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 the Cinema #478


In his autobiography, Luis Buñuel singled out the obscure Polish film, Rękopis znaleziony w Saragossie (The Saragossa Manuscript, 1965) as a personal favorite, one of the few pictures he saw more than once (three times, in fact). It was an adaptation of a novel by Polish author Jan Potocki, who left behind the incomplete work upon his suicide in 1815. Directed by Wojciech Has, the 182-minute epic surrealist film was severely edited (up to an hour) and fell out of circulation for decades. An uncut print eventually surfaced in 1999, thanks to Martin Scorsese and Francis Coppola, who were following the lead of Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia, the initial instigator and partial financier of its restoration. (The musician died in 1995, before he could see his favorite movie back in its original condition.) For assistance in solving some of The Saragossa Manuscript’s mysteries, go here.


woid said...

If you've never seen it (or heard of it), don't be put off by the length of "The Saragossa Manuscript" -- you'll wish it had been longer.

The structure, flashbacks within flashbacks within flashbacks... is mind-blowing in itself. But then comes a moment so impossible, so disruptive of the time-space continuum, that the only possible response is to say "hominahominahomina..."

Never mind. Forget everything I said. Just see it.

Alfred said...

Shouldn't it be Saragossa instead of Sargasso?

Flickhead said...

Thank you, Alfred. The typo was the result of my lazy cutting and pasting the title from an incorrect source.

estiv said...

I'll add my voice to the chorus: a wonderful film. The same actor playing a Catholic priest and a Muslim ruler gives you a sense of the toying with reality that marks the whole movie. Plus I get the sense that some of the soundtrack by Krzysztof Penderecki was in itself an influence on some of Garcia's music.

Timmy said...

Hominah, Hymnoim, Hoppityhoopin.