Ainda não começámos a pensar
                                               We have yet to start thinking
 Cinema e pensamento | On cinema and thought                                                                              @ André Dias

Past-present interferences

Having this translation prepared a long while ago, I now finally publish it as a sort of motto for the hopefully coming Doc's Kingdom 2009 related texts...

As John Gianvito’s PROFIT MOTIVE AND THE WHISPERING WIND (2007) expands, we’re slowly taken, by the serial accumulation of shots, to the presence before innumerous historical and funerary monuments evoking several progressive struggles in North America, such as those of Unions, farmers, Indians, miners, etc., intertwined with another kind of shots of wind blowing in the trees. At certain moments, the extreme delicacy of the approach reminds us W. G. Sebald’s informed drifts into the fields where historical memory lies buried.
However, almost by the end of the film, a corollary, which the director surely found necessary, and that might even be the true motivation of everything that preceded it, abruptly emerges and partially destroys the accumulated subtlety of the approach, one that was non-pamphletary despite being serial. The ending hurriedly presents a series of contemporary struggles for which it evidently tries to motivate us, like the ones against the War on Iraq, for the rights of minorities, etc.
The way in which this past-present interference establishes itself, between the slow evocations of these past struggles, which so hardly had grown close to us, and the sudden presentation of those contemporary struggles, is quite problematic. Opposing the film’s intended continuity, it becomes inevitable that, in the film’s material construction, the present struggles appear to us as a distant corollary, as something that’s not evident per se. The compositional work was based in a past time, which is obviously relevant to the present, but not, perhaps unfortunately, automatically translatable into it.
There is a significant non-relation between these two textures in the film, even if politically and sentimentally one might be drawn to relate them. That overwhelming point where the establishment of that relation might occur is indefinable, like an invisible link to be discovered, which can’t, even if that costs us (us, people of the left), be established beforehand.
One can’t presuppose the past, which is at least as opaque and impossible to grasp as the present. The ancient but forgotten things revolution must put back into place, mentioned by Straub while quoting Péguy, don’t offer themselves easily. They don’t respond to mere moved and moving appeals. Most importantly, perhaps one doesn’t even know exactly what they are before starting the revolution.
That’s why perhaps one has to limit to other past-present interferences, more subtle but by no means of a doubtful nature, which might be more productive, since their potential for repercussion seems immense. Like the ones of Pedro Costa’s THE RABBIT-HUNTERS (2007), for instance, in which two not just old but truly ancient men – Ventura and Alberto – evoke poverty, while staring through the concrete openings into the street, in a perhaps architectonically sophisticated staircase balcony that’s also an unequivocal trace of an inadequate present time, one imposed by force and that simply doesn’t allow to see the landscape. As a matter of fact, maybe landscape itself can only be gazed upon if it’s in the past.

previously published in Portuguese here

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