drugs [2021)

We are finally catching up with Pauly Deathwish.

Here on his sixth album, drugs.

Good psychedelic surf start.

The romance must have seemed possible.

Christian trappings.

A great opening track.

Psychedelic Christianity.

Think of those private press releases from the ’60s and ’70s.

I’m hearing the joy and gravity of Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci.

The breakdown of this song “An Ocean of Cough Syrup” is where it’s at.

Maybe a bit of Kevin Ayers.

Wasted innocence.

After the party.

The party at the end of the world.

Certainly song lyrics reminiscent of Wayne Coyne.

Sonic Youth.

Yummy Yummy Yummy.

Pop psych.

Monkees.

Maybe the romance has faded.

Tabloid.

Even Dire Straits.

Walk of life.

Track 2 with acrobatic chord changes.

Music school.

Straight-up Fort Leavenworth presentation.

A pop song about biological warfare, economic warfare, psychological warfare, and divide/conquer.

This is some serious shit.

Not sure whether to call Billy Bragg or Glenn Greenwald.

This is the kind of shit that wins Nobels.

So maybe we are hearing the new Dylan here.

Imagine if Thom Yorke actually had something to say.

The bends.

Lift.

Leonard Cohen.

John Cale.

Anthemic.

This dude is definitely right-wing.

I guess you could say.

Imagine if Bob Dylan was actually in the John Birch Society.

That’s what you get here.

Hey, take it or leave it.

Ezra Pound!

But this dude is all about ‘merica.

And i got no problem with it.

Climax.

Constitution of the USA.

Time’s up.

“memes at the ready”.

Information warfare taken into the realm of head music.

Songwriting.

This guy is a danger…to the lame liberal establishment.

THIS MOTHERFUCKER HAS RELEASED 7 ALBUMS THIS SUMMER!!!!!!!

Kraftwerk.

Jon Spencer.

Martin Rev dipping Copenhagen.

Ministry?

Butthole Surfers?

Dabbling.

“Latinas for Trump”.

Wow.

Track 3 is a trucker song.

Set in Switzerland.

With production like Nigel Godrich.

It’s a long track.

But enjoyable.

Drum machine and acoustic guitar.

And funky clavinet.

Jerry Reed.

Amos Moses.

Yodeling!

FUcking hell.

Haven’t heard this since Jerry Lee.

Dwight Yoakam.

Chris Isaak.

But this is the kinda shit cognizant about There’s a Riot Goin’ On.

Spaced cowboy.

Travelogue of Swiss sites from cinema history.

I have a feeling this guy would drink Klaus Schwab’s blood.

This conspiracy platter is fine listening.

Variety.

French/German.

No Italian.

Except Cortina d’Ampezzo.

No Romansch.

Motorik.

NEU! meets Gram Parsons.

Who is/was this “Swiss Alps Truck-Driving Gal”?

Cosmic funk.

Like French band Air.

Great bassline.

Dancy filler track of highest quality.

Mike Lindell needs to hear this shit.

mark_packet.

recieve_good.

What if Wayne Coyne and Dave Fridmann actually made songs that spoke to something larger?

They’ve hit it occasionally.

You gotta have Jesus in your heart.

Brian Eno first four records spun out again and again.

Cornelius.

Stereolab.

And WHAT THE FUCK?!?

Delta blues?

Country blues???

Yes, indeed.

“COVID-19 Blues”.

Like late-period Dylan.

Seriously.

If Dylan passes, this dude is next up.

I know it sounds implausible.

Communism used to be risqué.

Now the tables have turned.

Paul Joseph Watson needs to hear this shit.

The human condition.

Dr. Steve Pieczenik needs to hear this song, “COVID-19 Blues”.

This is Stax.

Muscle Shoals.

Atlantic.

Booker T.

But with that San Antonio twist.

Pauly Deathwish from the Alamo city.

Augie Meyers.

Flaco Jimenez.

Is Trump still the President? ūüėČ

When was this written?

Why that move to Bedminster?

Cabinet meeting.

A unifying song.

Like “Dixie”.

Ask Abraham Lincoln about “Dixie”.

Masked and anonymous.

QAnon line as money shot.

Sweet harmonica.

Linn drums.

Beck.

Loop.

It don’t matter.

This record rocks the Walmart parking lot.

GUITAR SOLO!

Jimmy Vaughn.

B.B. King.

Richard Manuel tickling the ivories.

Band brown album.

Call Q.

Call Mojo.

Call Uncut.

Side two for all you vinyl lovers.

“Let’s Get Creative”.

Floyd delay.

Sexy song.

J. Spaceman.

Jeff Tweedy.

Kid A.

Really special production.

Which just goes to show that anything can be done with an iPhone.

Except privacy.

Tim Cook cocksucker.

In shitty record store.

Radiohead were our Beatles.

Or their Beatles.

Now many friends have left.

You can’t say White Lives Matter.

Can someone please tell Pauly Deathwish this?

Not that he SAID it.

Because he didn’t.

Trail of Dead.

Which makes sense.

Read this motherfucker’s bio on Spotify.

No slouch.

I happen to know some extra details which I may divulge at a later date.

Lots of training in music composition.

Multiple touches with Nadia Boulanger.

Sexy song.

T. Rex.

Bolan.

Jonny Greenwood.

Scott Pilgrim.

Edgar Wright needs to hear this shit.

No cap.

Dead ass.

Trans.

Neil Young.

Dead Man.

Thurston Moore needs to hear this shit.

Funny mention.

Watch the water.

August 20.

Rollerskate Skinny appreciation society.

St. Johnny.

Boo Radleys.

First Stereolab album.

Grandaddy.

Harvest drums.

Like it!

Like a Sonic Youth country album.

Made in a barn.

Nothing Ween about this shit.

Except for the trucker song.

Which is funny as fuck.

This dude definitely a QAnon.

“Midnight Rider”.

Paul Revere.

One if by…two…

Mercury Rev.

