Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org &
Knatz.com / Teaching / Society & Its Pathologies / Social Survival / Evolution /
@ K. 2004 08 10
In the middle-early 1960s I ran into Columbia classmate Michael Peter Kahn (Shakespeare in the Park, Shakespeare at Stratford, etc.) around Astor Place. We didn’t know each other particularly well, but enough to chat for a moment. Michael said that Forbidden Games was “the greatest movie ever made.” I don’t know how often Michael changed his top pick; I do know how often I’ve changed mine. “8 1/2 is the greatest movie ever made,” I responded. “Well, of course,”he said, “that’s all of our autobiography” (“our” meaning us artists). I had never seen Forbidden Games, so I started keeping my eyes open till it showed up at one of NY’s many repertory classics theaters.
|Jeux interdits, 1952, René Clément
8 1/2, 1963, Federico Fellini
Forbidden Games is indeed a great movie: and for this pk module the visitor must know at least the following. A young girl chases her dog, thus being spared the German strafing of a road leading out of Paris. The girl seems to be the sole survivor. Carrying her dead dog, she meets a farm boy. Together they bury the dog. Then they start burying other dead things. Soon the boy kills something. Why? Because they can’t bury it unless it’s dead.
These war torn kids become addicted to burying things.
When I saw Roshomon for the first time (early 1950s), I was very moved, and in a dozen different ways. I didn’t worry how “Christian” Paul was responding to Toshiro’s Mifune’s performance as Tajômaru, the bandit: his violent energy was just one of many things to be stunned by.
Thanks to that experience, I didn’t wait long to see The Seven Samurai (1954, also Akira Kurosawa, also Toshiro Mifune) once my friends were touting it (c. 1958). Again I was wholly elated by that supreme film, not disturbed by how my amygdala responded to the unbelievable bloodshed. The Seven Samurai is among the most moral of films. It is so profoundly against violence that its stellar violence is easily apologized for.
Ah, but then what about the rest of the Kurosawa films I so eagerly sought out? Is Yojimbo as profoundly moral as The Seven Samurai? None of Kurosawa’s opus can remotely be called “Christian.” How conscious was pk at how far away from Christianity he was moving and being moved? (If the Bible were half as great a work of art as The Seven Samurai or Roshomon or Yojimbo, maybe I wouldn’t have been tempted.) And what about the rest of the trash (non-Kurosawa martial arts films) I’ve devored since? All the other samurai films, the Bruce Lee films, the Chuck Norris crap, all that Steven Segal …? And what about the rest of the dreck I’ve since tolerated that I once wouldn’t have so easily swallowed? all the films where Arnold (or Sly) holds a tank gun in his bare arms and shoots jillions of extras who seem to have no function in the movie but to get shot?
I plan to do more with what’s here so far, but until I can, see the pattern: the kids become addicted to burials: pk, all of us, are addicted to violence: at least to symbolic violence. Maybe God needs to do a Sodom and Gomorrah with Hollywood, Bollywood, ToHo, and every movie goer: especially those of us eligible for a draft (and with laws so slippery, that’s everybody).
(Search for stuff I’ve scribbled about Tarantino.)