Storyboarding is strangely interesting when it gives a view into how different nation-states construct and respond to sales stereotypes. I’m doing a lipstick ad for actual French people from Paris right now, and it is noticeably stripped of that subtext one inevitably finds in American or South African ads that says, “Don’t worry, she’s not dangerous and what she really wants is to be your submissive little wifey.” This ad would freeze the testicles off a Sarf-Effriken jock, even though all it’s about is glamour.
It’s odd, because it is all about women achieving an aesthetic perfection so intense they are geisha-like objects of contemplation, yet the glamour is also tangibly an end in itself which doesn’t necessarily include men. It’s not like we don’t already know this, but it brought to my attention that South African culture which considers itself sophisticated is not only colonial but downright rural. Sexuality is confined to breeding, like farmyard-style.
Lynne: Sounds like fun for a change! X are you gonna buy the lipstick? X
Lizza: Being briefed for a storyboard doesn’t necessarily go as far as anyone telling me what the product is! This time I needed to be told what it looked like, but I didn’t get the brand. Probably a load of bollocks. For all I know this could be the French version of Sarie magazine – I really wouldn’t be able to spot the difference.
Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) is a short experimental film directed by wife and husband team, Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid. The film’s narrative is circular, and repeats a number of psychologically symbolic images, including a flower on a long driveway, a key falling, a door unlocked, a knife in a loaf of bread, a mysterious Grim Reaper-like cloaked figure with a mirror for a face, a phone off the hook and an ocean. Through creative editing, distinct camera angles, and slow motion, this surrealist film depicts a world in which it is more and more difficult to catch reality.
“This film is concerned with the interior experiences of an individual. It does not record an event which could be witnessed by other persons. Rather, it reproduces the way in which the subconscious of an individual will develop, interpret and elaborate an apparently simple and casual incident into a critical emotional experience.”
— Maya Deren on Meshes of the Afternoon, from DVD release Maya Deren: Experimental Films 1943–58.
The film was originally silent – the soundtrack, by Deren’s third husband, Teiji Ito, was only added in 1959.
The erotic is a resource within each of us that lies in a deeply female and spiritual plane, firmly rooted in the power of our unexpressed or unrecognised feeling…
Of course, women so empowered are dangerous. So we are taught to separate the erotic from most vital areas of our lives other than sex…
The principal horror of any system which defines the good in terms of profit rather than in terms of human need, or which defines human need to exclusion of the psychic and emotional components of that need — the principal horror of such a system is that it robs our work of its erotic value, its erotic power and life appeal and fulfilment. Such a system reduces work to a travesty of necessities, a duty by which we earn bread or oblivion for ourselves and those we love. But this is tantamount to blinding a painter and then telling her to improve her work, and to enjoy the act of painting. It is not only next to impossible, it is also profoundly cruel.
. . . [O]nce we begin to feel deeply all the aspects of our lives, we begin to demand from ourselves and from our life-pursuits that they feel in accordance with that joy which we know ourselves to be capable of. Our erotic knowledge empowers us, becomes a lens through which we scrutinize all aspects of our existence, forcing us to evaluate those aspects honestly in terms of their relative meaning within our lives…
During World War II, we bought sealed plastic packets of white, uncolored margarine, with a tiny, intense pellet of yellow coloring perched like a topaz just inside the clear skin of the bag. We would leave the margarine out for a while to soften, and then we would pinch the little pellet to break it inside the bag, releasing the rich yellowness into the soft pale mass of margarine. Then, taking it carefully between our fingers, we would knead it gently back and forth, over and over, until the color had spread throughout the whole pound bag of margarine, thoroughly coloring it.
I find the erotic such a kernel within myself. When released from its intense and constrained pellet, it flows through and colors my life with a kind of energy that heightens and sensitizes and strengthens all my experience.
Lorde, Audre. “Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power.” Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Freedom, CA: Crossing Press, 1984. 53-59.
Tale of Tales, like Tarkovsky’sMirror, attempts to structure itself like a human memory. Memories are not recalled in neat chronological order; instead, they are recalled by the association of one thing with another, which means that any attempt to put memory on film cannot be told like a conventional narrative. The film is thus made up of a series of related sequences whose scenes are interspersed between each other. One of the primary themes involves war, with particular emphasis on the enormous losses the Soviet Union suffered on the Eastern Front during World War II. Several recurring characters and their interactions make up a large part of the film, such as the poet, the little girl and the bull, the little boy and the crows, the dancers and the soldiers, and especially the little grey wolf (Russian: се́ренький волчо́к, syeryenkiy volchok). Another symbol connecting nearly all of these different themes are green apples (which may symbolise life, hope, or potential).
Yuriy Norshteyn wrote in Iskusstvo Kino magazine that the film is “about simple concepts that give you the strength to live.”