Saturday, November 08, 2003

THE DEVIL, PROBABLY . . . with a very special introduction 

"They should rent cushions to raise
money to buy better seats."
--Nicole McEwan

another good idea by Nicole. it's difficult to sit through a feature-length film at the International House, but you WANT to go at the same time, so many amazing things to see!

THE DEVIL, PROBABLY was introduced by The Voidoid lead lizard himself Richard Hell. fifteen years ago i passed on an opportunity to see him play at CBGB's, and when "voice over" Laurel sent me an e-mail that he'd be there tonight to talk, i didn't want to miss him again.

incredibly sexy, Hell was much more tender in disposition than i had imagined, and i found myself hanging with his every word, "Yeah, this film -- ah -- was made in 1977. And. Was banned. Because. The censors felt it encouraged suicide. Bresson created a character who -- geeze -- hmph -- his character was exactly how i was feeling. My eardrums are blown out, too many bad amps ah -- i guess. But, when i saw this film for the first time -- hmm -- i was on the verge of vomiting through the whole --"

of the many useful and interesting things Hell said about THE DEVIL, PROBABLY was that director Robert Bresson never cared for special effects. Hell said, "You won't see any fighting, because there would have to be real blood." Bresson also never used soundtracks, and any music you hear is part of the film itself. There was an organ tuner, some hippies playing bongos, and a vinyl record album playing on a portable record player at one point.

it was the lack of soundtrack blanketing the film's violence which affected me most. something important i feel i learned tonight--thinking on the moonlit walk home--was how wrong i've always been about soundtrack. before tonight i always felt soundtrack was to aid violence in making a more dramatic impact which would intensify the horror of it. it's clear to me now after seeing--experiencing--this film where violence stands alone, unaided by a musical score, that soundtrack's goal is to actually make violence pleasurable. Hollywood violence suddenly looks to me like it's unknotting its terri cloth robe and gently shaking its thing as close to our lips as we want. i'll admit, i've leaned forward at times and swallowed everything in front of me.

but after tonight i can't imagine being able to take that pleasure again so easily. i prefer Bresson's violence, because there's too much fucking pain in this world to continue taking it lightly.

sitting there, watching, i was reminded, quite vividly, of violence i've experienced in my own life, rather than sucking some dairy-sweet flavor around it.

p.s. the extreme discomfort of the seats intensified the violence, for sure.

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