Rambo [2008)

Unrequited.

For three years I was engaged.

I thought maybe the message didn’t get through.

Then I found a verbal device.

A fingerprint.

To check if my message had been received.

And read.

To my satisfaction, the level of certainty is high.

That I love someone.

And they no longer love me.

Color revolution.

Saffron.

Soros.

https://web.archive.org/web/20200125025717/https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/upfront/2019/12/myanmar-aung-san-suu-kyi-defending-indefensible-191213090832880.html

The truth about Aung San Suu Kyi (ASSK).

https://stevepieczenik.com/2021/05/03/opus-2021-3-myanmar-orwellian/

2008 about mask Karens.

No Rohingya.

Weinstein.

Propaganda can still be artful.

Godard knew this as a youth under the tutelage of Langlois at the Cinèmathèque Française.

She wants to believe I stole her time.

I would gladly apologize.

For not being ready.

I was never ready.

Won’t be.

But she stole my innocence.

And retains it.

More tangible.

With no offer to return it.

They weren’t outnumbered.

They just didn’t want to risk giving away their presence.

Because they were not of a single mind.

To act or not act.

They would perform reconnaissance in a mostly perfunctory fashion.

Nothing much risked.

Just go have a look.

“Well, we’re outnumbered.  Time to head home.”

A gesture of “trying” for having taken missionary money.

MOAB.  (21,000 lb)

Tallboy. (12,000 lb)

MOAB H-6.

Tallboy Torpex D1.

Stuffing.

MOAB (18,700 lb).

Tallboy (5,200 lb).

Yield.

Tallboy Torpex equivalent to 3,600 lb TNT.

MOAB equivalent to 11,000 lb TNT.

Largest uranium deposit in the U.S. 1952.

Moab, Utah.

Like Grants, New Mexico.

Jeffrey City, Wyoming.

Uravan, Colorado.

Edgemont, South Dakota.

Atomic City, Idaho.

[Idaho National Laboratory]

17 labs.

16 federally funded.

Q clearance.

Lawrence Berkeley.

Plutonium.

Oak Ridge.

Y-12.

Pantex.

Argonne.

Ames.

Ames strain was a mislabeled specimen.

Actually from Texas.

Vollum Iraq.

Live-spore vaccines dangerous to humans.

Protective-antigen vaccine option.

No human vaccine against Ames.

Protective-antigen anthrax vaccines ineffective.

PCR.

Polymerase chain reaction.

PRC.

People’s Republic of China.

RT-PCR.

Reverse transcription.

J.S. Bach.

Schoenberg.

Kary Mullis credited with polymerase chain reaction (1983).

Kary Mullis died August 7, 2019.

PCR invention did not make up for his girlfriend breaking up with him.

PCR bought by Roche Molecular Systems ($300 million).

Roche Diagnostics.

Rotkreuz, Switzerland.

Red cross.

Klaus Schwab.

World Economic Forum.

Geneva, Switzerland.

1971.

Kissinger student.

Dr. Francis Boyle.

https://www.infowars.com/posts/emergency-saturday-broadcast-the-next-phase-of-the-great-reset-is-here/

Mullis friend killed by strep.

Hoffman-La Roche v. Promega Corporation.

PCR patent unenforceable.

Mullis labeled “AIDS denialist” because he was unable to find a peer-reviewed reference that HIV was the cause of AIDS.

Keep in mind that Mullis was a Nobel Prize-winning chemist (1993).

He published his alternative theory of AIDS the following year.

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF01435010

Get this.

The 1993 winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was then called a “pseudoscientist” because he had a different view on HIV/AIDS.

Strange, eh?

What would Mulllis have made of COVID-19 had he not died a mere six months before the pandemic broke out?

Mullis’ basic view:  there are different varieties of AIDS.

Mullis was 74 when he died of pneumonia.

Sixth months later, many people were dying of pneumonia.

And they were being categorized as having COVID-19 based on the technology he invented:  PCR.

Brookhaven.

Cold Spring Harbor.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugenics_Record_Office

Princeton Plasma Physics.

Stanford Linear Accelerator.

Iron ink palimpsest.

Rubbed off.

Still readable.

By way of radiation.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Hanford.

Plutonium.

Manhattan.

Fermilab.

Argonne.

Large Hadron Collider.

Geneva.

From their own website.

https://www.weforum.org/great-reset/

When was the first time a Chinese head of state attended a WEF meeting in Davos?

