And I was calm. It was like a trance; I knew everything that was going to happen. I would walk over to the boy and I would see him and I would knowingly look into his tiny, beaten eyes, what was left of them that is, and I would caress his porcelain face, brush back his hair and hum to him. I did. And I ate a chicken parm. But it was on the menu, and chicken parms are never on the menu. So I ordered the chicken. And the. I devoured that chicken parm, it was as if I had never eaten anything ever before, and I just devoured it as this body slouched.
But I do remember I was parched and had just finished the bit left in my glass, so I stood up to refill it. But the floors were being cleaned, they were slick. And as I stepped, I slipped. And I hit my head. I remember it bounced against the floor, and then I was in a hospital bed.
Everything was very white and I was surrounded by the white and some flowers and a note from the deli apologizing and offering me chicken parms free for life. And I had this here headgear. Chicken parms. I think they were afraid I would sue. Could happen to anyone. It was a slip, no big deal. I was embarrassed, really.
She tried to speak but nothing came out. So she swallowed her words, coughed quietly to wet her throat, then vulnerably broke the pregnant silence. Anyone up for lunch? My treat! A Southern Rockhopper penguin, which was previously thought to be a completely monogamous animal, was found fornicating with an animal other than its life partner: an ostrich.
The penguin, assumed to be of the male sex, was spotted in the ostrich exhibit early in the morning on the ninth of November in the year Perry spoke into the camera with a loose tie and bleary eyes. Behind me is the site where Donnie, a seven-year-old Southern Rockhopper penguin who has been in captivity his entire life, was found. He could not take any more.
He threw the microphone down onto the dirty zoo ground and walked off the screen, shaking his fists in anger. She hopped in front of the camera and picked up the microphone. Clearly, she had no immunity to the emotions that had come with the apocalypse, as her mascara had nearly run down to her chin. Many viewers would later comment that she herself, in fact, resembled a penguin and that she should keep an eye out for the insatiable Donnie. Fortunately for Delilah, who was not much of a fan of having intercourse with animals on camera, Donnie was locked up in his cage, attempting to reconcile with his partner, a six-year-old Southern Rockhopper named Melanie.
After several minutes of gentle appeasing, the zookeeper was able to coax Melanie down the wall safely into the arms of her regretful husband.
A Warm Winter Fantasy Series
In states such as Michigan, North Carolina, and Florida, male Southern Rockhopper penguins could be found pursuing and typically achieving affairs with animals of different species. The trend only turned into a crisis, however, when other presumably monogamous species joined the. Beavers soon forgot about their devotion to their children, leaving their established lodges and dams to seek out what else their lives had to offer.
After several reports of bald eagles attempting to mate with Florida beachgoers, the majestic bird was replaced by the buffalo as the national animal of the United States. The bald eagle also lost its claim as the. As I creep closer, I realize this is a graveyard itself. I approach the nearest headstone.
Each one has an epitaph. I look at the next one. Literally, what the heck? A few rows back, I see an image that looks unusual. Are those… shoes? Full of bananas AND creamed bananas. Suddenly, I hear the leaves rustle. Ohshitohshitohshit, I think. I gotta get outta here. The sound is coming from near the entrance gate.
Dead meat. A goner. I look around desperately. Thankfully, the fence surrounding the graveyard is relatively low. I make a run for it, and trip over a headstone. I look at the gate. Peering closer, I realize what I thought were cherry pieces are in fact chunks of flesh. Jerry just nods his head. Winter If you are interested in joining their fight, please contact at gargmail umich. I understand that this fact may be a bit unsettling to those who recognize this magazine and its staff as the pinnacle of perfection, but you must keep in mind, we are mostly human.
Here are a few of our favorite failures to help you feel better about your shitty day:. Fezzes: As Americans, reclaiming that which never belonged to us in the first place is an essential part of our culture, which is why Garg members tried to make the fez a fashion staple in early The trend quickly gained momentum across campus, but was banned by University administration before it could catch on elsewhere.
Apparently, some people are still salty about the Cold War. We believe we may be entitled to some royalties. Shame on them! Willanaynay was not one to treat his patients with much respect, and Herbie was a man whose feelings were easily hurt. Nothing seems to work against the hepatitis for long. So that you could tell me.
You got a printer at home? And then take another pen and stick it up your bumpkin for good measure. You got any other issues you want me to take care of? Things that you could probably do yourself? Spit it out. A smiley for no pain and crying for lots of pain. Now, for depression, we got a similar chart. I got it right here actually.
