Thursday, January 30, 2014


29jan2014. Ate a meal. Surfed on the internet at what can be called as an internetcafe. Ate a meal. Bus, to downtown. TheLastBookstore. Bought some books. Returned to the motel. The new roommate returned to the motel shortly thereafter. He didn't seem to be upset at all. I asked him whether he had visited theGriffithObservatory, he said that he didn't. He said that he had acquired a private room, that he had survived a bunkbed for onenight, statedexplicitly that he is leaving a carton of water for my sake, and left the room. Slept. Woke up after1800hours. Bus, toKoreatown. A meal. Bought a bundle of pornographies japaneses. Bus, toRegalCiné. Had to wait 80minutes. There was some kind of event occuring, FilmIndependent. WatchedHer2013. Taxi, to the room. Slept. 30jan2014. Slept again after0800hours. Woke up after1200hours. Now, 1222hours.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


  Now, 06:58. Woke up after0530. Defacated myself. I asked him whether the new roommate was able to enter the venue last night. He said that he was and that one could not have obtained a ticket at the venue, and that I had made a wise decision. He asked me whether I wanted to accompany him toHollywoodsign nearGriffithPark. I accepted, because I wanted to see it. He asked a lot of questions, and used a term "economicallychallenged". I asked him whether it is one of his PCterm or some shit. He revised and said that he was "broke, his bankaccounts are empty, his wallets are thin.". He and I left the hostel and walked towardPershingSquareStation. He said that the downtown inLosAngeles smelled like urine and complained. He asked me what I liked about theCityOfLosAngeles. I asked him whether or not he wanted my true opinion. He said, Yes. I said that it is filled with ultraCapitalism, Meritocracy, and huge gap between the rich and the poor. I said that, in close proximity, the ultrarich and the poor are perceiving each others. He said that it is the beauty of the metropolitans, that it is theReality and one cannot change humannature, and that everybody has opportunities. I asked him whether or not he thought thisReality should remain this way. He repliedaffirmatively and said that moreandmorecities are being urbanised, and cited an example of his hometown, somewhere inVA. He said that moreandmore population will move into the metropolitans to obtains jobs, [Fuck me.] and that various public transportations will help them. I asked him who pays for the public transportations. He replied, Citizens. I asked him, What kind of citizens and said that this kind of statement is pointless unless one defines what kind of citizen versus what kind of citizen. I think he said that every kind of citizen. There was onehomeless black and possiblyschizophrenic, who was shouting something. I asked him whether or not he is a citizen. He said that he is not a productive citizen, therefore not a citizen. We arrived at the entrance ofPershingSquareStation. I said that he would go to theHollywoodsign without me. Returned to the room.
  Thought that he was thesame as the comedians and their audiences at the frenchrestaurant twodays before. SpikeJonez and his latest lover, MichelleWilliams, ZooeyDeschanel, MWard, Gosling, Mara, both of them, Soderbergh, also.
  Plan. A meal atKoreatown. Publiclibrary.central. TwelveYearsASlave or InsideLLewynDavis.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


  Woke up after0700hours. Wished the stranger a good voyage and left the room. Drank fourcups of water at the lobby. Walked to centrallibrary even though Knew that I would have to wait for twohours. Taxi, toEchoPark. Walked. Urinated at a publictoilette. Walked the neighbourhood near the park, which is on the higher ground. Bus whose number Do not remember. Cityhall, L.A.P.D.!. Taxi. St.VincentCircle. A barbershop. 20USD. Walked to the centrallibrary. Felt fatigue and Regretted having walked so much. Printed the list of korean restaurants inKoreatown. Taxi. BetweenWestOlympiaAndVentura. A meal. Bought a few novels atAladdinUS. Surfed on the internet at an internetcafe. Watched a video ofAmySeiMetz. Left it. Bus, RegalCiné. WatchedHer2013. It was good, but I don't like to watch the movies created by the bourgeoisie, concerned with the problems bourgeoisies. Bought a cheeserburger and a milkshake and Ate them. Decided not to watchWolfOfWallStreet and Walked toward the hostel. Bought onecan of dietcoke. Arrived at the room. New roommate was present. FromNYC, he claims that he is a graphicdesigner and that the purpose of the visit is to submit his work to various designers who work in magazines, includingPlayboy. He had the latest issue ofPlayboy in his suitcase and let me skim it. He asked me whether I wanted to accompany him and his friend to a concert inSilverLake? He wanted me to buy the ticket online and, after searching on the internet, told me that it is not available anymore, because it starts in a few hours. He has left the room to buy some food. AlreadyDislike his voice and his dumbassmentality. Hopesincerely that no altercation will occur between him and me.
  Shouldn't have walked so much in the morning and Should have studied ger. and lat. I'm supposed to be on vacation.