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/17/business/dealbook/world-economic-forum-davos-china-xi-globalization.html

2017.

Why was WEF observer status for ECOSOC revoked in 2012?

WEF’s President is on the Steering Committee of the Bilderberg meetings.

So is Stacey Abrams.

So is Eric Schmidt.

https://www.bilderbergmeetings.org/background/steering-committee/steering-committee

Also on the Bilderberg Steering Committee is Mark Carney of Canada.

He sits on the WEF Board of Trustees (which is chaired by Klaus Schwab).

Al Gore on WEF Board.

Queen Rania of Jordan on WEF Board [Podesta].

Rafael Reif on WEF Board.

Ask Pieczenik about this guy.

[MIT].

David Rubenstein on WEF Board.

Co-founder/co-executive chairman of Carlyle Group.

https://staplestreetcapital.com/Team

Dominion Voting Systems.

WEF Board member Zhu Min.

And Jack Ma.

And Yo-Yo Ma.

Harvard.

Zhu Min Johns Hopkins.

Princeton.

Davos 2020.

Greta Thunberg.

Ren Zhengfei (Huawei).

George Soros.

And, yes, Donald Trump.

Interesting.

“Summer Davos” was started by WEF in China in 2007.

Yearly.

The big conference is happening in Singapore this August?

Not Davos?

https://www.axios.com/world-economic-forum-singapore-davos-f3fb535f-4edb-4273-ae30-6a4155c360ce.html

CEPI launched the day before Trump was inaugurated in 2017.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coalition_for_Epidemic_Preparedness_Innovations

Gates.  Vaccines.

January 19, 2017.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/18/health/partnership-epidemic-preparedness.html?hpw&rref=health&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well

Still believe in coincidences?

Same players as Event 201.

That last-second dress rehearsal.

IMG_7098

 

IMG_7099

 

IMG_7100

 

IMG_7101

 

https://www.centerforhealthsecurity.org/event201/

https://www.centerforhealthsecurity.org/event201/scenario.html

https://www.centerforhealthsecurity.org/event201/players/haines.html

It’s necessary to understand exactly how Avril Haines was promoted to her CIA position (by John Brennan) and what position she was rewarded (?) with soon after Biden took office (Director ODNI [head of entire American intelligence apparatus]).

CEPI and Moderna were working on a vaccine when there were only 600 cases and 26 deaths worldwide from COVID-19.

 

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/01/wuhan-coronavirus-china-cepi-vaccine-davos/

CEPI (funded by those lovebirds, Bill and Melinda Gates) and Moderna were already in partnership as of January 24, 2020.

“The Great Reset” was to be the theme of the January 2021 Davos WEF meeting.

https://web.archive.org/web/20200818104743/https://www.weforum.org/great-reset/about

That same theme will hold for August 2021 in Singapore.

Samuel P. Huntington.

Harvard.

Kissinger.

Klaus Schwab.

Francis Boyle*.

“Davos Man”.

Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator.

Cancelled yet?

Jefferson Lab.

Los Alamos.

J. Robert Oppenheimer.

Alamogordo.

Trinity.

July 16.

Vaccine distribution infrastructure.

Wen Ho Lee.

Judge apologized for incarcerating.

Sandia.

New Mexico.

California.

Livermore.

Teller.

H-bomb.

United States bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade.

May 7.

1999.

The only bombing in the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia which was directed by the CIA.

George Tenet remained through 9/11/01.

Looks like it was no accident.

The CIA “mishap”.

To start a war?

Clinton apologized.

Interesting.

Tenet continued with Bush.

B-2.

B83.

W87.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Golden, Colorado.

Savannah River.

South Carolina.

National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Oregon.

West Virginia.

Pennsylvania.

Ames check.

Argonne check.

Brookhaven check.

Fermilab check.

Idaho check.

Berkeley check.

Livermore check.

Los Alamos check.

NREL check.

Oak Ridge check.

PNNL check.

PPPL check.

Sandia check.

SRNL check.

SLAC check.

TJNAF check.

NETL not federally funded?!?

Bettis Atomic Power Lab.

Pittsburgh.

Knolls Atomic Power Lab.

New York.

New Brunswick Lab.

Argonne.

ORISE.

Tennessee.

RESL.

Idaho.

SRS.

SC.

Uranium City, Saskatchewan.

Elliot Lake, Ontario.

Julie Benz.

Was not impressed.

