Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Tired

Some good news for film lovers living in (and around) New York. Three Bela Tarr films, all masterpieces (I've seen all three), including the seven hour long monster Satantango, are getting screened at the BAM Cinemathek in Brooklyn. I have already got the tickets for Saturday show of Satantango. Whew! It is things like these which somehow keep me excited otherwise I feel like dropping dead just out of tedium vitae.

Also more than two years after its world premiere in the Berlin Film Festival, Tsai Ming-Liang's tale of alienation, loneliness, porn and water melon, The Wayward Cloud is getting its first American theatrical run at the super specialised Anthology Film Archives (scroll down). I don't think I will be able to cram both in this coming weekend but will try. Needless to say, if you are around you shouldn't miss either. I have some doubts about Wayward Cloud, specially after I read about it. Taking potshots at porn from a sociological angle seems, well, a little too easy for me. I will anyway watch it and try to post about it too.

In other news, the Musil reading project is going fine. I just finished chapter 99, which is around 500 pages. Only 1200 more pages remain. I think I will read the first volume (200 more pages) and leave the rest for a little later. In the meanwhile I have to learn a few basic things about metaphysics in German philosophy, Nietzsche, specially his ethics, philosophy of science and also philosophy of consciousness ("self", "intentionality", "mind-body problem" etc.) Then read at least a few chapters of the first volume again. This is one book meant mostly for people who have a few degrees in philosophy. But it is philosophy done with a great style and that's what has kept me going even though I am mostly vague about all the aforementioned topics.

Also the more I read Austrians, the more I am getting impressed. They are sharp, bilious, intelligent, misanthropic, unsentimental and they don't suffer fools or nonsense gladly. They are all one uncompromising bunch, interested only in extremes, in every sense of the word, whether it is how they say or what they say, no half-measures for them. Next on the line are Peter Handke (one of whose books is called "A Sorrow Beyond Dreams"), Elias Canetti (about whose novel Auto-da-fe, Salman Rushdie says, "In Auto-da-Fé no one is spared. Professor and furniture salesman, doctor, housekeeper, and thief all get it in the neck. The remorseless quality of the comedy builds one of the most terrifying literary worlds of the century") and also Hugo von Hoffmannsthal, who I recently came across and whose novel Lord Chandos Letter looks enormously interesting. Also I have to read the rest of the oeuvre of Thomas Bernhard and Ingeborg Bachmann. And also I have to look for a copy of "Wittgenstein for Idiots" or some similar book. I am excited even though always feeling very tired and sleepy even at work, or actually, specially at work. I am just a little worried about my mental health right now. I fear I will turn into one of those people inside these books. We'll see. I will keep this blog updated.

14 comments:

Space Bar said...

Taking potshots at porn from a sociological angle seems, well, a little too easy for me.

I don't know why I'm setting myself up as Ming-liang's defender here, but I'd recommens you put out of your mind any reviews you may have read about the film. It's closer to The Hole in many ways, but less light-hearted despite all the music.


If that doesn't induce you to watch it, I don't know what will!

:D

Alok said...

actually i read an article long time back which described the last scene of the movie in detail and ever since I am a little wary of it.

I have decided, I will go this time :)

dan visel said...

The Lord Chandos Letter isn't a novel - it's letter-lengthed, about ten pages long. Also, how can you talk about reading Austrians with Hermann Broch? The Sleepwalkers and The Death of Virgil are essential, certainly much more so than Peter Handke . . .

Alok said...

ah well, i did express my worries about my mental health, didn't I? :)

I will put Broch on the list too... other writers looked more manageable to me at this stage.

and thanks for clarifying about that lord chandos letter. it looks even more promising now.

Space Bar said...

just checked the schedule you linked to: aren't you going to watch the eisenstein? old and new, i think it's called. should be brilliant. the more i watch the old guys, the more i realise that all the great debates about cinema have already been addressed.

Szerelem said...

I just finished chapter 99, which is around 500 pages. Only 1200 more pages remain.
Dear Lord...reading the book sounds like a daunting task.
I am reading Musil too btw - The confusions of young Torless.
Just started....

Alok said...

szerlem: Oh wow, Young Torless was the first book Musil wrote. There is a movie adaptation too. Haven't seen or read it yet.

Actually Musil could publish only around 1100 pages of Man Without Qualities, rest are all manuscripts and drafts. he worked on it for around twenty years, still couldn't finish it!

space bar: I am not that big on film history. I have seen many german silent films but not much else. I have to see so many other more well known Eisenstiens too. I have seen only Potemkin. Will see if can manage it on Sunday. I like watching movies back to back anyway... it also makes sense since i am actually a little far from the place, i have to make most of a single trip to the city.

Antonia said...

you're so close now to chapter 100 :)
the Chandos letter I never really found so impressive somehow, but it is an important characteristic of that time.
pitting Handke against Broch doesn't do justice to either.
but I have a nice reading suggestion for you, alok, Karl Kraus :) a complete nutcase. Violent melancholy, so to speak...

Szerelem said...

Just finished it actually :) Its only 160 pages.
It was really very good. Terribly disturbing though. Brutal and philosophical and contemplative at the same time....
Am not sure I would want to pick up Man Without Qualities soon though.....I don't think mid term is the best time to start on such a venture :)

Alok said...

antonia: I have heard of Kraus too, in some of the essays about Thomas Bernhard. He looks very interesting, I will definitely like him... Also read the 100th chapter last night...General Stumm invades the library, it was very interesting... will post with some extracts sometime.

szerelem: I had read a short story by Musil called Tonka sometime back. It was also very disturbing, I didn't like it at all. MwQ is very interesting, the tone is very peculiar, some kind of detached and jocular melancholy. But it does require lot of time and effort... Will try to get Torless sometime too.

SUMMA POLITICO said...

HERE ARE SOME LINKS TO MATERIAL ABOUT PETER HANDKE
http://www.handke.scriptmania.com
+ 12 subsites, to prose, drama, film, etc
among them
http://www.handkeromance.scriptmania.com


http://www.handkelectures.freeservers.com [dramA lecture]

http://www.kultur.at/lesen/index.htm [dem handke auf die schliche]

http://begleitschreiben.twoday.net/stories/2504464/
[three part interview with lothar struck about handke]

http://www.artscritic.blogspot.com [the handke/ milosevic controversy an American exposition]


http://handke-discussion.blogspot.com/

REVIEW OF EACH CHAPTER OF COURY/ PILIPP'S "THE WORKS OF PETER HANDKE" [ARIADNE PRESS] COMING ON LINE...
http://www.artscritic.blogspot.com

http://summapolitico.blogspot.com

MICHAEL ROLOFF, SEATTLE

http://roloff.freeservers.com/about.html

Alok said...

Hey thanks for all the links and resources. I have to read Handke first. Will do so as soon as I get time.

antonia said...

handke probably could prevent that you turn into such a melancholical character out of the books you read. :) lot's to say about Handke. Tell me,with which book of him do you want to start?
By the way still, it is so impressive that you manage to read all this stuff while working a normal job.

Alok said...

I will have to check my library. I have seen some of his books in the plays section, I have to see what other books are available.

ah, i haven't read much. I brag sometimes, it is a part of the idea of blogging :)