  Added. I know what kind of man he is. He left a ticket to a concert at his residence inWilliamsburg.Brooklyn. He asked me whether or not I wanted to accompany him. I agreed. He said that I needed to buy a ticket. He checked and found that it was not available anymore. He said that I should be able to buy a ticket at the venue, which is contrary to the statement he made earlier. I revealed his intention by the method of questionandanswer, and he said that he would get shitfaced at a bar nearby if I were not allowed to enter. He left the room and allegedlybought some food. When I asked him whether he lives inWilliamsburg.Brooklyn, he stronglystated that he is not a hipster. After20:40, he could not suppress himself from expressing it anymore and said that he was unsure whether he would be able to enter by showing someone an email. He left eventually. Hopesincerely that no altercation will occur between him and me.


  26jan2014.sun. Arrived atLosAngeles, 19:20. Hotel, fifthfloor. Another man unknown. Fourtacos. Twitter, SusanBurke. A performance, betweenSunsetAndGlendale. Taxi. A frenchrestaurant which has existed since 1930s. A room, crackerconvention held by either ultracapitalists, better known as entrepreneurs, or religiousnutjobs. Consumed fourbottles of corona in total. The performance began after20hours. The restaurant was playing the broadcast ofGrammyAwards as if anybody gives a shit. The "standup"act, onecracker who was not funny at all, oneblack.ethiopian.homosexual, onejewish fromNYC, SusanBurke, onecracker who was funny. The cunt recognised me. Her husband was present, also. After the end of the performance ofBurke, Asked someone to call a taxi for me. Someone told me that a taxi had arrived, and Left the restaurant. Hostel. Slept. 27jan2014.mon. Woke up after0700hour. Walked to publiclibrary.central. It would open at1000hours. UPSbranch. They didn't have any type of yellowenvelope. Walked to a store and ate a salad. Everything about the district exhibited ultraCapitalism, Meritocracy, and the values bourgeoisies. The barbershop onSt.VincentCircle is closed on mondays. Walked to the hostel. Walked to the publiclibrary.central. Copied some bibliographies. Studied spanish.verbtenses. Left the library and walked to the hostel. Decided to watchHer2013. Walked toRegalciné betweenOlympianAndHarborFreeway. A convention was taking place atMariottHotel. Corporateexecutives were going to eat something in a restaurant. One of them said, It's some of thebestwork I've done. Premiere ofThatAwakwardMoment. Various individuals waiting to see that boy arrived. ZachApron. Moreindividuals waiting to see the film inside the ciné. Bought a ticket forHer. Waited. There was a screening ofUpstreamColour. Asked someone if it was the film ofShaneCarruth. He repliedaffirmatively and told me to sign up for some kind of club. Said that it was too late, because the movie would start in a few minutes. The other man asked me whether I wanted to watch the movie. Watched the movie. It was great and I felt excitement all over my body during the entirety of the movie. Saw that it was edited by Carruth and DavidLowery. Left the ciné and a taxi. Hostel. Ordered a teriyaki and brought it to the room. The roommate temporary was already in the room. Ate the food. Asked the roommate whether he wanted to drink some beer. He accompanied me to a store where he and I paid for sixbottles of shiner. He and I smuggled the alcohol to the room and drank it. He talked, I talked, and listened. He is from somewhere inMinnesota, which he finds boring. The purpose of his travel is to visit some universities where they teach Engineering and cardesign. He showed me his drawing of sportscars, which I found interesting. He plans to travel toSanFrancisco and visitGoldenGateBridge. Said that it is the place themostfavoured by suicidal persons. He said that he was aware and that someone, the name ofJason, who is fromSanDiego, who works in theUSArmy, who stayed in the room before me, works under the bridge so that he can either prevent suicide or retrieve the corpses. Remarked that I would have very much liked to converse with him. He showed me the photographs taken during his travel in southKorea. He and I, well, I listened to him talk about his hopes and frustrations concerning marriage. He expressed his condition to only marry the asian females. His parents practicesShamanism. He has two older sisters, both of whom are married and live inMinnesota. His father is dead and his mother is retired after working in a flowershop. He repeatedlyrevealed his financial difficulties and I sympathised.
  Tarantino is suing Fucking whitetrashdumbass. In any case, I don't give a fuck. Tomorrow. What? Paparazzis wait for hours so that they can follow someone who is leaving a place. He hit me with a briefcase. They are only monitoring oneline. That is not true. That is not true. That's a lot of thinking for bear. Ashestoashesanddusttodust. Right, Sent a letter toElynRSaks, she was toobusy, the fucking cunt. Probably will never know. Bitchplease, you must have a mentaldisease. Assume the position and get back down on your knees come on. Right, looked at something concerning ThomasFriedman, and fuckThomasFriedman. Will read the books written by him. It will be an exercise in futility, but Will finish them, because he is considered a great thinker for some reason which I don't understand.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Thoughts onUpstreamColour2013.

  Enjoyed it thoroughly from start to finish.
  Each shot felt like an impression of a piece of memory and held me captivated.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Transcript. Tavernier. OnJeanPierreMelville.