 

-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 sfârşitul 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 –> Proceß –> Prozeß

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 Němec) 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

 

Невиност без заштите [1968)

[INNOCENCE UNPROTECTED (1968)]

I’m taking a wild guess here.

Because life is the greatest complexity.

Only yesterday I was tempting death.

But my name is Deathwish.

Death, for short.

A hard name to live up to.

I’m taking a guess that I have been forgotten…by most of those who meant so much to me.

Such a maudlin (Magdalen) sentiment, but fitting after such a lackluster evening.

If you have read this far, then you are likely qualified to view the ikonoclastic (!) film Innocence Unprotected.

It’s a film about a film.  Wikipedia really likes Croatian.  I suppose because of the Roman letters.

So the original film is question was ostensibly called Nevinost bez zaštite.

It was made during the war.  1941.

Under Nazi occupation (just like Les Visiteurs du soir).

But our 1968 film (the film about a film…sort of) is by my favorite Serbian director:  Душан Макавејев.  Which is to say (with pity) Dušan Makavejev.

And about that title…well, it sounds the same.  That enigma “Serbo-Croatian”…but I can only guess (“taking a wild guess here”) that it was Невиност без заштите.

It flashes before my eyes so quickly.

The H that sounds like N.

The B that sounds like V.

The upside-down N that sounds like I.

The C that sounds like S.

The b with its tail in the crosswind…blowing west to east…which, mercifully, sounds like a B (or b).

The 3 that sounds like a Z.

The Roman numeral III with a floor beneath it…like a Greek temple without a roof…sounds like “Shhh…(peaceful)”.

Those are the tough ones at issue.

Cyrillic letters.

Yes?

Now that I have bent linguistic steel like Dragoljub Aleksić, we shall move on to more pressing matters.

Bending spoons.  Like Uri Geller.

An Israeli.  You know how much I love Israelis 🙂

It is true, in a sense.

Once upon a time…that the French and the Jews were my favorite people.

Completely true.

What happened?  How did I get bent from my Henry Miller humanism?

How did I move to a Jean-Luc Godard humanism?

Shouldn’t humanism value all humans equally?

Yes.

In my wrath…in my protective love for the Palestinians I have said some very unkind things about the Israelis.  Nothing I’m sure they haven’t heard before.

I am not really at the vanguard of anti-Semitism.

But I said it to be hurtful.

Strong words.

Because I was mad.

I’m sure Norman Finkelstein is a fine person.

Anyone who would argue with Alan Dershowitz must basically be alright.

As for Dersh, any lawyer who would deign write a book called The Case for Israel (in 2003, no less…year of the Iraq invasion) must have a loose screw.

As for me, all my screws are loose.

I don’t give (nor do I receive) a fuck.  Err…

That is Innocence Unprotected…a rather Dodoist film which wonders whether the dots of my most recent ellipsis were italicized.  The dots.

It would be like writing a poem about Allen Ginsberg’s poem “Howl” (in full-on ekphrasis mode) and calling it “Howl”.

To say there is a considerable amount of film quotation in Невиност без заштите would be an understatement.

It is truly (Poetically) a film within a film.

I dreamt.

And as I did,

I hawked plywood espadrilles

in Belgrade.

Proudly,

to fund my feature film.

Writing is an attempt to live again.

Which is to say, if I begin to live again, then

I shall have to stop writing.

Not like this.

In misery.

Like Baudelaire.

Who only ever laid a hooker.

Because Jeffrey Immelt has neither the time nor mental capacity to read Walter Benjamin.

And that’s why General Electric will fail.

Because the futures of most things are the opposites of their current states.

The future of marketing?  Anti-marketing.

Because people are tired of being tricked.

They want a refreshingly frank admission of inferiority.

And the endearment begins.

Capitalism hasn’t yet cashed in on socialism.

Because to do so would mean its death.

Both.

Trump and Sanders frozen for all time.

Which would mean the humorous death of politics.

And MegYn Kelly would pull her hair out as she stumbled down the steps of the U.S. Capitol.

A lifetime wasted.

But not over yet.

There’s still night school.

She could learn a useful trade.

Now that journalism is dead.

But maybe in some Ethiopian rainforest the last shrub of curiosity/courage/integrity sits waiting for some Amazon former Fox News reporter to scale its unwieldy 39 feet…to take a clipping from the top.

Journalisa arabica.

Caught in the middle like 5 Broken Cameras.

