13 January 2009

That Obscure Object Of Desire


Got the Luis Bunuel DVD box-set for Christmas and have only just got around to watching it. First up, That Obscure Object Of Desire - think I might go backwards, see if they get unwatchable, in the same way someone once recommended to a friends they approach Swans albums..."Start from White Light...Keep going backwards until your soul crushes..."

There's something somehow resistant to criticism about this film but...

Desire is everything; the title is as literal as it gets, could almost be one of those mistranslated titles you see in China, where Face/Off becomes "Who Is Face Belonging To? I Kill You Again, Harder!" and Pretty Woman becomes "I Will Marry a Prostitute to Save Money" (a personal favourite off mine) - The Object of Desire is always Obscure...

In particular, the film seems to be about the desire to desire and the desire to be desired (Imagine a gently surrealist, French-Spanish take on Duncan Norvelle's "Chase Me!" routine... and then wipe it from your memory like a bad uncle).

Both characters are locked in a groove of their own making, doomed to circulate; matter and anti-matter, Moon and Earth - gravity pulls each of them together and forces the embrace that neither of them wants to make... an indesctructible object (the shape of her back might be a colourized Man Ray photo) versus an unstoppable force...

Neither character can exist on their own, their concept of wholeness simply a mirror of what the other can give. On the surface, he's dealing with his middle age in typical crisis fashion; wants jouissance and sees it in her.. while at the same time she's wrestling with a desire for objects (houses, clothes) when really she feels nothing for anything - even as she gives herself to a younger man to taunt her older suitor, she convinces herself it's fakery and pretence - a Jenny Haniver Orgasm.

There's a hefty dose of Lacan of course: the attempt to transcend the pleasure principle, to embrace life despite the constant urge to embrace as little as possible, to give in to the pull of unsatisfied desire...

And all this human sexual political wrangling is echoed by the constant hum of terrorism in the streets below them; another indication of the impossibility of
desire - it's never clear what the terrorists want; they break into factions and come together again under the mantle of the Revolutionary Army Of The Infant Jesus - the key words being revolution (circular reasoning, ouroroborous, the need for a counter to every culture) and infant (Lacan again; the infant looking into the mirror and wanting).

Peverelist and Appleblim - Circling

2562 - Moog Dub

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