Friday, May 29, 2009

David Thomson on Film Fusion

"To put it very simply, and to return to the matter of absorption or direction, I suggest that many people from a certain range of history--people born between about 1900 and 1950--are like screens. That is to say that countless films have played upon our surface, whether we like it or not. And not just many films, but many films many times... We have seen Dark Victory or Chinatown or Kane so often we breathe in time with their cuts and we radiate possibility according to the luster of their image. We shuffle them together. They are all in the same pack, and we can do cute card tricks with them...

"And because we are screens, helpless gatherers of so many images,we hear a little bit of Bogart's Phillip Marlowe in his Dixon Steele (from In a Lonely Place), and we are so crowded and so promiscuous that we can see John Wayne kissing Greta Garbo ("How did you like that?" "How did I like what?"), even if such a touch never happened in movie history and, quite likely, never occurred in life. The metaphor of the screen (and its melting pot) is very suggestive, I think, for it lets us see how receptive and yet how superficial we are, like a helpless computer screen that must accept every bit of information put into it."

From "The Whole Equation: A History of Hollywood", Vintage, 2004

The accompanying image is from the series Delicate Balance by Michael Janis, 2007

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