I'll go with thee to the lane's end... I am a kind of burr, I shall stick. Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

I write not to teach but to learn. Rebecca West

drew's writing:

  • "Always Forever Now," Ideomancer volume 13, issue 2
  • "Black Sun," Black Static # 32
  • "Bread or Cake" and "Pride/Shame,"2nd Annual Philadelphia One-Minute Play Festival
  • "Copper Heart," Polluto Magazine issue 5, A Steampunk Orange
  • "The Accomplished Birder's Guide to Overcoming Rejection," Last Drink Bird Head, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
  • "Another Night With the Henriksens," Player's Theater Halloween One-Act Festival NYC 2008
  • "Hating the Lovers," and "Pipe Down!" Geez Magazine: Thirty Sermons You Would Never Hear in Church
  • "Beth/slash/Nathan," Paper Fruit Blogiversary Contest

Friday, January 26, 2007

SOLVEIG DOMMARTIN


Last night I listened to my favorite soundtrack album, the soundtrack to Wim Wenders' Until the End of the World. Normally I strive to be industrious, but last night I just listened to the entire album, start to finish.

Until the End of the Worldwas made in 1991, but set in 1999. Wim Wenders asked the musicians to give him a song that would sound like the music they would be making in 1999. Although they are by different musicians, the songs on the album have a similar flavor. Many are spare and have an emotionally detached quality. Many share a strangely empty quality, and don't feel like other music by these artists.

The soundtrack has a lot of the knights of alternative rock, everyone but David Bowie. I bought the soundtrack for Peter Gabriel's Blood of Eden, which underscores a sequence in which--after the two leads travel across ten countries using countless different technologies for travel and communication--all electronics are wiped out by a rogue satellite reentering the atmosphere, and they walk, walk through the Australian outback. When I got the CD home, I checked the track list several times before I could accept that Blood of Eden wasn't actually on the album!

The film has some strange and haunting lines in it. I can still hear William Hurt saying, with his characteristic halting delivery This camera takes pictures that blind people can see.

There's a song on the album by Depeche Mode called Death's Door. I was waiting for Death's Door, thinking that when I heard the song, it would somehow inspire me to find the solution to a short story I've been struggling over.

Until the End of the World is one of those enticing, frustrating, fascinating movies that you can never see in the definitive version, because of bad blood between filmmaker and studio or distributor. With these movies, the version you see is only a battered signpost pointing to the real version, which you can never see, because it is forever retreating over the horizon of possibility.

Orson Welles, with all his unfinished, mangled masterpieces, is the ultimate auteur of this particular genre of post-modern cinema.

Wenders' original cut of Until the End of the World was 8 hours. But he was bound by contract to deliver a film under 3 hours. The version that was released was 158 minutes. It felt long when I saw it; long and vague and cold, though beautiful, and like all Wenders' films, filled with enduring imagery and ideas.

I have a feeling the 8 hour version probably feels tighter and quicker and more engaging than the pruned version I saw. But I would be content to see the 280 minute version Wenders considers definitive. It has been shown only a few times. I sense that Wenders has fallen from grace with the supporters he won with his road movies and his angel movies, which are canonical arthouse cinema. Maybe I have drifted from him too, though recently I watched a short documentary he did about Yohji Yamamoto and was right back under his spell.
Last night I was telling Matt about Solveig Dommartin, how she was so beautiful, but ordinary looking, like Ingrid Bergman. She co-wrote and acted in Until the End of the World, was Wenders' partner, and was in the two celebrated angel movies. I looked online today on my lunch to see if Until the End of the World was available in its longer version and found a reference to the late Solveig Dommartin.

It's shocking when someone young dies, someone you unconsciously counted on to be around. When I feel discouraged I try to remember how fragile life is, what a privilege it is just to exist. I try to spur myself to write by telling myself how temporary my mind is. But on some level I feel that we are all granite, or at least the people that matter to me in one way or another are granite, permanent.

Solveig
Dommartin died fifteen days ago of a heart attack, and it's hard to believe there could be such an early end for the beautiful, athletic body-- that mastered the acrobatic stunts of the angel movies so quickly-- and the mind-- that helped imagine a camera for recording dreams, and taking pictures blind people can see.

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