Twin Peaks “Variations on Relations” [1991)

The war is not won by logic alone.

Nor solely by florid creativity.

Weaponized love.

Crowbar.

Hearing “where dead voices gather”.

I believe it came out as “oenophiliac”.

Footprints.

Monograph on cigarette butts.

Woody?

No, not really…

With hints of pencil lead.

My favorite.

Carrots for cigars.

King of flowers.

Anecdotal Guam.

A puzzle box.

Die Büchse.

Symbology and petroglyph.

The moral actions of extremely intelligent military personnel.

To prevent loss of life.

The birth of conscience.

Extreme frankness borne of Boy Scout precision.

And yet tact.

Of course.

Gentlemanly.

Palimpsests in cache.

No erasure.

Sous rature.

Under the paving stones, the beach.

Ian Buchanan comes to the fore.

All Cary Grant through and through.

Dear friends, exhaustion.

I beg of you, patience.

This is my therapy.

To watch.

And write for pleasure.

Thank you.

 

-PD

Rozmarné léto [1968)

I’m not going to blow smoke up your ass.

This one starts out slowly.

Too long at the first location.

The river bathhouse.

The dread of boredom begins to creep in.

No girl.  No gun.

Until Jana Preissová makes her first appearance.

It was unbearable.

A rainy summer.

Every day the same as the last.

In a small town.

A closed circle.

But like Fellini, the circus comes to town.

Thank God for the circus.

Cotton candy.  شعر البنات

Is it girl’s hair?  Pink.  A one-piece pajama.

Or a pig.

It is like the sweet words of the beautiful Haneen Elhaj in Bethlehem.

Girl’s hair.

Running on the electricity of a car battery.

Spinning sugary magic.

Sandy stone (when the mirror of translate is turned upon itself).

We want to know literally what Heidegger Derrida was talking about.

And so it only took director Jiří Menzel two years to lose his voice.

It was perfection in ’66.

Ostře sledované vlaky.

That is the cynical view.

But we must realize that Menzel was literally walking a tightrope.

It’s not funny.

It’s not engaging.

It’s slow.

It’s effective.

By the end you see that Fellini is the right reference.

Capricious Summer (our film) bridges the gap between the antics of La Strada and the lovable freak show of local color that would be Amarcord (1973).

But this was 1968.

A very serious year.

The Czech and Slovak (respectively) socialist republics came into being the following year.

We know the legend.

Mai ’68.

All hell broke luce.

Even Cannes was cancelled.

[Cannescelled]

But what is a film festival compared to an invasion?

Before our Capricious Summer was the Prague Spring of 1968.

Lasting well into the summer.

And blooming well before winter had ended.

January 5 – August 21.

Then the invasion.  The Warsaw Pact countries.

Operation Danube.

Romania (and Albania), to their credit, refused to participate.

108 Czechoslovak civilians killed.

Liberalization.  Decentralization.  Democratization.

Like the beautiful Anna.  Fleeting.

Because the circus always has to pack up and leave town.

Our film.

Released May 24.  During the Prague Spring.

Pražské jaro (or jar).

Czech.  Slovak.

The only difference between my bank balance and Bill Gates’.

More zeros at the end.

Infinitely more.

Later these “Springs” would become manufactured (if they weren’t already).

Libya…

We all know about color revolutions…but the Czechs would have a textured revolution in 1989.

From velvet…we could have had the corduroy revolution (ribbed, for her pleasure), silk revolution, cotton (the revolution of our lives)…etc.

The “nonviolent” Prague Spring resulted in the deaths of 96 Soviet soldiers.

84 of them by “accident” (friendly fire?)

and the accidental/”suicide” deaths of 10 Poles.

Apparently none of the Poles died conventionally.

At least the two Bulgar soldiers killed perished from intent.

The four Hungarians all slipped on banana peels in front of Škodas.

This is the tone.

Lola Montès.

Plucking the feathers from chickens.

The chubby wife returns.

Drench the nubile.

Menzel, then, was many months ahead.

Knowing that summer would really begin when autumn usually fell.

Another 20 years before the circus returned.

 

-PD

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland [1972)

First off, this film has never been properly restored (to my knowledge) and the copy I have on disc makes this quite apparent.  From the opening titles one can hardly read a word.  It’s as if a taxi driver in Cairo went into a local cinema and set up his camcorder pointed at the screen.  Suffice it to say that the medium is the message to this extent.  The story would be almost psychedelic enough just based on the thoroughly bizarre film transfer.

Fiona Fullerton is actually quite good as Alice.  The Nigerian-born actress would go on to appear in A View to a Kill (1985).

It’s hard to quibble about a film which employs a dodo bird.  This, of course, is to the credit of author Lewis Carroll.  Peter Bull is oddly cast as the Duchess.  You might remember him from Dr. Strangelove as Soviet Ambassador Alexei de Sadeski.

The disembodied head of Roy Kinnear as the Cheshire Cat adds a rather clunky touch near the end of the film.

But this film really is worth it if for none other than the ten-or-so minutes of Peter Sellers as The March Hare.  With prim and proper accent he, along with the Mad Hatter and Dormouse, regales Alice with a pun or two (“spook only when spooken to”).  This really was my whole reason for watching, but I’m glad to have experienced the whole slice of mind-altering pie.

Dudley Moore seems a bit misused as the Dormouse as he spends most of the film asleep.  For fans of The Goon Show one can spot Spike Milligan as the Gryphon.  The scene with the Mock Turtle is when the film really gets going.  One even gets the sense that perhaps the production was shot in sequence (due to the comfort the cast seems to have by that point…a characteristic apparently missing in earlier scenes).

Of special notice in this film is the music of John Barry.  The world knows him best as the official James Bond composer.  His work here lends this production a timeless sheen of orchestral mystery.  Perhaps it’s just my faded copy, but there are some truly magical moments every now and then.  I wouldn’t call it on the whole a masterpiece, but director William Sterling did an admirable job.  This was, in fact, Sterling’s only foray into non-TV film directing.  Not bad at all, sir!

The song credits even give one an opportunity to view sous rature in the flesh (“How Doth The Little Busy Bee Crocodile”).  Whether or not Isaac Watts would be pleased, we can assume Heidegger and Derrida would find some jollies.

And so, plenty of croquet and even a Lobster Quadrille.  Someone call Gérard de Nerval.

 

-PD