Scrooby's Musings

Started by Scrooby, March 08, 2022, 12:28:53 AM

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Everything that happens in Phantom Thread takes place every day in the life of an artist : so to speak : one undifferentiated duration, sliced up any way you like it. PTA is close. As he himself says, we are all still learning.


Here on Xixax I once communicated a number of intricate linkages between PT's script and Shakespeare's plays, particularly Hamlet. Since these posts remain, no repetition of their content is here required.

But I have made a new discovery.

Back in the day, I contemplated the chilling depth of Alma's initial revelation : "Every piece of me."

Chilling, because "every piece" would, we must agree, encompass all that is bad in her as well as all that is good. Such is evoked in the all-inclusive word "every".

Now: in Hamlet (3.1), King Claudius, murderer of his brother, is informed that a play is scheduled for performance that very night in the palace; and the king is very happy to hear it.

First, this is the news he receives :

POLONIUS : "players  . . . are here . . . and have already order[ed] . . . to play tonight."

And POLONIUS continues : "Hamlet . . . beseech'd me to entreat your Majesties to hear and see the matter."

To all this, in its creepy truth, the king's response is very like Alma's :

KING: "With all my heart."

Why is this response by the king creepy? Because the performance of the players in their play will kindle in the king's heart all the horrible deeds he's done to his brother. Thus, King Claudius' cheery response, "With all my heart", is a creepy prolepsis, because the impromptu play will indeed encompass every piece of his heart—including all that is bad in there.

And this linguistic joke from the cleverest of authors is on the king himself.

And so it it that Hamlet the character, at one point, describes people in general : "Man delights not me."

Love, Scroobily.

Another link between PT(A) and Shakespeare, of which there are many.


Hi, folks.

In my short paper "First Thematic Lens Flare in Cinema History?" (2018), I examine the use of a rainbow-shaped flare in Eyes Wide Shut. The essay is available online, so no need to expand here.

Since EWS, I have seen two more uses of the Thematic Lens Flare.

Phantom Thread. In the second omelette scene we see the rainbow lens flare prominent in the frame as an omen of death.

Spielberg's West Side Story. When the lovers first meet, the film frame is ablaze with striking flares of a density and duration never before seen in a Spielberg movie. Then all lens flares virtually disappear for the rest of the film's running time. Then, near the end of the story, when one lover is searching for the other, and scans an empty street, all those lens flares from over an hour of running time earler return to fill the sky : a visual reminder of what is burning in the character's heart.


Ancient Greek : μήστωρ : both pronounced and transliterated, pretty much, as "master" : this word means "adviser, counsellor" . . . and is a common Homeric epithet for Zeus (e.g., Iliad 8.22).

Other shades of meaning : "of heroes : with reference to their wisdom, or prowess"; also "raiser" (e.g., of the battle-cry); and "author".

(And recall the name of the Master's sea-going vessel, which translates to, generally speaking, "Truth", and is a major concept in Heidegger.)

Best wishes.


Alma's "Let me drive" is powerfully reminiscent of Medea's appeal for "committe habenas, genitor" ("let me take the reins, father"; Seneca, 33), which, in both cases, leads to horror.

Best wishes.


On Jonny Greenwood's Score

When I recently heard the first few minutes of the score of PT, my mind almost melted from the genius. I didn't notice it at the time of first release, because Debussy got in the way. The first theme, yes, recalls Debussy : but the second theme (or bridge passage) recalls, very strongly, Beethoven's Piano Sonatas. Greenwood is a massive artist.


Another auditory sighting of "so and so" (in this instance, "those so and so's") :

Sunset Boulevard (1950) : a fitting conjunction, since this film concerns the early days of Hollywood.

Moreover, the angle of the shot of Cyril peering over a balcony down upon the woman wearing Woodcock's couture dress at a gala function, a set-up which originally recalled to me Rebecca (1940), also kinda recalls the angle of this shot (but reversed) from the climactic moments of Sunset Blvd :

Best wishes.


