Friday, September 24, 2010

TC: The Headless Woman (Mistress of the Labyrinth)


File:Classical 7-Circuit Labyrinth.jpg

She runs over something in the road, perhaps a dog, or was it something else, a child?

A death is at the center of the labyrinth.

Persephone drives on, into the suddenly pelting rain.

At the center of the labyrinth, shocked, in a fog, in her car, becoming the mistress of the underworld. Her domain now the kingdom of ghosts.

"The house is full of the dead -- ignore them and they will leave," mumbles her demented mother, who is perhaps Demeter.

Argentine director Lucrecia Martel's film is a dream of disembodiment, drifting in and out of focus. Back and forth across the shadowland between death and life.

At Knossos, in Minoan Crete, Persephone, the mistress of the underworld, presided over the ritual enactment. A roofless dancing ground was spoken of as "the labyrinth".

A dry arroyo that is suddenly flooded with a confusion of memory.

To all the gods honey, reads a tablet inscription at the foot of a female figure at Knossos. To the mistress of the labyrinth, honey.

Karl Kerenyi tells us that to the Minoans, honey was equated with divine blood. The ritual gift.

I remembered the haunting images of this film as if viewing through a clouded glass scenes from another life.

File:Persephone Cnidus BM C483.jpg

Classical Seven-Circuit Labyrinth: image by James Jen, 2009
Persephone Cnidus, c. 330 B.C., found at Baiae, Campania: photo by Jastrow, 2006 (British Museum, London)
Lucrecia Martel, director of The Headless Woman (La mujer sin cabeza): photo via The Auteurs, 2008

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

TC: Edwin Denby: Sonnet: "Disorder, mental, strikes me"


Image, Source: intermediary roll film

Disorder, mental, strikes me; I
Slip from my pocket Dante to
Chance hit a word, a friend’s reply
In this bar; bare, dark avenue
The lunge of headlights, then bare dark
Cross on red, two blocks home, old Sixth
The alive, the dead, answer, ask
Miracle consciousness I’m with
At home cat chirps, Norwegian sweater
Slumped in the bar, I mind Dante
As dawn enters the sunk city
Answer a one can understand
Actual events are obscure
Though the observers appear clear

Image, Source: intermediary roll film

Edwin Denby: "Disorder, mental, strikes me": from Later Sonnets in The Complete Poems, 1986

125th Street, Uptown New York City: photos by Walter Payton, April 1941 (Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress)