Friday, September 29, 2006

How perfectly goddamn superior we see ourselves

I watched ¡Que Viva Mexico! last night at the old school house—a wonderful movie that suffers only slightly from being unfinished. The things I liked most about it are the things I was happy to see DC do with my words. Not that I am trying to compare our man in Taipei to the late Eisnestein, but the idea of eschewing narrative (or redefining it) in favor of a more poetic kind of cinema is one I can get behind. This is what Cole tried to do and I celebrate it. This is what I saw last night and I loved it.

By the way, you can read a little about DC’s rendering of my poems here:

(Then again, you’re the only one who comes here, loca, so why bother posting a link you already have? Oh, this is like tossing a baseball into a black hole sometimes, tu sabes?)


As much as I loved the genuine sort of documentary footage, I was struck by the acted part of Eisenstein’s movie, the moments after the middle of the film that keep focusing back to a portrait of Diaz and the maguey cacti and the struggle of the peasants against rough colonial machismo. It’s the part of the film that holds the most encrypted messages, and the acting is about what one would expect from a film of the era, so, in other words, the punk kids in my class hated it. They made fun of the moustaches on the thugs and couldn’t understand why the farmers were buried up to their chests in the ground or why they used cactus leaves to hold their bullet cartridges (and why Eisenstein made it such a point of focus) or why the decadent and corrupt failed to wipe the fermented pulque off their disgusting lips. They made fun of the acting, they complained about the lack of action, plot, and discernable meaning. In other words, everything I loved about the film—its natural images, its non-narrative elements, the jump cuts and montages, even the Day of the Dead dancing—was exactly what they hated. Now, already apologizing for leaping from one of the most revered names in cinematic history to the work of my ol’ buddy DC, I realized for damn certain that they would yawn during all 19 minutes of Taipei Movie One. It’s not the kind of thing that will grab the kids and make them take notice, but fuck ‘em—I like the thing and not just because my poems are in it. (I think those are the weakest elements of the movie.) DC liked them enough to use them as a launching pad for his vision and mi bella likes them, but it made me think about the coming January and the change in my academic life. Grad school. A big grad school with a bigger name. Writing poems for 10-20 hours a week outside of class. Listening to other people read their poems. Trying to think of what to say about them. Understanding that people will dislike a lot of it. Fine. But listening to the dismissive comments of those 20-somethings, who decided to study literature because they liked Catcher in the Rye or maybe Ayn Rand in high school, made me glad I was an English major as an Undergrad and didn’t study creative writing. Trading poetry with these kids would be too depressing.