From the authoritative ancient Greek dictionary referred to as Liddell & Scott :

" τίζω (verb) : to be always asking 'what?' "


Remember in Punch-Drunk Love when the character falls off his chair, tangentially to the scene and ensuing action? Now, Fair Reader, we can absorb this moment in various ways; here are only a few, mentioned as a trigger of thought for others : (1) yes, the falling man is a nod to the classic romps of the 1930s, and further back to the wacky antics of the silent era; (2) yes, we may read into the falling man something significant symbolically regarding the coming change of the main character (e.g., the Hanged Man tarot card conveys not especially, or exclusively, death, but, as tradition would have it, transformation). (3) Just here I'll reflect on the phenomenon of "falling over" itself; that is to say, a human being physically shifting position from upright to sprawled. "Why is this funny?" asked the philosopher Bergson. "Why do people laugh at people falling?" So Bergson wrote an entire book exploring that one question. Fundamentally (and now comes a heavy thought for Xixax and the Internet), the Falling Man may be funny because people laughing at it see in the phenomenon of Falling a violation of Reason. Reason itself is founded on nothing more than the physical sensation of standing upright. Yes, folks, one's confidence is founded on air, and nothing else, for a lifetime. Now here comes the money-shot : though most no-one would care to believe the philosopher's viewpoint just stated (which dates back to the ancient Greeks), still and all, people laugh when they see other people fall down—because of Reason's involuntary reaction of "I win! I am stronger and better! I am real! I am the Right Way! I am upright and confident! I know everything! So there!" Just as, for example, a registered Democrat votes Democrat, so Reason stumps for Reason, and laughs at the falling man.

But Bleep says : the Artist-Philosopher laughs at the upright. Thus, PTA : "People."

And so now back to the Iliad, Book XI, subtitled "Apocalypse Now".

"Man. I like the sound of that."

Best wishes.


To be honest mate I was thinking the same thing  :yabbse-grin:


If you were a character in Homer, you would be honoured as "cervix-touching Hardwood".

Best wishes.


Quote from: Bleep on May 18, 2022, 06:43:26 AMIf you were a character in Homer, you would be honoured as "cervix-touching Hardwood".

Best wishes.

I feel honoured


"I know him every which way." : this is an example of "big talk", because it becomes obvious he doesn't, considering the outcome of his life.

"If the rule you followed brought you to this, of what use was the rule?" Not only is asking the question—and now the adjective here becomes difficult to place, because much phenomena is taking place—curious (e.g., is Anton truly interested in the answer? is he being sadistic? is he mocking life? is he conveying his supremacy in thought and all else? is he spitting in the eye of Destiny? or is . . . ?), but this very question, however it is initially posed, comes back to haunt Anton in a humorous way : when he himself is hit broadside by the automobile of Destiny. His own "rule" brought him to that. Oops. And now how is much-capable Anton going to fix that?


Has anyone ever mentioned various significant aspects of this moment? The moment when Barry sees Lena's car pull up into the company lot that first morning?

1. This audible reaction of Barry's to an outside event, especially in its drawn-out duration, expresses Barry's claustrophobic conjunction with the outside world. (E.g., Barry might watch the car's progress dispassionately, and without audible comment.)

2. This exclamation conveys, unknowingly, the momentous change coming to him.

And so on.

(P.S. Doesn't "Egan" recall the word "again"? As in "Barry Again"? This also has many significations (e.g., repetition compulsion); also, say, perhaps, amid the tumult of meanings : Barry Lyndon, again?)

Best wishes.


"Say 'what' one more time . . . !"

Humorously enough, there is a word in ancient Greek on this very characterological attribute :

" τίζω " : to be always asking 'what?' (Liddell & Scott) (derived from " τίς " : 'what' )

"Say τίς one more time, M.F.! I dare you!"

Best wishes.