrlo, cada una se vale de lenguajes distintos. Agrega que la forma épica y la dramática, sobre todo esta última, son hechos estéticos que han desatado pasiones a lo largo de toda su existencia, porque ambos fenómenos representan la historia del hombre enfrentando a la evolución social. Su conclusión es que el hombre que vive la historia es un ser dramático, porque la historia se hace todos los días con las acciones, las reacciones y las interacciones de los hombres que son contemporáneos y no solamente por las grandes batallas, ni las fechas de los acontecimientos notables, ni los acuerdos célebres.
Por ello, añade, el hombre es un ser social; pero también es individuo. Desde siempre el hombre ha vivido en grupo porque sólo así resuelve la subsistencia; pero la sociedad es el eterno ‘otro’ contra el que lucha el individuo. El ‘yo’ individual es el protagonista que enfrenta, rehuye, propone alianzas, ama, odia, se sacrifica al otro, o bien lo asesina. El ‘otro’ es el antagonista que representa a la colectividad. Protagonista versus antagonista.

La creación artística no pretende plasmar la totalidad del proceso vital, pues por principio sólo se puede alcanzar de manera muy relativa, con la producción intelectual, la verdadera e infinita totalidad de la vida con todo su contenido. Mas esta relatividad presenta una paradoja: por un lado no puede mostrarse como una apariencia y por otro lado también puede tener una exagerada pretensión de absoluto, porque incurriría en una falsificación, una imagen distorsionada.
Esta exagerada pretensión de absoluto que define Claudia Cecilia Alatorre es muy fácil de reconocer en el melodrama, que construye su propia realidad a partir de la “falsificación”, la “imagen distorsionada”, la subversión de situaciones muy complejas que se abordan superficialmente, con un maniqueísmo característico del género y aún con notoria mala fe, como es el caso de cierto cine mexicano y muchas telenovelas que se encargan de desprestigiarlo con frecuencia, ya que la necesaria falsificación de lo posible la llevan hasta los límites de lo inverosímil, lo no probable en modo alguno y aun a veces ni siquiera coherente. Pero más grave aún es la falsificación de la realidad, con la que se pretende distorsionar la visión de la sociedad sobre temas de carácter económico, político, filosófico o social, y esto crea una dinámica en la que la vida misma es sustituida por su propia falsificación.

Hay un lugar común que menosprecia al melodrama como un drama fallido o mal escrito, pero no es así. El melodrama es un género y un recurso cinematográfico tan respetables como cualquier otro, porque si bien su esencia misma es la falsificación posible, la imagen distorsionada o subversiva de la realidad, esto no va en demérito del interés del espectador, que toma partido abiertamente por el o la protagonista, cuando hábilmente los escritores le han puesto en situaciones que serán identificables positivamente por el grueso de la audiencia. Lo que se reprocha al melodrama, con justeza, es su carácter manipulador de la realidad, no su eficacia ni la correcta elaboración de personajes, situaciones, tramas y subtramas. Caso ejemplar al respecto es Lo que el viento se llevó, 1939, firmada por Víctor Fleming.
En situación opuesta se encuentra el formidable realismo de, por ejemplo, El Ciudadano Kane, 1941, de Orson Welles (libro cinematográfico escrito por el propio Welles y Herman J. Mankievicz), que con la ayuda de técnicas expresionistas muestra la compleja y trágica realidad de un magnate del periodismo norteamericano vinculado a la figura de Randolph Hearst, quien fuera uno de los hombres más ricos y poderosos del planeta, dueño de un monopolio periodístico en los Estados Unidos.
Welles y el escritor Herman Mankievicz no sólo no falsifican la realidad cuando señalan que los periódicos de este hombre provocaron

dos guerras, sino que desnudan su alma de niño idealista que rompe con sus principios periodísticos, y revelan los lazos secretos que hay entre Kane y la sociedad norteamericana de finales del siglo XIX y principios del XX. (Como dato curioso señalo que a Hearst le molestaba, entre otras cosas, cómo se presentaba a su amante de la vida real, Marion Davies, y sobre todo el uso que se hacía de la palabra Rosebud, que era la forma en que Hearst se refería de manera íntima al sexo de la actriz.)
Probable y posible –afirma Claudia Cecilia Alatorre, en su libro Análisis del drama– son términos que acostumbramos usar indistintamente en nuestras conversaciones; sin embargo, contienen una diferencia de matiz muy importante. ‘Probable’ significa algo que sucede continuamente o sucede así siempre… esto es una generalización, un juicio de valor universal. El material posible podría ser definido como aquello que puede ocurrir alguna vez, pero que no ocurre continuamente.
De los seis géneros dramáticos que se aplican a la ficción cinematográfica –el séptimo sería la pieza didáctica cuyo equivalente fílmico es el documental– cuatro son declaradamente realistas: tragedia, comedia, tragicomedia y pieza; y otros dos no lo son: melodrama y farsa. Analizaré estos géneros en detalle a lo largo de esta obra, pues son parte medular de estas reflexiones, que sólo pretenden contribuir al análisis de los mismos (reflexiones que

