I’ve come to believe that Godard is the only actual film poet, which is to say that he is the only filmmaker to address the audience in the sense described by Wallace Stevens in his essay “The Noble Rider and the Sound of Words”: the poet’s measure of himself as a poet, “in spite of all the passions of all the lovers of the truth, is the measure of his power to abstract himself, and to withdraw with him into his abstraction the reality on which the lovers of truth insist. He must be able to abstract himself and also to abstract reality, which he does by placing it in his imagination.” The “pressure of reality,” as Stevens calls it—the oppressively dull bottom line on which we must all supposedly agree in order to keep the machinery of society in good working order—is nullified by the poet, who takes responsibility for his or her own freedom and in so doing offers a model to the reader. Or, in this case, the viewer.
Godard was ostensibly attracted to 3-D because it remains unencumbered by any rules to speak of, but he eventually breaks its one implicit rule by drawing attention to the separation between the right-eye and left-eye images, most spectacularly in a mind-bending shot that I have yet to fully comprehend on a technical level (believe me: you’ll know it when you see it) and that actually drew a round of applause mid-screening in Cannes.
Claims about being triggered work off literalist notions of emotional pain and cast traumatic events as barely buried hurt that can easily resurface in relation to any kind of representation or association that resembles or even merely represents the theme of the original painful experience. And so, while in the past, we turned to Freud’s mystic writing pad to think of memory as a palimpsest, burying material under layers of inscription, now we see a memory as a live wire sitting in the psyche waiting for a spark. Where once we saw traumatic recall as a set of enigmatic symptoms moving through the body, now people reduce the resurfacing of a painful memory to the catch all term of “trigger,” imagining that emotional pain is somehow similar to a pulled muscle –as something that hurts whenever it is deployed, and as an injury that requires protection.
Bill Callahan, Dan Bejar, Will Oldham and Cass McCombs are celebrated songwriters lurking just outside the mainstream who understand the power of mystique. Where does their inspiration come from? It’s a tough question to answer…
In moving away from a representational model of the everyday—that is, from a direct mimetic mapping of lived experience onto literary works—Sayeau aims to examine the manner in which this temporal quality expresses itself withinliterature, as an immanent principle, organizing and orienting narrative logic. On this reading, then, modernist novels do not merely contain representations of everyday life; more importantly, they seek solutions to the specifically “formal challenges” posed by modernity’s “empty time.” According to this formulation, the everyday manifests itself in fiction as a force that threatens to stall the narrative production of meaning. At a formal level, Sayeau shows how his chosen modernist—and proto-modernist—texts “share a particular dilemma: how to maintain the coherence of the text, a rhythm of meaningful experiences, in a world in which time itself seems to be flattening out, softening into circularity, reiteration, and stasis.” In this way, the everyday emerges as an internal element of the economy of the novel, pulling against plot progression, towards entropic dissolution.