1.      I rememberverywell thefirstday I metJeanPierreMelville. I was writing aboutFilms. Thefirstarticle was aboutMelville, and I wanted to do an interview. So I went to see him, and I did a small interview of him. And from then on, Melville asked me what I wanted to do, I said, I would like to direct. So he said, Come meet me and I will try to help you. And he did with me what he did with some young people. We became, how you say, his protégé.  He was taking, most of the time, It happened toVolkerSchlondorff, it happened to many people, long ride. We were driving inParis, and he was explaining us place were related to the story of underworld, it's how PierreLeFou lived there, ** there, it’s in this house somebody betrayed someone, it was a place where people were meeting in theRésistance. So, I mean, we had threehoursfourhoursdrive, sometimes a bite to eat, going to oneortwomovies. And after midnight, the ride was going on, I was brought home in the room I was renting at threeinthemorning, and thenextday thesamething. So had that life, I saw a lot of films with him, and I see echoes of those films inDoulosLe et DeuxièmeSouffleLe. One of them especially, which is CrimeWave[Completed in1952, released in1954], and I know, because Melville loved that film. During the scene where JeanDesailly was chewing toothpick, this come fromCrimeWave. Melville told that to me. He said, I will give him thesamekind of toothpick ofSterlingHayden. And he borrowed things. Thesameway he borrowed [copied] shots fromOddsAgainstTomorrow[1959] The wall ofOddsAgainstTomorrow can be found in many Melville'sfilms, including films which have nothing to do with copandgangster. Laughter ofTavernier. He was obssessed [with] wallpaper, and he was asking his productiondesigner to copy it. Omitted.
2.      I will neverforget thefirstday I came to his studio when he made me visit twostages, the bar, and he was living just upstairs. It was always like night inside, because he had insomnia. And the stairs to the apartment I think you can see in all those films. And certainly inDoulousLe et SamouraïLe. I mean, you can see somebody climbing in fact toMelville’sapartment. Omitted.
3.      He gave me my firstjob, like firstAD. SecondAD was VolkerSchlondorff. As thefirstAD was firedimmediately before the film started, because there was something had to be in war with oneortwoorthreepersons in the crew, oneortwoorthreepersons in the cast, and he was at war with them, it was deadly. And he ccould be, at the same time, a few hours after, themostcharming and delicious man in the world. Omitted.
4.      At the beginning of the film, Melville says, I’m saying goodmorninghello to everybody, and I will not say during film ever, because it’s a big waste of time. Yet calculated by saying good morning to everybody in the crew, he was losing like threeminutes every day. That was something. This would recount for the whole movie. I will neversay hello to you after that. Omitted.
5.      And at the end, Melville said to me, You are hopeless as anAD, which I was. But he did something great to me. He said, I think you can be good as a pressagent And I did, and I was hired byGeorgesDeBeaugard, JeanLucGodard, ClaudeChabrol, **, many directors, threefoursfouryears. Being a pressagent forMelville, you were escaping that [burden]. Laughter ofTavernier. That kind of attitude, which was, I mean, it was getting great result, but I alwaysthought that there must be other way to get what you want. Omitted.
6.      And I became really thepressagent, because Belmondo fired guy who was supposed to be a pressagent. His name was RichardBalducci, who published, he did not publish himself, but he let publish the kind of scandalous column aboutBelmondo in theworst[slander] gossipy. So I [was] there when Belmondo in theStudioJenner was chasingBalducci, caughtBalducci, and forced him to eat the newspaper, and Balducci says, Don't do that to me. I'm a coworker, I’m a coworker, don't do that to me, and Belmondo was putting in the newspaper in his mouth, and then Balducci never came and I took over the film. Laughter ofTavernier. It's how I took over DoulosLe after that scene, which could be DoulosLe. I mean, Belmondo was behaving exactlylike the character in the film. Omitted.
7.      Thefirstshot was start[ing] fromSacréCœurLe. I can seeMelville explaining me in the editingroom that it was a statement he was making againstPigalle and the underworld. He was going away fromBobLeFlambeur. That’s the meaning of thefirstshot. I was taking my distance from the world ofBobLeFlambeur by that zoomer. Omitted.
8.      Shooting went veryveryfast and efficient. And I say, Veryveryfewshots. He knew where to put the caméra. He knew what he wanted. There was no improvisation. What is striking when you see the film is the ["]economy["]. How eachshot counts. There was no coverage. Veryverylittle coverage. You could not edit the film ofMelville in twentydifferentways. Eightypercent of the film was alreadythere in the editingroom. And the lighting byNicolasHayer, who was one of those cameramen that Melville loved, but he was verycharming man, which Melvilled sued at the end of the film, because [of] the shot of the car falling from the cliff. There were twocameras, and NicolaHayer was on one, the operator at the other. ByEconomy, Melville did not want to hire another cameraman, another operator. And Nicolas was the cameraman, not the operator, and he forgot to push the button. Onlyoneshot, nottwo of the stunt. So he sued him. Melville loved to sue. He was in obssession with suing, I mean, actors, part of the crew, coproducteurs. He was alwayssuing his producer, coprucer, exhibitor, he was absolutelyobssessive about that. I mean, talking of an obssession. When he was called by a producer, I mean, I witnessed that onDeuxièemeSouffleLe. I was in his office when he was called, somebody proposing him DeuxièmeSouffleLe. He immediatelyopened the file, and he put thecaseDeuxièmeSouffleLe. Laughter ofTarvernier. It was a legalcase before ** on the contract. Omitted.