juegan a nombrar o a renombrar el cine), para que los teóricos y especialistas las incorporen a una Teoría General de los Géneros Dramáticos y Cinematográficos.
Hay que considerar el proceso evolutivo de los géneros dramáticos y cinematográficos. Lo que ayer era melodrama pasional y filme noir hoy se ha convertido en elaborados thrillers y cintas que retratan críticamente el lado oscuro de la sociedad, lo cual ha impuesto una nueva dinámica al cine. Lo que empezó como melodrama fantástico ha producido una gama de géneros y subgéneros que han influido tanto en el cine de animación y el cómic llevado al cine, como en el terror sobrenatural y en el cine de mitos, sagas y leyendas.
Por último es necesario referirse a la culpa. La mayoría de los conflictos y temas que se desarrollan cinematográficamente requieren de una solución que implica una culpa y un culpable. El veredicto será emitido por el espectador al terminar el filme, y a veces se vuelve contra sí mismo. El género es determinante en la traslación y trasposición de la culpa.
Alguien –un individuo concreto, la sociedad en su conjunto, un sector de ella, la vida misma- siempre es responsable de los males y de las conductas heroicas o viciosas que hemos visto en pantalla. Tratar de los géneros requiere entonces tratar de la culpa, de la responsabilidad colectiva ante lo que se ha planteado.

Tampoco el director o el escritor son inocentes, pero la imaginación lo es.
La imaginación es inocente –afirman Carrière y Bonitzer-. El guionista tiene el derecho y probablemente el deber de ser un repugnante criminal en potencia. Varias veces al día debe matar a su padre, violar a su madre, vender a su hermana y a su patria. Debe, con todas sus fuerzas, buscar al criminal que hay en sí mismo. Y puede estar seguro de que allí lo encontrará [J. C. Carrière y P. Bonitzer, Práctica del guión ciematográfico, p. 52].
Es claro que si los cineastas son quienes escogen los temas que filmarán, es la sociedad misma, los gobiernos y los ciudadanos, quienes pueden solucionar verdaderamente los problemas planteados. El cineasta no puede resolver conflictos políticos, sociales o de cualquier otra naturaleza, sino sólo exponerlos con claridad. Y esa claridad es la clave misma de los géneros dramáticos y cinematográficos. Sin embargo, el cineasta y el artista en general sí contribuyen a moldear y cambiar a los que cambian a la sociedad. El público, repito, tiende a repetir, a imitar, las conductas de sus personajes favoritos, y ahí reside la fuerza socialmente transformadora de los artistas.

*LA ORUGA Y LA MARIPOSA. LOS GÉNEROS DRAMÁTICOS EN EL CINE.

MEXICO, CUEC-UNAM, 2011. PP 67-74

Klip, 2012 (Maja Milos): la violencia distante de lo grotesco por Aarón de la Rosa


La verdadera violencia es mucho más impresionante de lejos: una pelea en la calle es más violenta que todo lo que vemos en el cine americano. BERTRAND BLIER

En los últimos años el cine no comercial, atrevido y experimental se ha transformado con el reciente movimiento del “extremismo social europeo” cuyas películas han marcado una nueva y cambiante factura cinematográfica con directores desde Haneke, los hermanos Dardenne, Loach, hasta Meadows, Arnold, Moodysson, Kozole, Puiu, Losnitza y la reciente directora debutante Maja Milos con Klip, largometraje de Serbia.

No olvidemos que Serbia ya había marcado un precedente polémico con el director  Srdjan Spasojevic y su filme “A Serbian Film” cuya temática le había empujado a la censura en varias corridas festivaleras por su alto contenido pornográfico, violento pero que no carecía de poéticos y sofisticados recursos visuales y narrativos para abordar la industria del cine porno extremo ó snuff. Esta película marco un hito interesante para el cine extremo cuya combinación del terror y la pornografía no se alejaba de lo artístico y lo reflexivo para el espectador. En una sociedad contemporánea cada vez más decadente y menos abierta a propuestas fílmicas propositivas, el extremismo social europeo  obedece a representar el lado obscuro de la humanidad. Maja Milos es parte de esta nueva beta discursiva de la cama cineasta proveniente de Belgrado. Klip es para la casa productora Film House Bas Celik una apuesta más realista que su antecesora producción Slovenka (Damjan Kozole) cuya storyline retrata la vida de bellas jóvenes de clase media baja con entornos familiares adversos, que confrontan y sufren los problemas emocionales y económicos, construyendo una poética hiperrealista de lo que están padeciendo los jóvenes en muchas partes del mundo.

