I haven't posted anything for a long time because of multiple projects that have piled up. Now that a cold is making me stop for a day or two it's time to try to return to a more regular updates.
Unable to think/edit I reached for an unfinished book. "Images" by Ingmar Bergman. (I swam in Bergman earlier in the year conducting a semester long seminar on his films.)
Two thoughts jump up: in a brilliant and short introduction to the book Woody Allen offers a handful of great remarks about Bergman and yet ends up with "me, me, me". Is he unable to stick to giving respect to his master? Is this a sign of Allen's limits?
Then Bergman himself on the very first page drops a bomb. Recalling a failed (in his opinion) interview/book called "Bergman on Bergman" he comments on his insincerity in giving answers to the journalists involved. He writes the following, devastating sentence:
"I plead for an understanding that, in any case is impossible".
If a mind of such a caliber writes something like that, the earth shatters exposing the limits of the possibility of our knowledge of each other.
I am particularly sensitive to the issue of limits because I am struggling with a difficult creative process which pushes in my face my own limits as a storyteller. I am also witnessing a farcical bickering among a group of people who, of all the people, should know how to transcend their "inter-subjective" limits. I am borrowing this term from the Siemek film project - this is the project I am struggling with.
Hopefully I won't write more about the bickering group. Instead I would soon like to post more about the way the Marek Siemek documentary evolves despite, or because of the limits of its filmmaker.
One thing however is certain: Bergman's bleak outlook at the inability to understand applies to a documentary as well. A documentary that attempts to bring understanding to its subject is kidding itself.
No understanding is possibly. Only subjective, (inter-subjective?) approximation from a very specific, singular point of view. And such an approximation will always remain limited.