Monday, 22 November 2010

anderman (labri)

For the discussion of this short, chaired by Jaap, we were kept to the principle that if one must talk of film at all, one should restrict oneself to less than its run time – a profitable maxim. So briefly, we were given a snapshot into his life and relationship with Per Anderman who is a rich seam of idiosyncrasy and fascination by himself, this film's character study is rich also by its playfully affected form which reflects something of his condition, and also there is richness in the collaboration obvious in its production.

Story-telling. Rather as I found Tetro's therapy of story-telling good, true and beautiful, albeit in a fictional setting, this film plays this out with a real individual: in taking Anderman's broadcast snippets of life to a wider audience it enriches and humanises (and heals?) both the one giving his testimony and his audience.

Architecture. It is interesting to compare Jos' apartment in Ooit, Ivan's office and environs in Win/Win, and then the estate where Anderman lives. In using architectural photography to compliment or illustrate their mental state we are gently prompted to ask what qualities of an 'abnormal' mind find their parallels in 20th century architecture and then to question what environments are conducive to mental health.

Extending from architecture in an moment of hyperactive syllogising, I would venture of Win/Win, that modernity detaches fact from meaning, autism detaches fact from meaning, modernity is autistic. Or equally of Ooit, modernity profits from an obsessive, compulsive, forgetful people. Downs Syndrome here makes such of Jos, so modernity. Or of Anderman, modernity reduces conversation to soundbites, time to snapshots, other people to a background blur. This presentation of Alzheimer's shows a stutter of sounds, photos and blurs, ergo modernity is Alzheimic. I am being crude to abbreviate a question on these films' observances on mental health and their relevance, appeal and application to wider cultural memes. As we endeavour to enter the real, to see rightly and to live well, what can we learn from that which we see of ourselves and our culture in these characters - what cause, what cure to their condition?

We also see in this piece beautifully, the power of art, even a saving power in these three works, tactile, colourful, emersive, handmade, personal. Coming to its climax at Corb's chapel, we slip subtly into motion picture, as the Hand of Rob (ref) in Flatland (ref). Are we moderns proverbially trapped in 3d, without time?

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