More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2015 (3 to 13 September)
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Some propositions :
1. It is ‘possible’ that Peter Greenaway (‘PG’) spoke at some length, when introducing Eisenstein in Guanajuato (2015) ('EiG')
2. Possibly, at such length that the screening that followed EiG had to be delayed by around thirty minutes
3. The questioner (so called for reasons that one may guess at) (‘AJD’) could be known to the present writer (@THEAGENTAPSLEY)
4. It is conceivable that AJD may not have watched any significant part of EiG, other than, say, the last ten minutes (less significant, one might imagine, without the rest of it ?)
5. During the ensuing Q&A (hosted by Bill Lawrence (‘BL’ / @Billlawrence)), it might have seemed that PG was, again, talking at those who (with the possible exception of AJD) had just seen EiG - apparently simultaneously inciting, and condescending to, those who had chosen to be there by saying (in the manner of these propositions) that they might have seen his film The Draughtsman's Contract (1982) ?
6. Some might assert that, whereas PG could have seemed, just before AJD's engagement in the Q&A, to bait his audience for not embracing a revolutionary form of cinema that employed more than the field of view occupied by the screen¹, and for not doing more than sitting immobile in front of it, EiG itself was, even by PG’s unusual standards of - and approaches to - story-telling and marshalling of cinematic material, a largely conventional film
7. When, at around this point, BL noticed AJD’s hand raised, he could have interpreted it as someone who was rising to the invitation that he had put out for people to respond to PG’s directly challenging words to those there - as to whether the time for watching films in this way had passed, and they should be embracing the type of new cinema that PG was strenuously urging on them
8. AJD may well have apologized to BL, clarifying that he had not been intending to offer such a response, but, if so, simply wished to ask who would come to such a cinema (to which, perhaps, no one else added anything - even if that might not have implied tacit assent ?)
9. If so, well knowing where he was (some guests, being much in demand and often tired from travel, do not immediately recall the present location), PG indicated that, for that reason, he had expected more of the people there - this, maybe, in several minutes further of urging for his thesis ?
10. At this time, it is likely that AJD took the opportunity to put his substantive question to PG, probably :
Q1 If, as one suspects, you are having a conversation with Mark Cousins², in this film, what is the nature or content of that conversation ?
11. When he started, PG seemed to be replying, for he immediately agreed, and without reservation, that he was having a conversation with Mark Cousins : yet, since he apparently turned this locution into a list of people (including Borges³) with whom he was ‘having a conversation’, and (in a long answer) never went near the question again, AJD would rapidly have had to draw the conclusion that PG either chose not to address what had been put to him, or did not even comprehend the reason for being asked it²
12. Despite perhaps not having seen very much of EiG, would AJD not have been intrigued by this mention of Borges³, a writer whom AJD much respected, and would he have been able to resist testing whether there was any substance behind PG's mentioning Borges' name ? :
Q2 Since you mentioned Borges, are you willing to tell us in what way his work informs your film, and so how it should be part of our understanding of it ?
13. One could possibly reinterpret proposition 11 (above) to guess what answer anyone present derived, to this new enquiry, from what PG went on lengthily to assert - and whether AJD, renouncing the struggle⁴, collapsed in despair…
¹ PG repeatedly referred to a specific angle of view as that in front of the spectator : was it 110 degrees ? (If so, the residual angle, to make a complete rotation, is 250 degrees.)
² In 2012, Mark Cousins (@markcousinsfilm) had given a Q&A after his film What is This Film Called Love ? (2012), made by Cousins on the spur of the moment (and with the resources available) in homage to Sergei Eisenstein (and his time in Mexico), when unexpectedly in Mexico City for a few extra days.
³ Jorge Luis Borges (24 August 1899 to 14 June 1986) is an Argentinian author, poet, literary critic, editor, and translator. He writes in Spanish, and, from 1955 to 1973, served as Director of The National Library of The Argentine Republic (Biblioteca Nacional de la República Argentina).
⁴ A phrase that always brings Kafka much to mind : 'Beschreibung eines Kampfes' ('Description of a Struggle') was one of the few works published in his life-time (in Betrachtung (1912)).
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Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)