Monday, February 14, 2011

Contra Conti (Conte-Conto-Contare) (La ragazza che sapeva troppo)

Uomo seduto che fu..

Entre Kinesium like the Hunchback of Notre Dame today, shopping, dropping off requests, planning, responding to requests, checking statuses, doing the just work of the domesti; dishes, laundry, etc,
and listening all the while to Mario Bava's extraordinary La ragazza che sapeva troppo (The Girl who knew too much..) whose titular phonis puts me right back to Willard Bohn's marvelous and simply titled _Italian Futurist Poety_ and especially to the little poem by Primo Conti, Self-Portrait 1911:

Amid excited bursts of sperm and sticky

and death's foul invitations on the verandas

the complicit shadow that dissolves the maternal

and the high ornate ceilings

prompt my youthful face to emerge,
in a solitary crash

of pure sparks.

I can think of nothing so painterly, or patently wonderful in the whole ouvre of English Modernism. Well,
maybe that's not exactly what I mean, but at least it's weird, something one can rarely say about
our contemporary "responsible poetry". Italian Futurity was raw, and its lyricism unjudgeable. One of the few artistic movements of the Modern period to hint at an actual understanding of the term singularity in the way it is used here on Jellybean weirdo.

If you read the poem in Italian, the final line is so evocative of the irronism of the singularity itself

di me fanciullo

which I interpret in a purely parodic way as meaning

fancy, hollow, full of

and of course, it isn't the sparks (faville), or the crash (schianto), but
the child.

The end is the beginning. It's like Bava doing Fellini doing Joyce if Joyce were in a fanciful steam-punk anime cartoon, and his glasses had become Motor goggles.

The Girl Who Knew Too Much is great too, in the first minutes of the film, a young lady is given a box or cartone of American cigarettes, Kents, and later finds out the man has a briefcase of cocaine using the Kent boxes as a convenient disguise. The jaunty, erotized jazz-rock italian hybrid soundtrack just makes you want to live, or maybe time travel back to something like Eero Saarinen's TWA Terminal designed for JFK airport (New York) in 1962, put on dark shades and wait for a contact while you carry a time travel 'tether device' no bigger than a cellphone. In fact, what I want is a time-travel cellphone so I could go back and interact with Primo Conti, give him some cryptic piece of culture from the future so he could change history without knowing why he did it, or I.

Something that occurs to me upon further investigation is that there are other correspondences in all this. Not only does the woman Letícia Román (Nora Davis) wear an incredible snake skin jacket once she lands in Roma, the giallo she is reading aboard the plane is called "The Knife".. which is suspiciously like "The Fang".
The opening airplane scene itself in this version I have has been cut. The original long dolly shot is said by Quentin Tarentino to be one of the best in film history. To return to the 'giallo' she is reading. Nora Davis is supposed to be an American character in the film, and the book, even though it resembles an Italian giallo book is actually written in English. It also isn't just a single story but two. The Knife, and Deedee's a doll.
It actually looks like it says 'After he got the knife', and it's odd that this exact section is where the cut in the film is rejoined. Later on, there is sort of dream sequence where a woman is knifed, and look at how closely the murderer resembles Primo Conti, or how I can almost make you believe he does, but even if he doesn't the image does have the same dark triangular nose shadow as Conti's drawing above..

It is interesting to note that the film's American release title is The Evil Eye, and there are numerous references in the film to Neapolitan charm and fetish culture, and in fact many of the actors themselves in this film are Neapolitan. There is one scene where a horseshoe turned down behind a door resembles very closely the sort of 18th century charms King Ferdinand was never without, and which are the same as the hand gesture called "the horns".. This scene above is itself a parody of "A vision of Mary" and is of a vision of Mary stabbed.

This seems like the perfect metaphor for modern ideology and to some extent all male versions of Theology.
To replace the fecund fetish of the Mother Goddess with the endless machinations and rivalries of male social domination! But then, there's just symbolism oozing and squirting out of Bava. As the penis is the mother of the sperma, and the logos, so to is the mother of the mother the Bava of the Bava.. (shadows of complicity?) Perhaps. It is so odd for me because I just turned in Lina Wertmuller's film on King Ferdinand and all his precautions against the evil, and also his ribaldry and 'vulgar' linguistic play. Duchamp loved vulgarity, but why, exactly? Is it because of the 'spike' of emotional response, the fang, the knife?

I adore seeing Primo Conti (as 'Primo Audio', or Primitive Sound) killing Maria (M-aria).. I can't put my finger on the frisson, but it all seems to be happening right before my EVIL EYES!

killing. as in 'doing it well'..

Blonde in a snakeskin jacket. I imagine Jim Morrison digging this film.
and the music is by Roberto Nicolosi:

Date of Birth
16 November 1914, Genoa, Italy
Date of Death
4 April 1989, Rome, Italy

One of only two composers to start out as a dentist (the other being English-born Wilfred Josephs) Roberto Nicolosi was born in Genoa in 1914. As well as gaining a degree in medicine, he also won a diploma in composition at the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory of Music in Milan. After several years in Milan as a practising dentist, Nicolosi began to win popularity in the 1940s as a leading jazz musician in Italy, at first playing piano, violin, trumpet, vibraphone or double-bass, then conducting and arranging for radio and records. Moving to Rome, he wrote musical criticism and worked in nightclubs and theatres.

His movie break-through came in 1954 with the score for Folco Quilici's documentary The Sixth Continent (1954). In 1957 Nicolosi turned his attention to the Italian epics. Although an unlikely choice to score historical movies, he turned out to be a master of the genre, with a fine symphonic style far removed from his jazz persona. In all he turned out fifteen Italian epic scores before the craze petered out in the mid-1960s. Having retired from films in 1971, Roberto Nicolosi passed away in 1989 in a Rome hospital.

Conti / Audio
Nicolosi / Dentist-composer


The endless renewal of these methods.. I marvel.

Maybe I should change the blog's name to

Jewelly Brain Weirdo with Eclectic Snake Horn..

Later in the evening I watched a sort of contemporary Italian Soap Opera movie, and there are still superstitious elements, a teenage daughter tells her mother, "Don't jinx me!"

Get this (from wikipedia):

It may come from Latin iynx, that is, the wryneck bird, which has occasionally been used in magic and divination and is remarkable for its ability to twist its head almost 180 degrees while hissing like a snake. The Jinx bird is found in Africa and Eurasia.

Take a moment to ponder the ineffable beauty of the jinx torquilla! I don't think I'll ever look at bad luck the same again..

And just look at the architectural irronics of the German word for the wryneck:


wind halls..

I've always wanted to use a large high speed wind tunnel as the set for a one-act play about

exploding objects and cataclysmic barriers using only non-human actors, non-living actors really.

makes me think of that Bill Bollinger piece that looks like an accordion saucer. cover that in wryce paper
and fill it with confetti and send it off careening to impact an enormous stone hand.

Or better yet an enormous Manuloquiam, a kind of giant artist's model of a hand become mobile vivant in a ritual destruction or "High Jinxing"..