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Hertzog Wednesdays: Week 2

(For week 1, who was improve recorded, see my website: click 'More stuff' for podcast links).


Last Words


This short documentary is based in a place that I think begins with a C, I’m writing this on the train the morning after and I’m trying to keep these spontaneous so I can’t recall where it is set, but the anecdotes in said film where enough to make a person forget the backdrop. It was some town by the sea or a lake, I want to say Mediterranean ish.

Given the name of the film, there is clearly a lot of emphasis on the statements being made, and lots of bizarre repetition from the townsfolk. Having only seen Hertzog’s recent documentaries prior to this project, I can already see his tendencies of getting people to stand awkwardly in frame for a prolonged period of time, with a confused and slightly uncomfortable vibe in the air as one wonders how long they’re gona drag this shot out, and the folks in the shot sometimes look like they share similar concerns. On reflection, it seems quite obvious to me now, that when I was asking myself, is he just deliberately fucking with me? Of course, I now realise that pretty much goes without saying.

But whatever the process is that goes into those moments he captures, it does linger on the mind, as any use of repetition or prolonged silence in film likely would. So whatever else is going on, that is clearly the method.

I have wondered how I would justify this sort of art housy, surreal genera of film to someone who finds the whole thing unnecessary, because I can relate to that feeling when art seems too insular for its own good, or at least for the good of being appreciated.

I don’t personally stray too much from conventional/mainstream narratives, but the qualities I like to look for are often incidental, sometimes I just need a simple, tried and tested plot as a devise to guide you through a more interesting, or challenging aesthetic experience. Plot to me, is often a necessarily unique platform or canvas for other experiences to occur on top of, stuff that I am into.


But thinking about these films and other directors work I know, that are both present a journey that’s immediately incomprehensible, I think the biggest leap a person would have to take in order to engage with this sort of thing, is to A, abandon any need for resolution and just go with it, and B, take solace that the appeal for this sort of thing over mainstream stuff, is its tenancy to linger on the mind afterwards. But probably a while afterwards, when something occurs to you in life, that triggers a memory.


You can of course take the sporting approach, where you attend film clubs, or forums and just play the game. The game being, let’s watch a film, or look at some or other art, and flex or analytical skills to see who can muster up the most plausible response. Who can make this experience seem most coherent, last one to the end is a ...big intellectual poo head?


Precautions Against Fanatics


Given that I digressed a lot on the last one, and that I covered a similar sentiment that I had for this one, I shan’t add much. Also, as I write this second review it is the afternoon, as since having the jaw expanding brace in my mouth, as soon as the caffeine where’s off each day, the aching in my head increases, and my mind fills with fog for the rest of the day. It’s a bit shit but a necessary evil for approximately one more month. So, all I’ll Addis this film, lives up to its title. And it reminds me of a lot of people I know who passionately chase their own fanaticism, but rarely grasp the skills or indeed merits of communicating there fanaticism well with others. Rather than putting people off with tediously long and repetitive rambling.


I’ve had a fair share of fanaticisms, so this is a familiar life lesson for me, but ultimately this all falls on the point that basic communication skills need to be a priority skill set to share and distribute.

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