Nothing could curse a presidential candidate more now than positive coverage by Fox News.

Fox News:  a more toxic endorsement than David Duke.

So now they change their tune.

Which begs the question:  does that mean you think that Republicans were rational (God forbid) to oppose Trump so long?

Or was it merely their house organ which disapproved of the ginger waker?

“Wake up kids!  I didn’t go to the University of Pennsylvania for nothing!!”

I would…as a paean to Mr. Georgia Guidestones himself, like to “expand upon” Gone With the Wind.  You know…add some rap music to certain scenes, show Clark Gable brushing his teeth, and such.  And then call it (wait for it…):  Gone With the Wind.

Yes?

Because that last period is almost certainly italicized.

It was not good enough to be amateur.

But Makavejev fixed that.

 

-PD

 

Čovek nije ptica [1965)

It makes sense that Man Is Not a Bird was Dušan Makavejev’s first film.  It has that first-film “breadth” to it.

Where Ljubavni slučaj ili tragedija službenice P.T.T. (Love Affair, or the Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator) struck with absolute precision, Čovek nije ptica meanders about a bit in search of the appropriate film language. 

[N.B.  Wikipedia spells “bird” in Serbo-Croat for this film as “tica”.  I’m not sure why that is as “tica” seems to mean nothing (whereas “ptica” means “bird”).]

Though our film is set in a strange, backwards town, the narrative is considerably sprawled.

Eva Ras (the star of Love Affair…) is here as a more minor character.  However, she is the one who most lives out the message of the title.

This film has a strange obsession with hypnosis.  There is a hypnotist, but the film starts off with a scientific denunciation of superstition.  Through hypnosis (we are told), a distressed person can be made to abandon the grip of superstition.

Back to our hypnotist in the middle of the film…he is more of an entertainer than anything.  I am not entirely sure, but I believe the initial “legitimate” hypnotist (psychologist) and the later “entertainer” hypnotist are played by the same actor.

If that is the case, then Makavejev’s later metaphor (the circus) makes more sense.  But what is really complex about this film is the layering of metaphors upon one another.  It makes finding meaning very difficult.

One “reading” would be that life is a circus.  Another reading would be that “cinema” is a circus which purports to present a more truthful version of life than what we know.

But what does that mean?

Every day we experience life is some respect.  What could be “more truthful” than our daily experience?  Is Makavejev implying that we lie to ourselves?  Quite possibly.

As film viewers (spectators), we may become immersed in a particular movie and identify with characters and stories.  In a way, WE are the fourth wall.  The fourth wall is our temporary reality.  We enter into the false reality of film.

But, film gives us a chance to observe “ourselves”.  When we heavily identify with a particular character, we are having a sort of “out of body experience”.

And this brings us back to hypnosis.

Man Is Not a Bird is a very beautiful film (in a grimy, socialist, factory soot kind of way), but it is (perhaps not surprisingly) a dark film as well.

Shot, like Love Affair…, in black and white there is something more sinister about this film than the more gentle and humorous Love Affair…  But who are we kidding?  Love Affair… is inextricably wound up with death.  What could be darker than that?

Answer:  life without life.

It is what Eva Ras experiences as she is emotionally abused and disrespected by her husband.  Her husband, as it turns out, is working a job which is so hazardous to his health that the position is being eliminated ASAP.  And that’s in communist Yugoslavia!  All through this film we see a sort of poverty which separates East from West.  The poor Eastern Europeans.  What the West would come to realize (like New York Times film critic Vincent Canby) was that the East had something of immense wealth.  If pressed, I would call it soul.

Man is not a bird (even if, under hypnosis, he believes this to be the case).  Man is also no angel.  Janez Vrhovec plays a sort of martyr in this film.  Another more light-hearted character prods him as to whether he can feel the tingling of his burgeoning angel wings (the prodding is actually quite sardonic).

Man is not a machine.  But Jan Rudinski (Janez Vrhovec), the deft Slovenian machinist/engineer, has become a slave to his job.  From Pakistan to Dar es Salaam:  Rudinski makes his comrades proud with his exceptional efficiency.

But let us return to Eva Ras.

To turn Godard on his head, A Woman Is Not A Woman.

Why do I say that?

Because the French word for wife (femme) is the same as the French word for woman (femme).

And so a whole new world of wordplay opens up for us concerning TWO Godard films (namely):

Une Femme est une femme

and

Une Femme mariée.

