27 January 2011

Blogs: most often, diaries of consumerism. It hadn't occurred to me, for instance, when I had decided to announce here my selection of The Duchess of Langeais as the only film I would watch in the theater in 2007 that "Balzac's story was nearly filmed, tantalizingly, by Max Ophüls in 1948 as Greta Garbo's comeback vehicle.." When Ophüls died in 1957, Cahiers du Cinema published an interview he conducted with Rivette (dir. of 2007's Duchess) and Truffaut, in which Ophüls lets fly this:

"I’ve long been an admirer of Balzac. Before, when I read La Duchesse de Langeais, I loved the way he had the people subjected to the pressure of political events: his characters are always splendidly indecisive. When they’re flung about from one side to the other like that, they always give us the impression that they’re helpless victims. In Balzac, men often put on a poorer show than women in the face of political events. The women still carry on conviction probably because they’re not so closely linked to politics: they have the courage to form an opinion. The men are just opportunists."

.. and then this...

"I read an article… I can’t remember where, an article by Hitchcock about the refrigerator-public -- a very good piece. It’s unbelievable, the public scarcely exists any more. They’re a mass of consumers, that’s all. The danger is that you see too many films… In America, you start at twelve years old, you watch films then ‘till you’re twenty and that is how you become a consumer. Consumers watch films the way they stick a cigarette in their mouths: they’re no longer aware that they are smoking, they keep it in their mouth while they talk.

"As a result of this continuous mass production of dramas, with people to consume them who see six or eight such works every month, it’s impossible to appreciate a really ‘dynamic’ film. It’s like newspapers: they can’t publish poems; and people read maybe three or four newspapers a day."

Eric Rohmer also cited Balzac as a primary influence, saying to Barbet Schroeder that he got from him the idea for what he called "Moral Tales," meaning not parables as some may think but tales of the constant conflict between people's differing moral principles: another possible explanation of the blogosphere.
People believe in the dialectic because it pains them to think that other people may be right. People who don’t believe in the dialectic assume everyone else is wrong.