Now, can you tell me where on the chart you think you fit? My favorite colleague wrote that! What a guy! I like to take a deep, deep, breath. Like this. Feel better? You should sign up for my deep breathing class. We meet every Sunday from six to eight. For a class on how to learn how to breathe?! The class is seven weeks long and fifty bucks for each session. You can take this chart if you want to. Connect it to our special app to let a nice long distance Jewish boy control it.
The long lasting rechargeable battery will provide you with more than 40 days and 40 nights of pleasure. Yad attachment sold separately. I last came here to cover the tailgating scene in November , following a series of viral videos in which Buffalo Bills fans had gotten into gratuitously violent or sexual altercations following the constant consumption of alcohol since 9 am.
They seemed like my kind of people. I wanted to learn more about them. I came here a second time in August to meet with a person I had met during my first visit. His name was Samuel Smithson. In , I had witnessed him flash his genitals at a stadium security guard following a win over the Cleveland Browns. The security guard. He seemed like the kind of guy who would buy an RV. Hey, you know what these are? He was taken to a local police department and made to spend the night in jail. Before he was taken away, I managed to get his phone number. I saw a bit of myself in him.
I called him to finish some interviews, he put me on his christmas card list, and we stayed in touch for a few months. This seemed like the way people who attend football. I do freelance work. And no offense, but I might have a hard time selling this story to anybody. The agents of a repressive government locked me up in jail overnight because I was expressing my deeply-held beliefs. The first amendment of the constitution clearly states that citizens like you and I can express ourselves however we please.
If burning an effigy of Ronald Reagan is speech, so is showing some rent-a-cops my manhood. I can get you credentials to the Western New York libertarian convention in August. I stepped out of my car in the New Era Field parking lot. The Western New York Libertarian convention was located in a nearby Holiday Inn in downtown Buffalo, but the parking was more expensive directly at the hotel. As I entered the convention center, I was overwhelmed with smell of hot pretzels. Every fifth booth was a pretzel stand.
Western New York Libertarian Convention for two hours and forty-five minutes, but it felt like a century. It was more like a trade convention than a political event. In response to American film, he promoted not only an explicit political content, but a political form and an alternative to the conventions of continuity begun by Griffith and advancing through the twenties. Against the pretenses of illusory realism—the form that hides itself so that content may appear to emerge effortlessly and without mediation—Eisenstein held out the possibility of a realism of the cinema itself, which spoke clearly in its own voice, not hiding its means, but using them to manifest and clarify political and social realities, transposing them into the dynamism of the image.
It is simply the function of a certain form of social structure. Against this attempt Eisenstein, and other major figures outside America and a few inside , fought. Few postwar filmmakers did. His intrusive style, his insistence that the shot—the single unit of a recorded image—is only the raw material to be manipulated into the montage construction, went against their desire to use film as a disengaged observer of social existence.
But if they did not explicitly recognize his importance to their own work, it is there nonetheless. Yet it is an important precursor. The shots made by Eisenstein and his cinematographer, Edward Tisse, though always put to the service of the larger montage structure, are carefully constructed and composed, dynamically calibrated reinventions of historical events—or events that should have occurred in history.
Even in Ivan the Terrible , which reflects an expressionist influence, the images are at the service of history. But expressionism denied history, at least the history of external human events, and created instead closed and distorted images of psychological states. The expressionist image. The Cabinet of Dr. But the dependence upon the image in all three forms an important link. When one thinks of an expressionist film, one recalls a background or more accurately a backdrop , the shape of a window painted on a wall or a frozen gesture. Expressionist film was the cinema of the designer; in it the formal organization of strained lines and figures is of predominating interest.
It ran counter to all the other cinematic movements of the time. Even the French avant-garde of the twenties, who borrowed from expressionism, still based their images very much on the possibility of things actually seen. The images of expressionist film have little effect apart from themselves, apart from the fascination of the image itself.
Expressionism was a short-circuited form, and as such has been reviled by most critics and filmmakers of a realist bent. Smith Goes to Washington , or for rather effective special effects as in the earthquake sequence of San Francisco.
Ellen Datlow. The Best Horror of the Year – Volume One
Expressionism, on the other hand, had an effect on the Hollywood style. Its major directors were brought to America, and their style influenced the Universal horror films of the thirties and was taken up by Orson Welles in Citizen Kane, which in turn influenced forties film noir, which in its turn influenced the New Wave filmmakers. When the German cinema was revitalized in the seventies, expressionism became more than an influence; it emerged as a problematic. Rainer Werner Fassbinder understood the expressionist urge. However, Fassbinder, like his contemporary Wim Wenders, may have gotten his expressionist tendencies as much from American film noir as from his own cinematic tradition.
