I finally saw "Human Nature" the first collaboration between Charlie Kaufman and Michael Gondry.  So wonderful that even though the reception of that film was generally bad they continued into "The Eternal Spotless of of the Spotless Mind."

In the "Human Nature" there is one wonderful moment (among many) where the ape "goes ape" about the way we relate to the world.  (Wittgenstein anyone?)

Then the ape asks about the meaning of simultanagnosia". 

Natan, the brainy characters responds: 

Elegantly said. Google explains it in the following way:

“Simultanagnosia is the inability to perceive more than one object at a time. Patients are capable of identifying individual elements of a complex scene but have great difficulty in understanding what is occurring overall within the scene (i.e., “cannot see the forest for the trees”)”

This idea chimes with my recent state of mind: It so happens that I'm re-reading now “The Books of Jacob”, by Olga Tokarczuk. It contains the following passage:

“Ascher Rubin considers most of the people stupid and it’s that stupidity that brings sadness to the world. It’s neither a sin nor a virtue with which a man is born, but simply a bad way of seeing the world, erroneous understanding of what eyes see. As a result people see each thing separately, each disconnected from the rest. True wisdom is an art of connecting everything with everything, because then the true essence emerges.” (translation PK)

The question of the narrative technique is how to implement this approach in storytelling. Adding elements to emphasise the connection? Remove elements to penetrate the connections more within a singular? Mix the two approaches? Use other tools to seek unity of everything?


Polanski and his Magic

When I wasn’t here I have been hanging out at the YouTube channel “Thinking Camera”.  The most recent entry there is about one of my favourites: “Chinatown”. 

Let me add a few things to the content there:  

I dared a risky thesis on a supposedly rhythmical arrangement of geometric values in the flow of composition there.  I haven’t checked/examined its validity yet but since then came across a wonderful podcast/conversation between Robert Town and David Fincher about the film.  There they discuss the rhythmical occurrences of the double elements in the film: glasses, car tail lights, eyes (you got a spot in your eye), cigarettes, even nostrils etc.  They say that Polanski probably wasn’t conscious of those rhythms, yet they are there.   So it’s possible that my statement wasn’t entirely bs.  If anyone out there is game - checking the rhythms of compositions in Chinatown is a project to jump start. We could do it together.

My short remark about the Gittes character is shallow and one sided.  In their conversation Fincher and Town examine Gittes with his ambitions, limitations and values.  What emerges is a full scope character.  Needless to say I regret a fast wording to describe a complex being.

The origin of the magic of the film is an interesting issue. Polanski says he wasn’t really thinking while making the film that it was something special.  It was just a job, he says.  On the other side of the spectrum is Robert Evans - the force behind the production - who says that magic happens when you’re a bit irreverent, almost as if a certain modicum of irreverence is a must for magic to happen.  

Unrelated to Chinatown: Polanski’s conversation with Charlie Rose is fabulous. You can see there how a person with a massive intelligence reacts with respect to a journalist whom he considers solid and worthy to be treated seriously.  I suspect that some of the questions that Rose asks if presented by somebody else would trigger quite different responses from the director.