Friday, April 14, 2017

Aqueous invention of film

It is often said, and not with
lack of judgment, that the ul-
timate entrance by any charac-
ter in cinema was the one Lean
crafted for Omar Sharif, in his
ride to the well in Lawrence of
Arabia. But the pond uncovered
by a cherishing sister, for her
distracted mother, in the ocular
socket of a sleeping boy in Pa-
ther Panchali established a cat-
gory of entrance too absolute
for comparison. When its pains-
taking restoration was screened
in New York and Los Angeles, ear-
lier this year, the commotion at
its rediscovery was natural. Film,
as an implication of film in the 
reflections of an aqueous meniscus
one could call, innocent, cannot
be explored again without exchang-
ing glances with Satyajit Ray.

Enter, then, the dragonfly, flit-
ting on the surface in a rising
storm, and the narrative is not
symbolic, but simply vital, to 
be appraised again and again as 
a flight of coherent chance. All
that was ever needed to redeem
the word exquisite, was proof
it isn't empty, as we'd thought.

Satyajit Ray
  Director and
Bibhutibusan Banerjee
Subrata Mitra
Pather Panchali

i  Artur Molyanets, photography

ii, iii  Subir Banerjee, Apu

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Origins of Wednesday xlvii: Close, apart

      Nietzsche said the poem is a dance
      In chains. Molecular life enchained by chance?
      The bonds of atoms formulas distill
      Are strains that resonate, the elements
      Held both far together and close apart.

I cannot turn to the work of this suspiciously academic figure without trust, possibly because of a sense I've done nothing to conceal for years, that by the provocations of inquiry, I have never felt less than embraced.
The less I know, the more I am unchained; so that to wonder, is to be far and close at once.

J.D. McClatchy
The Rest of the Way
  iii [fragment]
Alfred A. Knopf, 1992©
op. cit.

Monday, April 10, 2017

A participle, nowadays

a word formed from
a verb and no long-
er seen as a verb,
as in guy reading.

   All through the fifties and sixties the land tilted
   Toward the bowl of life. Now life
   Has moved in that direction. We taste the conviction
   Minus the rind, the pulp and the seeds. It
   Goes down smoothly.

   At a later date I added color
   And the field became a shed in ways I no longer remember.
   Familiarly, but without tenderness, the sunset pours its
   Dance music on the (again) slanting barrens.
   The problems we were speaking of move up toward them.

John Ashbery
Houseboat Days
  Whether it Exists
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1977©

Wynn Bullock
Boy fishing
Gelatin silver print
Museum of Modern Art, New York