The reactions to the Griffith tradition examined so far all came from outside the United States, but the approach to cinema he fostered did not go uncontested in America. The most predominant was a fantasy, late-nineteenthcentury Middle Europe, a place of aristocratic decadence, the diabolical corner of the operetta kingdom—the dark capital of Ruritania, where noblemen drank blood and crippled girls were forced into marriage by pitiless fathers engaged in whorehouse orgies, and murdered bodies were deposited in sewers.
Cruelty takes the place of virtue, squalid death the place of rescued honor, perversity wins out over innocent passion. Its world is contemporary, its characters working class, its physical detail built out of locations as well as sets. The tenements, offices, bars, amusement parks they inhabit reflect their economic and social status as well as their diminished spirits. The inhabitants of Greed are among the meanest and most brutal in cinema, American or European, up to that time.
They are perverse and obsessed, murderous in the extreme. The final shootout between the two male characters handcuffed together in the middle of Death Valley presents images grim in their expression of a willed, unsentimental destruction. In his films reality lays itself bare like a suspect confessing under the relentless examination of the commissioner of police. He has one simple rule for direction. Take a close look at the world, keep on doing so, and in the end it will lay bare for you all its cruelty and its ugliness.
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One could easily imagine Like von Stroheim in Greed , they are attracted to working-class characters, though they come to these with a compassion von Stroheim would scorn. He was the first major figure to suffer from the growth of filmmaking into a heavy industry, with the capital-conservation, maximum-profit, minimum-expenditure mentality that goes with such growth. Von Stroheim was fired from both Universal Studios and MGM for his obsession with detail and his profligacy with time and money.
Greed was originally forty-seven reels long. Von Stroheim himself cut it almost in half; then Goldwyn Studios, at the point of the merger which would create MGM, had it cut to ten reels, the only form in which it is available, the rest having presumably been destroyed. The few films he was able to direct after that were almost all re-cut by their studios. He was too slow, too meticulous, too arrogant for the line. The neorealists reacted as strongly against the methods of American film production as against the form and content of the films those methods produced.
In turning away from studios to location shooting with non-professional players they joined economic necessity and aesthetic desire in an attack against the complex of events that made it difficult for a filmmaker like van Stroheim to work. And so his career had a double influence. Both what he did in his films and what was done to him and his films by the studios gave future filmmakers much to consider. His career reflects the political, economic, and aesthetic shifts that have occurred in cinema over a great period of time—almost its entire history, from the silent era to the late sixties.
The other movements and figures we have been observing are limited in comparison. His use of camera movement and cutting creates a scope of activity, an interplay of face, gesture, and landscape that invite connection and enlargement. Bazin writes:. It is the very opposite of a frame. The screen is a mask whose function is no less to hide reality than it is to reveal it.
The significance of what the camera discloses is relative to what it leaves hidden. But this invisible witness is inevitably made to wear blinders; its ideal ubiquity is restrained by framing, just as tyranny is often restrained by assassination. In his use of deep focus, his persistent but gentle panning and tracking, the respect he shows to the spaces his camera organizes and to our orientation as spectators within those spaces, he indicates always an awareness of more.
In his films of the thirties there is always something beyond what is immediately before the camera. But what is beyond is not a fearful otherness, but a with ness, a continuation and an expansion. Von Stroheim locked in on the details of sordidness. The expressionists denied an expansion into the world by ignoring it. For them reality was the space created within the frame; if not a stage space, certainly a staged one. Eisenstein was open to the realities of history, but his montage encouraged the viewer to create an intellectual, historically relevant space from the dialectical images juxtaposed on the screen.
He provided the material and its initial structure; the viewer completed the design. The elegiac attitude toward class structure in The Grand Illusion, the open embrace of the multitude of political and social perspectives in The Rules of the Game, do create problems of ascertaining point of view. But there is no uncertainty about the fact that Renoir introduces the important elements of trust and respect into his cinema. He is a director of movement and attitude, of characters who work through and are affected by historical as well as personal change.
Renoir moved away from the rigid and determining structures of the figures and schools that preceded and surrounded him and replaced them with observed emergences of characters and situations that are fluid and changing. The closest formal analogy to The Rules of the Game is a symphony. As in a complex work of music, the inhabitants and events of this film work by statement and variation, through themes and characters taking dominant and recessive positions, through the crossing and recrossing of lines of movements.
It is no accident that Octave is a wouldbe orchestra conductor. Unlike music, of course, these movements are created by human figures acting with and reacting to each other in a precise narrative pattern. But in orchestrating their movements and actions rather than setting them on a trajectory within a predetermined space, Renoir is able to create an illusion of multiplicity and interdependence. The movements of the participants in the rabbit hunt, the interpenetration of servants and masters during the ball, the seemingly spontaneous series of decisions and mistaken identities that lead to the shooting of Jurieu, mark out a pattern of social imbalance, collapsing order, and characterological weakness that grows from no fixed point, but instead a number of points, moving, converging, departing.