Suzanne Thorpe.

Applied memetics.

Oh shit.

First Eno record.

Desert island.

THIS is impressive.

Turns out to be motto of 4th Psychological Operations Group (4thPOG) at Fort Bragg.

The PSYWAR just got real.

Vietnamese ghosts amplified.

But this is Chinese.

China bio attack.

Fauci through China.

Focus on Peter Daszak and his absurd opera-singer brother.

There is going to be hell to pay.

Q-uantum of solace.

PCAPs.

Obviously, Pauly Deathwish loves the instrumentals from Bowie’s Low.

This is a constant touchstone.

Trance.

Meditative techno.

Ugh.

When the bass drops in on “Verbum Vincet ’72”.

Who was Q?

Who is Q?

Was Q a psychological operation?

From whence might it have emanated?

Roger Waters.

Hell to pay.

Criminal networks wiped off the face of the earth.

Peking opera.

Sue me.

LeBron James is a worthless cocksucker.

I think I would get along with this Pauly Deathwish guy.

8964.

We have it all…in Utah.

“Bluffdale” like Marquee Moon.

Meets chiptune.

Super Marquee Moon.

Even a bit of John Bonham.

Good drum sound.

Dubstep?

Riots worldwide.

No vaccine passports.

Here’s where BLM and MAGA come together.

Don’t vax us, man.

A unifying event.

The real racists are the totalitarian Democrats.

Am I doing this right?

Pepe Lives Matter needs to hear this shit.

Klaus Voorman bass.

Leave it in.

Smacked out of your gourd.

Phil Spector murdered by the Rona.

Lee “Scratch” producing The Clash.

People want to sleep forever.

Sleep through this global nightmare.

Gotta wake up.

But the reality is crushing.

So God gives us solace here and there.

Black ark.

Meandering.

Oar.

Moby grape.

Hal Blaine back in the barn stoned on some world-class shit.

Nodding.

Space-age.

Astral weeks.

Nick Drake.

Ending album on serious note?

“Cotton Ball Soup”.

Will the masses win?

Against the vaccine passport bastards?

Montreal.

Where’s GYBE?

No heroes can be found.

Where’s Thom Yorke?

Radiohead?

Bob Dylan?

WWIII.

iTunes.

Spotify.

-PD

MZFPK [2021)

Breakfast cereal video game.

Pauly Deathwish’s 3rd album.

I am behind.

I can’t keep up with this guy.

Out of the gates like Flaming Lips.

30,000 feel of despair.

The gash.

Right into Isao Tomita.

Doing Debussy.

Marching.

Martial.

Fantastic noises.

Like first Stereolab album.

Here Come the Warm Jets.

Cheyenne Mountain jams.

I can no longer see what I’m typing.

