reflections on Terrence Malick’s film, Song to Song, 2017 – and on, Patti Smith because otherwise, S to S, would be unrecognizable, and I suspect, inconceivable.

i just watched for the first time terrence malick’s song to song.

i’d seen a couple of malick films before song to song, and thought highly of them. but they didn’t prepare me for the brilliance of S to S.

i’ve been trying to think of what to compare it, and can’t come up with anything, at all, in any media. it’s ‘shakespearian’ or, not to be ethnocentric about it, say to, 1001 Tales, in the way, that nothing seems to be comparable; or perhaps to the plays of  Sophicles. definitely as profound as all those authors.

i always try, when watching a film to understand how it was made. i often don’t after, say, bladerunner, because it’s too obvious in the CGI filmic era, it’s enough to say, well, that’s CGI and have done with it. [well, not completely, but mostly] it’s not important or that interesting, really. though, there is one exception to this, Fury Road… But how Malick’s song to song was made, edited, constructed, composed, etc, totally escapes me. it’s pure, to be metaphorical, alchemy, in it’s mostly naturalistic filmic idiom. it does begin with making use of some wide angle lens shots to great effect.

the following was used, as much for the visuals as for the music, in my estimation. it’s just that her music appears as often in the film as does the following. and the following two both appear more than anyone else other than patti smith. and yes, i’m partial to posting here, patti… 🙂 but malick’s wider inclusion is of great interest.

the other the musical thread of Preisner’s From The Abyss”

Sound for the visual poems of Terrence Malick’s Song To Song (2017)

As for Patti Smith, bits from her songs were included throughout. but i can’t find anything but the follow dramatic dialogue on youtube, so far… from the film:

though the entire sound track can be heard here:

https://thefilmstage.com/news/listen-to-the-soundtrack-for-terrence-malicks-song-to-song/

so, from that, malick included lines from:

my totally intuitive guess is that natalie portman was cast to represent the younger smith, and therefore, that, song to song is very auto-bio-biographical about malick, smith, and maplethorpe? and? no doubt there is much research on this that i’m unaware of. just the note of a late comer to this realm, after a first viewing of malick’s song to song. that said, not sure his film has been given the due of the greatness it deserves.

and well just because. perhaps the unstated homage of malick’s film is this:

for the record, smith’s lyrics are searingly true, about the world, period. so any poetry or music that sears less, is merely cultural detritus.

Load up on guns
Bring your friends
It’s fun to lose
and to pretend
She’s overboard
myself assured
I know, I know a dirty word

Hello, hello, hello, hello,
Hello, hello, hello!

With the lights out
it’s less dangerous
Here we are now
Entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now
entertain us
A mulatto
An albino
A mosquito
My libido
Yeah

I’m worse at what
I do best
And for this gift
I feel blessed
Our little group has always been
And always will until the end

Hello, hello, hello, hello,
Hello, hello, hello!

With the lights out
it’s less dangerous
Here we are now
Entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now
entertain us
A mulatto
An albino
A mosquito
My libido
Yeah

And I forget
Just what it takes
And yet I guess it makes me smile
I found it hard
Its hard to find
Oh well, whatever, nevermind

Hello, hello, hello, hello,
Hello, hello, hello!

The empty hand of innocence
transfusing street of the sorrows
and children of the wood
Hounded, shredding all veils
and winding all sheets of the dead world droning
Overturning tables laden with silver sacrificial birds
Beating goat-skin drums
Advancing with hands out-stretched
and we keep filling them with mercury nitrate, asbestos
Baby bombs blasting blue
Scavengers picking through the ashes
Children of the mills!
Children of the junkyards!
Sleepy, illiterate, fuzzy little rats
haunted, paint-sniffin’,
stoned out of their shaved heads
Forgotten, foraging, mystical children
Foul-mouthed, glassy eyed, hallucinating

Hello, hello, hello, hello,
Hello, hello, hello!
Hello, hello, hello, hello,
Hello!

