Friday, October 5, 2012

Two Tons of Turquoise to Taos Tonight aka Moment to Moment

I read once (I don't remember where) that early Godard is the equivalent of rifling through a stack of magazines: fashion / advertisements / blurbs / superheroes / film criticism / smut / headline news. The only thing that has any totality, any meaning at all, is the subjective vision of the filmmaker that frames this act of rifling. Everything under his gaze is in itself meaningless, connecting to threads that sprawl out endlessly. Robert Downey Sr.'s film is not unlike this, only magazines have been supplanted with a single television set and the roving eye of the filmmaker is connected to the remote control. The act of channel surfing creates meaning, while each individual snippet is denied the framework of completion and structure, that is, it is denied meaning. We cannot understand them because Downey returns to them arbitrarily, we miss huge chunks of what connects one moment to the next, and instead are treated (or subjected) to peepshows lacking climaxes. But this doesn't mean that the experience cannot yield purpose. The joys may be sensual and not intellectual (although I'm not sure if these are mutually exclusive). I read once (I don't remember where) that Godard liked to run in and out of movie theaters while movies were playing, catching only portions of each. We've been able to do that with television for some time now, and we can do the same with the internet. But we are not all Godards and Downey Sr.s. Not all of us frame what we rifle through. But that could be said about all films, really.

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