GOAT GOES TO GOD
One goat, two goats, three goats
On Luca Guadagnino's Il sono l'amore
To survive a foreigner adapts: adopts new codes, behaves to belong, perfects oneself. Emma has moulded her life into an object of grace and sophistication, serving her Italian bourgeois husband almost too well. His values are a clause in her contract, where children are tokens of a successful arrangement between power and beauty.
Despite the well-prescribed mode of living, Emma finds herself unable to extinguish the longing to give and to be received altogether, as is. She allows life to interrupt the script, to happen without warning or apology. Possessed of the valour to follow the pull of desire, she lets herself be consumed, led astray, away from the golden surfaces, deeper in, where language is superfluous — and touch telling.
Moral standards require commitment to an ideal, a half-truth: one that is either good or evil, loving or lustful, self-sacrificing or selfish. A solid choice rejects that for any picture a negative exists. To be unwilling to recognise that the good necessitates the evil, lust guides love, and one's wishes mirror the needs of the other is to subtract, reduce the whole to parts. Life is inconsistent, an unpredictable force of nature, to harness which would be to refuse its greatest offerings. Offerings that invite to the edge of the already accepted, alarming with uncertainty and alluring with chance, for there still is a self unfamiliar and unencountered, and fulfilment not yet known.
On Leos Carax's Holy Motors
Holy Motors is a place without designated entries or exits, a place that cannot be accessed by common sense. Should curiosity lead anyone in, one must be stripped of formalities, tested for conductivity, and immersed in the poem groaned to the loss of love.
Narrative is madness that generates lifelike visions of the senselessly absurd. Every image glows like a luminous sign of the unutterable. Language is trifle and at times completely futile, but the fascination with the sublime is ever so palpable. Beauty remains even after the gaze has been removed.
Appointments, disconnected from any meaning but the beauty of the act itself, are performed almost involuntarily, on behalf of the lover to envelop the absence of the loved one. Characters with disposable identities, withdrawn from reality, serve as masks behind which the lover disappears, ultimately to emerge from mourning when the continuity becomes possible again.
A spectacle to marvel at or a set of discernible patterns, Holy Motors is entirely indifferent to its reading. It is a personal affair of interrelations within the mechanics of being.
On Paolo Sorrentino's Youth
What is life if not a simple song? A simple piece of music that takes daily practise to play well. But playing badly is the only method one can master to get better. Without the courage to make mistakes one cannot learn to fail without reserve, to allow others their judgement. One should take all that can be taken and free himself from it at once. Everything contributes to the making of man and nothing should be left unattended.
One lives as he is yearning, yearning for complete engulfment, overwhelming fullness of being. Yet man rarely trusts himself to know innately, falling back on logic and thought. Yearning he trembles, he cannot deny himself the pleasure of satisfaction but will seek to conceal it, all the same. Fear is a mechanism for resisting what one desires deeply. Not despite but because of this very fear that man craves to create, to embalm his desire in the hope of regaining what has been lost.
But what if living joyously is the best any man is capable of? What if pleasure is not only the premise for life and its sole purpose? Guided by the senses, one can rid oneself of control, feel himself between the notes, touch the heart of desire, for that is youth.
On Aleksei Balabanov's Morfiy
To be given implies receiving but to receive one must accept the given. Few men are receptive, few are born with a cavity inside them, a hollow that longs to be met with something impenetrable and profound than could satisfy the inherent emptiness inside. Few accept the gift of greatness, even fewer dare live by it. Genius is a weighty offering that burdens even the fittest, a servitude that favours complete devotion where it is upon you to know better, to become a master of the self.
Life knows no distinction between the exceptional and the ordinary, it simply follows its course — unforeseeable, irreversible. It takes courage to see truth as it presents itself, will to act according to it. Genius gives one purpose, a reason to live, but not the right to righteousness. Pride, a bottomless pit, exhausts excellence and erodes the senses. Sanity cannot be prescribed, taken on loan or stolen. Neither can it be injected under the skin. Some yearnings cannot be sated, some must be starved. Unless one can surpass his weaknesses he has never accepted the greatness he had been gifted.
On Andrei Tarkovsky's Nostalghia
A vessel by its very nature contains a possibility of being filled. It holds and releases as the consequence of a simple mechanical movement. It has no will of its own, it is not free to choose what to be or how to be. Full or empty, it is defined by its purpose.
An artist by his very nature is a vessel that does not simply accept the given but transforms its contents by the virtue of own will. Everything he accepts enters him to dissolve under the skin and to be recreated a new. Art is a memory, a souvenir of life, a symbol not fit for living. He lives for the ideal, the perfect resolution, in spite of poorly engineered life, despite the possibility of bliss.
A woman has the privilege of life. She is a messenger for the divine, a vessel for humanity, an engineer of the faulty blueprint, a dark pond where one must learn not to drown. She creates out of entropy, she is a vessel that holds and releases as a consequence of a simple mechanical movement.
To abolish the frontiers, expose oneself, abandon home is a sacrifice one makes to acquire free will, to live by choice and not just by chance. Only a few are capable of giving birth to themselves. Most live in the muddy waters of their motherlands lost in permanent search for happiness.
If only at the moment of the great collapse one and one would make a greater one, not two. If mathematics could recognise this proposition as true, there would be no need for art. There would be no feelings left unspoken, no memory to hold on to, no past, no expectations, no beauty but goodness.
Andrei is sad because he is in love, just not with any of hers but with the possibility of becoming. He is in search of himself yet in doubt of his journey, longing to return and yearning to arrive. An artist is a man who has become the father for the child he once was, who knows himself to be the impure source of the crystal clear.
On Luca Guadagnino's Call Me by Your Name
Under the bright warm summer light desire ripens, daring you to taste the fleshy fruit. It gets between your teeth, in the middle of routines and steady habits, falls through the cracks of intellectual structures, burns you from within. A wish becomes the urge, pushing you off the edge of a pool, as if accidentally, as if to drown. The purity of Elio's inexperience gives him the courage to expose his weakness, to jump into the cool water of uncertainty and wait to drown or to be brought back to life, new life.
Elio Oliver, Oliver Elio. They fall for one another as they fall for themselves. Loving is mirroring, in the face of love you see your own reflection, and by loving what you see you learn to love what you are. Elio gulps down life. Oliver's aloof confidence disintegrates. Later becomes now, and now promises to never become later — at least for those few weeks of togetherness.
Such times are rare, too precious to be wasted, too special to mute the pain that follows the separation. First love comes to break you free, free for yourself and those you are yet to encounter.
On Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac
How would a human life look if no one was watching — if you could be sure that no one is looking? In fact, if anyone ever is looking, it is you. You get what you deserve and you deserve no more than you are willing to take, an honest proposition. There is no victory without the fight. You can become who you are only by waging a war against yourself.
Sex is a language you speak before you even learn to make sense of it. It is your first, and possibly only, nature. If you have wings it is a crime not to fly.
Joe knows she is alive, she feels it, she feels the pain, smells the piss, tastes her own blood. It is hers, all of it, and she will not let it be washed clean. Seligman, though, lives in permanent fear of life, of his own imperfections, his desires, his humanity. He is a literary man who enjoys intellectual masturbation without ever really penetrating the truth. Where her face is bruised, his walls are stained. They are two polar opposites, but if seen from an unusual angle are much closer to each other that it might seem. If you were to connect the beginning to the end it would form a circle, and what used to negate one another now has become one.
Joe tells a story of honesty and Seligman skilfully arranges his digressions in parallel to it. But it is the man outside the picture who paints the meeting of the carnal and the cerebral in most spectacular colours when the light hits the eye.
Nymphomaniac is a trialogue between the artist and his selves. He is an intellectual and a savage, one who analyses his desire and who lusts over his inquisition. He would readily destroy himself if he were the one standing in his way to the truth.
Intellect is only a tool to realise you are an animal still. And if this intellect of yours is to be trusted it will cease once you have the courage to face yourself in all your human nature.
On Joachim Trier's Oslo, August 31st
Oslo, September 1st. Yesterday's scream has dissolved into the emptiness of the deserted streets. Life here drifts unnoticed all too naturally, in a continuous, uninterruptible flow, ignorant of the breathless body it carries along. Death quietly, peacefully submerges under the surface of a rushing current. With it sinks the pains of being present, the difficulties of being a decent human, the uncertainty of living. But until then, one has to keep moving upstream. We need to know who we are, we need ourselves to stand for something, a purpose good enough to keep moving ahead and to stop in an instant. And we will spear this meaning as quickly as we catch a flashing glimpse of it.
For a short while, when one is still filled with hopes and oblivious to world's many shortcomings, it is still possible to believe that you will be fine. But naivety wears out too soon, difficulties remain where you have left them, and you begin to see decay in opportunity and rot in ambition. The pretty picture gradually falls apart, taking down the easy, casual lies that make one feel less of a stranger. Unkept promises like soundless keys shriek with silence when touched. We are taught all things but the ones we need to know. Living is losing, but not daring to is losing double. And if you have managed to figure the why, there are no guarantees that it will not slip the sharp edge of your spear. Once is enough, once is all you get to get it right. If your big fish has escaped you, dull or no more you cannot keep moving. Even the strongest give in to the current and the one that escapes will always feel the bad wound.
On Kira Muratova's Korotkie vstrechi
We are alone. We do not want to be and yet we are. Alone with each other, together each to themselves, we come close, so close I touch your breath, you feel my depth, we want to be real but we are a dream I dream, and you are awake.
I am tired, I make mistakes, I am consumed and I continue to consume. At times you come to see me but on other days I live as I do. I think too much of you, I suffer less when I see your face, but you always disappear too soon, you have better things to do. You are free because you do not need me, you do not think of me as I think of you, you do not dream — you live, you leave, you disappear. And I remain, withering under the cold sun of memories, hoping for your return when the moon is blue. I am, you are, but we are not, only you and I so close apart.
On Juho Kuosmanen's Hymyilevä mies
Train, train, train better, train harder, do your best, give your most, go big, do not stop. No time can be wasted on living, no time left to run free, no time all the time until you are knocked out of spinning the hamster wheel of success. Olli was ready to win but his goal is now behind him, sunken with the pebbles he have been throwing with Raija. Love has defeated him sweet, hitting silently, unexpectedly. But at least he hasn't lost to a bad fighter.
Passing glory echoes loudly off the oppressiveness of vanity, yet it is the modest ordinary joys that fill the glass full. Why should one live to remember one happiest day? Why live to have lived and live not? If happiness wasn't a grand expectation inflated with every false promise there is a good chance it would happen. Quiet, casual but genuine, can one really wish more?
On Peter Watkins' Edvard Munch
Cold, remote, forgotten, pitted like the pupil of an eye. Thinning life, devoid of time, of roots, the given, the irreplaceable. On the lost foundation memory is built to house all that can never be regained. And when the sun shines in, it still feels bleak inside.
I look out for you, gentle, kind, to soothe my blazing thoughts, erupting doubts. I long for you to kiss me, drain me of desire, leave no drop of me to me! But when I see you, you walk past without looking, your eyes are not awaiting mine. Blue clouds between my fingers, I try to hold onto your waning figure but your weightless body disappears. My tenderness has turned to lead that cannot be lifted — only lived. Against the promise, I shatter dreams, I seek no answers anymore, I give in to the stream inside me, let it wash me clean.