  • What if I type in white? ¬†Ahh, yes. ¬†That does the trick. ¬†But it ruins my style. ¬†Louis-Ferdinand would not be happy. ¬†Totally Air. ¬†Pocket Symphony. ¬†Who is Kevin? ¬†Shields? ¬†Ayers? ¬†Fairlight. ¬†Synth clouds. ¬†Rich chords. ¬†Very sophisticated harmonies and arrangements. ¬†Cornelius from Japan. ¬†This sounds very modern. ¬†OH FUCK! ¬†Groove is in the motherfucking heart. ¬†Vogue! ¬†So on track two, we are straight up on a catwalk. ¬†But it could be Alan Vega or Martin Rev. ¬†Kinda Sun City Girls. ¬†Zoviet France. ¬†Fridmann never gets this crazy with bass. ¬†Wayne is driving it weirder. ¬†This was, from what I hear, done with ZERO budget. ¬†Is this a dance album? ¬†First you have poetry. ¬†Then you are prose. ¬†Amateurs. ¬†Into¬†Odelay. ¬†That was a good drum break. ¬†The Strokes. ¬†Fuzzy vocals. ¬†Paliament/Funkadelic. ¬†Sly Stone! ¬†Later Stereolab. ¬†Tim Gane processing. ¬†Counter melody! ¬†For fuck’s sake. ¬†Somebody listen to this bloke. ¬†Whoa. ¬†What is up with this chorus? ¬†Roland Kirk? ¬†Like in Switzerland? ¬†Definitely hitting some Os Mutantes twee. ¬†Lo-fi as fuck. ¬†Great Godard tongue in cheek. ¬†Apparently about Neil Young and Rick James being in a band together when they were young and still in Canada. ¬†Yonge Street? ¬†Beats. ¬†Drake needs to hear this. ¬†Bit crusher lisp. ¬†Spiritualized at the grocery store. ¬†Swipe barcode. ¬†Song peaks at end. ¬†Masterful mix. ¬†A true climax. ¬†Savage mastering on every album. ¬†Whole mix jumps. ¬†It works. ¬†Needle skipping. ¬†American Supreme. ¬†Claustrophobic. ¬†COVID. ¬†Sad. ¬†Scared. ¬†Apocalyptic. ¬†The concept of the gaze in cinema. ¬†Bass drops in. ¬†Feel it in your sex organs. ¬†A sexy song. ¬†“Cobra Strike”. ¬†This is unequivocally a dance album. ¬†EDM all up in here. ¬†Lots of panning. ¬†Spliff it. ¬†Micro gestures. ¬†Pandemic planning. ¬†How long will it last? ¬†Soul-crushing. ¬†Zombie metaphor. ¬†Shaun of the Dead. ¬†Masterpiece. ¬†Beatle drums. ¬†First Velvets album. ¬†Rat trails. ¬†“Black Angel’s Death Song”. ¬†“The New Pollution”. ¬†Dr. No. ¬†Walther PPK. ¬†What does this kid know? ¬†He can’t possibly know, can he? ¬†Pure phase. ¬†Visconti. ¬†Lanois. ¬†Acid jazz. ¬†Nick Cave. ¬†Montage, mon beau souci. ¬†Flaming Lips. ¬†Jeff Tweedy drawl. ¬†Jesus and Mary Chain team up with The Cure. ¬†Disintegration. ¬†Heartbreak here. ¬†Who broke his heart? ¬†Bleeps and bloops. ¬†Robot noises. ¬†Heartbeeps. ¬†Jazz funk ’70s experimental upright. ¬†Great lyrics. ¬†Superimposition. ¬†Steenbeck! ¬†Fucking great lyrics on “Snip Snip”. ¬†Oh, damn. ¬†Glockenspiel at just the right time! ¬†Icy. ¬†Air. ¬†Virgin suicides. ¬†Dazed and confused. ¬†Blonde. ¬†Braids. ¬†Like glazed bread. ¬†German. ¬†Texas. ¬†Floating world. ¬†Old world. ¬†No one to smoke a doobie with and stare up at green trees. ¬†No tits. ¬†What is wrong with this world? ¬†Rambo. ¬†Fort Bragg. ¬†Delta. ¬†Boykin. ¬†Intelligence Support Activity. ¬†Send me. ¬†George Crumb. ¬†Black angels. ¬†Jungle echoes. ¬†4thPOG. ¬†Ghosts. ¬†PSYWAR op. ¬†Make it loud. ¬†Romeo foxtrot. ¬†Shall we dance? ¬†Charlie don’t surf. ¬†Death on the dance floor. ¬†Public Image Ltd. ¬†Modes of limited transposition. ¬†Messiaen. ¬†Primal Scream. ¬†Standing with Johnny Rotten. ¬†#Trump2021 . ¬†But this is more about big tits. ¬†Giant opals. ¬†Garth Hudson. ¬†Telegraph. ¬†Total loss. ¬†Persona non grata. ¬†Window still missing. ¬†Swastika eyes. ¬†Paul Weller. ¬†XTRMNTR. ¬†Shoot speed. ¬†Kill light. ¬†Eyes owned 2020. ¬†The ugly had a chance. ¬†Masks work…if you’re ugly and need to get laid. ¬†Back with another block rocking’ beat. ¬†Private psychedelic reel. ¬†War metaphor. ¬†Is this about election? ¬†No. ¬†Too early. ¬†Look at liner notes. ¬†Living in COVID times was like a world war. ¬†War just beginning? ¬†Got my pina colada. ¬†Fuck it! ¬†Arizona. ¬†Living boldly. ¬†Masks have lost. ¬†Two weeks. ¬†Could have been a contender. ¬†Circuit bending. ¬†Talking about big titty schizophrenic. ¬†All footwork ruined. ¬†Toys. ¬†Falling apart gremlin workmanship. ¬†Awkward line about Thora Birch. ¬†Explicit warnings a little lazy. ¬†Getting a bit Lenny Bruce up in here. ¬†Russ Meyer. ¬†Second line. ¬†Double time. ¬†Crazy drums. ¬†Smooth as Sade. ¬†Tambourine is the star. ¬† One organic element. ¬†Wrote a song. ¬†She didn’t care. ¬†Wrote her 200 songs. ¬†She didn’t care. ¬†One has zero plays globally. ¬†She never bothered listening to it. ¬†Some things not meant to be. ¬†Liberals and conservatives. ¬†Go and create. ¬†Lobster. ¬†Work wasn’t. ¬†Bought her every flower imaginable. ¬†Thousands of dollars on flowers. ¬†Yoshimi laser warfare. ¬†A piano not standard. ¬†Some Tori Amos bullshit. ¬†Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli. ¬†Only the finest pianos. ¬†Internationally famous. ¬†Neither deserve it. ¬†Pulled the plug at the wrong time. ¬†Would he have still kept the same track listing? ¬†Maybe so. ¬†Heartbreak to rehash. ¬†Goes by quick. ¬†Good drum programming. ¬†James Bond future theme. ¬†Brian Wilson. ¬†Phil Spector. ¬†Absolute Nigel Godrich. ¬†Cinematic. ¬†The album that never was. ¬†But this one is worldwide, motherfuckers. ¬†Third this summer. ¬†And a fourth already out. ¬†I can hardly keep up. ¬†I need to review movies. ¬†Doesn’t Pauly Deathwish know I don’t have time for Galaga? ¬†Falling apart. ¬†Short-circuit. ¬†Charlotte Gainsbourg. ¬†Flashback to Bucolic. ¬†
  • -PD

Das Boot [1981)

Here we sit at the bottom of the ocean.

280 meters below Gibraltar.

On a high place.

In a film which (throughout) performs the strange trick of forcing us through cinematic language to sympathize with a boat full of Nazis.

Funny trick, that.

I challenge you to watch this film and see if you don’t also end up pulling for the Nazi U-boat crew.

There is no shame in it.

For Das Boot is itself a propaganda film.

But to what end?

It seems, more than anything, like an intellectual exercise.

And it is precisely because it eschews convention that it is an enjoyable and riveting film.

Indeed, it comes close to being a masterpiece.

It is also a case study in personalities.

Nothing magnifies personality clashes like a claustrophobic metal tube.

I guess we all have to pay our dues.

And sometimes we have to pay them again.

Perhaps we are always paying dues.

Until we are dead.

The stress can drive you crazy.

And there are always people floating in the water.

Which is to say, life is war.

A war to feed ourselves.

To retain shelter.

To ward off the tax man.

To warm our bones.

To stay dry and clothed against the elements.

Urgent need to let some rest.

In need of medical attention.

Eating an orange like a scurvied maniac.

In which you root for the Nazis.

Like Godard as a boy in Switzerland.

In this strange, strange film.

And then the Allied hammer comes down.

And you are shown your sins.

You realize you have been rooting for the Nazis.

And as you watch them die, you are sad.

Because they were the stars of a good story.

And you became emotionally invested in them.

Even though they were (in reality) scumbags.

Or maybe they were just doing their jobs.

This isn’t sympathy for concentration camp guards.

