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

The Art of Cinema #39

Bonjour Tristesse
(Otto Preminger; 1958)


swac said...

I have to confess, I haven't actually seen this...I guess the presence of Jean Seberg makes it worth a watch. Anyone have any thoughts on the film?

Tom Sutpen said...

I love the film, but I'm something of a Preminger fanatic so perhaps I don't see it as objectively as others night. It's probably his most curdled look at family relations and the absolute impossibility of love (not a common theme in late-1950s American filmmaking.

Word of advice to anyone reading this, though: Don't ever watch "Bonjour Tristesse" . . . or any other widescreen Preminger . . . in a format other than its full aspect ratio. I grew up watching awful Pan'n'Scan prints of Preminger's 'Scope masterpieces (I'm not counting "Skidoo" and "Hurry, Sundown" and his other late-career catastrophes, for those playing along at home) on television and I don't know of another filmmaker whose work suffers as severly as his in the full-screen mode. He used the entire frame and he used it prodigiously. A Preminger composition was deliberate, and not seeing it as he intended it really ruins the experience.