21 December 2006

The van returns

Dream journey: I had purchased a large, purple van in Mexico and its wheel system had fallen apart in the middle of a desert that was close to the Pacific Ocean, which caused a cast of characters to stop and chat with me while I waited for a mechanic. It was made jointly by British, Moroccan, and Mexican auto manufacturers. I had abandoned the van and forgotten about it. I suddenly remembered the van because:

1. It appeared at my residence, apparently towed all the way here from there;
2. Some of the models, including mine at times, had a map of the world painted on it out of scale with many factual errors and additional notes, and the van with additional maps and notes was displayed at a gallery show I attended;
3. A TV exposé of the van company, narrated by Wallace Shawn in between segments where he displayed his puppet collection, indicated that the company knew they had a problem with their wheel system.

7 comments:

d.i. said...

An admirable amount of detail, there. The trait of maps that have "factual errors" seems very dream-typical. Also calls to mind, for me, an early scene in Tarkovsky's film The Sacrifice, where a centuries-old map (with, from contemp. p.o.v., geographical errors) is transported by the bicyclist-postman.

Ian Keenan said...

I did sit through The Sacrifice a while back, one of the rare films (Persona being another) when Sven Nykvist makes Rembrandt-like shadows, and remember springing a line of dialogue on an unsuspecting friend (something about When I find the witch here.. ). That film is also a case of the movement-image have the same compositional effect as a photograph since the image doesn’t get replaced so quickly as in other films and symbolic touches come to the fore.

d.i. said...

You may, then, also enjoy other films of Tarkovsky's. The Sacrifice was his seventh and final feature. The two scifi-based ones (Stalker and Solaris) are worth noting. In my view, one way of thinking about The Sacrifice is to consider it Tarkovsky's cinema meditation on the topic of synchronicity, in a (I feel) consciously Jungian sense. The anecdote that the postman tells early on in the film, when asked what sort of "incidents" he "collects," -- the illustrative anecdote involving a woman who had her son photographed, then fled the town (WWII situation) and never again saw her son; then, a decade later, had her own photo professionally taken, and discovered the result to be a double-exposure (undeveloped film with shot of son, layered over by shot of self) -- that story is (if I recall aright) told (fairly verbatim) in a footnote by Jung, as illustrative of what he means by syncrhonicity.

The dreamy use of water and wind in Tarkovsky's films is another interesting thing. In Stalker, I also recognized some lines from Lao Tsu, amid the meandering voiceover.

His slow pace is indeed notable.

Ian Keenan said...

I am a huge, huge Tarkovsky fan. The Jung angle is interesting.. I have his book somewhere and I will look into it. I googled Tarkovsky Jung and got your post on Buffalo list from ‘97. Andrei’s father was a poet and he reads poems in Mirror. My favorite Tarkovsky films in order (it’s hard to choose no. 1, as I love Stalker, but there’s no beating Andrei Rublev).

Andrei Rublev
Stalker
Solaris
Mirror
The Sacrifice
The Steamroller and the Violin
My Name is Ivan

The Steamroller just came out on DVD. Nostalghia, his second to last before the Sacrifice, is set to come out but ‘release date is unknown.’ I haven’t seen Mirror for a while.. I should see that soon. There is no indication that Stalker is set to come out any time soon on DVD, which is a shame but I recently picked up a tape. I just got Bergman’s Sawdust and Tinsel on VHS, which doesn’t seem to be coming out on DVD any time soon, one of my favorites.

Ian Keenan said...

Also, an '87 documentary about him I've never seen, 'Moscow Elegy' comes out on DVD next week.

But you'll be in.. Peking? Singapore?

david raphael israel said...

I'll not be in Beijing till Jan.7. Coincidentally, I've been spending hours now moving / organizing DVDs and videotapes (and lots of books) -- trying to make space for subletters. However, in the past year (or a bit more), I've not at all been in a DVD- or video-watching phase. (Likely the non-mood will pass.)

I've not seen the Steamroller & Violin film. When I saw Andre Rublev in theatre, I guess I was too sleepy. I have somewhat enjoyed it on DVD since then. I quite liked Nostalgia (on videotape I guess). The documentary film (done by an Italian woman, yes?) is good! Their conversation about love is memorable. Hmm, maybe I also missed My Name is Ivan. Stalker was the first film I saw (in a San Francisco theatre in the early '80s). I seem due for a new viewing. I might well call The Sacrifice a fave.... with his fine use of Bach and shakuhachi music. Of course the film can be said to spring, in part, from the apocalyptic thoughts / feelings that were rampant in Europe (and everywhere) in the mid-'80s, when the US moved nukes into West Germany (if I recall this aright -- in those days I wasn't quite so habitual a news-reader as I later became). Meredith Monk anyway cited this situation as important in the background of her (memorable) opera The Games -- which was created in Germany in 1985 or 86 (I think Tarkovsky's film was completed in '87).

cheers,
d.i.

Ian Keenan said...

I think there’s two documentaries, one called Voyage in Time which AT gave extensive interviews for and this one which is Russian. I guess I’ll check out The Sacrifice again also.. I really liked a lot of it the first time but there’s more subtext to be gathered with repeated viewings.