today’s film

May 13, 2019

Secret Self

March 19, 2019

Art attracts us only by what it reveals of our most secret self.

Jean-Luc Godard
Les Amis du Cinéma

I wasn’t sure…I didn’t know what I was until about 1952 or ‘53. I knew that I loved very much my roommate at college, where I had had my first lesbian experience. But it wasn’t until I was a camp counsellor in West Virginia that I had the experience that gave me some notion of what my life was about to be all about. I was sitting on a hill…and I was reading a letter from my roommate, the lover of my life, the very first lesbian relationship that I’d ever had. Her parents had taken her off to Scandinavia because they had found out the nature of our relationship. She had written me a goodbye letter, and I was sitting there on Vesper Hill, looking out over the beautiful Greenbrier River, crying like a baby, because I didn’t think there was anybody else in the world like me. I had never heard the word ‘lesbian.’ I had never dreamed that there was anybody else who had any kind of orientation like I did or who loved the way that I did… Suddenly a shadow fell across the paper, and I looked up, hiding the letter, into the face of the camp bugler, a rather butch-looking woman that I had had some questions about. She was standing up there and she was toking on her cigarette… and then she sort of squatted down beside me. And here we were, the two of us, sitting there looking out over the beautiful Greenbrier River. And then she puts her hand on my shoulder, she takes another toke off of the cigarette, and she blows it off and she says, ‘We are growing in numbers every day.’”

Sally Miller Gearhart
Last Call at Maud’s (Film)

The “Twilight” series’ brand of sexuality is fairly straightforward. Sex equals bloodlust, and in general the rule is “Just Say No!” — unless you put a ring on it. The series reads (and watches) like one giant exercise in sexual frustration. Epitomizing this idea, Bella Swan (even her name implies purity)  and Edward Cullen’s first kiss ends with Edward smashing himself into her bedroom wall to stop himself from doing more than pecking her on the lips. If their frisky business goes too far, he’s likely to lose control and devour her… literally. When the couple finally consummate their relationship (three novels later), it’s only after they’ve been married. And immediately after they have sex, Bella winds up pregnant.

The implications of this dynamic are clear. Sexual urges exist, but must be repressed. This repression is a sign of commitment and love. And if you do have sex? You’ll probably get knocked up and have your lover take away your humanity once and for all

Emma Gray
Vampires and Sexuality

not my dream

March 2, 2019

Sometimes everything seems just like a dream. It’s not my dream, but someone else’s, that I have to participate in. What happens when the one who dreamt us wakes up and feels ashamed?

Ingmar Bergman
Shame

Marlene’s freewheeling attitude to sex has been much analysed since her death, particularly by her daughter Maria, who wrote a tell-all book about Marlene in the grand tradition of Christina Crawford’s “Mommie Dearest” – only Maria’s effort was dubbed “Mommie Queerest”. Maria revealed that Marlene used sex as a kind of weapon in her affairs with men – she didn’t actually care much for “it”. It was a way of controlling and manipulating them. With women it was different. Marlene actually enjoyed the sex, and the relationships were much more satisfying for her. Edith Piaf, Mercedes de Acosta (who also wooed and won Greta Garbo), Rosemary Clooney, the German singer Hildegard Knef and many others shared nights of passion with Dietrich.

To call Marlene ‘lesbian’ would be to misrepresent her sexuality. To call her bisexual would also not be adequate. Perhaps ‘queer’ describes her best or simply, as one commentator said, ‘unstraight’. She made love to those she was attracted to at any particular time in her life, their gender was immaterial. This is extraordinary, given that most of her career was built on being the ultimate fetish object for straight men. The film critic Kenneth Tynan defined this bisexual appeal when he said, “she has sex without gender.”

Terry Sanderson
Marlene Dietrich: a woman out on he own

located elsewhere

February 9, 2019

What if the place that we are in the midst of is different from the physical space that we currently inhabit? What if the things we yearn for are located elsewhere, in another place or in a remembered past, and all we now carry within us is an image of this place. We may remember only elements or impressions of it: there may be certain objects, smells, a smile or expression, particular acts or occasions, a word, all of which come out in a manner that we cannot control or understand. Yet any of these elements or impressions makes us feel ‘‘at home’’ in a way that we cannot find in the physical space where we are now stuck. This is the problem of exile, of being displaced and yet capable of remembering the particularity of place: it is the state of being dislocated yet able to discern what it is that locates us. We have a great yearning, but we cannot fulfil it with anything but memory.

Peter King
Memory and Exile: Time and Place in Tarkovsky’s Mirror

Magic & Poetry

February 1, 2019

Because dreams do have something to do with magic, and I believe in magic as the main source of poetry. We create entire worlds in our dreams – full of people we’ve never seen, places we’ve never been to – that seem to echo and reverberate with worlds and memories that we’ve never experienced.

Orson Welles
This is Orson Welles

God?

January 27, 2019

Lady Claire: How do you know you’re God?

Jack Gurney: Simple. When I pray to Him, I find I am talking to myself.

Peter Barnes
The Ruling Class