Monday, 15 November 2010


Films featuring a certain learnt homelessness find a special place in my estimation, so this, like Persepolis, casts stones in my little lake of melancholy. This film appeals at other levels less obtusely TCK, it is a film which spreads itself into a chiaroscuric wealth of excessive or pleasantly indulgent photography. And there is this thorough father/brother parallel, what if our Father were our brother, what then, how then, and why does this appeal? We could try a strained extension, that this film displays us reading our Father's story and writing our final chapter. But such theological extrapolations are better left ununpacked.

The genius. Assumed in this film and so crucially unanswered: what is genius and what is its value? Do we believe people are geniuses, do we believe people have geniuses, is either a helpful concept in bringing gifting's fruit to fruition? Does society sacrifice the concept of genius in fear on the altar of egalitarianism's necessary 'normal'? Is genius sacrificed to spite the giver? Wherefore a celebration of the anti-hero in our age, why a fascination with the failures of the walking wounded and the wasted potential of the promising procrastinator? Can we navigate the tensions of genius with a joy imperative such as would mitigate the moralisms of propriety? Little of this is in Tetro.

Redemption and its difficulties are given some space, particularly I enjoyed the sequence where Angelo is brought back from a brink by being given space to tell his story, and the whole dignifying love that that gives, story-telling rather as Jaap talks of the Andermann film being. The resistance to salvation, “Am I not ok the way I am..” speaks a little of the anti-hero's allure, maybe?

Black and white and colour and time. To compare this with another recent viewing, City of Life and Death, where after a colourful death, heaven is shown in black and white, what is the motive, what the effect of choosing to remove colour? Does it serve to make a portrait more authoritative, more epic, more of a time when-cathedrals-were-white (?). On leaving the primary school of primary colours we graduate to the sophistication and sophistry of desaturated maturity, why is this? Colour is so particular, a pigment so absolutely chosen, naively and exclusively that which it is, it is none of the hedged bets of white minimalism. Colour, thanking Sarah, is irreducible. Colour is the crude, the kitsch, the creative of the delightfully fully present. And also, as opened up in Bothersome Man's 'azure vs cool coral' discussion, colour can yet be but branding and power play, subjective and fleeting, shallow. Where, by contrast, black and white generates eternal forms, unfading, unerring, like dinosaur bones and the Acropolis. Not sure. But colour reminiscences here are well crafted to emphasise the absurdity of memory, and the exaggerated histories which define us.

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