Thursday, November 16, 2006


The following picture is credited here as the oldest color photograph. 1872.

This is the 200th post on Elusive Lucidity. Some things I'd like to put here in the reasonably near future include thoughts on aliens, colonial adventurers, those who take up cameras as if they were guns, the longer processes of the 1970s black exploitation movie (deliberate emphasis on exploitation as a separate word), Modigliani, Soviet formalism, the Baroque, and more stray thoughts on corporeality. In between I still need to figure out just how to cope with things like
this, and the fact that I'm staying afloat in life while people in Palestine, Oaxaca, Iraq, and also even here at home are facing unspeakable hardship and brutality. We'll see how it all goes.


Matt said...

If only I could write one post that was half as thought provoking and well written as the two hundred you've given us so far, Zach. I look forward to your future posts immensely.

Zach Campbell said...

I'm blushing, Matt, but thanks--really. (I feel the EL post where I've really hit the nail most squarely on the head, though, is this one.)

Joel said...

Zach - please keep up the good and interesting work you do here. In regards to the above post, I'd rather see you write openly and honestly about what you are feeling than wring your hands every 201st post. You obviously understand that cinema=politics, so I wonder what you mean by writing about politics; in that as far as I can tell, you are already doing that.

As regards Malachi Ritscher - I moved to Chicago a year ago, knowing only one person here, and decided to enroll in a French course. Malachi was in my class; there were about 8 of us. I partnered with him to do the in-class exercises. I realize this is entirely irrelevant to what he did and probably not very interesting. But I wanted to write it, as at first, seeing the pictures of the man who had immolated himself, and not having thought of my acquaintance for nearly a year, I was shocked today to make the connection between the picture (not entirely a like-ness) and the name. Supposedly, they found either a video-tape or a video-camera next to his burnt body. I can't help but wonder if the response to his act would have been different, more widespread, had some photo or video been available to the press, as was the case with Thích Quang Duc.

jmac said...

Zach, have you ever thought of making a video? I think that you would be great at it! I just went to a seminar by Ken Jacobs, and he discussed how much his cinema is a creation against our government . . . And there is so much political discourse happening in experimental cinema right now, and there are many screening opportunities . . .

P.S. Ken Jacobs works in video now too!

HarryTuttle said...

This is a great menu for your upcoming reflections! I'm looking forward to these posts (most especially Soviet formalism, Modigliani and corporeality!).

And thanks for this view of France (Angoulème is the french "capital of comics" now). I didn't know about this photograph. Amazing.

Keep up the good work!

Zach Campbell said...

Joel, thanks for commenting--that's so interesting that you knew Ritscher, even if briefly. I read that "film critic" Richard Roeper (with heavy heart, no doubt) called the gesture a futile one in an editorial piece. Maybe self-immolation isn't the best way to die, I can't say, but harping on this man's death for its futility seems to be precisely the sort of reaction he was protesting. Is the gesture a futile one? That's up to us to decide, not Ritscher (who understood this perfectly)!

Jen, yes, I have thought about making a video, actually. I have a (by now old) video camera that shots on Hi-8 DV; I haven't touched it in probably two years. But I've been thinking lately of going out into my borough of Queens (specifically around Woodside/Jackson Hts, though that's not my neighborhood) and doing some shooting there. ("Documentary," I suppose?) Try to capture a bit of the color and the rush that occurs there late at night w/ all the commingling cultures of immigrants and their children. If it ever works out, this blog will document it!

Harry, thanks. Re: Modigliani, I may have mentioned in the video post here that I bought a VHS copy of Jacques Becker's Montparnasse 19--a rarely shown or discussed film, at least here in America. Do you know it? I'm looking forward to watching it greatly.

HarryTuttle said...

I haven't yet, but I've been on the look out. Modigliani is one of my favorite painters, and the recent Hollywood biopic was terrible.
Bazin wrote a review. He says it used to be Ophüls' project before he died, and that it's nothing like a Jacques Becker film... but is admirable nonetheless because he didn't make it the conventional "painter biopic" everyone expected.
I'm looking forward to your thoughts.

Andy Rector said...

Roeper is disgusting. He consistently wraps his steaming piles of "film criticism" with reactionary string as well. Ritscher's act was scarcely reported and I get the impression Roeper wouldn't have written about it if he wasn't allowed to put martyr in scare quotes, call the act "futile" right in the headline and toss in the last line: "But with all great respect, if he thought setting himself on fire and ending his life in Chicago would change anyone's mind about the war in Iraq (Roeper is seeing to that as he writes), his last gesture on this planet was his saddest and his most futile.". Roeper is speaking like he has a leg up on this man because he's alive! Too bad!