This is a portrait of the poor schmucks who were floating on (and beneath) the sea.

And if I remember correctly, 75% of the 40,000 U-boat submariners in WWII died.

These guys had a very slim chance of surviving this ordeal.

Hard to tell if this is a great film (elegant simplicity) or a shit film (clunky ending).

It’s worth watching, though.

 

-PD

Filmistaan [2013)

I consider it an auspicious sign that my survey of Indian cinema begins in earnest with the masterpiece Filmistaan.

Do not mistake this piece of cinema for a half-baked idea.

Do not even attempt to lower it by calling it a comedy.

And not least, do not think only of India.

I wanted to come up with a catchy pigeonhole.

Indian Subcontinent.

The Subcontinent.

But I have too much respect for the great traditions of Bollywood (and Lollywood) to do such a thing.

And so this is very much an Indian film.

India.

And it is very much a comedy.

So funny!

But it is touching in a way to which few films can ever aspire.

Filmistaan, like Roberto Benigni’s magnum opus¬†La vita √® bella,¬†takes on a very serious subject with the best weapon of all: ¬†humor.

But instead of the Holocaust, we get the Partition.

And yet, Filmistaan is not some laborious period piece.

[leave that to the artless Spielbergs]

No, our film addresses the tension between India and Pakistan in the most deft, feather-light manner imaginable.

And for this we have to thank a new auteur on the world stage:  Nitin Kakkar.

I say “new” because Mr. Kakkar has not been graced with the honor of his own Wikipedia page in English yet.

Well, he is wholly deserving of that honor (based on Filmistaan alone).

But Mr. Kakkar had to have magical actors to pull this off.

Luckily for him, he did!

Sharib Hashmi is undoubtedly the star of this picture.

His performance as Sunny goes from the highest highs of emotion to the lowest lows.

It is truly remarkable.

Mr. Hashmi is about one month older than me.

40 years old.

Perhaps that’s why I identified with his youthful optimism and passionate devotion to cinema.

But to understand our film, we must first locate Rajasthan on a map.

It is the biggest state in India.

It is northwest.

And it borders Pakistan.

To understand Rajasthan, we must comprehend the Thar Desert.

Most of the Thar Desert is in Rajasthan, but it extends somewhat into Pakistan.

These are all important details in understanding our film.

Rajasthan is arid.

Like the American Southwest, it’s a good place to get lost…or kidnapped.

But friends are to be found in the most unlikely places.

And the friendship of shared interest, such as two cinema devotees, knows no borders.

For Mr. Hashmi, the brilliance of his performance depends on the artful support he receives from fellow-actor Inaamulhaq.

But let’s examine the divide between India and Pakistan for a moment.

It is a fact that a man from Peshawar (if he speaks Urdu) can communicate with a man from Delhi (if he speaks Hindi).

Peshawar, of course, is in Pakistan.

Indeed, it’s so far into Pakistan that it’s almost in Afghanistan.

Delhi, of course, is in India.

It is in the north-central part of the country.

It is, further, not essential that the two talkers hypothesized above be men.

The salient detail is that Hindi and Urdu are essentially the same language (in their spoken forms).

This is vital to understanding Filmistaan.

But continuing, the two languages could not look more different once they are written down.

[Which is to say, the two hypothesized men might be at loggerheads were they forced to communicate with pen and paper]

Urdu looks similar to its written forebear Farsi (the language of Iran) [which is itself a descendent of Arabic script].

To put it quite simply, a neophyte like myself would probably have a difficult time telling the difference between Urdu, Persian (Farsi), and Arabic.

Hindi is in the wholly different Devanagari script.

You will not confuse written Urdu and Hindi.

It’s at least as obvious as Picasso to Pollock (if not Warhol to Rembrandt).

But enough analogies.

Why should you watch Filmistaan?

Well, for one…it’s currently on Netflix.

Yes, ever since I have joined the streaming service, I have ventured to be a more “worthwhile” film critic by giving you relatively-spoiler-free reviews of current titles to be found on the U.S. version of the site.

But that’s only the beginning.

Yes, there are wonderful performances from Kumud Mishra and Gopal Dutt (as well as a plethora of fine supporting actors).

But the real reason is that Filmistaan expresses the sublime.

The context is terrorism.

The context is border tension.

Indeed, on the Indian Subcontinent, the context is two nuclear states.

Pakistan and India.

But the context goes back.

To Jinnah and Nehru.

And the threads bind.

Cricket.  Cinema.  Music.

There is an excellent example in Filmistaan which illustrates the situation.

Dilip Kumar.

Now 94 years old.

Like my hypothetical man from earlier, born in Peshawar.

Then a part of “Pre-Independence India”.

Now a part of Pakistan.

Bordering Afghanistan.

In Filmistaan, Inaamulhaq knows him as Sir Yusuf.

Sunny knows him as Dilip.

Dilip Kumar was born Muhammad Yusuf Khan in Peshawar in 1922.

Sir Yusuf.

Dilip Kumar.

Same person.

It’s like the World Wars.

fenêtre in French

das Fenster in German

window.

/\

fenêtre /\ Fenster

But when you look through a window (or a border), everything can look backwards.

You’re so close, in reality.

But you’re reading the word as if in a mirror.

Nitin Kakkar directed a masterpiece with Filmistaan because he put his heart and soul into evoking peace.

There are no winners in a nuclear war.

And peace is a rare commodity on the world stage.

Geopolitics…

But we must reach out that hand.

And shake it.

I congratulate Nitin Kakkar and Sharib Hashmi for their dedication.

It is evident.

Though I speak neither Hindi nor Urdu, I was able to watch.

And understand.

I needed the subtitles.

But sublime emotions may be mutually intelligible across cultures.

What a film!

-PD

Citizenfour [2014)

Four days till the US election.

OK, three.

But we must take a look at things as they seem.

And analyze what they might be.

I have always written about Edward Snowden glowingly.

But this film is an enigma.

