Thursday, November 12, 2009

Aimless Reading: The E's, Part 5.1 (Sergei Eisenstein)

Eisenstein, Sergei
Notes of a Film Director

I think I bought this at Rust Belt Books. The cover is in pretty rough shape. Whatever kind of coating they put on the paper is starting to wrinkle up. I guess the rest of the book is in pretty good shape, though.

I think I bought it after reading some of Ted Berrigan's early notebooks at the Poetry Collection at SUNY Buffalo. They have several from his college days in Tulsa, in several of which he is writing some of his first poems. He was also quite interested in film and wrote reviews for the school paper and some of his published reviews are folded into the notebooks as well.

One of the filmmakers he makes mention of several times is Eisenstein. He seemed interested in Eisenstein's techniques of montage. A little bit of a lightbulb went off as I read of this interest, as it provides an interesting frame through which to read The Sonnets. The cut-up techniques seem to me much closer to montage than they do to, say, collage or cut-ups.

The deliberateness with which the appropriated materials are assembled, reassembled, layered, reversed and repeated creates a similar effect to when Eisenstein juxtaposes and layers images on top of one another in order to construct a visual idea. They build meaning by accretion rather than through narrative progression, might be another way to put it.

From How I Became A Film Director

Then there came an idea:
First master art.
Then destroy it.
Penetrate into the mysteries of art.
Unveil them.
Master art.
Become a master.
And then snatch off the mask, expose it, destroy it!
That ushered in a new phase in my relations with art: the would-be murderer began playing with his intended victim.

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