The Rules of the Game is a rich film; Renoir made no other as rich. Yet all of his best work creates to some extent this flow of chance and counter-chance and shares a generous visual and narrative field with the viewer. Truffaut attempted to emulate him most directly, while Godard took his openness of form to its limits.
All the major filmmakers of the sixties shared to some degree the respect Renoir had for his viewer. Although, as Raymond Durgnat points out, the subject of Toni is romantic passion and the crime passionnel , Renoir smuggles it through a quasiobjective study of working-class life in the manner the neorealists were to favor. The film is about a migrant worker in France, whose barren life in a quarry is mitigated by opportunities for love, ruined and here Renoir cannot escape from thirties stereotypes by a fickle woman. But more important than the story of the film is its treatment.
Twenty years after making Toni, Renoir himself spoke about it in the language of a neorealist:. Good photography At the time of Toni The same thing for the sets. There is no studio used in Toni. The landscapes, the houses are those we found. The human beings, whether interpreted by professional actors or the inhabitants of Martigues, tried to resemble people in the street No stone was left unturned to make our work as close as possible to a documentary.
Our ambition was that the public would be able to imagine that an invisible camera had filmed the phases of a conflict without the characters unconsciously swept along by it being aware of its presence. It contains no preconceived thesis, because ideas are born in the film from the subject. It has no affinity with the superfluous and the merely spectacular, which it refuses, but is attracted to the concrete. Nevertheless neorealism lies as a possibility in his work, as it does in expressionism and Kammerspiel , in Eisenstein, and even in the dominant melodramatic forms of American cinema.
For in cinema, as in any art, the creation of any one form predicates the possibility of a response to that form. The neorealists wanted the image to deal so closely with the social realities of postwar Italy that it would throw off all the encumbrances of stylistic and contextual preconception and face that world as if without mediation. An impossible desire, but in it lay the potential for yet other assaults on cinema history, another modification of the role of filmmaker and spectator.
I have noted some of its basic elements—location shooting, poor working-class subjects played by non-professionals, use of the environment to define those subjects, an attitude of unmediated observation of events—and have examined some movements in cinema that preceded it. But something was needed to bring those various elements and the responses to earlier movements together, and that immediate cause was the end of World War II and the defeat of fascism. Only once before had a major historical event created a new cinema—when Eisenstein, Dziga Vertov, and their colleagues responded to the Russian Revolution with cinematic languages that spoke of changed perceptions of individual and social life.
The end of the war in Italy did not signal major change, only devastation; years of repression were ended and an occupied country was suddenly on its own, free to look at itself and its past. The left and liberal sectors shifted their attention from the bourgeoisie and attempted to come to terms with the social and cultural conditions of those suffering most after the war. With the right momentarily in retreat and the center beginning to form, something of a Marxist position was able briefly to take hold. In film, that position was made manifest in the choice of the working class as subject and expressed formally in a desire to observe representatives of that class in day-to-day activities of survival without, as Rossellini says, the interference of the superfluous and the spectacular.
Perhaps even without melodrama. At such a time misery could no more be embellished than it could be ignored. The poverty and neglect were real, and the ideology responsible for them was no longer operating to negate its responsibility and to transpose reality into a mockery of itself. Fascism is essentially a politics of melodrama and spectacle. In its political shows, its emotional excess, demand for sacrifice, and apotheosis of death as the most noble act of the hero, it manipulates emotion toward predetermined ends.
The neorealists wanted no ends predetermined; not even means. They wanted to observe the postwar world freed of the mediations and diversions that had helped create the war in the first place, and felt that if they allowed the movie camera to gaze at the world without interference, the lives of the poor would reveal themselves and their stories would grow from the simple act of observation. Some neorealist theory called for doing away with anything that might interfere with the raw material of raw life—even narrative itself. Morlion, wrote:.
He is not eager to obtain effects through sensational editing in the manner of Eisenstein and Orson Welles. His goals are different: humble cinematography, seemingly unoriginal editing, simplicity in his choice of shots and his use of plastic material [the visual design of the film]: all go to give his interior vision substance The Italian neorealist school is based on a single thesis diametrically opposed to that thesis which regards the cinema only in terms of lighting effects, words, and purely imaginary situalions.
The neorealists theorized a Reconstruction of all the formative elements of film and of the tensions between form and content that might manipulate the subject of the film or the spectator. No more actors, no more story, no more sets, which is to say that in the perfect aesthetic illusion of reality there is no more cinema.