In the first, we could potentially have the proto-syllogisms:

A woman is a wife.

Or, conversely:

A wife is a woman.

Furthermore, we could have:

A woman is a woman (the accepted translation in the English-speaking world).

Or, on the contrary:

A wife is a wife.

It gets to be such that we assume there is some sort of “boys will be boys” idiomatic phrase in operation.  Not being a native French speaker, I cannot confirm or deny that.  But I do know that Godard loves word play.  And therefore, the simple answer may not be the intended answer.

To illustrate further we have,

Une Femme mariée.

The accepted English translation is A Married Woman, but could it not be the more perverse and thought-provoking A Married Wife?

One thing is certain:

Man Is Not a Bird will have you under its spell whether you understand it or not.  At least, that’s the experience I had.

I would add one final bit of exegesis (extra Jesus).

It may very well be that Makavejev was making a disparaging statement about the communist Yugoslavian state with his first film.  It would be like the secret messages which Shostakovich managed to work into his music (particularly the string quartets) while living in Soviet Russia.

In the hands of communist governments, art (and particularly film…after Lenin’s admiration of the medium for its uniqueness) had to represent the people.  On one side (with communist eyes) this is admirable.  From the other (with capitalist eyes) this is seen as propaganda.

Any astute capitalist would have realized that (particularly in times of war) there was not much difference from communist and capitalist propaganda.  Both economic systems availed themselves of the practice of propagandizing.

But my guess, regarding the film in question, is that Makavejev recognized his own role as a propagandist (he had no choice in the matter…either please the censors or leave the profession) and likewise saw film as a double-edged sword of hypnosis.

And so his first film is really a realization…of that power in film…that power that can drive the masses to love…or to kill.

 

-PD

 

 

 

Ljubavni slučaj ili tragedija službenice P.T.T. [1967)

Something draws me to Eastern Europe.  I blame Romania.  Thank you Romania!  Yes, there was something about the ambiance which director Cristian Mungiu conjured up in 2007’s 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (4 luni, 3 săptămâni și 2 zile) which has stayed with me for a long time.

Really, it’s a rather mundane part.  Near the top of the film.  The goddess Anamaria Marinca traipses down the hall to find some soap…and cigarettes.  The scene is a college dormitory in communist Romania (pre-December 1989).  Girls in one room chat about beauty products.  There seems to be a good bit of bartering going on.  Marinca is mainly uninterested.  Looking for a certain kind of soap (if I remember correctly).  On the way back to her room she stops off at the room of a foreign student (non-Romanian) who sells cigarettes and gum and stuff.  The whole film she is searching for Kent cigarettes (a few mentions of this brand).  Not surprisingly, there are no Kents to be had in the dorm.  She settles for something else.  Perhaps.  I don’t know.

She stops and admires some kittens which someone has taken in.

It is astonishingly real.  On par with Roberto Rossellini.

Indeed, it might be said that all New Waves (from the nouvelle vague to the Romanian New Wave) have their birth in the neorealist films of Rossellini.

But Mungiu added a new wrinkle.

Marinca.  [The goddess of whom I spoke.]

Marinca is unglamorous.  No one is glamorous in 4 luni, 3 săptămâni și 2 zile.  We get the impression that it is the waning days of Ceaușescu’s reign.

Times are tough.  The policies of the state haven’t worked out so well.  It bears some resemblance to a prison.  Material items take the place of money (reminiscent of cigarettes as currency in jails).

What I have yet to define in this article is “goddess”.  What do I mean by that?

Well, I’m glad you asked!  Marinca (particularly in this film) is a goddess to me because she represents the opposite of the typical American woman in the year 2015.  Her beauty is her soul.  Her beauty is her loyalty to her roommate and friend Găbița.  Her beauty is her dedication to acting.  She is completely immersed in her unglamorous role…and it is eye-watering.

I have mentioned a similar impression (which further solidified my admiration for Romanian films) I got from watching Dorotheea Petre in The Way I Spent the End of the World (Cum mi-am petrecut sfârşitul lumii).  This masterpiece by director Cătălin Mitulescu preceded Mungiu’s Palme d’Or-winning film by about a year (2006).  I was again struck by another goddess of film (Petre) who, with the help of her auteur, created a character also in direct opposition to the meretricious, vacuous ideal of American womanhood in the 21st century.