If you know the history of film, you realize that certain filmmakers (particularly Robert Flaherty) presented staged events as if they were documentaries.

This is known as docufiction.

And if you have followed my take on the two US Presidential candidates (Johnson and Stein can suck it…though Stein has true credibility), you’ll know that my assessment of Trump and Clinton has been mainly through the lens of film.

What we (I) look for is credibility.

Having watched all three Presidential debates (in addition to extensive supplemental research), it has been a no-brainer to conclude that Hillary Clinton has ZERO credibility while Donald Trump has immense credibility.

The differentiation could not be more mark-ed.

[Docu-fiction]

But what about Edward Snowden?

Let me start off by saying that Mr. Snowden does not come off as a wholly believable whistleblower in this film.

Perhaps Laura Poitras’ inexperience as a filmmaker is to blame.

Perhaps it is indeed because Edward Snowden is no actor.

But Mr. Snowden is completely inscrutable and opaque in this documentary.

HOWEVER…

there is something about his ostensible North Carolina drawl which rings true.

And so there are two major possibilities…

  1. Edward Snowden is an extremely brave individual who succeeded in “defecting to the side of the public” (to paraphrase)
  2. Edward Snowden is a superspy

I had read of Snowden.  In studying what he had leaked, his credibility seemed beyond a shadow of a doubt.  Such a damaging agent could not possibly have been a Trojan horse operation (so I thought).

Indeed, the most believable part of this film is the last 10 minutes or so.

Sadly, my “copy” of the movie switched to a German overdub for this final segment.

Which is to say, I was more focused on images in the finale.

Every once in a while I was able to make out the beginning of a phrase from William Binney or Glenn Greenwald.

At all other times during this last portion, the German superimposed upon the English made the latter an almost palimpsest.

My German is that bad.

Entschuldigung.

But here are my reservations concerning hypothesis #1 (from above).

A).¬† Glenn Greenwald’s earliest interview after the leak was clearly shot with the skyline of Hong Kong in the background.¬† It is somewhat inconceivable that the NSA in conjunction with the CIA (and possibly the FBI or DIA) did not immediately follow Greenwald’s every move from that point forward (courtesy of operatives under the Hong Kong station chief of the CIA).

B).¬† Glenn Greenwald is a little too smooth to be believable (the same going for Snowden).¬† Greenwald’s sheer fluency in Portuguese (a bizarre choice for a second language) seems particularly suspect.¬† The credulous me wants to believe that Greenwald is simply brilliant.¬† The incredulous me sees Greenwald as just as much a CIA operative as Snowden.

Indeed, hypothesis #2 would be that Edward Snowden is in fact a CIA operative.  His complete calm at The Mira hotel in Hong Kong does not harmonize with a computer geek who just lifted the largest cache of the most top-secret files in world history.  Instead, his mannerisms almost all point to someone who has been hardened and trained at Camp Peary rather than someone who grew up so conveniently close to NSA headquarters.

Snowden is admittedly a former employee of the CIA.

But what could the purpose of such a Trojan horse exercise possibly be?

One strong possibility comes to mind.

As we learn in Dr. Strangelove, there’s no purpose in having a “doomsday machine” if the enemy doesn’t know about it.

In fact, we don’t even need cinema to illustrate this.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki were demonstrations as much as they were mass-murder war crimes.

Weapons are “tested” often as much for the power of display as for the exercise of weapon efficacy.

But the world has always been a weird place.

And it is indeed possible that Edward Snowden is an idealistic, independent party in this affair.

The esteemed Dr. Steve Pieczenik (of whom I have spoken much recently) has lately called Snowden “no hero”.

I’m not exactly sure what he means by that.

Possibly Pieczenik knows the Snowden affair to positively be an intel operation.

Possibly Dr. Pieczenik (whom I respect deeply) merely sees Snowden as of no great bravery when compared to the men and women (both military and intelligence employees) who risk their lives on battlefields across the world…by direct order through the US chain of command.

But Dr. Pieczenik has also pointed out that some orders must be disobeyed.

That is part of the responsibility of defending the Constitution “against all enemies foreign and domestic”.

So we have a very interesting case here.

And it directly parallels our current election choices.

What SEEMS to be?

What is patriotism?

At what point must standard operating procedures be put aside?

What constitutes peaceful protest?

Who among us has the duty and privilege to spearhead a countercoup?

I’ve often thought to myself that I would be a horrible NSA employee because I would have a framed picture of Snowden on my desk.

Suffice it to say, I’m sure that is strictly NOT ALLOWED.

But this film makes me doubt the Snowden story.

As a further instructive detail, why does Snowden (in this film) feel so confident in his ability to withstand torture (!) as a means of coercing from him his password(s)?

Again, that does not sound like a standard ability of an “infrastructure analyst”.

Snowden does not admit in this film to ever having been a field operative.

Indeed, it almost feels like Louisiana Story or Tabu:  A Story of the South Seas when Snowden drapes a red article of cloth over his head and torso to ostensibly prevent Greenwald and Poitras from visually seeing his keystrokes.

It is overly dramatic.

These are thoughts.

No doubt, someone knows much more than me about the truth in this strange tale.

And so the film is, in turns, shockingly brilliant and daftly mediocre.

In a strange way, it is just as suspect as James Bamford’s books on the NSA (which I have long suspected were really NSA propaganda pieces).

One of the keys to propaganda and social engineering is gaining the trust of your targets.

In a large-scale psychological operation, the entire world (more or less) is the target.

Back to cinema, we need look no further than Eva Marie Saint “shooting” Cary Grant in North by Northwest.

Yes, Body of Secrets (Bamford) was damaging to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and US military in general (the revelation of Operation Northwoods) while also exposing Israel as a craven “ally” (the USS Liberty “incident”).

But if we are not careful, we are taken in by these juicy bits of “truth” (in all likelihood, very much true) on our way to accepting the whole book as an accurate expos√©.

And this is what makes the world of intelligence so tricky.