End of Cinema. But to the Italian intellectuals of the time, and to Bazin in France who saw in their ideas not only a vindication of his own theories but a way to revitalize all of cinema, overstatement was necessary. It is the tradition of aesthetic manifestos to declare the death of the forms they challenge and to claim they begin the art anew. If film was to become a tool, a way of getting at the lives of people whose lives never were the subject of cinema; if film was to be an eye, a way of looking at a world rarely seen clearly in cinema, then all the methods film had used to evade observation of this world had to be eschewed.
Not merely must the white telephones go, and the entire class those telephones signified, but also the cinematic constructions that perpetuated their irrelevance must be repudiated. The neorealists would return to zero another call repeated by Godard. For the first time an image of the world is formed automatically, without the creative intervention of man. But its theoretical impact was enormous. Both Bazin and the neorealists were looking at the cinematic medium as just that, a medium, a means of getting to the world and getting the world to us without intervening in it.
The neorealists believed that the cinematic image could be depended upon to reveal the world seen by the filmmaker if the filmmaker merely looked and kept his counsel, interfered as little as possible. These are in a sense the centrifugal properties of the images—those which make the narrative possible. Each image being on its own just a fragment of reality existing before any meanings, the entire surface of the scene should manifest an equally concrete density.
For Eisenstein the shot is only valuable in relation to the montage. Neither Bazin nor the neorealists regarded the image as being in service to a larger montage structure. And in practice, the neorealist film does not draw attention to its cutting. While not quite in the Hollywood zero-degree style, its editing is invisible, as Morlion said it must be. Rossellini and De Sica in particular cut mainly to reposition the gaze, center it on the major event in the sequence or the major participants in a dialogue.
Their cutting rarely adds information, but is functional in the very best sense, guiding our concentration without manipulating it. Closeups and point-of-view shots in which we see the character and what the character sees are used sparingly, and whenever possible the environment figures as strongly as the individuals within it.
The image generates all the meaning it can; commentary is inside it. Ricci, the central character, is in his first morning on his new job, pasting up posters on walls. A co-worker is showing him how to do it. With significant irony, they are putting up a poster of Rita Hayworth—a premier sign of forties Hollywood with all the connotations of glamor, artificiality, and contrivance that De Sica was attempting to abjure. The sequence begins with the camera to the left of the characters, at a diagonal to them and the wall on which the poster is going up neorealist characters, as I noted earlier, are always observed by walls, the urban boundaries of their lives.
The shot is framed by two ladders. De Sica then cuts unobtrusively to a more distant shot from the other side, again diagonal to the characters and the wall. The camera is far enough from them so that we can see two little boys on the street whom we had barely glimpsed previously , beggars, one of whom is playing an accordion.
As the boy walks away, another man walks into the frame from screen right, moving down the diagonal in front of the men at their work. He is well dressed, a tidy middle-aged bourgeois with a pipe. As he walks along the wall, the boys walk after him, and the camera, as if taking a casual interest in this event, pans away from Ricci and his colleague to follow the man with the two children in calm pursuit.
It merely pans away from its central concern to observe this seemingly peripheral event. The accordion player plays. The well-to-do man ignores the boy, who turns and walks back to his friend. At this point there is a cut back to Ricci and his co-worker, who continues his instructions, the shot framing them in basically the same diagonal position as before. The two men then get on their bikes and the camera pans with Ricci as he heads off on his own, passing the two boys on the sidewalk. Ricci pastes up the Rita Hayworth poster. Here, we might term the sequence milieu gathering, the expansion from direct concentration on the central character to his immediate world.
As observer, the camera attempts to be nonjudgmental and non-provocative as well. Its movements do not provoke us or confront the characters, do not lead us on or compromise them through a prearranged strategy, a reframing meant to excite expectation or anxiety. We are asked only to share an interest in the commonplaces of this particular world, which become less common by the simple and unexpected attention given them. Ricci and Bruno walk the streets. Anxiety is created when Ricci—and we—think Bruno may have drowned, and when father and son discover the thief and are surrounded by the people in his neighborhood.
De Sica even indulges in a commentative montage. During their search, Ricci and Bruno stop at a restaurant. Nor is the digression with the street urchins entirely innocent of narrative import and emotional preparation. The beggars foreshadow his later situation, bicycle stolen, himself almost turned thief in desperation, walking the streets hopelessly. Certainly not as great as, for example, Godard in Sauve qui peut La Vie Every Man for Himself , where he pans or cuts from a central narrative event to anonymous people on the street.
But this is not yet the moment for criticism. Godard could indulge in radical dislocations of attention precisely because De Sica had pointed the way. As I indicated, neorealism was a delicate concatenation of theory and practice, and at this point I am more interested in ways in which the theory was successfully realized than in how it was compromised. The images have become reality, not seen with lucid detachment as in a mirror, but grasped in their actuality and very substance.