9.      InDoulosLe, theonlydisagreement, and I've seenBelmondo questionMelville several times, was the way the women were cast. Belmondo felt that Melville took amateurs, which were notgood and not up to the quality of the film. He was critical of that. And I think he was right, I think he was right. Melville cast his secretary, the girl who was tied up to the [radiator], Melville'ssecretary. Melville does not how to handle women, does not know how to direct them. I don't think he’s interested. It's true of all of his gangsterfilms. Mostimportant things are the men, are the relationship between the men, and the masculine environment. And the feeling Melville deals with are masculine feelings, loyalty, freindship, betrayal, and he’s verygood at that. I don't think Melville was a great screewriter of original stories. [I agree] One must not forget DoulosLe is a veryfaithful adaptation of a good book byPierreLesou. Omitted.
10.   He wanted to describe french gangster at, behaving in fact as american gangster, but put in frenchbackground. In the end, Melville’sobssession was to be the equal ofWilliamWyler. He was the director he was admiring above all the american director. Films as the directors, all masterpiece or shit. There was nothing in between. There was not a film which [was] good thing, but it's not totallysuccesful or veryinteresting. That was the word which he was never using. It was fourstars or that. Like everything fromWilliamWyler is great. And people againstMelville, I'm thinking of people likeJacquesRivette, for instance, alwayssaid that problem withMelville and his gangsterfilm[s] is he wanted to do tragedy, greektragedy by magnifying characters, who were, in fact, inReallife, dispecable. It's something the french screenwriter, MichelAudiard, kept telling me. He said, French gangster, most of them had been at work with frenchGestapo. They were antisemitic. They tortured jews, Résistance. They betrayed everybody. They were betraying each other. You cannot make tragedy with them, you cannot. But Melville succeeded in creating a world of his own, which was, normally he was thinking he was making an american film inFrance, but it's not a copy of an american film. It's not a copy of theReality. It's something completelyspecial completelypersonal, and you find that since thefirstshot ofDoulosLe. It’s veryclear. It’s really thosetwofilms who put him in the mainstream. Before that, he was takenseriously by a few filmbuff, CahiersDuCinéma, people like that, but not by the system. So they were veryveryimportant. And at the end, I heard him veryoften say, inFrance, there are onlytwodirectors, Cluzot and myself. He said, Cluzot, lately. Laughter ofTarvernier. That’s. So I was, when I started making films, I was glad that he had disappeared, because I would have feared his judgement.

11.   Melville was veryproud, all the people with my aim worked with him, all of us where we fought with him, and there was a separation. I had to fight overAînéDesFerchauxLe[1963], which I did not like at all, and I told him, Melville, that I was, I didn’t say that I didn't like the characters at all, but I had a lot of reservation about the film. I think the film was, compared to the great novel bySimenon, full of flaws and it was missed. And he never forgave me. Some years passed by, onenight, had a phonecall. This is JeanPierre. I read your book, [TrenteAnnéesDuCinémaAméricain]. It's great. It's a masterpiece. One of thebestbook written aboutFilms. I said, Thank you, JeanPierre. I mean, out of the blue, full of priase. He said, I would like to show you mylastfilm, DeuxièmeSouffleLe. And he showed me his  film, and it was veryimpressive, and I saidimmediately, I will fight for it, I want to fight for it. It's how we started to work together, and we were veryveryclose during those months. He premiered the film inMarseille. During the traintrip, he asked me, After all those weeks spent together, Have you any kind of reservation about my film. I said, There was a scene in the stickup. I mean, before, maybe there is a little moment, which is tiny bit toolong. He said, This is thebestmoment in the film. I stopped arguing. Laughter ofTavernier. Omitted.
12.   It's verystriking, with veryfewwords and fewshots, a lot is said. And I was looking at films, where you have many things describe that twopersons are pals, and evenafter twentyfiveminutes, you do not believe that. When, inMelville, in twentyseconds, it's clear. Thefirstscene between-MichelConstantin et -Ventura is a great example of that. Omitted.
