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Out of the Blue: “one state of suspension after another…”

Out of the Blue: “one state of suspension after another…”


Dear Holly,

I noticed so many changes! It was a different experience again.. though I don’t know which differences are because of actual changes and which just because of my growing familiarity with the film. I barely know where to start, but I’m very enthusiastic about it.

It struck me that the film is quite literally one state of suspension after another. By suspension, I mean in-between-ness, transit, but also a sense of loss of direction: waiting, falling endlessly, flying, being thrown around; furthermore: looking for something, rummaging. Suspension, as in being helpless, surrendered to things beyond one’s control. Trying to see, trying to touch; a mourning of this touch, if only the touch of the eye, being quite impossible, while this impossibility, the suspension, still entailing an unknown beauty. It’s a film about the act of looking itself (though all of your films are); evident first of all simply in that almost every shot features a reference to that act, all the windows, doors, apertures and screens that mediate it. There are so many windows! Of moving vehicles, of course, of houses, but also as frames: frames as windows into the film.

The cartoon section (which might be reworked, given more weight?), the laundry, the car wash; the falling leaves, the specks of dust, floating mid-air (a speck in the cosmos, says Tag Gallagher about Raoul Walsh’s Pursued) – but also the sound work, of which I only now noticed how layered it I; the ringing phone, the sound of the plane engine, a ticking noise of a car turn signaling: everything appears as an expression of this suspension. And, perhaps even most notably: the glissandi. I thought that your film can indeed be seen as the very analogon to the two Vierk movements: The glissandi of the first movement are set against recurrent chords, just as the states of suspension (i.e. the film-written glissandi) set against recurrent specific texts, words, images. And the frenzied, “fragmented”/”broken up” glissandi of the second movement are to be found in the imagery where movement is similarly broken up (perhaps a lower frame rate?), not fluid anymore; the car wash, the bus in Berlin and the fractured lights (Saigon?). The first car wash sequence is one of my favorites, simply beautiful, because of that fragmentation.

But the single most haunting, strongest, and most intimate image is one that was moved to Vierks 2nd movement: The hand over television, over the sky, all-encompassing, lingering. Perhaps it is because I’ve recently watched a lot of Teo Hernandez films, whose cinema I would describe as “tactile”, a cinema of touching, that I am very attuned to this now. The hand over this “noise” screen is an outcry, a terror, also to be heard in Vierk’s 2nd mvmt; a yearning, an upheaval of something inside oneself. It might just be a quintessential image of unfulfilled expression; or an expression of unfulfilled-ness, of a void.

Further, I noticed how it is a film about mother and son. When the story about the Colonel and his mother came on, I thought of the famous dinner table sequence in John Ford’s stagecoach, where there is an immensely lyrical movement of the camera pulling in on two reprehensible, prejudiced characters, a gesture not of absolving, but of understanding, of intimacy. It is very touching to hear this colonel giving the airplane the name of his mother.

Finally, thank you for giving me a shout out in the credits, haha, I’m very honored.

Take care,
Simon


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