The formal presence of the filmmakers has dissolved in that reality. The Hollywood style of the thirties did not concentrate on the image, but on the way the image could present stock characters in excessive situations, knitting these images into a smooth continuity that made up the narrative.
The neorealists did not defy continuity, but neither did they sacrifice the image to it. They allowed the image to create a world, casually, and with as little embellishment as possible. Rossellini tries to restrain the image, holding it to the observation of poor people doing heroic things—resisting and fighting the Nazi occupation—rather than making them appear heroic. The heroism emerges from their acts and their deaths. No comment is made upon it because no comment is needed. This is what neorealism discovered and what was passed on to the next generation.
There is an admiration of these people and their struggle which does not make them more than they are; perhaps just what they are. Visconti is not dealing in the exaggerations of early socialist realism, the poster nobility of workers and peasants, but with a class of people in a particular geographical area Sicily to whom attention needed to be paid. The documentary urge inherent in much of the neorealist aesthetic also leads him a step further; the rich images are accompanied by a voice-over commentary which, even though it often merely repeats or sums up what we have already seen or will soon see, also attempts to provide an extra objective perspective, a concerned voice to match the concerned eye that forms the images.
But some contradictions begin to emerge. Within this documentary impulse, almost contrary to it, there is a desire to go beyond creation of an illusion of unmediated reality. Visconti will not drop all aesthetic pretense. He observes his world, coaxes it into being, frames and composes it, regards it in the light of his own admiration and compassion, honors it, and finally monumentalizes it. There are images in the film that call for an aesthetic response, an appreciation of the way they are lit and composed.
And the manipulation of the narrative, like that of the images, is designed to move us in particular ways. The outstanding fact about the movement is that they were committed to making fiction films, not documentaries, despite the impulse toward documentary in their theory and occasionally in their practice. The subjective urge was always present, and finally recognized. There was nothing for the postwar Italians to chronicle with documentary. There was no revolution and they did not find lyricism in work or sponsorship by government and business to create such lyricism as Grierson and his followers had.
Instead they chose to dramatize and give structure to postwar events and to a class of people rarely considered worthy of narrative in the cinema. They invented characters, but allowed them to be played by individuals who were close to those characters in their own lives. They told a story but at the same time attenuated it, subordinating conventional continuity and character development to the observation of detail.
Seeing an image of life itself is a dramatic event; it need not be manipulated into something greater than itself. The neorealists sought a form that would attenuate the structures of fantasy in traditional film. The spectator would be offered small, unelaborated images built from the lives of a certain class of people at a certain moment and in a certain place. The film integrates at least three approaches: it is a quasi-newsreel documenting the movement of American troops from Sicily northward to the Po; within this historical structure it presents six episodes, in specific geographical locations, sketching small dramas occurring between the soldiers and Resistance fighters and the people; and within these episodes it reveals, tersely and without embellishment, some attitudes, agonies, defeats, and victories, military and personal, that resulted from the deprivation of war and two foreign invasions, German and American.
In the Naples episode a black American MP meets a small boy, another of those street beggars who populate the neorealist universe. The episode is built out of a series of small ironies and understandings. When they first meet, at a street fair complete with fireeater, the soldier is drunk, and a group of young children try to rob him. The boy follows the soldier and the two of them visit a puppet show, which depicts the white crusader Orlando battling a Moor. The black American liberator watches a display of ancient racism and in his drunkenness attacks the white puppet.
The boy leads him away through the ruined streets to a rubble heap where the two sit. The image fades to black. The soldier comes to a quiet understanding of the poverty that makes thievery an ordinary childhood activity. He does not take the shoes offered him by the little boy which are not the ones he stole from him anyway and simply leaves. Swelling music provides the only punctuation. Rossellini need only suggest the horror that often proceeds from understanding, or, in more precise neorealist terms, permit revelation to occur through observation.
He need not expand on these self-contained and self-expressive images: the poor children in primitive conditions who must steal to live; the black American soldier, hero, drunkard, understanding the poverty, unable to have any effect on it. Recognition passes in the exchange of glances within the film and across the film to the audience, who are then left between the look of the child and the soldier in the distant jeep.
Some are a bit more melodramatic, such as the Roman episode, about an American soldier who spends the night with a prostitute he does not recognize as the woman he once loved. Or the Florence episode, in which an American nurse seeks her Partisan lover, only to discover he has been killed.
But even here the personal drama is undercut by that essential neorealist wonder at things observed. Again, Rossellini is most concerned with the way this piece of history looks, and the Florence episode is constructed primarily of scenes of the nurse moving through the streets of an open city. The visit of a group of American chaplains—a Catholic, a Protestant, and a Jew—to a Franciscan monastery would ordinarily threaten certainly in an American film either a great deal of cuteness, choking sanctimoniousness, or a lesson in the virtues of brotherhood.
