It’s never too late to write an entry. It’s never too late to see a classic.
This week the wonderful Theatiner Kino in Munich is showing original 35mm prints of famous European filmmakers from the 60’s and 70’s. A time when cinema was cinema and films were an art form. Not to say that entertainment isn’t an art form in itself, but where thought was necessary. Today thought is unnecessary most of the time. Yesterday we saw Les Mépris with the beautiful Brigitte Bardot and Fritz Lang playing himself in it. I hadn’t seen this particular Godard film in a long time and even though I’m not admittedly a huge fanatic, it’s an absolute must. I had never seen Contempt on the big screens and now in the middle of our digital revolution, who knows how many film theaters will be able to physically screen films… 35mm, 16mm…, you know celluloid, so we jumped at the opportunity.
Le Mépris (Contempt) is a mixture of reflections. On the state of cinema, on art, on human relationships, on the usage of space, even on Homer. Not much has changed since 1963. Cinema is still dying, money is still killing art and the question of how to sell nudity “artistically” is still discussed, though we have lost all shame. I wonder what the screenplay looked liked so I found it online. It’s very little show and tell. It’s a lot of tell. A funny combination for a Carlo Ponti production, meant to be a commercial success. It’s what you get with great filmmakers. When they say they have a vision for the words on paper, they really have a vision. It’s a wonderful film that requires thought. A rarity nowadays. I think I mentioned that already, but I have to. I felt completely different after I saw the film. Like I was sitting in the Sorbonne reading Saussure and Bakhtin. Not that I don’t enjoy being purely entertained, because I enjoy it very much, I also enjoy writing entertainment, but one doesn’t nourish the soul from forgetting one’s own miser existence. One nourishes the soul with confronting one’s miser existence. It’s important to read classics for a reason. To watch great films of the past for a reason. To familiarize oneself with the richness that humanity has put forth from the beginning of times, for a reason.
It nourishes our minds and our souls. It show that our struggles aren’t our owns. We share the pain, the laughter and the dreams with those who lived hundreds of years before us, or in this case brought to the screen 50 years earlier, and it brings us somehow together. Art forms bring people together. The same comment on the state of cinema offered by Godard, sounds much like the recent Soderbergh speech on the state of cinema, which will in turn be exactly like the interview of some celebrated director 50 years from now.
It’s never to late to discover classics and nourish yourself with them. Be it music, films, literature or theater. It might however be too late to see films in their original prints, so don’t miss out if the opportunity ever swings your way.
It does the body (+ mind) good. Like milk, if you aren’t lactose intolerant, which I am…