YouTubeArt: "The Most Beautiful Six Minutes in the History of Cinema " - Giorgio Agamben
Jonathan Rosenbaum, on the Chicago Reader blog On Film, has just posted an astonishing piece of video. It's a short, silent scene from Orson Welles' unfinished Don Quixote, one not included in Jess Franco's much derided edit of the film. In the interview which precedes the clip, Rosenbaum states that this scene was shot immediately after he was booted from the editing process on Touch of Evil in 1957. It takes place in a movie theater, and in its short running time expresses the joyful contradictions of moviegoing. Think Edison's Uncle Josh at the Moving Picture Show rendered sublime. [the clip starts at -5:00]
I won't argue with Agamben's quote [and the clip is edited, so it does run closer to 6 minutes]. Rosenbaum, via Adrian Martin, quotes the piece in full:
"Sancho Panza enters the cinema of a provincial town. He is looking for Don Quixote and finds him sitting apart, staring at the screen. The auditorium is almost full, the upper circle--a kind of gallery--is packed with screaming children. After a few futile attempts to reach Don Quixote, Sancho sits down in the stalls, next to a little girl (Dulcinea?) who offers him a lollipop. The show has begun, it is a costume movie, armed knights traverse the screen, suddenly a woman appears who is in danger. Don Quixote jumps up, draws his sword out of the scabbard, makes a spring at the screen and his blows begin to tear the fabric. The woman and the knights can still be seen, but the black rupture, made by Don Quixote's sword, is getting wider, it inexorably destroys the images. In the end there is nothing left of the screen, one can only see the wooden structure it was attached to. The audience is leaving the hall in disgust, but the children in the upper circle do not stop screaming encouragements at Don Quixote. Only the little girl in the stalls looks at him reprovingly.
What shall we do with our fantasies? Love them, believe them--to the point where we have to deface, to destroy them (that is perhaps the meaning of the films of Orson Welles). But when they prove in the end to be empty and unfulfilled, when they show the void from which they were made, then it is time to pay the price for their truth, to understand that Dulcinea--whom we saved--cannot love us." --Giorgio Agamben, Profanations