Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Tempo of Breathing While Sleeping

"His films are derived from personal dreams; from the poems, stories and myths of the Greeks; from the overlapping sensations of his thoughts and desires; from the configuration of the homosexual consciousness. They evolve in a time/space of image--image as symbol and as truth--reaching a strong degree of personal sensitivity in the form Markopoulos gives them. They recreate the tempo of breathing while sleeping, rhythmic and intensely delicate and invaded with a personal element. They use formal and precise gesture to evolve a structure of a trance-like density, uncompromisingly and unashamedly displaying themselves and the nakedness of being. A fragile, hypersensitive atmosphere is created.

"Markopoulos' use of driving rhythms, a poetic beat, gives his films an unusual presence. At the same time there is a subtle, yet limitless change in the rhythm, which is often overlaid with verbal synonyms, with symbols and visual metaphors. A pause is followed by a repeat, a swaying back and forth, but each time further out. In many ways the rhythm is like the phrases of a written poem, with the images making the counterpoint and balance and reiterated with the voice. The visual phrases are often accompanied by phrases composed of single frames as alternating image, such as A, B, A, B and so on, fluttering like a butterfly. Markopoulos has said that with Twice a Man he utilized a form of editing which contained everything that he had learned over a period of some twenty years; the inherent possibilities of classic editing according to groups of shots in various lengths. To this form he added a new form in w hich the idea of the classic shot-to-shot was applied to the film itself, i.e. a single film frame to another single film frame and its 'obvious inexhaustible architectural possibilities'. He realized for the first time 'that sense which is inherent in the lyricism of the independent, silent spaces.' A sensation of a pulsing in-and-out rhythm is created, but though Markopoulos uses such a strong and precise formality his imagery remains an esoteric abstraction of the self. What are the right words to describe this? A deep emotional attitude is endless portrayal, apparently within the confines of formality. This formality is related to the Greek model in which calm and solid outer strength allows the innder depth to be revealed. Yet it is not just in the architectural form, but in the mythological form that Markopoulos seeks his realizations. The human conflict, stylized by mythology, becomes associated with his own feelings, and the two combined are made into a film."

--Stephen Dwoskin on Gregory Markopoulos, Film Is... (Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 1975) pp.158-159

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