With the lights out
it’s less dangerous
Here we are now
Entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now
entertain us
A mulatto
An albino
A mosquito
My libido

Ah, la la da
Ah, la la da
Ah, la la la
Ah, ma la ta
An albina
A mosquito
My libido,
Oh, My libido

Oh Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,
yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,
yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

 

then, the last stanza of Land: Horses/Land of a Thousand Dances/La Mer (De),  is:

In the sheets
There was a man
Dancing around
To the simple
Rock & roll
Song

_________

that dancing man, I suggest, was/is terrence malick.

reflections on Terrence Malick’s film, Song to Song, 2017 – and on, Patti Smith because otherwise, S to S, would be unrecognizable, and I suspect, inconceivable.

the temptations, 1972 – papa was a rolling stone – part of debunking the history of ‘rock&roll’, which has never existed other than as a commercial category – and in juxtapostion, cheo feliciano… and others in symbiosis… and i’m intentionally leaving out zappa since i’ve commented on him far too often here. my point being: no category is sufficient to cover the extraordinarily diverse musical styles of the period. it’s all a bit like ‘free verse’, in’it? a catch all category only for branding, economic benefit? by a series of ‘agents’ and ‘producers’?

so… it wasn’t dylan or mick jagger that deserves the title, but this truly great funk band. in contrast, ‘rock&roll’ is largely carried out in B #…  metaphors pertain. the ‘musical worlds’ that collided in the 60’s cannot be reduced to a single commercially determined nomination.  really? how could that have ever been accepted?

tell me, how are the temptations like the allman brothers:

or like captain beefheart?

or like santana

or even like ravi shankar

and well…

 

so yet another line in my argument that ‘rock’ was always a dead and spurious category. ‘rock & roll’ has never been anything other than a cover for the economic interests of the corporate, music labels’ aim to capitalize music. and they succeeded, unfortunately.

in addition to the extraordinary musical quality of the Temptations track, is it’s visual quality, pre-video. which means that it was produced in a high end TV studio. yet, it set the stage for later visually crude, by comparison, ‘music videos’, along with nicholas roeg’s film of the same time, Performance.

one of things about this Temptations production that is significant, is that it focuses, visually, mostly on metonymic details, on closeup shots, of the musician playing their instruments; not, on spectacularizing the star qualities of the actually performers. and, the audience response, the public dancing to the performance, plays an equally important visual role.

the combination of these three registers makes this Temptation production in all aspects, perhaps the most important work of the period.

in another cultural and visual register, there is of course cheo feliciano, co-contemporaneous.

and just to seal the deal:

with:

the temptations, 1972 – papa was a rolling stone – part of debunking the history of ‘rock&roll’, which has never existed other than as a commercial category – and in juxtapostion, cheo feliciano… and others in symbiosis… and i’m intentionally leaving out zappa since i’ve commented on him far too often here. my point being: no category is sufficient to cover the extraordinarily diverse musical styles of the period. it’s all a bit like ‘free verse’, in’it? a catch all category only for branding, economic benefit? by a series of ‘agents’ and ‘producers’?

addendum: a reinforcement of the title of this blog: pearodox [serious satire], plus, provocateur: [a moving and unhittable target] there is some suppressive force that has hit my site that is muting my musical posts below. so i encourage anyone reading this blog to search youtube, where these works can be listened to, freely, though with poor quality since youtube regulates that too. i.e., IF youtube so wished, it would have high fidelity. But, it doesn’t so wish.

 

thus: the best i’ve done in both regards of late is this:

Screen Shot 2018-11-22 at 2.13.28 PMScreen Shot 2018-11-23 at 2.32.03 AMScreen Shot 2018-11-23 at 2.32.29 AMScreen Shot 2018-11-23 at 2.33.04 AM

not that different than that of hank willis thomas:

Screen Shot 2018-11-30 at 1.41.22 AM

addendum: a reinforcement of the title of this blog: pearodox [serious satire], plus, provocateur: [a moving and unhittable target] there is some suppressive force that has hit my site that is muting my musical posts below. so i encourage anyone reading this blog to search youtube, where these works can be listened to, freely, though with poor quality since youtube regulates that too. i.e., IF youtube so wished, it would have high fidelity. But, it doesn’t so wish.

one great chronotopic figure of our time: ‘house’, or is it, ‘home’? – or, is it in honor of the great bassist, tina weymouth, for her birthday. expressed in this post, in contrast to DB, in order to give her, her proper due.

though, in contrast, one of the great songs, psycho killer, of the DB era, is realized by weymouth, just to give an obvious and too glaring an example:

as prelude to her influence in the following live show below:

first, some great videos, great lyrics, above and below. some great performances even. but… when has DB ever monetarily contributed to his own vocal causes?  never. just alluding to the truth. which weymouth has lived.