Like a chess game in which you are blindsided by a brilliant move.

It takes years (perhaps decades) or an innate brilliance (perhaps both) to discern the organic from the synthetic in the shifting sands of this relativistic world of espionage.

I can only guess and gut.

 

-PD

O slavnosti a hostech [1966)

This is one of the strangest films I’ve ever seen.

Rarely have I seen such uneasiness conveyed through cinema.

The really terrifying part is.

How mundane all of the symbols are.

Is/are.

Insane.

For a moment.

Like the Czech version of Deliverance.

We see “party” in English (in the context of Czechoslovakia), and we think.

Communist Party.

But the slavnosti in question translates to “feast”.

Google tells us.

And Google is never wrong.

Right?

Which is to say.

Hell is a party.

A party from which you wish to flee.

Beggar’s banquet.

There is no leaving communist Romania.

And Czechoslovakia?

I can’t tell you, dear friend.

But we know of the boy who swam the Danube.

Symbolic.

To nonaligned Yugoslavia.

And from there to Italy and Toblerone.

That’s Cum mi-am petrecut sf√ĘrŇüitul lumii.

But what we have here is A Report on the Party and the Guests.

Report.

Also sounds very bureaucratic.  Quintessentially communist.

Let’s take the popular notion that Kafka sums up bureaucracy.

In which work?

The Trial? With Josef K.?

Yes.  This is most applicable to O slavnosti a hostech.

We must learn to speak every language.

Like Pope John Paul II (slight exaggeration).

Because Kafka wrote in German.

Der Process.

It’s a process of ablaut-ish metamorphosis.

Prozess –> Proce√ü –> Proze√ü

swimswamswum

Kafka died in 1924.  Age 40.  My age in six months.

1948/1949 Czechoslovakia becomes part of Soviet bloc.

Comecon.

Not to be confused with Comic-Con.

And never any Poto and Cabengo in San Diego.

Though they be in their own backyard.

Grace and Virginia were superheroes without costumes.

And they had their own language, by golly.

Brings tears to my eyes.

To see them playing potato.

“What are they saying?”

This is the absurdity of blogging about the absurdity of a film inspired by the absurdity of Kafka.

But likely unconscious.

This genius (director Jan Nńõmec) died only a few months ago.

But he gave the world a belly laugh.

And an unnerving masterpiece.

It is not as obviously magnificent as Closely Watched Trains.

But it is supremely subversive.

In a totalitarian state (like Amerika)…which is completely ruled by commodity relations.

This is our last recourse.

England swings.

Like a pendulum.

From the gallows.

Frexit (France leaves NATO…again).

Hexit (Hungary curses continental Europe from Buddhapesht to Bookarrest)

Crexit (Croatia invents new correction fluid for computer screens)

Spexit (Spain certifies that said correction fluid meets ISO standards)

Esexit (Estonia doubles GDP overnight with racy dating service app)

Slexit (a dual rush for the doors by Slovakia and Slovenia)

Rexit (Holy Roman Emperor reestablished in Romania, confined to Bookarrest)

Fexit (Finland engages in creative destruction)

Pexit (Poland and Portugal [in that order] gobble seed with bobbing avian head motion)

Irexit (being both hungry and anorexic [morbidly hangry], Ireland joins the Brits in bolting)

Everyone else stays.

Until the Czexit.  [ooh la la]

Serbia accedes and secedes in same day simply to give the world the thrill of Sexit.

[I know I know]

This is the rearrangement of guests.

So many not at the world table.

In such times.

Only art can explain.

 

-PD

 

Twin Peaks “Realization Time” [1990)

Always apologize to the authorities.

What the French call cache-cache.

There are two great series of propaganda of which I’m aware.

One is the James Bond franchise.

The other is Twin Peaks.

External intelligence (I/O).

Internal intelligence (RB).

I/O (:OT)

RB (SW:)

I might suck at chess, but so did Napoleon.

Admitting one does not really understand does not have to lead to abject sellout.

Certain information is classified for a reason.

It was hard to come by.

It does not exist in an open source.

And so I try real hard to imagine an honorable employee of the CIA.

Maybe somebody like “Buzzy” Krongard who forgets to unpack a couple of Walther PPKs from his overnight bag before heading to the airport.

Oops…

Could happen to the best of us.

But why A.B.?

Why the lapse??

9/11:  where are they now???

When we imagine external intelligence, we might think of a world completely ruled by consequentialism and Realpolitik.

We like to think of Daniel Craig.  Sean Connery.  Roger Moore.

We like to think of our operatives as protectors.

But my guess is they perform some of the ugliest jobs on the planet.

For the state!

The dear, sweet NSA knows every book I’ve bought (unless I paid cash).

Knows my library withdrawals.

So I might as well cite Burckhardt.

The State as a Work of Art.

Seems pretty self-explanatory (if fanciful).

But German can be slippery.

And so we come to,

War as a Work of Art.

The “dilettante” Machiavelli gets the usual translation (Art of War), but not Burckhardt.

Not in my edition.

1958.

Imagination lets me conceive of a good FBI agent.

Like Coleen Rowley.

Robert Wright.

These, perhaps, are the forward projections of Special Agent Dale Cooper.

But let’s get deeper.

The turf war.

Two agencies of the same government.

Working at cross purposes.

I can easily imagine a unique relationship.

You don’t investigate our wholesale illegal activities,

and we don’t disappear your agents.

So that the CIA is beyond the law.

Perhaps it must be that way.  Beethoven might even resign it.

But it is na√Įve to think of the FBI as merely an investigative entity.

They too get creative.

In Twin Peaks we have an honorable man.  One of the best and brightest.

Dale Cooper.

Doing a job.  Innocent as a dove, but wise as a serpent.

When dealing with Log Lady, one gets crosswise with Elf Power and Stereolab.

Ending up, Gus the Mynah Bird with the Candy Bar Head.

There is an information hierarchy.