13.   Meurisse was a veryintelligent actor. Sometimes he overacts. Because he was intelligent, he tried to show toomuch he is moreintelligent than his material, and he has a sarcastic way of delivering the line, but Melville knew how to restrain him, to use that intelligence, the ability to give kind of cynical, sarcastic lines. The film has manymanyparts that are veryverywell cast. Veryverywellcast. And great sense of atmosphère. I think the scene where Gu is trapped by the police, byJeanClaudeBercq is absolutelyterrific. The landscape there give[s] a kind of desolate feelings to the shot. Omitted.
14.   The film was veryveryverywellreceived. There was even a superb article byGillesJacob, who was not, at the time, the president ofCannesFF. He was writing inCinéma, sixtyfive, sixtysix, I mean, the year of the film. The big, big, big. He says, Among the french crimefilms in the last year, we had threemasterpieces. ClasseTousRisques, TroueLe, and now, DeuxièmeSouffleLe. Three great films, and I do not see. Yet, I do not see any link between them. When I read the article, I said, This is bizarre. So, I showed this article toJoséGiovanni, and he sent a letter. He said, Don't you think there is at least onelink? Those threefilms are based on my books. Laughter ofTavernier. I wrote the screenplays of all those films, and this is my dialogue in the threefilms. Laughter ofTavernier. So at least, it creates a link between the threefilms. Omitted.
15.   Giovanni, by the fact that he spent manymanyyears in jail. Tenyears waiting to be [executed] killed, [guillotioned], met those people. He knew the world ofDeuxièmeSouffleLe, but Melville wanted to assign adaptation, screenplayadaptationanddialogue, and Giovanni fought against that. Becuase, he showed that ninetyeightpercent of the dialogue was coming out of the book. The dialogue was Giovanni, and the story was Giovanni. At the end, there was a settlement, which says adaptation byJeanPierreMelville and screenplayanddialogue byJoséGiovanni. And Melville, that originated [hatred] ofMelville forGiovanni. And Giovanni was ratherfair to say that he did notlikeMelville as a man, but he said that the film was veryverywelldirected. Giovanni, as a man and as an artist, was preferring Becker et ClaudeSautet, but he respected the skill ofMelville. So onesubject which was important toGiovanni, and that's grande ** deMelville, that’s is friendship, loyalty, and that's something which is verymoving. The theme, in a way, Giovanni was covering territory already been exploredbrilliantly byJacquesBecker inTouchezPasAuGrisbi[1954], I mean, about aging gangsters, people starting to be disconnected in new world. So, this is something that Giovanni was verysensitive, and, in his way, Melville, too. Melville was feeling a little likeVentura, displaced director, a director out of tune withNewWave. In a way, Ventura, to feel the impression that he is alone, that it's moreandmoredifficult for him to go out, you feel a little bit of despair. Melville, he should have gone deeper into this, but Melville was alsofeeling that it could hurt the film commercially if you are going tooextreme. He tried to do it in themostelegant way possible. Melville was interested in that, being elegant. He was interested in disperse should not showoff, should be read in the subtext, and not advertised. Omitted.
16.   I think he invented the kind of film which are reflection, which are exploring, also the films of memories he has those films, and how those films tried to call in him. Playing with archetypes, those films, I will not say philosophical, but there are like soulful, greek examination of the genre. Like a jazzmusician would take a standard byGershwin, and redo it in his own way. He's takingThisGunForHire[1942] and combine it with maybe one or two other films, and he makes his own version, but in such a way he’s taken different kind of chords, playing with different kind of harmonies, yet you have the melody. Omitted.
17.   I think Melville put the genre to kind of perfection. The probl?me was it was soperfect, it was imitated by many director. But I wonder we are not losing something in it. And I think Melville felt it, because we went toArmeeDesOmbresLe[1969], in which, I think is another masterpiece. DeuxiemeSouffleLe killed a certain category of crimefilms.

Article. FilmComment. KentJones. Intolerance. Mayjune2013issue.

  On Westerns in general and JohnFord’s in particular, the nonmalleable nature of the past, and why QuentinTarantino shouldn’t teachFilmHistory

  One of my american westernheroes is notJohnFord, obviously. To say the least, I hate him. Forget about faceless indians he killed like zombies. It really is people like that that kept alive this idea of anglosaxon humanity compared to everybody else’s humanity, and the idea that that’s hogwash is a verynew idea in relative terms. And you can see it in theCinema in the thirties and forties, it’s still there. And even in the fifties. But the thing is, one of my westernheroes is a director namedWilliamWitney who started doing the serials. He didZorro’sFightingLegion, about22RoyRogersmovies, he did a whole bunch of Westerns ... JohnFord puts on a Klanuniform [inBirthOfANationThe], rides to blacksubjugation. WilliamWitney ends a fiftyearscareer directing theDramatics doing “What You See Is What You Get” [inDarktownStrutters]. I know what side I’m on.  QuentinTarantino, in conversation withHenryLouisGates, inRootThe.