But again, Rossellini refuses to extend significance or commentary beyond the demands of the moment. The Americans wonder at the age of the monastery and offer the friars cigarettes and chocolate, as well as more substantial provisions. The friars in return show hospitality and, among themselves, great consternation over the fact that one of the chaplains is Jewish and another Protestant. When the friars confront the Catholic chaplain with their concern over the souls of the Jew and the Protestant, he quietly acknowledges it without sharing it.
It is just at this point that our expectations are denied. Our training in Hollywood melodrama would lead us to expect the chaplain to give a fulsome defense of his colleagues and a plea for understanding. I want to talk to you. Again, this is not the Hollywood style of invisible form; we are quite conscious of the effect of withholding and foreshortening. Artifice is present, recognized, and self-effacing simultaneously. As viewers, we are aware of the restraint and its results, a continuous blocking of our desire for conclusiveness, for emotional statement, for closure.
Paisan is a difficult film to evaluate fully. The acting—which is hardly acting at all in a conventional sense—is erratic and so against our expectations of professional performance that it appears amateurish. The cutting, even more than in other neorealist films, is perfectly functional, getting the narrative from here to there in the swiftest way possible. The structure of the episodes is so truncated that it produces an off-handedness that elevates incompleteness to the status of a structural necessity.
But the attenuation and lack of climax is thematic as well as structural. The history covered by the film goes just up to the complete liberation of the country and does not even permit a final satisfaction from that event. The last episode concerns the joining of American and Allied soldiers with Italian Partisans against the Germans in the Po Valley during the last weeks of the war.
The episode ends with Germans shooting their captives on a boat, the bodies falling one after the other into the river. In between these events is a chronicle of terrors: the liberation army surrounded by Germans on the Po marshes, peasants attempting to gather eels for food, a weeping child on the river bank, a Partisan shooting himself in his despair.
Within the war film genre, this episode negates completely the conventions of individual heroism and substitutes a barely cohesive group struggle that is itself apparently hopeless. It is bearable only because we know that the Allies and the Partisans did win. A few weeks later spring came to Italy and the war was declared over. Or more accurately, in neorealist terms, it comes to represent itself, its images self-sufficient in their historical validity, demanding of us nothing more than an immediate comprehension of them.
But when I say that Paisan or any other neorealist film comes to represent itself, I am not suggesting that it is a self-referential form. The creation of a film narrative that comes to signify mainly the creation of a film narrative was the work of the modernist movement that followed neorealism and was made possible by it. SU: What advice do you have for beginning writers who are struggling through the first draft of a science fiction novel?
Autres titres intéressants
LCT: Finish your shit. And it will feel like shit. Then, take a break. Either way, you cannot submit something that is incomplete. And it is only once a draft is complete that you can get a sense for how to revise. If nothing else, remember there are no shortcuts and try to enjoy the journey along the way.
SU: Do you have any readings or signings coming up? Where can readers find you? Teffeau was born and raised on the East Coast, educated in the South, employed in the Midwest, and now lives and dreams in the Southwest. When she was younger, she poked around in the back of wardrobes, tried to walk through mirrors, and always kept an eye out for secret passages, fairy rings, and messages from aliens.
She was disappointed. Now, she writes to cope with her ordinary existence. Follow her on Twitter , Goodreads , Amazon. I called this my "solarpunk Don Quixote " story while I was writing early drafts, though I don't know if it's actually the best example of solarpunk, and the homage to The War of the Worlds is probably more obvious than the Don Quixote connection. The story is ambiguously hopeful, and part of the plot revolves around a solar-powered electric car and a wind farm.
There isn't an overt environmental theme, though maybe there are some metaphorical ones. It's not really the focus though, so much as the relationship between these two characters, and living with the aftermath of trauma. I'm proud of this story, but I've been nervous about sharing it. The narrator has chronic pain, which is something I struggle with too, but rarely ever talk about, which makes this story feel a little more personal than most. I also used a trope you're not really supposed to use. I knew it, and I did it anyway, and while I tried to handle it with nuance and awareness, my intentions don't matter as much as how it is received.
Below are some images from my Pinterest board for the story, with a few quotes from the story. Below that is a longer excerpt. See the whole Pinterest board here: www. You can read it online, or you can download a free ebook directly from their website. Find the story here: giganotosaurus.
