Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Best Poetry of 2013.




1. My first favorite poem of 2013 is actually a person: Adriano Celentano. His two main influences are said to be Elvis and (wait for it) Jerry Lewis. In Yuppi Du, the film begins with him performing the most ridiculous dance I've ever seen in a sinking gondola. His fashion sense is something of a cross between Bob Fosse and Low-Budget 80's Sci-Fi, but he was dressing that way in the 60's and 70's.. This is a man with a huge following in Italy, and who is still the number 1 selling male vocal artist I believe, but who has absolutely no discernible taste at all! Epic. Poetry. 

2. I consider this next entry to be a 'poem'.. It comes from the 1970 film Mandara (Mandala) directed by Akio Jissoji. In a scene which lasts less than a minute, and which occurs in a private Zen rock meditation garden which is shown earlier as pristinely maintained, but which is now beautifully overgrown completely with weeds, the main male character says to the main female character, "Yukiko, Let's go to the motel." to which she replies, "All right." And then begins some odd organ music, and the hotel is shown which appears to be some kind of medieval castle. That's it. It's a great and Zen-like poem, possibly the greatest poem ever written.

3. My next favorite poem of 2013 is a single frame from Claude Chabrol's 1976 film Folies bourgeoises aka The Twist. Bruce Dern lights a cigarette for a mechanical toy monkey. The only cigarette poem I've seen which which even comes close is from a 1960's German 'Crimi' film which features Klaus Kinski selecting a cigarette from a mechanical skull cigarette dispenser whose top pops up and the cigarettes pop out like a crown.. 

4. The next poem for the list is actually a dinner jacket worn by Jack Hawkins in the 1971 film When Eight Bells Toll directed by Etienne Périer.. I would love to say it is his entire performance, but the other actors do such an amazing job that it would hardly be fair to single any one of them out.. He does have the line, "with a lot of bronze young men flexing their hairdoos.." which stood out, especially as, in point of fact, his jacket, the jacket, is what, in point of fact, might easily be described as, 'a phantasy of bronzes'.. The film also features an extraordinary performance from a very youngish Sir Anthony Hopkins as a scuba expert cum spy, scuba for me being the cine' qua non of all possible human experiences..

5. I'm slightly torn over the next selection. In one sense, the whole of Paul Feyder & Robert Freeman's 1969 L'Echelle Blanche or Secret World is a wonderfully poetic enunciation of tragic male youth, but in terms of a single image seen as poem, it would have to be the opening shot of Francois' hand which he has decorated as a monster hydra puppet whose eyes are painted on the fingernails so that to see them he has to make a sort of claw with his fingers. In terms of a scene seen as a poem, his scene with his private tutor is of great interest. He simply refuses to learn the important dates of history, and instead chooses to draw little monsters in his notebook. When his teacher asks him what year the French Revolution occurred he says, "1066?" to which his teacher replies, "No, that's the Battle of Hastings.." Jacqueline Bisset appears as well as something of an Ambassador of sexy swinging London, though not exactly of contemporary feminism, though not exactly not either.. Yes, Francois, the hand is a hydra which cannot be quelled. Cut it off, and 5 more grow to replace it.. Lyrical cryptic nihilism is always somehow better than the real thing..