Pertinent to all forms of intelligence gathering and interpretation.

Data–>Info–>Knowledge (–> Wisdom)

The final stage is not optional, but it is elusive.

It is the most valuable.

It’s the part that says, “Hey, CIA man (or woman)…don’t take The Fugs too seriously.”

It’s also the fine line between bravery and stupidity (practically the same phenomenon) which inspires Sherilyn Fenn to smoke a fag in the closet.¬† [Err…]

Nothing to lose.  Fearless.

And what if such fire is married to morals?  Ethics?

We’re no saints, but we do a lot of selfless stuff.

And yet we spout our shit and muck up the mission of consummate professionals.

Differing perspectives.

Two meanings of intelligence.

We don’t have the intelligence (because we are civilian nobodies…combing the net for OSINT).

But we have intelligence.

It may not be Ivy League.

But it’s relentless.

 

-PD

Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse [1933)

This might be the one great key of the 20th century.

The skeleton key, so to speak.

We have one of the great directors of all time (Fritz Lang) laying out the operational details of criminal conspiracies.

But perhaps even more, we have the fine line between genius and madness which Hitler was beginning to toe.

It is important to note that Hitler was synonymous with the Nazi party.

He was their God, so to speak.

And yet it seems to me that Hitler was not particularly bright.

A fiery orator?  No doubt.

But not really a criminal mastermind.

No.  There were others.

Things were just getting going in 1933.

We…

become enthralled by intellect.

As our minds are stimulated, we sometimes lose track of any ethical grounding.

Which is to say, intellectuals are the most dangerous.

I would like to fancy myself an intellectual, but I will let the Order decide that.

Yes, dear friends…there is no other way to put it.

Fritz Lang, the prophet, is clearly delineating a criminal Order which would come to rule the world in the 20th century.

His message is far-reaching.

The methods outlined in Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse are perhaps most applicable today.

The 21st century (which began on 9/11/01).

Terror for the sake of terror.

Hidden-hand machinations.

The man behind the curtain.

It is no small detail.

Every detail drives Otto Wernicke to the brink of madness.

He is the portly J. Edgar of this affair.

In Wernicke’s case, his opposition are mad geniuses.

Literally mad.

Goethes of crime.

Rudolf Klein-Rogge sums up the problem.

Knowledge is inextricable from high-level criminal insanity.

Dr. Mabuse has studied too much.

And so he spools out reams of handwritten blather.

He reexamines language.

Hinting at post-structuralism.

Language, year 0.

Whirls and whorls and squiggles.

And slowly the comatose “brains” of the operation finds himself a new body.

Each one well-paid.  And each compartmentalized in their knowledge.

We must come back to Max Weber for this one.

A couple of times the word.  simuliert.

The prospect.

That he could be faking it.

Madness.  To avoid the punishment he deserved.

But it seems rather that the psychiatrists have been infinitely engrossed in the case histories of their patients.  [Which is to say in their patients themselves.]

The psychiatrists have the secrets of the 20th century.

And the science rolls on.

On the one hand, we have Ewen Cameron of Project MKUltra.

On the other we have Dr. Steve Pieczenik.

And it is at this point which we need to discuss the counterintelligence apparatus of the Order:  2-B.

It’s not Abteilung.¬† Something different.¬† Less significant.¬† But tasked with the dirty work.¬† The cleanup.

Mord.¬† Murder.¬† Nipping the stragglers.¬† There’s no leaving the Order.

And so is it any wonder that Goebbels (or Garbage, as Charlie Chaplin rechristened him) had Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse banned in Germany?

Why?

Because it gave away all the secrets.

The secrets of control.  Each level glued together by terror.

And the controlled chaos.  The buildup of addictions.  The incredibly farsighted chess game of our conspirators.

The reign of crime.  A lusty pronunciation.

Vs. a homicide detective wont to sing strains of Die Walk√ľre here and there.

Germany split in two.

Soon enough.

And something as simple as a love letter.

When one least expects it.

Few films deserve the label masterpiece quite like this one.

 

-PD

ŕ©ŔĄŔąō≤ōĘŔĺ ōĆ ŔÜŔÖōßŘĆ ŔÜō≤ōĮŘĆŕ©‚Äé‚Äé [1990)

[CLOSE-UP (1990)]

In the name of Allah…

We enter the courtroom of the world.

Cinema.

To be judged on our veracity.

But also to be judged for our passion.

Hossain Sabzian had passion.

Here.

And his story is so similar to mine.

Maybe you feel it too?

Dear cinema friend.

Because I will have to invent a new category for this movie.

Loneliness.

Hardship.

Woody Guthrie woe.

Hossain Sabzian plays himself in this story.

It is the truth.

At least as truthful as the novels of Henry Miller.

Real life.

ŕ©ŔĄŔąō≤ōĘŔĺ ōĆ ŔÜŔÖōßŘĆ ŔÜō≤ōĮŘĆŕ©‚Äé‚Äé

The world is under the microscope.

How would Debord start his bible about the spectacle?

With that quote from Feuerbach.

A preface as preface.

From Das Wesen des Christentums.

It deserves to be repeated in its entirety.

“But certainly for THE PRESENT AGE, which PREFERS THE SIGN to the thing signified, the COPY to the original, representation to reality, the appearance to the essence…ILLUSION ONLY IS SACRED, TRUTH PROFANE.¬† Nay, sacredness is be enhanced in proportion as truth decreases and illusion increases, so that [*] the highest degree of illusion comes to be the highest degree of sacredness.¬†[*]”

Those are my notes.

My copy.

My marginalia.

I could autograph it for you.

But the words are by Ludwig Feuerbach.

Having gone through translation from German to English by Donald Nicholson-Smith.

So what?

I haven’t even named the film yet.

Or the director.

Rather, I haven’t named the film in English.

Substance has been subjected to style.

Style has no translation.

Close-Up.

By Abbas Kiarostami.

One of the few geniuses in the world.

