The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Seminal Image #100

The Boat
(Buster Keaton, Edward Cline; 1921)

For our 100th entry in the 'Seminal Image' series . . . the only series on this blog to have lasted throughout its duration, unless I'm wrong (you think I would know this, huh) . . . I chose an image from Keaton/Cline's "The Boat", for a specific reason:

Buster Keaton is the only filmmaker and screen actor I know of who is at the center of both mine and Stephen's cinephilia, and this is one of his masterpieces; an extraordinarily moody, dreamlike piece (for a two-reel comedy, I mean) that would not have been out of place in the filmography of, say, Luis Bunuel. Is that why it's a phenomenal work? Hardly. "The Boat" is every bit as funny as it is haunting, and this is something you can say about no other comedy in the Silent era.


swac said...

Bravo! Keaton would have been my choice for #100 as well. I'm glad Sidney Lumet singled him out in his speech last night, very touching. And The Boat is no doubt a perfect piece of filmmaking, from Damfino to the last shot of that floating lid. Goodbye Porkpie Hat.

Tom Sutpen said...

Stephen wrote:

I'm glad Sidney Lumet singled him out in his speech last night, very touching.

That's actually what made me think of Keaton for #100. Before that I'd been leaning toward a still from the final shot of "The Searchers". My only reservation was that it was perhaps too iconic and thereby may have lost some of it's power (I'm still moved beyond words when I actually see it in the film itself; that's how I know I'm still a hardest-of-hardcore cinephile).

Originally, when I landed on Keaton (there's an image for ya), I was gonna post an image from "Cops" which is every bit as powerful a work (in a vastly different way, however) as "The Boat", but I couldn't find a halfway decent still online, so I went with "The Boat".

I don't even consider it a compromise.