JASNA & DJOLE: la ambigüedad del amor contemporáneo

Klip retrata la vida de la joven Jasna (Isidora Simjonović), habitante de las afueras de Belgrado, con un Padre alcohólico de familia visceral, su recurrente ausentismo, la necesidad de videograbarse con su celular, las fiestas y las drogas construyen el paisaje social donde ella y sus amigas van desgranando este drama de corte realista. El conflicto central aparece cuando Jasna se enamora de un chico mayor que ella, Djole (Vukašin Jasnić). Violento, distante y agresivo la utiliza como juguete sexual sin afecto alguno la edifica como estrella porno intensificando las escenas sexuales del filme donde la estética sucia y promiscua va acorde a la factura del celular que los graba: primer recurso que Milos emplea para narrar, en ocasiones al estilo de video diario, a una solitaria protagonista, demandante de cariño incluso la fotografía perfila esta sobria condición emocional de sus personajes con las locaciones.

A lo largo de esta historia Milos centra la atención narrativa en cómo Jasna sufre y vive la extraña forma de amor que le brinda Djole, sin atenciones, cruda, corporal, donde los encuentros sexuales constituyen el principal mensaje a la audiencia: el sexo puede ser el mayor vínculo anti-amoroso que en nuestros días se puede ofrecer al “otro”.

Lipovestky dice que en “El cine hipermoderno muestra a

las personas tal como se presentan con su forma única de comportarse:

es su verdad, por grotesca, extraña e inexplicable que

sea, en una superficie que no es en modo alguno superficialidad.” (pp. 107)  

La era digital y las nuevas tecnologías, la celeridad en cómo las circunstancias más cotidianas de la gente se vuelven públicas son la carta fuerte de esta nueva expresión humana: poseer prestigio banal en las redes sociales. Jasna metaforiza lo que se han transformado las relaciones humanas en estos días, grotescas y extrañas, superficiales pero contundentes por que Jasna admira a Djole por lo que representa en su entorno, las drogas y las fiestas son el estatus quo de la jerarquía social que toda joven persigue al encontrar su identidad. Los encuentros sexuales deben ser explícitos para profundizar lo que está sucediendo entre Jasna y Djole.

Bertrand Blier menciona “…no creo que realmente exista una gramática del cineasta. Dos directores filmaran de diferente manera una misma escena. Uno utilizará un primer plano, otro un plano general, y ambos tendrán razón. La única regla consiste en evitar el pleonasmo, es decir, ilustrar la imagen con algo que hemos dicho de otro modo. Tomemos, por ejemplo, el caso de un puñetazo en l acara: a priori, tendemos a filmarlo de cerca, en plano-contraplano, de manera muy brusca. Ahora bien, creo que es mucho más interesante, e incluso más eficaz, en plano general.” (pp. 28).

Para el maestro Blier el plano general es más eficaz e interesante para mostrar la violencia en el cine, Milos ubica esta violencia desde la puesta en escena con cámara en mano (donde las escenas más fuertes se utilizaron dobles) para desentrañar lo más profundo de la psique amorosa: el sadismo. Jasna y Djole endurecen la evasión a los diálogos sentimentaloides incluso las escenas más mundanas en la casa de Jasna con su madre se sienten crudas pues lo único que importa es el placer sexual del encuentro humano.

La historia decrece de un guión poco estructurado a la manera más tradicional de un novel género fílmico pues se cuenta desde un hiperrealismo feo y poco atractivo para el mainstream, sin embargo, es audaz en las actuaciones de la joven Isidora e inexperta cuyo papel encaja muy bien, como ella trae todo el peso dramático es permisible y convincente la confección de su personaje: frustrada, apática,  en busca de amor y con la incertidumbre del destino que le depara.

Hace varios años atrás Catherine Breillat había mostrado el lado obscuro del amor con Parfait amour! (1996) cuya decadencia emocional entre una señora de edad y su pareja 10 años más joven pasan del romanticismo a la violencia física y psicológica, para el final de Klip Milos termina su historia con algo similar, en una fiesta, Jasna y Djole alejados por los desencuentros amorosos se vuelven a unir bajo los golpes de una extraña forma de expresar el amor, ya lo decía Eric Rohmer en sus cuentos morales:  “En una historia de amor, hay forzosamente un hombre y una mujer. Pero si hay un hombre y una mujer, no resulta muy dramático: o en todo caso, tendría que entrar en juego los estorbos: la sociedad, etc.” (pp. 56).

Bibliografía

Lipovetsky, Gilles y Jean Lerroy. La pantalla global. Cultura mediática y cine en la era hipermoderna. Trad. Antonio-Prometeo Moya. Barcelona, Anagrama, 2009.

Rohmer, Eric y Pier Paolo Pasolini. Cine de poesía contra cine de prosa. Barcelona, Anagrama, 1970.

 Tirard, Laurent. Más Lecciones de cine. Entrevistas a cargo de Laurent Tirard. Argentina, Paidós, 2008.