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Cinematic Reveries

Gestures, Stillness, Water


Linda C. Ehrlich

The 29 prose poems in Cinematic Reveries: Gestures, Stillness, Water provide distinctive points of entry into a select group of films through attention to evocative gestures, a sense of stillness, and images of water. These original writings offer film criticism in a new form, with a tone that is at once exploratory, familiar, and elegiac. They explore the precious nature of water; they point to gestures both eloquent and obscure. They offer us moments of arrested motion as well as longer contemplative sequences in films from Asia, Europe, New Zealand, and the U.S. To cite a sentiment expressed by filmmaker Raúl Ruíz in his Poetics of Cinema 2, these are tributes to great films that «recognize [us] like an old relative». The reader is encouraged to explore Cinematic Reveries as a portrait of the cinema which is at times lyrical, sometimes comic, and often tinged with pathos. This celebration of the art film is richly illustrated, with suggestions for further readings and viewings.


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72 Buster Keaton Takes A Walk (Lorca/Keaton) In the Fundación Federico García Lorca in Madrid, there are two versions of the poet’s short play El Paseo de Buster Keaton, copied over neatly by hand, with ink splotches here and there. I arrived in Granada in the pouring rain. Alone, I thought of the “poet of a million tears” buried somewhere here in a Granada covered with rain. I came in search of Lorca’s Buster Keaton. I knew that Lorca’s Keaton is transparent like a child, and cruel like a child, with a face that rests between sleep and waking. Lorca’s Keaton lifts one leg like a flamingo, and then the other like an ostrich. Then he balances in the air. From a small room in La Huerta de San Vicente, Lorca’s poems reached out to the garden, and then up to the caves of the gypsies in their crystal catacombs. Sacromonte, whitewashed cave houses pressed one next to the other. Songs,hidden under the low limestone ceilings, travel on to the towers of the Alhambra, guarding its medieval dream. Lorca’s Keaton doesn’t answer the foolish questions of the American woman with her celluloid eyes. Instead, he dreams of becoming a swan, but can’t because he would have no place to put his straw hat. Lorca’s room looked out onto a balcony facing orange trees and soft flowers of the South. There Lorca wrote words of a dark love that claws at the heart. Lorca’s piano sits in a...

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