  Let’s start with the obvious and agree thatTarantino was carried away by his disgust withRacism and his lofty feelings aboutWilliamWitney. Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that it’s been a while since he took a fresh look at-FortApache[1948] or -CheyenneAutumn[1964] or, given the fact that he’s collapsing prejudices against indians and africanamericans into one, SergeantRutledge[1960]. Let’s assume that such Witneytitles as DrumsOfFuManchu and JungleGirl are as racially enlightened as Tarantino claimsDarktownStrutters to be. And let’s assume that, as he was soaring on the wings of hisRhetoric, Tarantino forgot that Ford’s own ancestors were not anglosaxon but celtic, that they were notexactlywelcomed with open arms when they started emigrating to this country in great numbers in the1840s, that the memory of anglosaxon oppression was considerablyfresher inFord’slifetime than it is now (stillprettyfresh back home), and that the irishexperience played no small part in his films.
  But let’s take a closer look at the part about Ford killing all those “faceless Indians.” First of all, the indians inFord’sfilms, while never as carefullydrawn as the indians inDelmerDaves’sfilms, are less “faceless” than they are in many other movies made by directors with only a fraction of Ford’sknowledge of the actualWest. Secondly, what about all the other directors who killed so many more faceless indians? What about Hawks (RedRiver), Walsh (TheyDiedWithTheirBootsOn, DistantDrums, Saskatchewan), Hathaway (ThunderingHerdThe, TenGentlemenFromWestPoint), Vidor (TexasRangersThe, NorthwestPassage), DeToth (LastOfTheComanches), Mann (LastFrontierThe), Tourneur (CanyonPassage), and Sherman (Comanche, WarArrow, BattleAtApachePassThe)? And what about all the lesser directors, theLesleySelanders and LouisKings and RGSpringsteens and lower and lower down the pole? Does anyone actuallybelieve that they each chose Westernstories set during theIndianWars because they unwittinglyshared a burning desire to promote the superiority of anglosaxon humanity? Or that WilliamWitney laid down theLaw with Republicpresident, HerbertYates and unequivocallyrefused to make any films about the slaughter of indians? While making it clear that the chinese were another matter and that a FuManchuserial was okay? On the other hand, he seems to have made an exception forSantaFePassage, about an indian scout played byJohnPayne who stands up to a murderous band ofKiowas.
  Some of these directors wielded quite a bit of power, Hawks most of all. Some of them, like Witney, wielded none and were in no position to refuse an assignment. The fact that he didn’t wind up making that many movies featuring pitched battles between anglosaxon cowboys or scouts or soldiers and hordes of Apaches or Cheyennes or Sioux, gunned down from behind the safety of rock formations or upended Conestoga wagons or on horseback, obviously has nothing to do with personal predilections and everything to do with the reality of slaving away on budgets that didn’t allow for the cost of feeding, housing, and paying 100 horse-riding extras and a couple of dozen stuntmen. ShadowsOfTombstone[1953] is moretypicalWitneyfare and moretypical of lowbudget westerns in general: a-ranchercatches-a-banditwhoturnsouttoworkforthecorruptsheriffandthendecidestorunforofficehimselfwiththehelpofthebeautifullocalnewspaperowner.
  In some of the abovementioned cases, the battle with the indians is nothing more than an episode in a western saga, as inRedRiver. In Hathaway’sTenGentlemenFromWestPoint, the raid onTecumseh’scamp is thefinalstep in the militaryEducation of the eponymous tencadets. InVidor’sNorthwestPassage, the massacre of an entireAbenakivillage builds with a scary momentum that suggests (or suggested, to certain postMyLaiviewers) that the film itself was bursting through its own celebratory spirit of the pioneering ethos to reveal a throbbing inner core of american supremacist bloodlust. In Mann’s LastFrontierThe and Walsh’sSaskatchewan, as in Ford’sFortApache, a hero with extensive knowledge of indian ways and a respect for a particular indian tribe [Sioux in theMann, Cree in theWalsh, Apache in theFord] comes into conflict with a commanding officer who lives long enough to see his arrogant attempt to assert the superiority of anglosaxon humanity go down in flames. In certain films, the indians are played by actual indian actors, albeit often from the wrong tribe [as was the case in manyFordfilms]. In others, including Daves’s enlightened BrokenArrow and DrumBeat, they are played by white actors like JeffChandler and DebraPaget and CharlesBronson. From a distance, it’s veryeasy to view the western genre as a great abstract swirl of cowboys and indians, the proud Cavalry vs. the mute savages, a long triumphal march of anglosaxon humanity led byJohnFord and JohnWayne brought to a dead halt by the sixties. Up close, onemovie at a time, the picture is quite different. Similarly, the mental image of a film about theSouth at the turn of the century featuringStepinFetchit as the devoted manservant of a smalltownjudge sounds like the occasion for a satisfying round of righteous indignation, while the actual films JudgePriest[1934] and SunShinesBrightThe[1953] are something else again.