And so it is that we finally come to the film under consideration:  Душан Макавејев‘s Love Affair, or the Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator.  Dušan Makavejev is Serbian.  Out of deference to his country I have listed his name in Cyrillic script.  Likewise, the title of the film (at the top) is in Serbo-Croatian.  It is a grey area about which I am not completely informed.  Suffice it to say that Croatia seems to generally use Roman letters (as opposed to the Serbian usage of Cyrillic).  It is a bit like the distinction (and writing differences) between Urdu and Hindi [which I have heard described as essentially the same language, but with two different writing systems].

I prefaced this article on Ljubavni slučaj ili tragedija službenice P.T.T. with my own backstory concerning Eastern European cinema because it is relevant to my approach going forward.

Before coming to this, my first Yugoslav (1967) film, I opened up the can of worms which is Czech cinema by reviewing Closely Watched Trains (Ostře sledované vlaky).  Jiří Menzel’s sexually-charged film poem from the previous year (1966) was a major revelation for me.  And so it is that Dušan Makavejev’s bittersweet confection shares more than just a communist framing with Menzel’s aforementioned erotic portrait.

Yes, Ljubavni slučaj ili tragedija službenice P.T.T. is about our old film-school standbys:  sex and death.  I can never combine those two words (in the context of film) without remembering the ridiculously funny scene of Jim Morrison at UCLA screening his student film in Oliver Stone’s The Doors (1991). 

The fictional Morrison, then, would be trying to hop on a nonfictional bandwagon represented by the likes of Menzel and Makavejev.  Morrison’s time at UCLA (1964-1965) not only coincided with the staggered births of “new waves” around the world (particularly in Europe), but also occurred while Morrison’s father (US Navy Rear Admiral [RADM] George Stephen Morrison) was the commanding officer of a carrier division involved in the Gulf of Tonkin incident.

Jim Morrison lived fast.  Entered UCLA in 1964.  Graduated with an undergraduate degree in film in 1965.  Was dead by 1971.  But those years in between…  It’s no wonder Jim had an Oedipal complex (evident in the song “The End” [1966/1967]) when considering his father was involved in false-flagging the U.S. into a suicidal war against communism.  What a disgrace…

No, the real hero in the family was not RADM Morrison, but rather Jim.  He turned on the dream-switches of so many kids.  To put it quite bluntly, he was part of the counterculture in America which caused kids to start giving a fuck about the world and politics and geopolitics and confirmed charades (frauds, shams, etc.) like the Gulf of Tonkin “incident”.  Such a sanitary and slippery word:  incident.

It fits perfectly, in that there was no incident.

But while Morrison the Younger had gone off into Brechtian pop-rock, Serbian director Makavejev was busy making Love Affair, or the Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator.  It is equally stunning, for its medium, as “The End”.

Sex needs beauty.  A really luscious film like this needed Ева Рас (Eva Ras).  She is a bit like Jitka Zelenohorská’s character in Closely Watched Trains…mischievous, bewitching…  But there is one great difference between Ras and Zelenohorska:  Ras is a blond.

Though our film is in black and white, it is clear that Ras’ silky hair is rather fair (a detail which would not have escaped Hitchcock).  It must be said, however, that Makavejev did not give in to the easy femme fatale portrayal when it came to filming Ras.  Izabela (Ras) is a complex individual.  The film tells us that she is Hungarian.  She is different…other.  She needs sex.  She is passionate.

All the same, her portrayal by Ras is poetic and tender.  Really, what we are seeing here is a tentative feminism expressed by Makavejev which would become a thundering symphony of women’s liberation in Mungiu’s 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days. 

And it is good.  It is good for men to see these types of films.  We men idolize and reify women in the West, but we don’t often enough stop to really observe the trials of womankind.

In the best spirit of socialism, this film has something for everyone…men, women…ok, maybe not children.

Love Affair, or the Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator is really an intense film.  If you have seen (and made it through) Stan Brakhage’s The Act of Seeing with One’s Own Eyes (a film I, incidentally, once made the mistake of showing at a party), then you’ll be alright.  For those faint of heart (I generally fall into that category), there are a couple of rough moments in this film (in the context of criminology).

In all, I am very proud and happy to have seen my first Serbian movie.  As a resident of San Antonio (and fan of the San Antonio Spurs), I feel it gives me a better glimpse into the life of one of my favorite basketball players Бобан Марјановић (Boban Marjanović).  I highly recommend this film…and Go Spurs Go 🙂

 

-PD