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 12.47.00 AM

[thanks to g. van noord for sending me the above happy birthday tribute to tina weymouth.] and i continue the tribute below, in the presence [above] of her animus: DB, also below. however, the following, while DB is brilliant, would not have been possible without weymouth, as bassist, in particular, if one listens to her bass playing throughout. without weymouth, this piece would not have worked, at all. from the very first notes. in fact, she led the band, musically, and DB was a vocal footnote, a great vocal footnote even, but, comparatively speaking, nothing without Weymouth’s bass playing.

but beyond the brilliance of her playing, if one watches the way she moves performatively, then, she’s clearly a brilliant leader.

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 4.14.16 AM

one great chronotopic figure of our time: ‘house’, or is it, ‘home’? – or, is it in honor of the great bassist, tina weymouth, for her birthday. expressed in this post, in contrast to DB, in order to give her, her proper due.

Semitism vs antisemitism: see below

i’ve been called an antisemite and payed the price. because i’ve simply defended the palestinians against an apartheid state with a genocidal inclination. no rational being on the planet could possible defend Israel’s now 60 year violent subjection of Palestine. Israel, in fact, has no historical legitimacy to it’s land; than does the US after it’s slaughter of at least 80 million native americans. some figures put the slaughter at far higher numbers: 150 million. but of course to raise property ownership in such terms is anathema. but just because it’s anathema, doen’t make it any the less historical factual.

so, to recall the cliche about speaking truth to power, let’s have at it, not only in the name of truth, but in the name of academic freedom and the general civic right to speak truth, period.

as my first witness in this debate against the absurd alliance between US so called democracy and so called democracy of the Israel, i cite the following:

Weisman even posits that recent racial policies by the Netanyahu government have made Israel a “model” for the alt-right on how to construct an “ethno-state”.

the model which Trump is attempting, down to the T, to implement, including his building of the wall between the US and Mexico, and then sending US military troops there, incarcerating children by the 4 thousands, separating families and children, and literally mouthing Israeli militaristic strategies: ‘throwing stones will be interpreted as using lethal weapons”…

Screen Shot 2018-11-27 at 10.45.24 PM

whatever the propaganda, there is no doubt about the colonial histories of either the US or Israel. both have been aligned since the 1960s in order to defend themselves against the undoubted accusations of genocide. i’ve provided evidence of this claim below. but one look no further than Israel’s internment of the citizens of Gaza; or, no further than the Trump and Republican Party treatments of Latin American asylum seekers and latin american immigrants in general, not least of which, is the Trump admin’s family separation policy.

so, just to finally receive a bit of vindication of my so called antisemetic and extremist, historically well researched, beliefs, i can site the following:

“On the right,” writes Weisman, “anti-Semitism and militant Zionism can co-exist quite comfortably.” Spencer calls his movement a “sort of white Zionism”. In a New York Times podcast, Weisman even posits that recent racial policies by the Netanyahu government have made Israel a “model” for the alt-right on how to construct an “ethno-state”.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/nov/14/american-jewish-community-divisions-trump-pittsburgh

Weisman knows well about the use of the internet as a way of spreading anti-semitism. His book (which opens with the scene beneath the Lincoln Memorial) is intriguingly entitled (((Semitism))) Being Jewish in America in the Age of Trump.

There’s a story behind those brackets.

Weisman, deputy Washington editor of the New York Times, thought little of retweeting a column by conservative historian and commentator Robert Kagan in the Washington Post. But he had “an intuition” when a strange response from someone called ‘CyberTrump’ arrived: “Hello (((Weisman)))”.

“Care to explain?” Weisman replied.

“It’s dog whistle, fool,” the anonymous person answered.

so, in that historical spirit, in defense of their prescient take, there could be no greater lawyer than

harvard’s gabriella blum,

Screen Shot 2018-10-18 at 1.28.59 AM

who helped to create the law international law in support of extrajudicial assassinations. and who seems, now, to be somewhat apologetic about it.

[The Israeli government] didn’t want to call their conflict with the Palestinians a “war” since that would recognize the inevitability of a Palestinian state and trigger a number of requirements under the laws of war. But they also didn’t want call it an “occupation,” since then they would be subject to the laws that govern occupiers. Among other things, occupation law would mandate them to use policing powers instead of offensive military tactics like targeted killing. So to avoid doing either, they simply created a new and unprecedented legal category that is, in effect, a new law for colonial dominance.

Semitism vs antisemitism: see below