  Why would QuentinTarantino, of all people, buy into such a frozen, shopworn image ofFord and the presixtieswesterngenre, an image that is now sixdecadesold and more of an antique than anything Ford ever directed? Of the twelvesoundwesterns Ford made between1939And1964 (I don’t think that Tarantino is referring to the silents: we’re not talking about actualFilmHistory here, but a politicalconstruct from an earlier era built around theCavalryTrilogy), some have no significant action involving indians at all, includingMyDarlingClementine[1946], unless you insist on counting its one drunken indian, 3Godfathers [1948], and ManWhoShotLibertyValanceThe[1962]. InWagonMaster[1950], BenJohnson is chased on horseback by a band ofNavajowarriors, but when they see that he is traveling with mormons, all hostilities cease, one oppressed people recognizes another. At theNavajodance to which they’re invited, an outlaw who is hiding among the Mormons sexuallyassaults a squaw, and theMormonelder has the man publiclyflogged. Since no indians, faceless or otherwise, are killed, I presume that this is not one of the films that Tarantino had in mind. InFortApache, it’s Cochise and Geronimo, hardlyfaceless, who do most of the killing, yet within the framework of the film they are justified because their people have been corrupted by the local indian agent and their agreements with the americanGovernment have been dishonored. InSheWoreAYellowRibbon[1949], in which tensions break out between the indian agent and a rebelArapaholeader, the final SeventhCavalryraid on theArapahocamp is bloodless and intended to avoid a massacre. TwoRodeTogether[1961] is about the problems of returning whiteComanchecaptives to their prejudiced families. InSergeantRutledge, theNinthCavalry tracks down and battles with a band ofMescaleros dotdotdot but theNinthCavalry is allblack and the protagonist is its proudest sergeant, falsel accused of the rape and murder of a whitegirl, surely Tarantino could see his way to cutting this one a little slack. In essence, I think that we’re really talking about threemovies; Stagecoach[1939], in which the men on the eponymous vehicle defend themselves and the women aboard against a band of Apaches; RioGrande[1950], in which Apaches on a rampage are wiped out by theCavalry on the mexican side of the border; and SearchersThe[1956]. More about that one later.
  The idea of the americanWest was always more a matter of solitude and space and the balance between Individualism and community than a matter of conquest. Along with the city as theater of life in the thirties or bourgeois existence as genteel prison in the fifties, the idea belonged to no director or writer, and the culture breathed it long before the movies began. That the idea was built on the backs of indigenous americans who were, inFord’sownwords, “cheated and robbed, killed, murdered, massacred and everything else,” was not exactly hidden from view, but relegated to the background of the story that the culture was telling itself through paintings and dime novels and traveling shows and, finally, movies, albeit never quite as comfortably as is now imagined. It’s curious that american -culture and -History are still so commonly viewed through aNewLeftprism, by means of which 1964 or thereabouts has become a YearZero of politicalenlightenment; as a consequence, the preferred stance remains that of the outsider looking in, or in this case back, at a supposedly-gullible and -delusional presixtiesAmerica. It’s certainlypreferable to rightwingorthodoxy, but that’s hardly a compliment. TheNewLeft is now veryold but itsRhetoric lives on, many times removed from its original context, and thatRhetoric seems to have found a welcome home inFilmCriticism.
  Can we really afford to keep saying “them” instead of “us?” Is it useful to keep looking back at the past, disowning what we don’t like and attributing it to laughablyfailed versions of our perfectlyenlightened selves? Should we really give ourselves the license to remakeFilmHistory as we would like it to be by eliding certain details and amplifying others, in this case, sellingBirthOfANationThe as the american equivalent ofEternalJewThe, equating a day of extra work with riding for the realKlan, elevatingWilliamWitney to theKingOfTheUnderdogs and sweepingJohnFord into the dustbin, and maintaining that theBlaxploitationGenre was a model of africanamerican empowerment? Why do we keep insisting on the decomplication ofHistory if not to justify our own tastes and abolish our discomforts? BirthOfANationThe is indeed a hairraising experience, and its moments of visual poetry, as stirring as ever, are as close to its many trulyrepugnant passages as teeth are to lips, to paraphraseMao. They always will be. Does that oblige us to pretend that the film wasn’t a beacon for every director ofFord’sgeneration and beyond, for fear that we might appear racist by doing otherwise? Griffith and ThomasDixon, with assistance fromWoodrowWilson, helped to reinvigorate the realKlan. They did so unwittingly, not with a piece of propaganda but with a powerfully dynamic and romantic rendering of the “oldSouth” of their elders that housed a racist deformation ofHistory at its core, indeed, if they had been mere propagandists like FritzHippler or VeitHarlan, their film would never have had the effect that it did. That’s not splitting hairs, but the thorny, unwelcome, complicated truth. The question is, how do we live with it?