You will find on my site the review for ō∑ōĻŔÖ ŕĮŔäŔĄōßō≥

Who’s reading?

Taste of Cherry.

I thought that surely no film by this auteur could top that, but I was wrong.

The depth of Close-Up completely defies what I thought was possible with cinema.

It is a shock.

I am at a loss for words regarding how much this film affected me.

It is as beautiful as a bus stop.

As poor as a paper bag.

The roses from the leaf pile are a good start.

All over the world.

We play “kick the can”.

Don’t ever let people lie to you about Iran.

What is the truth?

The truth is that there is a genius there who speaks directly to my heart…like no other.

That genius is Abbas Kiarostami.

But we must mention Mohsen Makhmalbaf.

He is perfect.

It is unbelievable.

Do you know how I would feel to meet Jean-Luc Godard?

Hossain Sabzian knows.

To meet the person who gave us hope…who depicted our suffering.

Bicycleran.

ō®ōßŔäō≥ŔäŔÉŔĄōĪōßŔÜ

Or the blessed marriage promised long ago.

We, are on the outside looking in.

Farsi mocks us.

With its beauty.

There is a lump in my throat like a piece of coal.

Do we really care about Oriana Fallaci?

Or rather Peter Bogdanovich?

Interesting that you should ask.

At first we see Haj Ali Reza Ahmadi annoyed, but later we see him as remarkably humane.

This is the Iranian legal system.

We are told it is a civil law system.

In the name of Allah.

How does a country produce such beauty?

Hossain Farazmand.

Everyone wants to be on TV.

It must be difficult to read my writing.

Who cares if you listen?

Now that IS a quote (or misquote).

Milton Babbitt.

Twelve-tone prose.

My beloved concision.

Fighting my windbag tendencies.

It is supposed to be funny.

Like Mauricio Kagel.  Or Francis Poulenc.  Or Conlon Nancarrow.

Must I mention Satie?

Yes, I must.

In the name of Hossain Sabzian.

détournement

Making the job of the DGSE almost impossible.

Ever since the Place de la Contrescarpe.

Les moineaux?  Chez Moineaux?

Trouble makers.

Like the glorious Kiarostami.

But he left us this document.

And he lives at the young age of 75.

Yet, the Situationist is Hossain Sabzian.

Like Arthur Cravan.

But more like Erik Satie.

Life?

Life is hard.

Is it like Film International?

Or like Massoud Mehrabi?

I don’t know.

But I know someone was on the same page mentally.

Because F for Fake (my second most favorite film of all time).

That is the language of cinephiles.

We’ve lost the sound.

Fifteen years ago.

-PD

Vampyr [1932)

I come to you from the darkest place.

Where all hope has been extinguished.

A maze of study and revelation.

Barely a word here spoken.

Do not give me your attention.

I am not the first person.

You wander in this dream.

He comes to know the horror.

Her and her alone.

Climb climb climb from the mist of history.

Give up your secrets to the light.

Vampyr, Kryptos, Tutankhamun.

IQLUSION.  1Q84.

gravity’s rainbow.¬† CERN.

In a Glass Darkly.  Published in Ireland.  1872.

Sheridan Le Fanu.  Dublin.

Does Langley know about this?

Always candles.  Always lighting candles.

NYPVTT.  Berlin.

Nicolas de Gunzberg as Julian West as Allan Gray.  Got it?

MZFPK.¬† We’re losing time quickly.

At an even pace.

Speeding towards the hour.

As slowly as we’ve ever been.

William H. Webster.  The only person to have ever headed both the CIA and the FBI.

Courtempierre.  Loiret.

Ah!¬† The review…

As if waking from a dream.

Or falling back into a nightmare.

Placing one foot in front of the other.

Rena Mandel could have come straight from Nosferatu.

Like Greta Schröder.  1922.  1932.

Not flapper like Frances Dade.  Blonde on blonde.  Helen Chandler.

UFA wanted Dracula to come out first.

A strange tactic.

And then utter failure.

But Sybille Schmitz has that Nazi jawline.  Like Leni Riefenstahl.

Spoonsful of tea for a dying man.

Candles peer in through the glass.

And the camera stares upwards…at the swaying trees.

It is like Nobody Died at Sandy Hook.

To be opened after my death.

Sealed in wax thrice.

Submission is the only slow number.

Mid-tempo.  A revelation.  Talisman.

A crooked doctor.¬† And you’re giving blood.

They’re putting you on statins.

The drug companies will pay.  And general practitioners will have impunity whoring for big pharma.

A view to a kill.

Berlin.  Surrounded by East Germany.

Mengenlehreuhr.  Yale.

Ooga booga.

Buried alive in the blues.

Come spend a life in Texas.

With no one.

Come be abandoned in Texas.

Not even on the island.

Information warfare.

He is getting his message out desperately.

Franz Liszt as Marguerite Chopin.

No comment from Gounod.

Walpurgisnacht.

Nerval translated 1828.

Gretchen.  Margaret.  Marguerite.

Ettersberg.  Buchenwald.

We see why Godard became suspicious.

Because all but the Dutch declined Resnais’ solicitation for holocaust footage.

Inside the camps.

During the war.

By the most technologically-advanced civilization in terms of film production.

Obsessive-compulsive documenters of expenditures.

The problem with the gas chambers.

Sybille Schmitz looks like a raving lunatic.

The ecstasy of Stockholm syndrome.  A bank.  Those doe eyes and bearded hippie among the safe-deposit boxes.

The Goethe Oak at Buchenwald.  THE Goethe Oak?  George Washington slept here.

The Goethe Oak bombed by the Allies.

Now a concrete stump thanks to the DDR.

Goethe Eiche.

Janus-faced Germany.  Januskopfes Deutschland.  Sounds like a load of rubbish to me.

Schiller’s beech tree didn’t bite the dust till 2007.

Death by flour.

I’ll say it again:¬† Wikipedia’s masterpiece.¬† “List of unusual deaths”.

 

-PD