Marian Womack was one of the amazing authors I had the privilege of spending six weeks with at the Clarion Fantasy and Science Fiction Writers Workshop in I first met her about a month before Clarion started, while my husband and I were visiting Spain. It was great to get off the regular tourist routes in Madrid, and also to get to know one of my classmates a bit better before the craziness of Clarion began. During the workshop, I was always impressed with her lush prose and gothic-influenced style, and I was thrilled to hear that a couple of her Clarion stories would be published in a collection—after making the rounds at places like Apex , Weird Fiction Review , and Year's Best Weird Fiction , of course.
Just look at this gorgeous cover:. Marian's stories can often be considered climate fiction or eco-weird, and I think this cover perfectly captures the beauty and strangeness you'll find inside. I asked Marian to talk about her path to publication and her experience at the Clarion Workshop.
Marian Womack: I was finding it a bit difficult to find venues where my writing could be a good fit. But I was also getting a bit overwhelmed with the vast amount of possibility out there. I am very fortunate that the reviews of the book so far have noticed and appreciated this.
SU: What advice do you have for young writers who are struggling to get their first short stories published? You need to do that, you need to find the strength to invest hours and months and years in your writing without knowing if it will ever be read by others. Keeping that faith is paramount. We all go through periods of self-doubt, but it is important not to give up. Are the stories you've written in Spanish different in tone or theme than the stories you've written in English? MW: This is an interesting question.
In a way, that is partly the reason why I write weird and uncanny fiction.
I spent many of my formative years in the UK, and that made me cultivate a sense of the strangeness in the world around me. I was, and still am in a way—depending on the circumstances—looked upon as an outsider. That sense of never really having fitted has been invaluable in helping me find the stories I want to tell. After so many years away from my native Andalusia, I also feel disconnected in some ways from the everyday when I am back there.
I have written and published many stories in Spanish, and I have also published two full-length books. I always took it as a compliment! I had been brought up on Dickens and Emily Bronte, long before I read Cervantes or Borges, so it made absolute perfect sense to me. Ann and Jeff VanderMeer in class, with silly hats on, making us feel more confident about our writing.
The sense of being in a family, of having found a family, of like-minded people. SU: How many stories did you write at Clarion, and what became of them? MW: I was very productive, I think. I wrote five stories in total and a couple of flash fictions. Two of the stories were published shortly afterwards in Apex and Weird Fiction Review , and are reprinted in this collection.
Another was published in the anthology EcoPunk! I am very fond of that story, very humbled that two of my favorite Clarion classmates, Nino Cipri and Kristen Rupenian, wrote fanfics based on it… SU: Do you have any readings or signings coming up? Where can readers find you, online or off? MW: I am a tentative and introverted user of twitter, where I am beekeepermadrid. And my webpage is marianwomack. I try to keep the links up-to-date, but it is hard sometimes with a full-time job, a young family and two very demanding cats!
And I hope there will be some more readings in the near future. I am planning to travel to the US next year, fulfilling a long-held dream of attending ReaderCon at last. Who knows? Perhaps I will manage to do something while I am in the US as well. I am a very shy person, but I have never had problems reading my work. It is such a privilege to share your writing with others in real time, such a gift.
After so many hours toiling on your own, sharing your writing and getting to know your readers is the nicest reward possible. I can only hope this will happen with Lost Objects. Marian Womack is a bilingual writer. Other research interest are narrative theory, genre publishing and translation.
Speculative Tales of Radical Futures. Lost Objects , a collection of tales about ghosts, loss and landscape, is now available from Luna Press Publishing. Claudie Arseneault was actually the first person to introduce me to the term solarpunk a genre I've been rambling non-stop about ever since , through the call for submissions to her solarpunk dragons anthology Wings of Renewal.
I've been following her career ever since, and it turns out she's just an all-around good person and awesome writer whom I'm glad to have encountered. Today, I've invited Claudie onto my blog to talk about her new fantasy novel Baker Thief. Here's what the book is about:. These stories were near impossible to find they still are hard, but it got better , and I felt drawn to them. I also… jumped in with as much French as I wanted to, and to have my language in there quickly became incredibly meaningful and important to me. It took me quite a few drafts to get the ending right, then it made the typical rounds of dev editing through writer friends, sensitivity readers, beta readers, and copyediting.
I started the first draft in February , and here we are, about a year and a half later. Do you write at a certain time of day, have word count goals, a particular playlist you listen to, etc.? As a writer, I do a lot better if my progress is constant. My full-time job makes this rather difficult, however, which means that I will write whenever I can.
At least half of Baker Thief has been written on my cellphone during transit, and a good chunk of the other half was over my lunch break. Most of my previous novels were written and edited on a background of Mumford and Sons. It felt right to listen to local music for a WIP that drew so intensely from my roots. What advice do you have for young writers who are struggling through the first draft of a fantasy novel?
Get to the end.