  And how do we live withJohnFord? Just as a great deal of energy once went into the domestication ofBirthOfANationThe, for instance, JamesAgee’scontention that Griffith “went to almostpreposterous lengths to be fair to the negroes as he understood them, and he understood them as a good type of southerner does”, so an equal amount has gone into smoothing out Ford, fashioning him as either a drunkenracistmilitaristjingoistic lout with a gift for making pretty pictures or a Brechtian politicalartist. If I have some sympathy for the latter position (and zero for the former), it stillseems like a stretch. But as RaymondDurgnat might have put it, and as JonathanRosenbaum argued so eloquently in his2004appreciation ofSunShinesBrightForRougeThe, Ford wasn’t a great artist in spite of the contradictory imperatives of his films but because of them. His films don’t live apart from the shifts in american culture and the demands of the filmindustry, but in dialogue with them. Do those films provide the models of racial enlightenment that we expect today? Of course they don’t. On the other hand, they are farmore-nuanced and -sophisticated in this regard than the streamlined commentaries that one reads about them, behaviorally, historically, and cinematically speaking, and the seeds of-Ulzana’sRaid and -DeadMan are already growing in-FortApache and -SearchersThe. Is Ford’s vision “paternalistic?” I suppose it is (and that includes-SunShinesBrightThe and –SergeantRutledge), but the culture was paternalistic, and holding an artist working in a popular form to the standards of an activist or a statesman and condemning him for failing to escape the boundaries of his own moment is a fool’s game. Maybe it’s time to stop searching forMoralperfection in artists.
  The mistake has always been to look for the paternalistic, find it in Ford’s work, and then make the leap that it is merely so. If there’s another filmartist who went deeper into the painful contradictions between solitude and community, or the fragility of human-bonds and -arrangements, I haven’t found one. To look at Stagecoach or RioGrande or SearchersThe and see absolutely nothing but evidence of the promotion of anglosaxon superiority is to look away fromCinema itself, I think. In Stagecoach and RioGrande, the “indians” are a Platonicideal of the enemy, everyage has one, one can find thesamedevice employed throughout theHistory of drama, and in countless other westerns. As forSearchersThe, the film becomes knottier as the years go by. The passage withJeffreyHunter’sComanchewife, Look (BeulahArchuletta) is just as uncomfortable as the courtroombanjohijinks inSunShinesBrightThe, particularly the moment when Hunter kicks her down a sandbank, but the comedy makes the sudden shift to relentless cruelty, and the later discovery ofLook’scorpse at the site of a Cavalrymassacre of the comanches, that much more shocking.
  Tarantino’s illchosen words more or less force a comparison between his recent films and Ford’s. As brilliant as much ofDjangoUnchained and InglouriousBasterds are, they strike me as relativelystraightahead experiences, there is nothing in either film to decomplicate; by contrast, one might spend a lifetime contemplatingSearchersThe or WagonMaster or YoungMr.Lincoln[1939] and continuallyfind new values, problems, and layers of feeling. And while Tarantino’s films are funny, inventive, and passionatelyserious about racial prejudice, there is absolutely no mystery in them, what you see really is what you get. Within the context of americanCinema, Django is a bracing experience dotdotdot until the moment that ChristophWaltz shootsLeonardoDiCaprio, turns toJamieFoxx, and exclaims,  “I’m sorry. I couldn’t resist.” The line reading is as perfect as the staging of the entire scene, but this is thevery instant that the film shifts rhetorical gears and becomes yet another revengefantasy, that makes five in a row. Is revenge really the motor of life? Or ofCinema? Or are they interchangeable? Or whatever, as long as you know what side you’re on? [CharlieRose]
  If Waltz’sadmission of the irresistible impulse to take vengeance on the ignorantly powerful is the keyline inDjangoUnchained, the key line inSearchersThe, delivered in thefirstthird of the film, is its polar opposite. As JeffreyHunter’sMartin and HarryCareyJr.’sBrad prepare to joinJohnWayne’sEthanEdwards on his quest to find his nieces, Mrs.Jorgensen [OliveCarey] takesEthan aside and pleads with him: “Don’t let the boys waste their lives on vengeance.” Ford’sfilm is about the toll of vengeance on actual humanbeings, while Tarantino’srecentwork is about the celebration of orgiastic vengeance as a symbolic correction ofHistory. [Only in his own little mind.] Ford’s film has had a vast and longlasting effect on americanCinema, while the impact ofTarantino’s film has, I suspect, already-come and -gone. But then, Ford onlyhad the constraints of the studiosystem to cope with, his own innerconflicts aside, while Tarantino must contend with something farmore-insidious and -difficult to pin down, the hyperbranded and anxiouslyselfdefining world of popularculture, within which he is trying to be artist, grand entertainer, genius, connoisseur, critic, provocateur, and now repairman ofHistory, all at once. [Accurate.] It makes your head spin. And oneday in the future, I suppose he might find himself wondering just what he had in mind when he so recklesslydemeaned one of the greatest artists who ever stood behind a camera.
  Editors'snote: The print and original onlineversion of this piece incorrectlyidentifiedOliveCarey'scharacter as Brad'swife. The mistake has been corrected in the online version.