Thursday, June 16, 2005

"Antique the Cranford Rhythm..."

I've just awakened from a dream.

A younger student peer was critiquing a paper I'd written on a director and her film. She'd blue-penciled a large swath of the essay; entire paragraphs were blotted out. I'd been given a "B." The handwriting was terse, cruel, but not vengeful. "It gets worse as it goes along," she said. I was intrigued, and made a case for my work. I argued that she'd followed the surface, but not appraised the subtext. The peer, a voluble, self-possessed composite, didn't see it. The instructor sat on the floor nearby, and with a nod of assent supported the interpretation.

There was a cut to a screen. Dog-ends of scenes, a rough edit, then adults in conversation, smiling, drinking. A canal in the background. South Florida at twilight? The camerawork at first seems clumsy, but the scene nonetheless compels. A pan across a row of houses reveals a skillful manipulation of natural light elements; colors merge as the bright orange seal of the sun presses into clapboard siding.

"Ida Lupino filmed this sequence, with help from Sonny Tufts."

We join the latter on set; he regales assistants with a consumptive tale. He carries a 35mm camera with a specialized lens mount. It's filled with piss. (Florescent yellow, a perfect ovoid analogue to the solar orb.)

An off-set command: "Antique the Cranford Rhythm."

Too absurd to contemplate, too amusing to ignore, I awoke from playback.

And here we are.